For those unfamiliar with Thunderbolt Mountain, this was the personal shop of Tom Meier. Tom Meier is a legend in the miniature hobby. He is almost the fantasy miniature equivalent of Gary Gygax, and even if you don't know the name, if you ever saw a fantasy miniature in the 80s, chances are you are familiar with his work. Meier co-founded Ral Partha, and later left to focus on toy design, which is apparently thousands of times more profitable, but still continued to contribute to the hobby.
Far and away Tom Meier is best known for his elves. In the 80s, Meier's elves achieved a legendary status as THE miniature representation. Recently, a lot of these early elves by him have been made available again as of the Chaos Wars Kickstarters (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1050509756/ral-parthas-chaos-wars).
Thunderbolt Mountain was opened as Meier's place to sell his personal projects, stuff he had worked on for himself over the years. This included everything from King Arthur to ancient historicals. They've been around a long time now, and I kinda assumed they always would be. Just a niche place for Tom to indulge his fancies.
I've no idea why they are closing the store. Meier has never taken to social media in any form, and my assumption is only that the amount of sales these days probably aren't substantial enough to justify the cost and time of casting and filling special order (or perhaps his wife, who seems to run the site, just has better things to do).
Edit: After writing this I came across this post on Facebook by Jim Ludwig:
"I spoke with Tom about it at length a week or two ago. It is simply not worth the time and effort for him anymore as molds get worn out and need to be replaced. It never did gangbusters business in the first place, but was a fun place for him to sculpt whatever the heck he wanted and get it out into the world. He can pretty much do that with Dark Sword still."
I personally became aware of Thunderbolt in my search for elves. Not just any elves, but miniatures that represented my personal ideal image, informed as it was by Alan Lee & Froud's Faeries, HJ Ford's illustrations for the Colour Fairy Tale books, Celtic mythology, Tolkien, and classic Folklore illustrators such as Kay Nielsen.
So it was, after much searching, I came across Meier's range for Thunderbolt Mountain. Sculpted in "true scale" 30mm, they seem to draw on many of the more traditional sources that I enjoyed. I'd planned an order for a while, but finally had the discretionary spending to make the plunge in September. It was just after I recieved the order that the notice came up on the site that they were closing shop by Christmas this year. I kinda doubt my order specifically prompted this decision in any way, but couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt. Even moreso, I'd always planned to supplement the initial order as time went on to build up my elf order, but this announcement upped that timetable, and I've already placed another large order at the end of October, and plan one more for November to complete a large army of these amazing elves that will never be available again for the foreseeable future (and OOP Thunderbolt Mountain stuff is rare and goes for insane amounts on Ebay).
I leave you now with a gallery of some of these fantastic elves: