Interview with Eric Caron – Little House on the Prairie Model Maker

by | Dec 15, 2014

We had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Caron, a talented model maker who is also a fan of Little House on the Prairie.

Interview With Eric Caron – Little House on the Prairie Model Maker

Q: Eric, we admire your high-quality models and your passion for Little House on the Prairie. When did you become a fan of Little House on the Prairie and how long have you been making these models?

I became a fan of Little House on the Prairie when I watched the TV show for the first time, during the holiday season break of 1976 (that’s when “Little House on the Prairie” aired for the first time in France). I was already enthralled with everything related to the “Old West”, especially stories about pioneers and wagon trains. That’s why I was attracted to the show at first, because at that time, Laura Ingalls Wilder was totally unknown in France. None of her books had been published yet. They were, some years later, when the show became a hit.

Some of Eric's first models

Some of Eric’s first models.

As I often did when I was captivated by something, I spent a lot of my free time making drawings of the characters and settings from the show. Quite soon after I had been exposed to “Little House on the Prairie”, I had the idea of building a small replica of the Ingalls house, with pieces of very thin wood, glued on cardboard. It was quite basic at first, but I was happy with it and I built the barn too. Soon I had built several of the Walnut Grove buildings, and my parents allowed me to use a small room in the basement, to build two big dioramas, one of Plum Creek, and one of Walnut Grove. This was at the end of the 70’s, so I can say that I have been making those models for about 35 years (though on and off for some periods of time)

Q: Which is the most recent model you created? Do you have a favorite model or one that you are most proud of?

A large scale model of the Oleson's Mercantile.

A large scale model of the Oleson’s Mercantile.

The most recent one is the small model of the Edwards home I made for Radames Pera (who played John Sanderson Edwards in Seasons 2 and 3). I gave it to him last August, when I met him in Toulon, France, for the first “Little House on the Prairie” reunion outside of the United States. But very shortly before, last spring, I built four models specifically for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, which were the Ingalls house and barn, the Oleson’s Mercantile, and the church. These models are still on display at the museum.

I love each of my models for different reasons, and it is difficult to pick a favorite. When I look at my older models, I see details that I don’t like and certainly I would do differently now… But I have a special love for the Oleson’s Mercantile I built years ago, at home in France, with the interiors done as well.

Q: How do you get the dimensions for these structures and make them look so realistic? Do you work primarily off of the television show?

Building a tiny Oleson’s mercantile - Eric Caron stays busy in his free time!

Building a tiny Oleson’s mercantile – Eric Caron stays busy in his free time!

Yes, the television show provides me most of the references, especially since I have the DVDs and can easily freeze the images! When I started my first models, there was not even VCR, so I had to catch glimpses of details while I was watching an episode on TV! It was not easy to be very accurate with the details. Later I even took pictures of the TV screen with my camera, but the quality of the photos was not very satisfactory!

As there are no plans of the real sets available, I study carefully each episode to collect as much information as I can about each structure I want to build. I also have a big collection of pictures taken on the set and some are very useful, though we don’t often see a lot of the settings. I am an avid collector of any document about the filming.

Eric Carson visiting Big Sky Movie Ranch where the TV series was filmed.

Eric Carson visiting Big Sky Movie Ranch where the TV series was filmed.

I am equally interested in the environment of the buildings, and I like to get as much information as I can about the place where the series was filmed, at Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley. I really had a blast when I was able to visit the ranch some years ago and see with my own eyes the hills, roads and trees that we see in the show. I would really love to build a complete diorama of the whole town, but of course a project like this would require much space… and time!

Q: We’d love to hear more about the process of making the models. What materials do you use? How much time does it take?

The larger models (like the Ingalls house and the Oleson’s Mercantile that I made when I was living in France) are made of fine strips of wood glued to cardboard. Of course, this gives more “richness” to the model, because it is not only a “trompe l’oeil” effect. It is more realistic. I would really love to build more of my future models this way, if there is no need to rush to finish a piece.

A large scale model of the Ingalls family house.

A large scale model of the Ingalls family house.

My goal with my smaller models was to offer them to the cast members, or to people who actually worked on the show, whenever I got the chance to meet them. Because of that, I often had a deadline to finish the job on time, and so I had to find a method that could be faster, but would allow a very realistic look to the building.

So, for each one of my small models, I make plans of each structure, and then I paint every part of it on my computer, to imitate the materials (wood, shingles, windows, etc…). I paint each part as a “trompe l’oeil”, to give the illusion of relief. Then I print all the pieces on thick paper, and I cut and assemble the structure. I also use plastic and wood for some specific details. I chose to use this technique because it is much faster when you don’t have the luxury of taking all the time you want to make a model.

The mercantile in HO scale with scenery being added in.

The mercantile in HO scale with scenery being added in.

Also, if I want to display the piece in a glass dome or small plastic case, the finished model has to be very small (smaller than the usual HO scale used for train models) and building “real” details (like windows) would be very long and complicated for each project.

At the end, I add a bit of scenery around the structure (a lot of accessories are available in model-making stores).

Building a small model like the Ingalls house takes about two days… The Mercantile takes more time to build, about one week. That is, if I can work on those models “full-time”. Larger models can take several weeks to finish (if they can ever be considered “finished” !)

Beautiful Ingalls house model from Little House on the Prairie made by Eric Caron.

A small 2014 model. Gorgeous!

Q: What was the first in-person Little House on the Prairie event you attended? Did you take a model with you to this event?

The very first event I attended was the reunion organized at the Tombstone Western Festival (Arizona) in July of 2005. It was big, and I had the chance to meet a lot of the cast at once!

Yes indeed, I took two models with me: one of the little house, that I gave to Melissa Gilbert, and one of the school, that I gave to Charlotte Stewart. Those two were the very first models I made inside glass domes.

Globes of small models of the school house and Ingalls family home.

Glass domes of small models of the school house and Ingalls family home.

Q: We know you have traveled to Little House on the Prairie events throughout the United States and the world. Where have you been and which cast members have you spent time with?

I attended reunions within the United States in Arizona, Nebraska, South-Dakota, and New-York, and last summer in France for the first reunion ever organized there. Outside of official reunions, I met Melissa Sue Anderson in Montreal while she was living there with her family. I had the chance to meet Richard Bull one year before he passed away in his home in California. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to spend quite some time with Alison Arngrim, Hersha Parady and Rachel Greenbush when I am visiting Los Angeles. I also became good friends with Katherine MacGregor, and I pay her a visit each time I travel to California. Last summer, the reunion in France, which I helped to organize a little, gave me the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Karen Grassle, Charlotte Stewart, Alison Arngrim and Radames Pera.

Q: Do you have a favorite episode from the show?

That’s a tough question! There are so many that I love. I would say that my favorite ones are from the four first seasons though (but of course there are many episodes I love in the following seasons too). I like the ones that stick more to the “real” story, so if I can quote two, I would say “Country Girls” and “I’ll Be Waving As You Drive Away”.

Eric Caron with some of his Little House on the Prairie TV series inspired models from spring of 2014.

Eric Caron with some of his models from spring of 2014.

Q: What do you do when you’re not building your models?

I always have new ideas for new models (buildings I haven’t worked on yet, interior scenes, larger dioramas, etc.) and I could easily spend most of my time just doing that! But I also enjoy working on other personal projects, walks outside with our dog Roxie, watching movies and TV series, reading, visiting museums, traveling when I can, jogging, and good times with friends!

Eric Caron was born in France in 1964 and grew up near Paris. After general studies, he received his diploma in art and worked in advertising, TV animation, and video games for several years. After accepting a job offer at age 35, he moved to Montréal, Canada where he lives to this day with his spouse, Luc. Currently Eric is working as a free-lance illustrator and storyboard artist, mostly for advertising agencies. To see pictures of his models, visit his website and Facebook page. To see his professional portfolio, visit his professional website.

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Rebecca was one of the driving forces in developing and launching the Little House on the Prairie® website. She is committed to preserving Laura Ingalls Wilder's legacy and meeting fans from around the world. For the past four years, she has worked in the education technology sector in both early learning and higher education, helping people access opportunities to learn and succeed. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and enjoys hiking and gardening.


  1. Janis Konig

    I was wondering if you sell any of these. Particularly the Ingalls Home? Price is no issue. Please advise

    • Little House on the Prairie

      Please feel free to contact the artist directly with your inquiry.

  2. barbara griffith

    would love to have the school/church made with rev alden on the steps, i love him

  3. Louise

    Do you have this in a kit like a small Village I love to put together things like this for the holidays

  4. Barbara Cutlip

    Hello, my name is Barbara Cutlip and I would love to buy one of those photo globes!

  5. Elaine Poe

    I would love to buy some ideas Do you sell them. Beautiful



  7. Jas


    Do you sell? If so, prices please and thank you.


      Do you sell? If so, prices please and thank you.

  8. Teresa Elmshaeuser

    I work at a daycare and we built a mini western town I ran across your web sight while I was looking for buildings. I also found the Ingalls house and school. I love your buildings of the rest of the little house buildings. Do you make them for sale at a reasonable able price. I would love to be able to find the whole town to make a diorama with my kids.

  9. Lina

    I really love your work. Those models look great.
    Do you sell them or would you sell one,? I really would like to buy one. If not could you please tell me what materials you used and how you built it?
    If you don’t sell I would like to try make one myself .
    Thank you.

  10. Azra Burney

    I would love to have a model house, I absolutely love little house on the prairie show and I’m a great fan! If you sell those plz let me know.
    Azra Burney.

  11. Jenny Lago

    I would love to own one of the globes of the Ingalls home. Do you sell them?

    • Dannette Hill-Canuto

      I am wondering the same thing

  12. Jim

    The only thing I’m good at making is a mess…Little House is one of my favorite tv series they don’t make good family shows like that anymore. I made a few dioramas but money and health prevent me to afford to do things like this but I enjoy seeing what others do and those are fantastic!!!

  13. Manuel Redondo Prieto

    Una obra muy bien realizada,que nos trae buenos recuerdos y nos enseñaba la vida en todas sus manifestaciones. A very well done work, which brings back good memories and taught us life in all its manifestations.

  14. Heather

    Do you sell or have your art on display? I would visit Walnut Grove daily and befriend Harriet. Love her when she opens her eyes as if she was in Mary’s position. Sight, blinded by herself and ready to vision again. God love Nells!! Well done, work in pics is incredible.

  15. Marg

    I love your work DiD you ever think of making them as a set for a christmas village that would be great I still watch the show rerun after rerun I’m sure I know them all word for word best show they ever put on

  16. Glen Thailing

    Absolutely amazing work on these little models. I’m going to spend more time looking through the site but what I saw is beautiful work. I doubt there are enough fans to put something like this in production but if that ever happened I would be your first customer. Put me down for 2 sets actually, Id need a second set to make for my sister.


  17. Marvin Dobbins

    I am trying to get deminsions of the ingalls house. I am trying to build it from wood. Can you help me?

    • Glen

      I have always wanted to do that. I always thought I would when I grew up. But life happened for a kid growing up in Gen X.
      I think i will start my planning on a small to medium size for the backyard.

      Good luck with yours.

  18. Sabrina

    Are you selling these models ???


    Hi I’m from Belgium, flemish region !!!
    These miniatures are simply fantastic.
    As a young girl I watched The Little House On The Prairie.
    Unfortunately this year I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and watched
    the serie whole over again. It was a difficult period for me and my family but
    watching ‘The Little House On The Prairie’ gave me a lot of positive feelings.
    Admire your work.

  20. Valerie Hooper

    Your work is absolutely breathtaking! What a talent you have been blessed with. They are each so realistic and transport me to Walnut Grove. Please continue to make more!

  21. Robert Lockwood

    Do you sell these models

    • Jen Shinn

      No, not at this time.

  22. Walley Lopez Herman

    I watch these wonderful shows , and loved everyone. And it was and is the best family shows ever. And R.I.P MICHAEL LANDON We miss you and love you and everyone on the Little House On The Prairie.
    And all the other moves you made.



  23. Carole

    I LOVE Eric Caron’s work. The Little House under a glass dome would be such a wonderful keepsake. Thank you for sharing this story!

  24. Kees van Geldorp

    Beautifull made diorama’s, I am building a compleet diorama with this theme also.
    Greetings Kees

    • Sharon

      Did you find a Little House on the Prairie diorama kits I am looking for any wooden kits for the structures from t he tv show. It would be a great project for the winter , I have been a fan for many years. I would love to get my granddaughter involved we could work on it together.

  25. Jean

    How do I go about purchasing your globes?

  26. DIdi

    Does anyone know how we can order one of these models? Is there a website? Thanks

  27. anthony burns

    can i buy these please

  28. Jennifer

    By far, my favorite show of all time….I brought my children up watching Little House and the tradition is being followed with my grandchildren…. I can quote every line in every episode and still never get tired of watching…. Good wholesome show teaching the right values!!!!

  29. karen frey

    I want a little house. House and the mercantile

  30. Christie

    I would love to buy one!!! Does anyone know if he sells these?

  31. brenda

    How do I by a snowglob

  32. Maggi Mullennix

    I watch this show every day, I love it

  33. Kathy Olson - Nelson

    I am a Descendant of the Ingalls. My grandma was a Ingalls before she married a Olson. She lived in Bagley MN were my dad was born. Thank you for the great work you do I love looking at it.

  34. Michelle

    I would love to own these….How do I purchase them?

  35. Carrie

    Your work is amazing. If you decide to sell these, please let us know. They would definitely be a big hit!

  36. Rachel

    I’m a fan of little house on the prairie an I’m always looking to buy little house things to collect I love your little house on the prairie models of the town buildings and the ingills cabin I want one and I was wondering if there for sell and if so how much? I would love to own the whole town in thoses little models that is awesome.

  37. olivia vega

    do you sell them?

  38. Valerie Brown

    Little House on the Prairie was and still is my favorite show . I would love to have some of them myself

  39. Vickie

    How amazing! Do you sell the models?

  40. david

    like Little House on the Prairie

  41. Connie Holko

    How does one purchase one of your models and what is the price?

  42. Sylvia Topete

    I would like to know how much your beautiful work costs. I love Little House on the Prarie, can I get that information please. ..

  43. Olivia Lujan

    How can I get a house, I want one.

  44. Olivia Lujan

    I would like a house, how can I get one?

  45. Bev Lynch

    i would love to buy a couple of these do you sell them?

  46. Scott W. Orndoff

    how much are the glass covered Ingalls house?

  47. Mary Lou martins

    It’s hard for me say witch one I like, because I love all of them.I watch that show since it start Michael Landon R.I.P. he did great job.

  48. Tammy

    Beautiful work!!! Do you sell any of your pieces? I would love to purchase.

  49. mary bijou

    I sure love to buy it this please email me back.thank you

  50. Diane Butler

    I love your work. I still watch Little House on the Prairie and never get tired of it. Although I think I’ve seen every single one of them, every once in a GREAT while I’ll watch one I hadn’t seen before. They help me remember I don’t need all the things I think I do and it watching this beautiful story of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life helps keep me humble.

    I would love to buy the globe with the little house. Please tell me how I can do that.

    I eventually want to get all the books.

  51. Jwahir Rahim

    Are these going to be for sale? I am a huge Little House on the Prairie fan and would love these!

  52. Angela

    do u sell them. If so how can I purchase one.

  53. Keshala Maushi

    Dear Sir,

    Good Day!
    Please advise if you are selling those small models of Olsen’s Mercantile and school.(Church)
    I am a very good fan of little house.

    Thank you and best regards
    Keshala Madushi

  54. Richard Gagnon

    Bravo ! pour votre bon et beau travail cela me permet de rêvé encore de WALNUT GROVE TV, vous arrivé a faire en sorte que ces Bâtisses vivent toujours. Vous avez eu la chance de marché sur les lieux de tournage je vous envie, le modèle du magasin des OLSONS me rend fou il es d une beauté comme on la connu dans la série. M MICHEAL LANDON serait fière de vous votre travaille donne une suite a tout ce que l on a aimé de la petite maison dans la prairie, que votre passion continue de vous portez moi je vous suit je vous souhaite encore beaucoup bonheur a faire ce que vous faite, un jour j aimerais acheté une de vos réalisation merci .Richard

  55. maggie

    Love your modes do you sell them.. l love little house on the prairie I have all the seasons on dvd.

  56. Pamela

    I would love to buy some of your work

    • Maggi Mullennix

      would love to have one..I watch it whenever its on.

  57. Hershey

    This gentleman is so loved…..


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