Dueling Shacks

edited July 18 in O Scale Builds
With Brett's encouragement, I'm going to venture into my first build and first build thread. I suspect that I share some of the same circumstances as others reading this forum: looking to start my first SWSM build and concerned about making a mistake, especially compared with the craftsmanship shown throughout the threads.

I model in HO scale and have acquired a good number of SWSM kits all with a planned place on my layout. See the photo below.

The top three unmarked boxes are a couple of tool sheds and one lineside shed. The other unmarked box is Duluth Plumbing Co.

I considered starting with one of the sheds, but have plans for them on my layout, so didn't want to mess one up in a learning experience. I've also felt some concern about starting my first outing on the HO scale details given my eyes are not getting better as my youth is appearing more distant in the rear-view mirror. The O Scale Dueling Shacks seemed to really be a good kit to start with. As Brett notes, "The Dueling Shacks are Not About Scale. They're About Learning New Methods and Techniques." I've included this bit of narrative so that if there is someone else in a similar position, you might consider jumping in also.

So I'm starting this thread at the point we are with every one of Brett's kits, anticipation of the arrival of the box. That for me should be day after tomorrow.

One of the elements Brett mentions is that his kits are designed to tell a story. I want to practice that as well and want to add a story to this kit. At this point, my intent is to have each shed on either side of a pull out on the side of a dirt road, with a 1930's pickup pulled in with a man standing between the sheds, holding a tool, looking as if he is deciding which shed to walk to. Growing up on a ranch, there was always a handmade tool box somewhere. I plan to have such a tool box opened in the back bed of the pickup.

Thanks for all your support so far. I'm looking forward to the journey.

I'm frankly in awe of the craftsmanship, and more significantly, camaraderie that everyone shows here. I really would appreciate any ideas or suggestions along the way.



  • Look forward to your first build.
  • Mark! So happy to see you here and starting your build thread. We will be following along and ready to offer encouragement and comments.
  • Like you, I was hesitant.... my solution was to get my hands on the manuals to discover the "secrets," then use those processes on "off topic" sets. Now I am eager to set off on my sets.... looking forward to seeing yours come together!
  • Thanks Brian, Brett, and Mike for the encouragement.
  • Looking forward to following your build Mark.
    You have quite the collection of Brett's kits, hundreds of hours of enjoyment all boxed up and waiting.

    The Dueling Shacks is going to be a great place for you to jump into your SW journey. You'll learn and get comfortable with many great techniques on many different aspects, from tarpaper to corrugated and siding to details.

    Jump in and enjoy the ride !!


  • Mark, I think that all of us were nervous about showing off are skills or lack of, but these guys are here to help. If you are good at following instructions, your kits will turn out just great. Then after a couple of them you will have learned some of Brett's techniques which will boost your confidence and try something on your own. From my own experience after a couple of kits, I tried a very detailed scratch built structure of the Sturgeon Sawmill and it turned out phenomenal.
  • All right Mark! Gald to hear you're in the preparation stages of a great SWSM build. The Dueling Shacks, as Karl mentioned, is a great place to start. Will be following along closely...
  • edited July 18
    Thanks Ken, I will say that reading through the manual as you are getting ready to build one of Brett's kits is an order of magnitude more exciting than when you are just reading through it for info.
    I took pictures last night and intend to post them this evening.
    You really do a great job with photos of your builds. Do you use a special camera? I was surprised it seems the best photos came from my cell phone. Just wondering?
  • You are so right Mark. I have a ritual of sorts when I begin one of Brett's builds. It all starts, with many additional quirky kind of things, with a lot of thought and that wonderful manual.

    I appreciate your thoughts on my pictures and once again you're right, I take almost all my pictures with my iPhone 6s. Some really close shots I'll use my digital camera but that's it.

    I'm really enjoying this thread already and it's all because of the enthusiasm you convey, it's me anyway and I love it! That's the whole deal with fine scale modeling to me is the excitement and gratification of creating something you can be proud of and sharing that passion with fellow modelers. Well done...
  • Mark, Lighting is the one of the keys to picture taking. Outdoor lighting I think makes a difference. New cell phones are quite amazing. I have a Samsung Galaxy S8. Pictures come close to my Nikon.
    Mark, you post them we will enjoy them.
  • Ken, your last paragraph is 'almost' as great as your modelling..... It conveys the 'feeling'.

  • Mark, I'm glad you are jumping in. That's the only way. Just remember that you are among friends. I've been tied up with the build of my layout that I haven't been able to model. That too should soon end. Just remember to enjoy. Phil
  • edited July 19
    Thanks everyone. I had a late night last night and was challenged getting the photos offloaded.

    Ken, Ed, & Karl, I really appreciate the kind words. Phil, I'm building structures before the layout. I have a 12x30 room to get floored before I do layout work. I've seen the work you are doing and am impressed all around.

    Ken, I pulled off last night and took pictures of a Dr. Grunge barn. I will post photos shortly. It looks like you needed practice in 1/1 scale before working on Bluesky.

    I'll post more later tonight. Thanks again.
  • edited July 20
    Well I finally got my pictures ready. It was with a lot of anticipation that I opened the box I received from Texas yesterday. I took some pictures as I opened it. I hope you enjoy seeing how cool this simple kit is.

    Does anyone else cherish the idea of opening that little green box?

    Ah, but first look at the bags.

    I really love the laser-cut framing.

    The chipboard templates are really well done.

    As well as a good number of templates.

    The manual looks pretty simple on the outside...

    But then again the quality is in the details and care taken in these kits.

    I took a look at the metal castings first. The detail and crispness of the castings is really phenomenal.

    There have got to be way more than the 50+ castings advertised. I think they call that Under promise and over deliver. Thank you, Brett.

    And look at the detail on the raw casting. Wow.

    And then it comes time for the adventure to begin. These kit really do offer so much more than others you run across.

    As a bonus on the way home from work I saw something that could only have come from Dr. Grunge. I hope you enjoy and can see how this barn applies to the shacks.




    For anyone following along, thank you for joining in. What a great supportive group this SWSM clan is.

  • I love the wood on that barn. Enjoy the build.
  • Exciting times ahead Mark. Look forward to seeing what you do with this.

    You live in a very beautiful part of the world judging by your barn pics.
  • Well done on the preliminary work so far Mark. Crucial work before the chalk dust flies!

    Love the barn pics, and that gray siding color is what many of us try to emulate. Thanks for posting.
Sign In or Register to comment.