Most scenery and effects work is now complete on the upper section of Rainbow Falls, a major scene within Rainbow Caverns, and I'm excited to share the results today in a new post and video log. Tried and true "illusioneering" and stagecraft was used to bring this scene to life with a major element being the "Pepper's Ghost" rainbow effect in front of the falls. Check out this month's video log for a rundown on how the scene was created, and follow along with the photo's below for a more in-depth explanation.
Thunder Mesa Video Log: August 2015
Some representation of Rainbow Caverns has been part of the plan for Thunder Mesa from the very beginning. In fact, it goes back even further, starting with early plans to model Nature's Wonderland, and then on to my HO and On30 Big Thunder & Western layouts. At long last I'm getting around to the real magic at the heart of this model railroad and having a wonderful time playing with miniature versions of some of those classic Disney effects. The Rainbow Falls scene is achieved with a combination of ultra-violet light effects and the classic Pepper's Ghost illusion.
A Pepper's Ghost Rainbow
The waterfall is made from clear acrylic, painted on the back with transparent blue UV reactive paint. The "floating" rainbow is a Pepper's Ghost illusion - basically, a view-point controlled glass reflection.
To illuminate the rainbow, a single white 3mm LED was installed in this faux rock fixture.
The next step in creating the illusion is to position a piece of glass at an angle to reflect the picture or object but not the viewer. Note the the glass should be the full height of the scene. In this case, that's five inches.
Here a piece of polystyrene foam is being shaped with a cone sanding bit in a Dremel tool. This goes fast but you have to be careful not to sand away too much!
The waterfall was created in the same basic way as the waterfalls for Big Thunder Creek, by sculpting 1mm thick clear acrylic sheet with a hot soldering iron.
The acrylic waterfall was then painted on the back with blue transparent UV paint before being cemented in place on its own set piece with clear silicone caulk.
A single 5mm UV LED is hidden behind the falls for illumination.
Down below Rainbow Falls where the track crosses the creek on a stone bridge, there will be a series of deep pools, each slowly changing color as the magical waters drip down from above. Beyond the falls will be a Crystal Grotto, dancing with light. And let's not forget the Bat Cave with its hundreds of shining eyes. Yes, there's much more to come in Rainbow Caverns! But that will have to do it for this time. Thanks for checking in, Amigos. Adios for now!