"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.




March 2014 Update (That's right, an update finally!)

So yeah, it's been awhile. Mostly life has gotten in the way, but a few other projects stole my creative time. The layout itself also hit a few snags too.

I had a few issues last year that kind of put off my interest in working on the layout:


  • Part of it was Rainbow Ridge. While it was really promising when I developed it, the flickering circuitry for all the buildings and lanterns turned out to be more of a headache than a cool effect. Also, the amount of wiring: Holy crap, it's a lot of wiring. Just running cables under the decking for the load/unload platform was a lot to do and I had a big mass of wires I had to deal with. And that's just a handful of lights. The main platform with all the buildings is gonna have more!
  • LED conversion: This was a project I started last year for changing all the incandescent lights to LED's. Mainly for brighter and more vivid color,  but also better power consumption. The problem I have with the flickering circuitry is the fact that it's not very power efficient. It soaks in a lot of power to get all the lanterns to flicker and requires another power supply separate from the rest of the night time lighting.
  • Access: The only real way to get to the wiring for all of this is in the hill between Rainbow Ridge and the Living Desert. Trying to develop ways to maintain--but also build-- Rainbow Ridge is becoming more impractical the more I think about it, in terms of getting other areas worked on.
With those things in mind for just a simple lighting effect, that really stalled this project as a whole. I've decided now that I'm going back to square one a little bit with Rainbow Ridge, and keeping things simple. For now, there won't be any flickering lanterns except for a few key lights. While it seemed like a cool idea, having every single light on it's own flicker pattern was a bit too ambitious of an idea. While it still can be done, there are better ways of doing, with more power efficiency and simplifying of the wiring. I've started to use Arduino a bit, so maybe that may be an option.


Now before I deal with Rainbow Ridge, there's another area I need to get finished up while I'm at it: the Living Desert.


Because of it's proximity to Rainbow Ridge and it's mass of wiring, and because I have to lean over Rainbow Ridge to work on it, Living Desert was the focus before and more major work could be done. 

The Living Desert was the first section on the layout to go LED. Right now it's in the process of being completed converted over from incandescent bulbs, which were installed a few years ago. Since the conversion process requires ripping out the old bulbs and installing the newer, bright LED's, quite a bit of touch-up work and patch work is needed to be done. 



Here's a look at the LED's installed. So far the total is over 25 individually wired orange diodes


Since there was a considerable amount of painting---and re-painting-- that had to be done, I took a look at all the nearby rock features. Over time they've begun to look a little dull. Part of that is the dust in the room anyways, but I've felt the paint job could have been a little more punchier, especially after looking at Carsland and the recently refurbished Big Thunder and how vibrant the colors are. Of course Nature shows much more colorful hues than I previously observed. So while I was painting up the sculptamold patch jobs, I took an airbrush to the existing structures and cranked the saturation up a bit. 


And here's the desert from it's recent rehab. 


As well as doing some repaints to a lot of the desert, I went in and did some scenery work I hadn't done, mainly with more rocks around the crevices in this section. Just some small little detail areas


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And now, for some psychedelic night shots! (The exposure got really funky when I uploaded them)


But here's a more proper shot, showing off the now FULL LED Living Desert



That will do for now. Since most of the heavy work for the Living  Desert is done, I no longer need to lean over the Rainbow Ridge area for prolonged periods of time. We're hoping that's the next focus! So long folks!

3 comments:

Dave Meek said...

Looks great, Sam! I'm happy to see you back at it. Good call on the flickering lanterns. I've found on my layout that a little flicker goes a long way and now I only use flickering LEDs here and there for accent. The night shots are wonderful.

Alex Blasingame said...

Glad to see an update! It's really wonderful to see the level of detail in your model. It makes we wish I could have ridden the real thing. Thanks for sharing.

Gregory Wright said...

I love your updates. It is amazing how quickly al that wiring adds up.

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