The FA-FB-FB-FA Project has finally hit phase 2. After receiving some sunshine and temperatures above 50 degrees so I could open the outdoor painting studio called the patio the sounds of rattle can spray paint could finally be heard. Truck side frames, coupler boxes and engine shells each received a coat of flat black. After letting the paint dry I was able to reassemble the truck side frames and install the new knuckle couplers in the newly painted coupler boxes.
A couple of issues popped up with engine shells. The first was that the diaphragms were yellow plastic and did not take the rattle can flat black too well leaving some visible yellow in and around the diaphragms. I fixed this by brush painting the diaphragms with flat black acrylic paint. After that dried I dropped the shells onto the chassis' and tried to couple the units together in A-B-B-A fashion. A second issue them came to light. The Kadee #5s that were to be used for the project were too short to span the distance between the units as the diaphragms took up the space and would not allow the #5s to couple to each other. To remedy this I remembered and old trick my buddy Neal M of the Atlantic Pacific Rail Road shared with me. Use one long and one short coupler to increase distance slightly so the space between units does not look unrealistic but will allow the units to couple and operate reliably. (we did this with full length passenger cars that had similar diaphragm and some radius issues)
There is a way to do this so that only 3 engines need a swap of a long coupler, Kadee #36 or 26, for the #5. Looking right to left at the FA-FB-FB-FA consist the rear coupler on the A unit received a #36. The rear coupler on the B unit coupled to the A unit to the right received a #36 and the B unit coupled to the B unit to the right received a #36 for the front coupler where it couples to the A unit which retains it's #5 coupler. By doing it this way the units can now run in A-B-B-A, A-B-A, A-B-B or A-A fashion while retaining a nice looking close coupled appearance.