Category: Podcasts

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!

Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast Ep 2-02: Chris Raley

Join me as I welcome amazing miniature sign artist Chris Raley to the Thunder Mesa Podcast. Chris is the mad maker behind Route 9 Signs, and in this episode, we chat about the creative process, the value of making models. the many pitfalls of gatekeeping in creative communities, and why the heck he hasn’t built a model railroad yet!

You can find Chris and his remarkable work on Instagram:

Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast Ep 2-01: Jason Jenson

The Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast is back! We’re kicking off season 2 chatting with the amazingly talented Jason Jenson of Jason Jenson Trains. We cover everything from HO scale freelancing and science fiction modeling, to choosing projects and avoiding burnout.

Thanks for listening, amigos!

Jason Jenson on YouTube:
Jason Jenson on Instagram:
Jason Jenson on Facebook:

Thunder Mesa Limited Ep 12: James A Powell

Model Maker and themed entertainment professional James A. Powell joins us for the final episode of the Thunder Mesa Limited’s 1st season. Our talk covers everything from Malcolm Furlow’s San Juan Central, to Magic Wheelchairs, to dream projects and the joys of making.

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!

Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast Ep 10: Jake Johnson & the Art of Model Railroading

The Art of Model Railroading

Jake Johnson is back for a second appearance on the Thunder Mesa Limited, and this time our conversation is all about the art of model railroading! We talk about how and when to use forced perspective, color choices for scenery and structures, backdrops, how to choose a scale that’s right for you, the detail threshold, and so much more.

Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast Ep 9: Ray Spencer

Former Disney Imagineer Ray Spencer is back for a second appearance on the Thunder Mesa Limited. This time we talk everything from pirates on Tom Sawyer Island, to Tomorrowland, the PeopleMover, and the value of aspirational “edutainment.”

“I like projects that are responsible; that people can take something away from… in terms of knowledge and, hopefully, inspiration.”
– Ray Spencer

Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast Ep 8: Brandon Kleyla

Brandon Kleyla is a former set decorator and creative for Walt Disney Imagineering, where he helped to create the now famous “Trader Sam’s” brand with locations in both Anaheim and Orlando. I had a great time laughing and chatting with Brandon about Trader Sams and the other projects he’s had a hand in, as well as the new Jungle Cruise changes, the enduring magic of Disney trains, and the invention of D&D cocktails. Have a listen!

Thunder Mesa Limited Podcast Ep 7: Jim Shull

Join me for a wide ranging conversation with former Disney Imagineer Jim Shull! Jim is a 33 year veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering and we delve into the highlights of his career from Mickey’s Toontown to Shanghai Disneyland. Along the way, we tackle questions like why Shanghai doesn’t have a railroad, what it’s like to be on an Imagineering team that works mostly behind the scenes, and learn about a Tomorrowland that could have been.