Category: Disney

Workbench Wednesday | The Story of Nature’s Wonderland


Welcome to Workbench Wednesday at Thunder Mesa Studio! This week I go deep into the backstory of the On30 Thunder Mesa layout to explain the origins of “Nature’s Wonderland” – from the Disneyland Mine Train to Teddy Roosevelt and the tall tale they inspired.

Thanks for watching!

Rainbow Ridge General Store | Building a Structure from Disneyland!


It's back to the Little Mining Town of Rainbow Ridge once again to build the old adobe General Store. This is a structure from the old Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland attraction that still stands today as part of the wildest ride in the wilderness - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! My version is a blending of the old and new, with some details taken from the old Mine Train version, and others from Big Thunder. Kind of like the entire Thunder Mesa model railroad, huh? This video has tips on modeling old adobe walls, adding details, signs, and even a painted backdrop interior.

Thanks for watching, amigos!

Acrylic Modeling Paste for stucco:

The Rainbow Ridge Saloon | Building a Structure from Disneyland’s Past


This week, I return to the Little Mining Town of Rainbow Ridge to build Pat Casey’s Last Chance Saloon! My version of Rainbow Ridge is an homage to the original town that once stood near the load area for Disneyland’s long gone Mine Train thru Nature’s Wonderland attraction. Some of the structures still survive in the Big Thunder queue, but this one has sadly passed into Yesterland. The kicker here is that I’m using the same plans and parts that I used to build the Dead Eye Saloon in Gruesome Gulch a few weeks back. This is a build with lots of unique details!

Thanks for watching, amigos!

Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast Ep 2-04: Jake Johnson

Jake Johnson is a professional model maker, layout builder, kit designer, and former Senior Dimensional Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering. In his last appearance on the Thunder Mesa Limited, we went in depth on the art of model railroading. This time out, we delve more into the science of layout building with a focus on the hows and whys of doing things in a specific order. Plus we get Jake’s impressions from the recent 42 Annual Narrow Gauge Convention in Seattle, WA, and what it takes to build a contest winning model.

Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast Ep 2-03: Sam Towler

Sam Towler is back for a second appearance on the Thunder Mesa Limited.  When we last chatted with Sam, he was still with Walt Disney Imagineering and caught up in the mess of pandemic furlows and park closures. Post WDI, he returns to talk candidly about his experiences there, from highs like making models and carving rocks for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, to the lows of a severely bungled relocation of Imagineering to Florida. This is a special extended edition of the Thunder Mesa Limited, so sit back, relax, pull up on the yellow strap and enjoy the ride!

Follow Sam on Instagram!

Every Train at Disneyland


It’s time for a very special railroad adventure: Join me as I experience every train at Disneyland! Walt Disney loved trains and they were a prime inspiration for building Disneyland, so no trip to the park is complete without experiencing them. Featuring rides aboard the Disneyland Railroad, Main Street’s Horse Drawn Street Cars, Casey Jr in Fantasyland, a round trip on the Monorail, and the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness – Big Thunder Mountain! There’s also a few fun facts, trivia, and Disneyland history thrown in for good measure.

All aboard, amigos!

Modeling Vintage Disneyland Ticket Booths in O Scale


Here’s a fun side project that’s a throwback to the good old days of ticket books and “E” tickets! I’ve always wanted to recreate the old Main Gate ticket booths from Disneyland, and In this build video, I put together a matched pair of the original ticket booths circa 1962, complete with period accurate signs and all of the gingerbread details that greeted visitors arriving at the park since 1955. Step by step descriptions of everything in the build are included. Thunder Mesa patrons will also have access to the plans and drawings created especially for this unique side project!

Thanks for watching, amigos!

Vintage Disneyland photos at Davelandweb:

The story of Disneyland ticket booths:

The Legend of Coyote Rock


Thunder Mesa Country is full of legends and tall tales. And no wonder. They say if you’re out in that desert heat too long you’re likely to start seeing all kinds of crazy things in those colorful rock formations! Today we have the story of Coyote Rock, both the tall tale behind it, and modeling methods used to put the scene together. Inspired be a real Coyote Rock in Sedona, AZ, as well as by the 1945 Disney short of the same name, Thunder Mesa’s Coyote Rock was carved from polyurethane foam and painted with artists acrylics.

Thanks for watching, amigos!

Building the Thunder Mesa Assay Office


In old west mining towns, the assay office was where would-be prospectors could have their ore samples tested by a chemist to see if they had struck it rich or gone bust. My Thunder Mesa Assay Office was inspired by a similar structure from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland. Follow along step-by-step as I build this charming little adobe structure with its distinctive balcony and southwestern colors. Tips for using a stencil and airbrush to do the lettering too!

Thanks for watching, amigos!

Crescent Creek Model Scale Stucco:


Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast Ep 11: Robert Kurner

Inventing a Fictional Railroad
Join me as I chat with Robert Kurner, creator of the Adventureland themed Typhoon Lagoon Railway. We get insights into the art, science, and all-around madness of inventing a model railroad prototype like Typhoon Lagoon – plus some startling late night discoveries working 3rd shift with Disneyland’s horticulture department. We also learn what’s cool about N scale, and much, much more!