There are a number of commercial kits out there that would certainly be appropriate. I would love to get my hands on the J&L Mining kit from Stoney Creek Designs but that one is likely to fall way outside what I'm willing to pay for it. Banta Modelworks makes the Little Creek Mining kit but this one is a little on the small side for what I'm envisioning. Wild West Models has three kits; the Quartz Hill Mine, the Flack Mine and the Atlantic Cable Mine. I think that either the Quartz Hill or the Atlantic Cable would be good choices, the Flack Mine is a little small again. Those were really the only commercially available kits that I could find. I'm sure there are others out there I just didn't find them (I'm certainly open to suggestions if anyone wants to provide some links).
That brings us to the possibility of scratch building these two structures. I'm certainly capable of doing that. I first turned to plans from the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette. Instead of pawing through all my hard copies I search through the NG&SL CDs. Much easier and much faster! Here is what I was able to find:
1) The Vicki Jo Mining, an HOn3 diorama by Ron Morse, MMR
2) The Saratoga Mine Revisited by Kelly Morris
3) Up Rattlsnake Hill, Part 1 and Part 2 by John Campbell
4) Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge, Part 33: The Hukill Mine Head and Ore Bins by Harry Brunk
|Later on Harry would discover that this is actually the Maude Monroe Mine, not the Hukill|
5) The Saratoga Mine by Malcolm Furlow
6) The "No Name Mine" by Harry Brunk
I have always like the Saratoga Mine and the revisited version really shows off what could be done with it. Its also capable fitting in a relatively long and narrow space which may be all that I have to work with. The designs for the Rattlesnake Hill are very versatile with all the structures being very separate from each other. I could easily just build the ore bins and use them on another structure. I need some good sized ore bins to justify rail traffic for these mines. The Hukill is the only "open" structure so that one will get some serious consideration. I like the Vicki Jo as well but there really aren't any plans for it in that article but it is similar to the Rattlesnake Hill mine and the arrangement of structures is intriguing.
There were a few others I found that are worth considering in a couple of my structure plan books.
From "Structures of the Early West" by Joseph Crea and Elwood Bell:
1) Silver Mine; Leadville CO, page 18
From "Early Wood Frame and Stone Structures" by Pat Harriman, MMR
1) Samantha Morgan Mining Company, page 141
The Leadville Silver mine is a neat complex but it would absorb a lot of space. I have always wanted to build the Crowne Point & Virginia but its significant depth may rule it out. The Samantha Morgan Mining company is very similar to the Vicki Jo and if I utilized the ore bins from the Rattlesnake Hill mine it would be a more complete complex.
So those are the candidates for the Sunset area mines. From those candidates only two will emerge. In the mean time I'll make some paper foot prints to mess around with and see what kind of track arrangement I can come up with in the defined space or if I need to expand a little (and I have an idea building in the back of my mind for just such an expansion without adding more length to what I have).