The Thunder Mesa Limited

Dispatches from the Wild Frontier!

The Thunder Mesa podcast is here! Each month, Dave goes in depth with a new special guest on the art of modeling, Imagineering, trains, and Disney trains! Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss it, or support Thunder Mesa on Patreon for early access to all videos and podcasts and the ability to submit questions to our guests!


Latest Episode


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!



Jake Johnson & 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.



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."



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!



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.



David Erickson
David Erickson is the creator and host of Fresh Baked, a video log dedicated to Disneyland with nearly 140,000 subscribers. David combines an enthusiastic love of Disney with a logical, subjective approach to his coverage of Disney and the Disneyland resort. We talk with David about what it's like to be a full-time Disney vlogger, and just what makes the parks so endearing and uniquely magical to fans like him.



Michael Campbell
Michael Campbell is a noted authority on Walt Disney’s railroading interests, and has been a leader in education and preservation efforts at Walt’s Barn, and the Walt Disney Family Museum. He has produced exhibits, talks and presentations for Disney Parks, museums, and professional organizations, and has been a driving force behind the creation of Disney Railroading scale models and collectables.



Sam Towler and Nature's Wonderland
Sam Towler is currently a professional model maker in the themed entertainment industry. What started out as a hobby and became a career, his work includes designing and building models, props and displays for various outlets, including Walt Disney Imagineering. Whenever he’s not building something for work or home, he oversees maintenance of his “Mine Train thru Nature’s Wonderland” model at Walt Disney’s Barn in Griffith Park.



William Tyson
Billy Tyson is a retired veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering with 37 years of stories to tell. From the original Disneyland to the overseas parks, Bill has had a hand in bringing the magic to life and making sure it worked. He's also a skilled railroad modeler who now helms his own consulting firm specializing in design and construction management services for large scale outdoor garden railroads.



Ray Spencer
Former Disney Imagineer Ray Spencer is a well respected creative professional with over 20 years at Walt Disney Imagineering. As an Executive Creative Director, he oversaw numerous projects for Disney Parks around the globe, as well as the designs of attractions, hotels, shops, and restaurants.  Listen in as we talk about his time with Disney, the many projects he has had a hand in bringing to life, how he got into the themed entertainment business and so much more. Enjoy!



Jake Johnson
Veteran designer Jake Johnson cut his teeth building models and sets for the Robot Chicken animated series before moving on to the model shop at Walt Disney Imagineering. Jake is an avid railroad modeler, designer, and creative thinker who continues building models for motion picture and television production to this day. He is also a founding partner in Crescent Creek Models, making distinctive model kits for discerning modelers.


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