New Member from Florida

Just getting back into model railroading and figured may as well go all the way. Ordered the Twin Mills and plan to place it on shelf layout. Total beginner, but patient and willing to learn. A bit intimidated too!


  • Forgot to mention, my wife and I plan to build this together. She loves the idea.
  • Welcome back to the best hobby in the world. Those on this forum will support and help guide you through the process. Super glad the wife is into it as well. Get ready for an enjoyable ride.
  • Welcome aboard Tom...sounds great that the two of you will be modeling together....there’s a few others of us from Florida as well that hang out here
  • welcome to the cult tom!
  • Tom,

    I have built a few Sierra West kits including the HO sawmill. There is nothing wrong with tackling the Twin Mills but it is a lot of wood to color and assemble for a first timer.

    I suggest you purchase and assemble the O'Neills kit first. This kit will teach you much of what you need to know to build a Sierra West kit and you will have a great looking model much sooner than it will take to finish the sawmill.

    Study the videos at the Craftsman University on this site and look at the previous builds of the kits you will be building. Post your pictures as you go and the other readers on the forum will encourage you and help you along. Sierra West IS the best.
  • Looking forward to the progress
  • I am adding my 2 cents here. Mitch suggested that you build an O'Neills kit first. This is a very good idea because it is a much newer kit and Brett has updated his techniques since he came out with the Twin Mills kit.
  • the woodcutter's shack would be a bit more "introductory" than o'neill's in my opinion. but with opinions you always get what you pay for....
  • I’m not sure O’Neill’s will fit the scene I’m doing, but the loco shop or donkey repair facility would.
    Any thoughts on those two as starters?
    Ed, as far as “disrespecting” my modeling skills, I really am a beginner so there is zero basis for concern there. What I’ve seen on the forum in terms of modeling skill is incredible so I’m all ears!
    The mill happens to be perfect so thats why we’ve decided to take it on, but we need a service facility as well.
    We’re building a shelf layout about 2 feet wide. 10 feet long on one wall and 15 on the other with the mill in the corner section. Started with Atlas code 83 flex and turnouts and now looking into “fast tracks” as I find the pre made track just fake looking.
  • The loco shop and the donkey repair are more in line with the mill as far as methods. The mill instructions include using acid to weather the corrugated metal. The O'Neills kit was a leap forward in methods and its techniques still apply where a few in the mill instructions are outdated. Being a first time builder you don't know the difference.

    I build in HO scale so I am unfamiliar with the instructions in the O scale kits like the wood cutters shack.

    I suggest running a few miles before you run the marathon. Even if O'Neills does not fit in your layout the experience of building it, as a stand alone model, will be worth the experience you will gain. It is an investment but it will prepare you to run the marathon.
  • that's very true. my point was only that the woodcutter's shack (also available in ho) is a bit simpler to build than o'neill's, and still gives plenty of info on finishing castings.
  • Great to have you participating on our forum Tom, welcome!

    The Loco Shop is a wonderful introduction to my techniques and will prepare you for the Twin Mills. And never forget, the forum community and myself are always available if you have questions and need a gentle bump in the right direction!
  • Tom,

    Great to have you join the SierraWest community of modelers.

    Plenty of great sound advice has been offered so far by some very competent modelers and Brett himself. I personally have taken Brett up on his offer to call him with questions, so don't hesitate to take him up on his offer.
    One thing I have found out over the last few years is that some products recommended for use in Brett's earliest kits are no longer readily available such as Floquil paints. So being agile and learning about substitute products in his later kits is vital.

    Later, Dave S. Tucson, AZ
  • Glad to be here guys. I’ve ordered the Loco Shop and we will definitely be posting along the way!
  • Great choice. Get ready to be surprised how good a modeler you can be with the excellent kit instructions and support you have here.
  • Welcome Tom amongst us. Don't hesitate to ask, and don't be intimidated. We all were absolute beginners at one point. The only way is up here !!!
  • you're gonna love it on this forum.
  • Welcome to a great group of modelers. There are always members willing help with your modeling skills. This forum is a GREAT place to learn new and exciting techniques as well. May I suggest you go back and look at some of the great builds that are posted here and the helpful ideas that accompany them.

    No matter which kit you begin with, the instructions are so thorough that you will learn many helpful techniques along the way, and the techniques keep getting better with each new kit Brett introduces.

    I know it's a an O Scale kit, but it has the latest techniques and is fun to build, and that's the Dueling Shacks. It's also billed as a kit to "practice new techniques and sharpen your skills". I am an HO scale modeler and I enjoyed building this kit with 2 very different structures.

    Whichever kit you start with please post your work. It's always great to see what others are working on.
  • Welcome aboard. You can't go wrong with these kits. Just follow the directions and you will have a project with which you will be very proud. Look forward to seeing your build progress.
  • Welcome to the forum Tom. Look forward to your participation and build thread...Ken
  • Appreciate all the input. It’s great to be back in the hobby. Going to start with the Loco Shop so as soon as it’s here I’ll start a new build thread.
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