This was an idea I had been kicking around in my head for a long time: how to integrate a version of the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland in present day Frontierland. Finally a thread on another site finally got me to develop it further and my result was a sprawling "duel-adventure" attraction called the "Red Canyon Ridge Railroad". This is a complex that includes a small "sub-land" and two "mine train" rides that intertwine with each other and each has it's own distinct "flavor", one deals with logging and the other with underground mining. I designed it so it would be sort of a tribute to Nature's Wonderland, but not making a carbon copy of it; some elements were just too good to let go forever.
In order to explain all of this visually, I turned to what I do best, model making. I didn't have time to do sketches and color studies and scene gag drawings, so I focused on making a nice model. I wanted to represent the entire area in miniature, without going too small, but not going too big. Knowing that I had to store it somewhere when I was done, I scaled out my initial layout drawing to fit the space behind my studio door and it came out to Z scale, or close to Z scale, 1/240-- the exact same scale as some plot plans I have of the park. I set to work on it, with about two weeks alotted for it (that if I can squeeze an hour or two a day) and I ended up cutting a lot of the features and details to save time, like pieces coming apart to see show scenes below and the roof of the showbuilding coming off. The model I built measures 48" X 31", a nice size to work on, despite how small Z scale is. I used foam for the land forms, floral foam mainly, for all the hills and foliage covered areas. Foliage is Woodland Scenics clump foliage (unfortunately I think I used all of my supply up!) and the track is just a plastic screen I cut up into strips.
I made the model in the style of a "concept model" that Disney does, a model that shows off the general look and feel of a proposal. These concept models don't necessarily have to have every little detail that the later models in the process have, and they don't need to be totally accurate either. The colors are also have a little more kick, since Disney wanted to wow their execs who will be footing the bill.
So, here it is, the finished model:
And here's the lengthy write-up which explains the entire "Red Canyon Ridge" complex with attraction scripts and many more photos.Red Canyon Ridge Railroad
Excuse me now, I need to get back to Nature's Wonderland, which is a big shocker in scale since I've gotten use to working 192 times smaller than usual!