"Howdy Folks! Welcome to the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge, the gateway to Nature's Wonderland"

This is my documentation of my miniature re-creation of the long-gone Disneyland attraction: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland. This is a selectively compressed model railroad, in On30 scale at 5' X 7.5' that has been in progress since 2005; even after almost 10 years of work, it's still not finished.

I started the layout when I was a sophomore in high school with basic skills and over the years the layout has been improved and reworked in drastic ways to match my ever improving model making skills. In fact, since I started rebuilding the sections to better quality and standards, I've actually created a whole new layout, piece by piece.

This is a stand-by basis project without a deadline, so it tends to hit the back-burner a lot due to other things with higher priorities. But whenever I can, I'll give an update when there is something worth talking about. All of my updates since day one are here, which include photos, videos, and plenty of rambling notes and descriptions.




January 2011 Update: Back to Work


With the new year two weeks in already, the layout took more form and is rapidly gaining speed whenever I can squeeze in an hour or two to fiddle with it. The new focus now is to get Bear Country and Beaver Valley areas pretty much finished, with some exceptions like trees and other small animal details that can wait to be added later. I'm getting closer to the point where most of the major hill blocking in is finished and the finer details can be made.

Aerial Shots
I added a new section to the blog: Aerial Model shots. Basically overhead shots of the whole layout through various stages of construction. Unfortunately, there's a five year gap between the last two pictures, but hey, it's all I have. Also included on the same page is a brand new shot, which shows a lot more greenery than the last few shots.

Quite a difference between these two shots, especially Cascade Peak.


"Them little marmots over the tunnel must be a whistlin' to all you pretty gals, can't say I blame 'em".



The tunnel with the marmots popping up top (known as the "Marmot tunnel" in my writing) was officially finished and installed, which included putting in all 5 mechanical 1/2" tall marmot figures on the rig, each with their own unique movement. Something like this can only be demonstrated through video:

This is also the first video to ever use a new technique to me--green screen. I was able to shoot the footage against green screen and composite a sky in, so the viewer wouldn't see any unsightly views like paint jars and window blinds. I even got the clouds in the sky to move slightly.

New hill, more trail; along the future the Rivers of America
After completing the tunnel, I proceeded to continue the pack mule trail over the tunnel. I did a small sample several months ago, and I followed the same scenery techniques to cover an new section of hillside. I didn't go too far, as I did before, so I wouldn't have to tear up to much when I figure out and develop the Rainbow Ridge area.

Beaver Valley Scenery
The section of rockwork and the adjacent scenery started to take form along the track in Beaver Valley. The last time the area was "finished" was back in June 2006. I've come a long way in "scenic-ing" in the last almost 5 years. It's kinda hard to believe that everything in the second shot is new material; nothing from the previous shot transcended into the current day.

Above, Old Beaver Valley, June 2006
Below, New Beaver Valley, today.

The hills behind the stretch of track for Beaver Valley were pretty much done for the umpteenth time, hopefully this is the last time. The gray celluclay in the foreground will be the future river with the dams. Since the layout can break into two segments now, the split line is visible.

Hillside scenery and rockwork for Beaver Valley. The river will appear in the foreground eventually.


Bear Country





Not much yet has happened in Bear Country yet since Beaver Valley has been the focus of attention. On the To-Do list is to construct the truss-work for the trestle, sculpt another bear in the water (ones on land can be pushed back until later), greenery and eventually, the Enviro-tech water.

Half Bears for the water
Here's an overview of the whole area, which looks a lot better than this shot posted months ago.


I threw down some pigment (some random green color I had) to give the viewer (and myself) a sense of what's going on in terms of waterways and land forms. 

To recap, here's the same photo from the top of this post, this time labeled to show what's new and different since the last photo. 


"Finishing Date"
I've pushed back the "finishing date" for the layout; at the top of the blog, I've written that "I might finish the layout by late 2010/ early 2011. Well, things have changed and I didn't come as far as I thought when I wrote that and it's now late 2011/early 2012. Plus, at that time, I wasn't devoting almost 30 hours a week at a job.