Things don’t always go smoothly here…I make lots of mistakes.

When my model of the “FT Demonstrator”, EMC 103/103A, was completed last February, I was quite happy with it.  However, after it was on display in one of my cabinets I began to notice some things.  The first was that the Imitation Gold was a bit too “lemony” for my liking.  This, in spite of making a paint chip, was disappointing since I spent quite a bit of time working out the colors.  It goes to show that one really doesn’t know how the model will look until it’s done.


The second fault is really unforgivable.  When I painted the car bodies, I painted the second sections (“B-units”) first as a pair, then I did the first sections together.  Well, apparently I did not put my 1.25mm Jammy Dog masking tape back in its pouch, instead I had the 1.50mm tape in there and the 1.25mm in the 1.50mm pouch.  The result?  The first sections had 1.50mm lower stripes when they were supposed to have 1.25mm ones!  Whatta screw-up!  Now, it may not seem like much, it’s only a .010″[.25mm] difference, but once I knew about it, well, it was like an Everest in Kansas.  The picture below shows the difference.


These two things really bugged me until I resolved to redo the models.  I had plenty of decals.  My good pal Gerry thinks I’m “a crazy man” (I think there is something to that, my friend), but over this past Summer I made two new sets of car bodies.  I don’t know why it is so, but I want these models to be the best I can reasonably make them.  I don’t think I would bother with any other locomotive and I can’t explain why the Model F Demonstrator means that much to me.  But it does.


I made two new sets (first & second sections each) because I had difficulty in stripping the paint from the originals.  Prior to this, I did not have to strip Tamiya lacquer spray paint (the primer and the clear coats) and my usual go-to Easy-Off oven cleaner solution didn’t do a thing.  Looking on the net for other modellers experiences in stripping this paint, it was recommended to try 99% rubbing alcohol.  After a couple of days soaking, the paint was peeling off but not easily and the primer didn’t seem to be affected at all.  Patience is no virtue in me;  I decided to snag two more Stewart FT A/B sets from Ebay.

At first this seems a waste (the A-unit is powered, the B is not).  However, it works out perfectly.  A future FT project I’m planning is ATSF 104 – the fifth locomotive set delivered to the Santa Fe (November 1941) and it was an A-B-B-B set (to get around union work rules – not from the brotherhoods in the cab, but from the conductors and trainmen who had a rule regarding train lengths and double-heading locomotives!).  This is important if FT facts mean something to you:  while the vast majority of FT’s were made with drawbar connected first/second sections (this mated set was originally considered ONE locomotive by Electro-Motive), the Santa Fe had the idea to make each section as a stand-alone locomotive (truly a unit, not a section).  As a result, all Santa Fe FT’s were delivered with couplers at both ends of all units (no drawbars).  To model ATSF 104, I want to make each unit independently powered and the extra two powered chassis from my folly allow me to do just that.

So, starting in June I took my time and re-did all the body detailing and the painted-on striping.  I won’t go into all of this minutia; if you would like to read about it, please see CATEGORY: EMC 103/103A for all the gory details.  To correct the Imitation Gold color, I just used Polly Scale UP Armour Yellow straight (before I had mixed in some Erie Yellow).

How did it go?  Well, I like the fix-up much better and it was still fun the second time around.  Here are some more pictures of my “final” Model F Demonstrator EMC 103/103A: