Friday, April 4, 2014

Aerial Views and the Depot Scene - April 4, 2014

First light paints the sky to the east as the station master prepares for another busy day at Thunder Mesa Depot. 

Two Year Anniversary of the Thunder Mesa Blog!

My, how time flies! I started this site back on April 1st, 2012 to document the construction of my On30 Thunder Mesa Mining Company layout and here we are two years later. It's been a great ride so far and I continue to appreciate the great feedback I get from followers and the many friends I've made in the hobby. Thank you all!

Two years ago: April 1, 2012.

Last month: March 1, 2014.

Today: April 4, 2014. 

Nothing has changed in the expansion area so I'm just focusing on the original Thunder Mesa section this month.

For a more complete view of the layout's progress to date, check out the Layout Construction slide show on the Photo Albums page.

Zooming In

I'm trying something a little different with the aerial views this month, zooming in on specific areas that have recently been completed or are currently under construction. Imagine we're drifting along in a Victorian airship, snapping photos of the scenes below...

Zooming in we can see the recently completed scenery around Saguaro Siding. It looks like the Marc F. Davis is getting ready to dump another load of leaverite at the tailings trestle.

Drifting northwest, we pass over Geyser Gulch. There's still a trestle that needs building here.

Maneuvering our imaginary airship around Baxter's Butte reveals new track work underway on the High Line. The previous On18 track has been removed and Peco On30 track is being fitted in place. Soon this area above Rainbow Caverns will be home to the Big Thunder Mine and some stock pens.

The Depot Scene

Checking our map, we can fly over to the depot area to see how this scene is progressing. The recent addition of Rainbow Desert Freight Lines has inspired me to bring this newer corner of the layout closer to completion.

The depot scene extends from the tunnel portal to the end of the depot platform and includes three structures: Thunder Mesa Depot, Rainbow Desert Freight Lines, and a freight house for the Santa Fe, Denver & Carolwood R.R.

From directly above the depot scene we can see that some ground cover and plants have been added, and that the track has been painted and ballasted. The white structure is a card-stock mock-up for the Santa Fe, Denver and Carolwood freight house.

Here's a closer look at the track. The mainline ballast is dyed chick grit and the sidings are red sand from Sedona, AZ. The track itself was painted with Floquil paint pens; Rail Brown, Rust, and Tie Brown, then highlights were added with dry-brushed acrylics.

Two new lamp posts have been installed adjacent to the depot platform. The lamps are 2.5mm yellow flickering LEDs built atop juice box straws. Rainbow Desert Freight Lines has acquired a wagon from Grizzly Mountain Engineering but is still waiting on a team of horses. A small cactus garden has sprouted up next to the depot platform along with an assortment of springtime weeds. The ground cover in this area is Polyblend sanded grout and the mud puddle was made with Woodland Scenics Realistic Water.

Another night shot of the scene with all the lights aglow. The sky was added in Adobe Photoshop but all else is as modeled. It's the magic of scenes like this that keeps me building.

Some good progress has been made on the depot scene but there's still loads to do before I'll call it finished. The tunnel portal needs work, a freight house needs to be built, and the entire scene needs more weeds and junk, figures, lights and so on. Looks like I'll be busy on this one for awhile! We'll check back in with more aerial views next month to see how things have progressed.

As always, questions and comments are most welcome. Thanks for checking in. Adios for now!

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