Category: Rainbow Ridge

The Little Mining Town of Rainbow Ridge (So Far)

 

Howdy, folks! Welcome to the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge, the latest boomtown under construction along the Thunder Mesa line. Here's an inside look at the planning and construction of the town to date, and insights into the addition of Walt's Barn and Circle D Ranch. Rainbow Ridge was the jumping off point for the fabled Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland at Disneyland, and I'm excited to be adding my own version of the Thunder Mesa layout There's lots more to do in these parts, so stay tuned for future updates on this developing area.


Thanks for following along, amigos. Registered users can leave questions and comments below so, please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave

Rainbow Ridge Update

Work continues on the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge as it evolves alongside the progress at Circle D Ranch. The mainline through town has been ballasted with chick-grit, ground cover has begun to be added in the form of real dirt, and a wood plank grade crossing has been installed next to the depot. The depot itself has been refreshed with new "Rainbow Ridge" signs, and the water tank from Hanging Rock has been relocated here since I felt it better fit this scene. Hanging rock will be getting a new (read: old and worn out) water tank of its own in the not too distant future.

A Quick Stop at Rainbow Ridge

Arriving from Los Feliz Junction through Tunnel #1, an ore train makes a quick stop at Rainbow Ridge to pick up new orders before heading on to Thunder Mesa.


The Problem with Facebook
This post is part of an ongoing attempt to relocate material from Facebook to this website. Unfortunately, Facebook continues to engage in a wide variety of highly unethical practices which I have no desire to support. If you are a fan of my art and/or modeling, please follow them here. I will be posting much more here in the days and weeks ahead, and much, much less on Facebook. Registered users can leave questions and comments on posts so please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave

Rainbow Ridge Clarion

The first structure built for the new town of Rainbow Ridge was the Clarion newspaper office. My pal and business partner Jake Johnson had some of the pieces laser cut based on my plans and that made construction of the fancy false front much easier. I did my best to match the colors and signs based upon photos from 1960's Disneyland, and the upper section of the false front is made from layered paper, with realistic printed wood textures and the graphics recreated in Photoshop.

Since the structure is designed to sit up against the backdrop, it's only about an inch deep. However, I did install LED lighting and hinted at some interior details. The window curtains are made from unpainted HO scale paper corrugated roofing material, and the curtain rods are dress pins. The front porch is painted and textured illustration board, and the roof was shingled with Crescent Creek Models paper shingles.

Fun fact, this building from Rainbow Ridge still survives at Disneyland (or at least a very close facsimile of it does) as the Gold Nugget Dance Hall above the Big Thunder queue.

Follow along with the photos to see how it all went together.


The Problem with Facebook
This post is part of an ongoing attempt to relocate material from Facebook to this website. Unfortunately, Facebook continues to engage in a wide variety of highly unethical practices which I have no desire to support. If you are a fan of my art and/or modeling, please follow them here. I will be posting much more here in the days and weeks ahead, and much, much less on Facebook. Registered users can leave questions and comments on posts so please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave

The Little Mining Town of Rainbow Ridge

Rainbow Ridge was the approximately 5/8 scale mining town that once served as the backdrop and marquee for Disneyland's Mine Train thru Natures Wonderland and Pack Mules attractions. The colorful little western buildings were not accessible to the public, but that didn't stop them from fueling my imagination as a kid. The Mine Train closed in 1977 to make way for the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but some of the Rainbow Ridge structures were preserved and repurposed for the queue of that attraction.

In December of 2018, I decided to model my own version of Rainbow Ridge on the Thunder Mesa Mining Company layout. The town of Thunder Mesa was already heavily influenced by Rainbow Ridge, but I wanted a version of the town that was more faithful to the 1960's original. This series of posts follows the progress of that project to date.

The first step was to design the structures. I used vintage photos from my collection, and scaled the models up to full 1/4" scale based on known dimensions like the relative sizes of doors and windows. The buildings are designed to be built in shallow relief since they will sit right up against the backdrop.

The next step was to prepare the site. I made some changes to the backdrop and added a new spur track off the mainline. Using the structure plans I had made, I built paper and cardstock mock-ups of all of the structures and arranged them on a foamcore base. Since Thunder Mesa's depot was being replaced by a new Grizzly Flats/Frontierland style station, I also made plans to relocate the original depot to Rainbow Ridge where it would fit in well with the smaller sized buildings.

Some Grandt Line balustrade railing was added to the depot platform to keep little folks from falling into Coyote Canyon, then the lights were hooked up again to bring the depot to life.

With the structure mock-ups, new spur, and depot in place, I had a good feel for how the scene was coming together. Next comes some fully built shallow relief structures to replace those mock-ups. Stay tuned!


The Problem with Facebook
This post is part of an ongoing attempt to relocate material from Facebook to this website. Unfortunately, Facebook continues to engage in a wide variety of highly unethical practices which I have no desire to support. If you are a fan of my art and/or modeling, please follow them here. I will be posting much more here in the days and weeks ahead, and much, much less on Facebook. Registered users can leave questions and comments on posts so please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

In the overhead view, I worked on the creek area to the right of Walt's Barn, adding rocks and ground cover. The second photo shows a new section of split rail fence between the Circle D and Thunder Mesa's mainline, and some new greenery along the creek as well. The next shot is the first train to come through these parts in a long time. Paint, glue and track ballast are tough on electric trains so all of the track needed to be cleaned and fine tuned before trains could run again. The last photo shows the remainder of the ranch property real dirt ground cover, blending the base of Walt's Barn with the rest of the scenery. Now I can finish the stock pens and start thinking about the log cabin that will sit at the base of Thumb Butte.

 

Operating Turnouts

In true narrow gauge fashion, all of the switches on the TMMC are thrown by hand. I extend the switch point ties on the Peco turnouts with scale 6x8s, and use N scale Caboose Ground Throws and a simple wire linkage to move the points. Here is a video of the ground throws in action at the Circle D and Calico sidings.

 

A Work Train Passes the Circle D

Engine #8, R.H. Gurr, heads up a short work train passing the Circle D en route to Thunder Mesa.


The Problem with Facebook
This post is part of an ongoing attempt to relocate material from Facebook to this website. Unfortunately, Facebook continues to engage in a wide variety of highly unethical practices which I have no desire to support. If you are a fan of my art and/or modeling, please follow them here. I will be posting much more here in the days and weeks ahead, and much, much less on Facebook. Registered users can leave questions and comments on posts so please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave

Stock Loading Chute at the Circle D

Today the Circle D got this new stock loading chute, scratchbuilt from scale lumber. I still need to build the rest of the pens.


The Problem with Facebook
This post is part of an ongoing attempt to relocate material from Facebook to this website. Unfortunately, Facebook continues to engage in a wide variety of highly unethical practices which I have no desire to support. If you are a fan of my art and/or modeling, please follow them here. I will be posting much more here in the days and weeks ahead, and much, much less on Facebook. Registered users can leave questions and comments on posts so please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave

Ranch Gate and a New Bridge at the Circle D

The rough hewn style of the Circle D's new ranch gates is loosely based on a gate that once stood at Disneyland's Big Thunder Ranch. The logs were done with dowels, toothpicks for the sawn branches, and Crescent Creek Models Scale Stucco to create the bark texture. The back of the sign has a very small inside joke. Folks at the Circle D also needed a way to get across Coyote Canyon so Thunder Mesa construction crews built them a simple pony truss. The scratchbuilt 40' span is too lightly built for trains, but just fine for horses and wagons.


The Problem with Facebook
This post is part of an ongoing attempt to relocate material from Facebook to this website. Unfortunately, Facebook continues to engage in a wide variety of highly unethical practices which I have no desire to support. If you are a fan of my art and/or modeling, please follow them here. I will be posting much more here in the days and weeks ahead, and much, much less on Facebook. Registered users can leave questions and comments on posts so please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave

Minnie Moo Comes to the Circle D

Uh oh, looks like the Circle D's dairy cow has gotten out into the weeds again. This prize holstein was recently shipped in special, all the way from Minnesota. Her markings are a little unusual and the ranch hands have named her Minnie Moo. Meanwhile, Sam the Eagle surveys his domain from the top of Thumb Butte. Looks like it's a favorite perch of his. As night falls, the lights come on in Walt's Barn. Old Elias must be up working late on one of his projects.


The Problem with Facebook
This post is part of an ongoing attempt to relocate material from Facebook to this website. Unfortunately, Facebook continues to engage in a wide variety of highly unethical practices which I have no desire to support. If you are a fan of my art and/or modeling, please follow them here. I will be posting much more here in the days and weeks ahead, and much, much less on Facebook. Registered users can leave questions and comments on posts so please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave

New Fence at the Circle D

Circle D Ranch got a new section of fence today, along with ballast for the tracks and a start on the ground cover and landscaping. The fence is what's known as an Arkansas Split Rail, but they are also very common in Colorado and Utah. I've always wanted to model one. The ground cover is sandy soil from around Moab, UT and will dry a couple of shades lighter than what is shown here where it is still wet with diluted white glue. Meanwhile, Thunder Mesa's horticulture department is just getting started on the landscaping.


The Problem with Facebook
This post is part of an ongoing attempt to relocate material from Facebook to this website. Unfortunately, Facebook continues to engage in a wide variety of highly unethical practices which I have no desire to support. If you are a fan of my art and/or modeling, please follow them here. I will be posting much more here in the days and weeks ahead, and much, much less on Facebook. Registered users can leave questions and comments on posts so please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave

Scenic Painting for Circle D Ranch

Today I finished the scenic painting for Circle D Ranch. This was all done with about 4 different acrylic tube colors. In the overhead view, Homestead Arch and Picnic Table Rock or on the left, Thumb Butte is at bottom rising above Coyote Canyon. The creek will tumble down into the canyon and its source next to the barn will be hidden in some cottonwood trees. Part of the rockwork project for Circle D Ranch involved finishing the tunnel through Mt Yensid. In the world of Thunder Mesa, this is Tunnel #1, southbound from Los Feliz Junction. Just out of frame to the right is the next stop at Rainbow Ridge. In reality, this is where trains enter the layout from hidden staging behind the backdrop. Both the tunnel portal and liner were scratchbuilt from scale lumber and illustration board. The distant views showing Circle D in the background illustrate how I used lighter, more neutral shades in this new scenery to contrast with the red rocks in the foreground and enhance the appearance of distance. Next comes real rocks, dirt, and other details.


The Problem with Facebook
This post is part of an ongoing attempt to relocate material from Facebook to this website. Unfortunately, Facebook continues to engage in a wide variety of highly unethical practices which I have no desire to support. If you are a fan of my art and/or modeling, please follow them here. I will be posting much more here in the days and weeks ahead, and much, much less on Facebook. Registered users can leave questions and comments on posts so please, join in the conversation!

All the best,
Dave