What prompted me to build such a layout still puzzles me to this day. I wasn't even around when the attraction was open and I wouldn't enter the world several years after it was replaced. I think it was all the elements the attraction had that made it so appealing: it had western towns, mountains, tunnels, hills, deserts, sandstone rocks, trestles, lakes, ponds, rivers, glowing caverns, geysers, mud pots, dinosaur bones, jiggling rocks, a variety of animals, it had trains, and it was a Disney ride.
Above, the mine train model as it appeared in 'The "E" Ticket' magazine in early 2006
The layout was originally started in September of 2005, when I was just a sophomore in high school with basic model making skills. Since then, there have been countless changes and modifications which are still under-way. With my ever-improving skills as a model maker, the model should reflect that skill level. Now almost 5 years later, the layout is in a construction state that is almost similar to how it was since the day I started. Areas have been rebuilt from the ground up and quality has certainly gone up. Through expansion, the layout is now measuring about 5' X 7.5". Since this project hits the back burner a lot, there is no estimated completion date as things will always continue to change and improve. But, after almost half a decade, I'm pretty close to finishing, and I think by the end of 2011/early 2012 (if things go well) I just might have every single little detail in.
The ever changing layout, as it appears in early 2010 and below now in early 2011