The Stewart trucks were dismantled for cleaning, painting, weathering, and lubrication. I find that the Stewart FT was well thought out when designed, however, the sideframe mounting pegs are quite weak and prone to breakage. This happens in the thin sections shown in the picture below.
Therefore, I avoid touching the sideframes and I have some spares in case an accident happens. These parts are currently available from the Bowser retail website. There is some assembly required to the sideframes by adding a hanger and the two brake cylinders. These simply press into holes provided.
I assembled all of the sideframes prior to soda blasting them to remove the very shiny finish they had. These parts were airbrushed Steam Power Black acrylic, and as my model of the Demonstrator is going to be depicted early in the tour (January 1940), the only weathering is a light dry brushing of the details using Testors Dark Gull Grey and RAF Dark Earth enamels.
In looking over the Stewart kits that I have, I see that they were continually improving them over time (most obviously seen in the electrical board and the use of LED’s). Some models have wheel sets that are nickel plated, but the set for my build are not and there was some corrosion on the wheel treads. I cleaned this up with a wire wheel in my Dremel tool. I then applied 2mm wide masking tape to the treads and a “dot” of sticky-putty to the axle end prior to airbrushing the wheel faces Grimy Black acrylic.
I replaced the wires on the brass wheel pick-ups with finer 30 Gauge wire (from NCE). As I will have all-wheel pickups (including from the wheels in the non-powered second section), all of these parts had either a black or red wire soldered on. My preference for wiring has been to use 26-28 Gauge as it is more robust between the soldered joint and where the insulation ends. To add more strength/stiffness to the thinner wire used here, I applied liquid connector coating to the joint, pictured below.
I had to pay attention when I re-assembled the trucks to ensure that the correct coloured wire was on the proper side of the truck in relation to how it is installed in the chassis.
After inspecting the motion of each of the gear sets in the powered trucks, Nano Grease was applied. On the brass pick-ups, the holes where the axle ends enter act as bearings as well as electrical pick-ups. I applied a small drop of 10 weight Nano Oil to these points. Re-assembly of the trucks was straight forward, but with a light touch bearing in mind the delicate mounting pegs noted earlier.
FT Tidbit: EMC 103 and 103A did not have a speedometer cable running from the leading truck as often seen in production and later F models.