Category: scenery

Boot Hill Graveyard – GGRR Part 9

 

Boot Hill Graveyard is a scenic centerpiece for my spooky-themed Gruesome Gulch mini-layout. This step-by-step build covers scenery techniques using foam, Sculptamold, and Polyblend sanded grout – plus painting and finishing with acrylic paints and colored chalks. I make a spooky tree from some sagebrush branches, and “populate” the graveyard with a passel of laser cut headstones. Loads of details, including dead grasses, tumbleweeds, ravens, vultures, and a dilapidated old picket fence!

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave

Making Skull Butte – GGRR Part 7

 

Scenery work continues on the Gruesome Gulch mini-layout with the addition of Skull Butte! Carved from XPF foam and painted with acrylics like the rest of the GGRR rockwork, Skull Butte rises high above the landscape as a spooky landmark for the entire layout. A good recap of my foam rock carving techniques with insights into planning and executing themed scenery to look natural while telling a specific story.

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave

Foam Rock Scenery for Gruesome Gulch – GGRR Part 5

 

It’s alive! Spooky rock formations sculpted from extruded polystyrene foam (XPF) help to set the scene on my On30 Gruesome Gulch mini-layout. In part 5 of this series, I demonstrate techniques for carving and finishing lightweight XPF foam to create realistic looking rock formations.

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave

Putting the Rainbow BACK into Rainbow Caverns

 

Sometimes things break and that means you get to fix ’em! In this behind the scenes look at repairs on the Thunder Mesa model railroad, I go spelunking inside Rainbow Caverns to bring a long lost effect from the early days of the layout back to life. Bringing back the old Pepper’s Ghost rainbow may only require changing a light bulb, but getting to it is the real challenge!

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave

Big Thunder Mine Part 2: Ore Bins, Trestles & Retaining Walls

 

Welcome to part 2 of the Big Thunder Mine build! In this episode, I scratch-build some retaining walls, mine cart trestles, and a custom ore bin to serve the On18 Big Thunder & Calico tramway. Then it’s time to dirt things in and add a little weathering.

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave

Big Thunder Mine Part 1: https://youtu.be/KcTcyTm_c_g

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!
Dave

Thunder Cam: Dinosaur Gap

 

Howdy Folks! Over the coming months, I will be documenting every scene on the layout in these short “Thunder Cam” videos. Each one features Thunder Mesa trains passing through scenes on a typical day (or night) of operations. Supplemental music and sounds have been added where appropriate, but all else is as it might appear on a visit to the layout. As new scenes are finished on the layout, these rails fan style videos will act as supplements to the builds and projects. The ultimate goal is to chronicle the entire layout over time.

This episode features wild and remote Dinosaur Gap, where the sun bleached bones of an ancient creature were discovered while grading the railroad right of way. Enjoy!

Dave

Building an Ancient Cliff Dwelling

 

Hidden in sheltered alcoves deep in the canyons of the American Southwest, ancestral puebloan cliff dwellings tell the story of a once thriving ancient culture. Known today as Anasazi or Sinagua, these people were likely the ancestors of modern day Pueblo Indians like the Hopi. In this build video, I recreate the ruins of an ancient cliff dwelling below the canyon walls of Thunder Mesa with tips for carving Hydrocal plaster, LED lighting, and painting and finishing high desert scenery.

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave