Thunder Mesa Blog

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!

Building a Western Boomtown Part 7: The Calico Depot


I’m back in the saddle again, working on my western boomtown of Calico! This time out, it’s the Calico Depot – built from a wonderful kit by Full Circle Models. I add a few of my own twists and custom details to the structure and chronicle the entire build from start to finish with in depth descriptions of each step along the way.

Thanks for watching, amigos!

Full Circle Models

Repairing the Erupting Geyser with a New Smoke Unit


Return to Geyser Gulch! My original smoke-unit-from-vape-pen stopped working, so I’m replacing it with a more robust and deluxe version. Step by step as I test, install, and wire up the new unit and get it working on the layout.

Mini smoke units from Etsy Seller Wayne’s Workshop

Thanks for watching, amigos!

Every Train at Disneyland


It’s time for a very special railroad adventure: Join me as I experience every train at Disneyland! Walt Disney loved trains and they were a prime inspiration for building Disneyland, so no trip to the park is complete without experiencing them. Featuring rides aboard the Disneyland Railroad, Main Street’s Horse Drawn Street Cars, Casey Jr in Fantasyland, a round trip on the Monorail, and the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness – Big Thunder Mountain! There’s also a few fun facts, trivia, and Disneyland history thrown in for good measure.

All aboard, amigos!

Modeling Vintage Disneyland Ticket Booths in O Scale


Here’s a fun side project that’s a throwback to the good old days of ticket books and “E” tickets! I’ve always wanted to recreate the old Main Gate ticket booths from Disneyland, and In this build video, I put together a matched pair of the original ticket booths circa 1962, complete with period accurate signs and all of the gingerbread details that greeted visitors arriving at the park since 1955. Step by step descriptions of everything in the build are included. Thunder Mesa patrons will also have access to the plans and drawings created especially for this unique side project!

Thanks for watching, amigos!

Vintage Disneyland photos at Davelandweb:

The story of Disneyland ticket booths:

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 Cam: Calico Mountain Time-Lapse


Howdy Folks! This special Thunder Cam episode features a time-lapse on the construction of Calico Mountain. I began the Calico Mountain expansion of the On30 Thunder Mesa layout back in January of 2021, and even though there are still a few things to finish (including the massive underground mining scene), I thought it might be fun to sum things up so far. Enjoy!


A Horse Corral for Circle D Ranch


Out here in the Ooooooooold West, horses and trains go together just like bacon and beans! Thunder Mesa’s Circle D Ranch is home to the happiest horses on Earth, and in this episode I scratch build a brand new corral for them – made to look old with wood construction, staining, and weathering techniques. There’s even a working hinge for the ranch gate!

Saddle up, amigos – we ride!