Thunder Mesa Blog

Thunder Cam Special: The Thunder Mesa Flyer

 

This special Thunder Cam episode features a run over the entire layout aboard the Thunder Mesa Flyer, providing Mail and express service to each of the towns along the right of way! Enjoy the sights and sounds of Nature’s Wonderland along the way with a POV view from the cab. It’s the next best thing to shrinking down to 1/4″ scale and riding along yourself!

I’m 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. Please keep in mind that not all scenes and areas are finished yet. Thunder Mesa is a work in progress.

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave

Thunder Cam: Rainbow Caverns

Howdy folks! This Thunder Cam episode features spectacular Rainbow Caverns, a subterranean wonderland of waterfalls, fantastic formations, and glowing crystals. Inspired by the original Rainbow Caverns on Disneyland’s old Mine Train thru Nature’s Wonderland attraction. And for the first time ever, get a cab’s eye view of the action with POV Thunder Cam!

I’m 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 rail fan style videos will act as supplements to the builds and projects. The ultimate goal is to chronicle the entire layout over time.

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave

Race to the Finish Line: GGRR Part 11

 

Time’s up on my On30 Gruesome Gulch mini-layout! Here is the mad dash to the finish line in the final week before my self-imposed deadline of October 29th (Halloween weekend). Though I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to over the past 4 months, I did managed to get the layout to a level of finish that makes it presentable to the public. In this video I add the layout fascia, build some mock-ups to stand in for yet-to-be-completed structures, and detail the front side of the layout with ground cover, ballast, weeds, shrubs and some 3-d printed details. with a few spooky lighting effects! Realistically, I could have used another 4 months to get everything done that I had planned – like the elaborate underground scenes on the backside of the layout, but all of that will have to wait for a future series of videos on the GGRR. Until then, thanks for following along.

Happy Halloween, amigos!
Dave

 

Spooky Lighting Effects for Gruesome Gulch – GGRR Part 10

 

It’s time to really set the scene on the On30 Gruesome Gulch mini-layout with a few spooky lighting effects! First I build and install a 9 volt power strip for all of the structure and scenic lighting, then it’s time to improve the layout ambience with some LED RGB tape lights for the background, and a pair of warm/cool can lights for the front of the layout.

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave

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.

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

Railroad Adventure: Georgetown Loop Railroad

Journey with me to the fabled gold and silver regions of Colorado with a ride aboard the spectacular Georgetown Loop Railroad! This museum line operates out of Silver Plume, Colorado on a small remnant of the old narrow gauge Colorado & Southern. The highlight is a heart pounding run across Devil’s Gate High Bridge – a marvel of 19th Century engineering.

All aboard, amigos!
Dave

Build a Haunted Train Depot! – GGRR Part 8

 

Another scratchbuilt structure for my spooky-themed Gruesome Gulch mini-layout – This time it’s the GGRR train depot! I show how to build a small, dilapidated western depot with a special spooky twist: a built-in Pepper’s Ghost illusion to make a frightful figure appear in the window. Tips and tricks for board on frame construction, weathering, and a complete Pepper’s Ghost how-to.

Thanks for watching, amigos!
Dave