They say that time flies when you’re having fun, and that has certainly been true of 2018 on the Thunder Mesa Mining Company model railroad! Here’s a look back on the year with all the projects and people who made it so special. Thanks to all the friends who helped make 2018 a great year for Thunder Mesa Studio and the TMMC and I hope to see you all in 2019! Happy New Year!
It’s a beautiful day for flying, so climb aboard our airship as we go Soarin’ Over Thunder Mesa! Yes, it’s time for another Thunder Cam and some wide-open, overhead views from high above the layout. Enjoy!
Since I'm often asked about the scenery and structure techniques used on the Thunder Mesa Ming Company and other projects, I've decided to produce a new series of YouTube videos with a step-by-step, "how-to" focus. Welcome to the first two videos in that new series, "How To #1: How to Build Scenery with EPF and Sculptamold" and "How To #2: How to Paint Rockwork and Add Ground Cover." These video brings together both new and existing footage to show scenery building and finishing techniques, and to answer the most common questions about how things are done on the On30 Thunder Mesa Mining Company layout. There are several more "How To" videos in this series on the way so don't forget to subscribe on YouTube. Thanks for watching!
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Celebrate Independence Day at Thunder Mesa Studio
Celebrate America’s Independence at Thunder Mesa Studio on Wednesday, July 4th! See what’s new on the Thunder Mesa Mining Company Model Railroad, an operating 1/4″ scale narrow gauge display featuring spectacular scenery, lights, animation, and sound. Then stick around after dark for an all new digital fireworks show in the skies above Thunder Mesa! Meet local artist D.L. Meek and see what’s new on his drawing board. Note that this event replaces the usual first Saturday open studio.
Plenty of free parking at the venue! Full details here.
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Big Thunder Creek is front and center on the Thunder Mesa layout and a favorite spot to do a little train watching. All sound effects were recorded live on the layout. Enjoy.
Hola amigos! It’s time for another Thunder Cam! Here’s some video of today’s ore train making its way around the layout during our Cinco de Mayo Open Studio. Enjoy!
A Simple On18 Loop
This may be a case of the name of a model railroad being longer than the line itself, but I had to call it something, right? The Calico Canyon Unit of the HT&NMRy is a simple loop of 9mm gauge track about a foot below the Thunder Mesa mainline in Calico Canyon. It emerges from a mine tunnel, crosses Calico Creek on a high trestle, then passes behind a waterfall before ducking back into another tunnel. Round and round it goes, bringing a little more kinetic energy to the canyon scene. The circle is 11" radius and uses Peco HOn3o track for the visible areas, and Atlas N scale snap track for the hidden parts of the loop. Power comes from a well used Kato DC power pack under the layout.
The idea began with earlier plans for Calico Mountain and evolved into a loop inside the canyon when I started roughing in the scenery there. I started by creating a circular sub-roadbed from pink extruded polystyrene foam, and then building the canyon walls up with more foam around it. Midwest HO cork roadbed was glued to the foam with yellow carpenter's glue and allowed to dry overnight before track laying began. Using sectional track in the hidden areas allowed me to leave some rail joints un-soldiered, always a good idea since nickle-silver rail shrinks and expands with changes in temperature.
Calico Creek will cascade down the canyon in a series of dramatic falls, over and under the On18 and On30 tracks. Up top on the TMMC mainline, a new mine headframe and hoist house will be built near the backdrop, giving the illusion that the On18 tracks below are part of a large mine complex.
Progress on this little loop is tied in with progress on the larger scenes of Calico Canyon and Calico Mountain. The next big jobs will be building a mine complex trackside and all of those bridges across the canyon. Then there's the canyon scenery itself to finish and the cascades and falls of Calico Creek. In the meantime, here's a quick video of the On18 loop in action. Stay tuned, Amigos!
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Join us April 7, 2018 at Thunder Mesa Studio on Jerome’s 1st Saturday! See special Guest Robert Kurner’s On30 Jungle Navigation Railroad Co. side by side with the Thunder Mesa Mining Company Model Railroad! Come hang out with Dave and Robert as we play trains and bring a little Disney style magic to life. Stick around after 5pm for the 1st Saturday Jerome Art Walk.
Free parking at the venue and free shuttle bus service to and from downtown Jerome from 5pm to 8pm.