the Engine House at Eureka Springs

edited January 1 in Builds
Historical Account:

In keeping with my established plan of building all of Brett's kits beginning with his first kit and working through the production run in order, I am now embarking on a build of SierraWest Scale Models third release; the Engine House at Eureka Springs. This is kit number 102 with an advertised limited run of 300. Eureka Springs, as it will be referred to during this build, was released in October 1996.

Preceding the main Eureka Springs kit release was a smaller (mini) kit called Eureka Springs Boiler House in Ho/HOn3 kit number 8083. The earliest I found mention of this mini kit was a half page color advertisement in the May/June 1996 issue of Narrow Gauge and Short Line (NG&SL) Gazette. There was not a picture of the kit just a description under the heading "New Mini-Scenes:" The insert in the kit states "The Boiler House, is the first release in our special Eureka Springs collection. Designed as a companion structure to the ES Engine House." Following the October 1996 release of the main Eureka Springs Engine House kit, I could not find an ad in the NG&SL Gazette in the few months prior to the release. In the mean time, an ad for the Eureka Springs Boiler House was featured in the Nov/Dec 1996 issue. This ad was a half page full color ad (see figure 1).


(Figure 1)

Following the Nov/Dec issue of the NG&SL Gazette for the Boiler House featured in figure 1, and prior to an initial ad for the main Engine House kit, there was a half page ad in the Jan/Feb 1997 issue of the NG&SL Gazette announcing the soon to be available "the Engine House at Eureka Springs" (Figure 2)


(Figure 2)

Then in the Mar/Apr 1997 issue of the Gazette, a full page color ad was run for Eureka Springs (Figure 3). This same ad was also featured in the May 1997 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.


(Figure 3)

Then the last ad I located was the next issue, May/June 1997, of the NG&SL Gazette. this was a half page black and white (Figure 4).


(Figure 4)

The Engine House at Eureka Springs was a well advertised kit and naturally sold out very quickly owing to its popularity. The stage had been set, from the first release of BlueSky Company, for the prolific production, over the next 25 years, of the finest fine scale craftsman kits ever produced (my words...not Brett's...Lol).


  • Thanks for the background prior to the build
  • You bet Terry! I have fun researching the history behind these retired kits and it makes a nice lead-in to the actual build thread.
  • This is one of the many SW kits in my closet waiting on me. I will definitely be following your build.......Rick
  • Glad to hear Rick. I finished my experimental front wall of the main structure today. I took some pics and will post the results tomorrow. Changed things up a bit and will be interesting to see what folks think!
  • What a great introduction. Brings back a lot of memories....
    You know I'm a huge fan of your work so I am excited to see where you take this!
  • Thanks Brett, it was fun searching the back issues of the magazines looking for your promo materials, I'll be framing a few of those and hang in my shop. I'm a little bit hesitant to post a picture of the front wall...hope you don't kick me off the forum...!Lol..
  • The Build:

    I believe this is a record for me with regards to the time between completing a SWSM build and the start of another! I just finished up Scotia Supply Company a couple of weeks ago and here I am spending two days working on a single wall for Eureka Springs...more on that in bit.

    I decided to post a few more lead-in pictures to get things going. The first is a picture of Brett's wonderful box art from the legendary "Green Box" dynasty!


    Box art of Eureka Springs...

    The following shot is a glimpse of the huge assortment of unique resin castings from this kit. Eureka Springs, as the congeners previously, had all resin castings. A few of these are amazingly complex and would love to have seen the work that went into the master molds for these! Geesh...


    Eureka Springs casting collection...

    The last picture is that of the manual. SierraWest Scale Model manuals are without question the finest most comprehensive fine scale modeling instructional guides on the planet! (my words, not Brett's...Lol).


    The "BIBLE"...
  • I've got my popcorn.
  • Ken, I always enjoy your builds. You bring a unique approach to each and every one of them. I can't wait to see what you do with this kit. Phil
  • edited January 2
    Now really...The Build:


    The well recognized, and universally accepted, Step 1 of any SierraWest Scale Model build...Review and study of the instruction manual...whilst sipping a good cup of coffee!

    The Engine House at Eureka Springs was based very closely on the Diamond & Caldor Railway's engine house at Diamond Springs, CA. (Brett Gallant pers. comm.) An excellent reference is the book El Dorado Narrow Gauge, The Diamond & Caldor Railway by Mallory Hope Ferrell.
    I purchased the book on Brett's recommendation through Amazon (thanks Brett). The following picture was taken from my mac screen so its a bit grainy! Lol.


    Here's where I may get into trouble with the "Boss" as Kevin has dubbed Brett, which I love...sorry Boss.

    As with any build, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking, planning, researching, studying the manual, etc...This process started well before finishing up Scotia Supply as I knew this was going to be my next build. The big thing that struck me with the design of Eureka Springs was the largely open concept. There are no doors on the main structure with large open access to the machine shop and repair shed. The front wall center support is a single post with angled supports with an exposed header running the full length of the front wall. My plan was to give the front wall a more beefed up and finished appearance as a focal point of the structure. In addition, I wanted to give the main building some color that would contrast well with the bare weathered wood of the attached machine shop and the repair shed.

    I decided on a painted worn weathered red finish. This was decided after building
    The Foundry kit in which Brett designed the Pattern Shop with a peeled, faded, red paint. I loved this look and carried this over to Eureka Springs. The front wall serves as an experiment of sorts to see if one, I liked the look of the added siding and secondly the color scheme of the worn red paint.

    As with all my builds, I spend a great deal of time and thought into working with the wood. The way the wood is prepared and applied sets the stage for the entire build. I decided to start on the front wall as this is where the major change I envisioned would be located. I worked on this wall for the better part of a day.


    Note the added beefed up center support and the siding covering the angled supports.


    Keeping in my "Dr. Grunge" persona, the bottom of the walls are well worn with typical rotted and worn siding.


    Bottom right corner detail.


    Left engine stall wall detail. Stripwood traps are on both sides of the front wall here. Explains the overhang of the end pieces of siding.

    Keep in mind, this is an experimental wall and my not end up on the final product depending on how it looks once staged with the other walls. Note: The dimension change in reduction of the width of the stalls is acceptable and confirmed by the measurements from my Loco and Service Shops door opening dimensions. Track centerline will be adjusted accordingly and is minimal....more later.

  • Fantastic start. I love you thought process. Always looking for alternatives. Some are great, others not as much, then you decide which you like most and go with them. Scotia was a great example. Not everything has to be by the book. This will be unique to you and an inspiration to all of us.....Rick
  • Thanks much Rick.
  • edited January 2
    This was another detail shot of the lower right wall. Wasn't going to use it as the image captured has the color washed out...but decided to post it as the detail is crisper and gives it a different perspective...whatever...Band-aid on middle finger is from reaching into the "Chopper" to retrieve a piece of cut stripwood...not advisable!

  • Ken, that is so funny. Last week, I did exactly the same thing and cut my finger with the exposed blade. Before you know it, the government will require that guards be put on the Chopper!! LOL. BTW great shot of your detailed work. You are the master. Phil
  • Wood has your usual detailed, weathered and grunged up appearance. Love the new arrangement of the wall. Color and textures are exceptional!
  • Lovin it.
  • That's too funny Phil, thanks for the note.

    Appreciate that Tom. We'll see how it looks once the other walls are ready. Framing another one this evening.

    Thanks Bryan, I think it will work out...
  • Might just be the best intro ever... good book btw

    your usual grungy goodness - darn nice start!
  • Historically, when I’ve seen a mining, logging, or steam railroad book referenced I jump over to Amazon and order this case....375.00.... I guess not this time;-((

    Also, I have had s couple of run ins with my chopper as well...the Tru-Sander Kevin gave me seems fairly safe tho

  • Ken that is some fine weathering up to your usual standards for sure.

    Yes those blades are sharp even when they don't cut the wood they will still damage a finger!!

  • Appreciate that Brett, the front end research on your classic retired kits is blast! Thanks for the suggestion on the book.

    Hey Terry, I picked it up for around $145 so there are reasonable deals out there.

    Thanks Jerry...Working on the remaining walls and once they are all done then I tackle the interior wall detailing. Worked up the front wall interior already just to see how it was going to far so good...more later
  • As I am a fan of your builds, I'm on the first row.... :smiley:
  • Glad to have you along Robert.
  • And just like THAT, the bottom right is showing some signature “Doc Grunge” wear n tear! Outstanding thought process on the treatment of the front wall. Looking forward to seeing it incorporated into the entire structure.
    Were you able to get your hands on a boiler house mini kit?
  • Hey Bill, long time there comrade...Can't help myself, love to destroy perfectly good stripwood! Appreciate your thoughts here my friend and yes, I found the Boiler House kit a few years ago. Pondering the placement and engineering.

    Got one for you. Recently you discussed the beginning process of detailing your O Scale Sawmill with the "green" metal roof. Well I am in possession of a serious collectors item! Now it's not signed so that decreases the value a bit, but I have a genuine roof panel that was painted and detailed by none other than the infamous Bill O. That's right you! You gave me that piece when we were at the show in PA. where you brought your unfinished SawMill and I brought my unfinished BlueSky...

    By the way, if you need that panel I'll give you a really good deal! Lol...
  • Bwahahaha! Wow, I totally forgot about that. Hold on to it and I’ll sign the back next time we get together!!
  • Ken what a great start. Really looking forward to following along and learning. Always a treasure trove of ideas to try out. I'll be following along avidly.
  • Hi Joel, Nice hearing from you. Appreciate your thoughts here and look forward to your input as things move along. Working on the other walls and will get another post of my progress soon.
  • Great start!
  • Thanks much Aaron, appreciate your thoughts...Ken
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