"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 September 2005. In May of 2016, I finally got the layout to a point where I declared it "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.

November 2012 Update

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, the extensive Cascade Peak rehab and waterfall replacement project is finishing up with the last set of waterfalls, Big Thunder Falls, finally installed. There was no update for October since layout progress halted during a research and development special effects project that was on the main burner. Since Halloween has come and gone, that project has lost inspiration and momentum which means gears are shifting into coming back to Nature's Wonderland.

Big Thunder Falls took the longest to do out of all the waterfall sets, despite gaining experience and practice with the other two sets. This was mainly due to the fact that not only are there more waterfalls, they're also bigger-- and there was a time lapse camera. 

To somewhat "redeem" myself from the tutorial featuring waterfalls that will eventually fade and turn yellow, I made a new tutorial video showing how to make miniature waterfalls the new way I developed. Of course, this slowed down production time, but it's a technique many other modellers will appreciate. 

While the new technique is much more realistic, it's also much more tedious (as you'll see on the sped up clock in the video). This is the big waterfall the train passes under, clocking just over an hour to shape/form/melt. 

It was well worth the time though! The usual followed, with enviro-tex lite resin pools.

Finally, here it is all put together.

And the waterfall tutorial itself:

One thing to note is the special clip at the very end of the video, with the POV of the Mark Twain. This was something that was just a simple idea that grew into this crazy composite project. For some time I had been thinking about doing a POV from the Disneyland Railroad passing by the Living Desert, shooting the background from a miniature foreground. Since that won't be for awhile, I decided to try it out on the Rivers of America. Since my skills in computer modeling and rendering have greatly improved over time, I thought I'd give it a shot on this, well, shot. I decided to model the foreground in Maya rather than do it physically, since I can control the lighting, movement, and angle much more precisely. 

When I shot the background plate, basically my DSLR on a PVC pipe as a steady rest, I matched the movement and tried to mimic the (unintended) camera shake as close as I could in the Maya model camera. Then it was a matter of modeling the Mark Twain railing and columns. 


When everything looked right in test frames, the whole foreground was rendered and composited over the background (hence the blue screen above). 

The result was a very successful and fun shot to work on! After doing this, the original Railroad POV mentioned above will be done like this when I get around to it. 

Now that the waterfalls are finished, so is the lighting package for Cascade Peak!