Meet Our Hobby Authors

Specializing in model railroading, scale modeling (auto and military), toy trains (building and operating layouts as well as collectible toy trains), garden railroading, and train tourism.
Published: June 26, 2008
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Paul Boyer

Paul Boyer has been building models since the late 1950s, and although he has built cars, tanks, and ships, aircraft are his favorite subjects. Paul served in the U.S. Air Force as a still photographer and pulled a tour of duty in Vietnam and Thailand.

Joining the staff of FineScale Modeler in late 1982, Paul served as Associate Editor and Senior Editor until his retirement in 2006. He wrote staff features, edited freelance submissions, and managed the Workbench Reviews and the Questions & Answers clinic in the magazine. Paul still regularly attends local, regional, and national model shows, and his models are on display at the Mitchell Gallery of Flight Museum (at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport), at the Experimental Aircraft Association Air Adventure Museum in Oshkosh, Wis., and at the Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

He and his wife, Dorothy, reside in Cedarburg, Wis., north of Milwaukee. When he isn't building or writing about models, Paul likes birding, playing in a rock band, and collecting Rickenbacker bass guitars. Paul hopes to complete his entire collection of more than 500 1/72 scale U.S. military aircraft kits - someday!

Books by Paul:
Building and Displaying Scale Model Aircraft with Paul Boyer

Matt Coleman

Matthew Coleman, a frequent contributor to Model Railroader magazine, has been a model railroader most of his life. His father loved steam and used to take Matt trackside to watch locomotives before he could walk. The Coleman family enthusiasm for trains may be genetic; Matt's brother George Sebastian-Coleman is also a modeler and served on the staff of Model Railroader in the 1990s. Matt has been an engineer, scientist, and technical editor in the forest products industry for 25 years, and was the Editor and Publisher of the TAPPI JOURNAL, a scientific publication serving the forestry sciences, paper, and packaging industries. Matt also was managing editor for the R-Robb Ltd. Narrow Gauge Pictorial series.

Matt's primary modeling interests are logging and forestry railroads, foreign and domestic. He has a deep passion for the Denver & South Park narrow gauge in Colorado, Maine's Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR, and an equally incompatible love for the AT, especially the gas electric operations in the Southwest and West. Matt has been on active military duty since late 2001, which has provided the chance for him to see railroads and forestry operations in unique and interesting environments in many parts of the world. He is married to the loving and patient Robin; they have four children.

Mike Danneman

Professional illustrator and artist Mike Danneman is a frequent contributor to Model Railroader magazine and is a former Art Director of Trains magazine. He has written five books and is co-photographer with his brother Tom of the annual Trains at Work calendar, also published by Kalmbach Books. Mike lives in Arvada, Col., and is well known for his N scale Denver & Rio Grande Western layouts.

Books by Mike:
Steel Rails Across America (with Gary Dolzall)
The Spirit of Railroading (with Gary Dolzall)
Rio Grande Through the Rockies
Scenery for Your Model Railroad
Painting Backdrops for Your Model Railroad

Robert Downie

Bob Downie is an experienced modeler who has more than 20 years experience with advanced airbrushing. With his show-stopping paint finishes, he has won numerous Best Paint awards in many competitions, including a Best Paint/Finish award at the 1997 GSL International Model Car Championship. A frequent contributor to Scale Auto magazine, he is a professional industrial designer, with his own design and illustration firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

Books by Bob:
How to Use an Airbrush
How to Use an Airbrush, 2nd Edition

Donald Fiehmann

Don Fiehmann combined his knowledge of electronics with his interest in model railroading and Digital Command Control in writing The DCC Guide. His first book for Kalmbach Books, Basic Electronics and Electricity for Model Railroaders, was published in 1988. Don retired from IBM in 1992 after working nearly 35 years as an electronics engineer. Along with writing and pursuing his hobby of model railroading, Don continues to work as a consultant in the hobby industry. He lives in California with his wife, Marla.

Books by Don:
Basic Electronics and Electricity for Model Railroaders
The DCC Guide

Dave Frary

Dave Frary has been an active model railroader for over 45 years. He's best known for his scenery-building articles, hands-on clinics, and hundreds of photos that have appeared in Model Railroader, Classic Toy Trains, FineScale Modeler, Great Model Railroads, Railroad Model Craftsman, Model Railroading, Maine 2-Foot Modeler, and many other publications.

Dave is a professional scenery builder. His other interests include competition barbeque cooking, lobster fishing, and travel. He has produced four scenery and weathering programs in the Trackside Modeler video series. Dave has authored seven books for Kalmbach Books, including two earlier editions of How to Build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery.

Books by Dave:
303 Tips for Detailing Model Railroad Scenery and Structures (with Bob Hayden)
Realistic Scenery for Toy Train Layouts
The Pennsy Middle Division in HO Scale
222 Tips for Building Model Railroad Structures
How to Build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery, 3rd Edition

Visit Dave's web site:
Dave Frary's Blue Ribbon Models

Pat Hawkey

Pat Hawkey is a child of the ’60s, back when plastic models were entertainment for most young boys (and even a few girls). He remembers models being found everywhere toys were sold—at hardware and drug stores, groceries, a local camera store, and of course, hobby shops.

Pat was raised only a few miles from the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park, Mich., where the Squadron military hobby empire began. Besides its kits and books and accessories, the Squadron Shop featured huge (especially to a young boy), beautiful glass cases full of finished model planes, tanks, and figures. His goal became to make one of his models good enough to be displayed in those cases too. That happened when he was still in his teens, then one day in his early 20s, the store manager told him somebody was looking to buy a couple of his models. Ever since then—in one fashion or another—Pat has been a professional model builder.
At age 30, he started Hawx Planes, hoping to make his modeling into a career. Fortunately several serious collectors came along who had long wish lists. One of them entered one of his models under Pat’s name in a modeling contest. It won an award and was photographed by and published in FineScale Modeler magazine. That led to his first model construction article being published in the magazine in the mid-’80s. Today, Pat is a regular contributor to and advisory board member for the magazine.

Pat and his wife and a couple of rescued dogs and cats live in Temperance, Mich.

Books by Pat:
Building and Detailing Model Aircraft

Marc Horovitz

Marc Horovitz is the editor of Garden Railways magazine. He is a long time model railroader and has been involved in garden railroading for about 25 years. Since the 1970s, he has been an active proponent of small-scale steam locomotives. Marc is a founding member of the Denver Garden Railway Society (DGRS), the oldest garden railway society in North America. His company, Sidestreet Bannerworks, in conjunction with the DGRS, founded the National Garden Railway Convention, which had its 20th anniversary in Denver in 2004.

Marc had written extensively on the subject of small-scale steam and garden railroading for Model Railroader, the Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette, Live Steam, and other publications before founding Garden Railways magazine with his wife Barbara in 1984. He has produced three videotapes on various aspects of the subject and co-authored a book (Beginner's Guide to Large-Scale Model Railroading) with Russ Larson. Marc and Barbara live in Colorado. Their garden and railway have been featured in a variety of national publications and in several books.

Books by Marc:
Beginner's Guide to Large-Scale Model Railroading (with Russ Larson)
Gorgeous Garden Railways

Bernard Kempinski

Bernard Kempinski is freelance writer who has contributed more than 40 magazine articles on model railroading, many of them on layout planning. In addition, he has presented more than 20 public lectures on the subject. He also consults on layout design and has been commissioned to build models on subjects as large as a 1950s steel mill and a paper mill, both featured in the Walthers catalog. Bernard, a former Army Captain, is an analyst for the Institute for Defense Analysis in Alexandria, Va.

Books by Bernard:
Mid-Size Track Plans for Realistic Layouts
The Model Railroader's Guide to Steel Mills

Tony Koester

Tony Koester has written a half-dozen books focusing on his life-long hobby of model railroading. Tony is the editor of Model Railroad Planning, a special annual issue of Model Railroader magazine, as well as a contributing editor to MR. He writes MR's popular "Trains of Thought" column and has written numerous feature articles for MR. He also served as the editor of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine until 1981.

Tony spent a quarter of a century designing, building, and with his friends, operating a freelanced coal-hauling HO railroad, the Allegheny Midland (the Midland Road). More recently, he has been hard at work on a multi-deck HO layout that accurately depicts the Nickel Plate Road's St. Louis Division as it appeared in 1954.

Books by Tony:
Realistic Model Railroad Operation, 2nd Edition
Realistic Model Railroad Operation
Realistic Model Railroad Design
Realistic Model Railroad Building Blocks
The Model Railroader's Guide to Coal Railroading
Planning Scenery for Your Model Railroad
Designing and Building Multi-Deck Model Railroads
The Allegheny Midland: Lessons Learned
Model Railroader's Guide to Mountain Railroading
Model Railroading from Prototype to Layout
How to Kitbash Structures

Martin McGuirk

Marty McGuirk can trace his interest in model railroading to a Lionel train set a neighbor gave him when he was six years old. A later visit to New London, Conn., to tour U. S. Navy submarines shortly thereafter led to a cab ride on a Central Vermont locomotive, which turned into a lifelong interest in the history and operations of that line. After graduating from The Citadel, Marty spent 10 years on active duty in the U. S. Navy. While in the service, he and several friends started the Central Vermont Railway Historical Society.
Marty served as an Associate Editor at Kalmbach Publishing’s Classic Toy Trains and Model Railroader magazines from 1994 to 2001 and later worked in product development for InterMountain Railway Company. He has built layouts and models in a variety of scales and gauges, including N, HO, and even Sn3. He currently works as a contractor for the federal government, and lives with his wife, Christine, in the Washington, D.C., area.

Books by Marty:
Realistic Track Plans for O Gauge Trains
N Scale Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby
Golden Years of Railroading: Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the Potomac Valley
The Model Railroader's Guide to Locomotive Servicing Terminals
N Scale Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby, 2nd Ed.


Chris Mrosko

Born and raised in Springfield, Ill., Chris Mrosko has succeeded in living the dream of many avid hobbyists—finding a way to make his passion his livelihood.

As an artist and designer, he has worked with well-known hobby manufacturers such as Verlinden, MMD, Custom Dioramics, and the Warriors and New World Miniatures lines of scale figures, creating buildings and display bases as well as sculpting original masters for figures.

Like other kids in the 1960s, he built trendy plastic models like Revell’s Dune Buggy. He was lured to dioramas by reading the booklets that came with Monogram kits, and after seeing built-up dioramas at a local hobby shop, he was hooked.

Following a three-year hitch in the U.S. Army, he continued to improve his modeling skills while working in the museum of the 2nd Armored Division. He turned completely pro in 1991, moving to California to take a position with what was then known as Dragon/Kirin.

It was there that he met John Rosengrant, a master modeler known for his character effects work in Avatar, Jurassic Park, Terminator, and other films. Together they formed Warriors Scale Models.

In 1999, Chris returned to his native Missouri, where he continues to make a living at his hobby—and living his dreams.

Books by Chris:
Building Dioramas

Watch a video interview with Chris!

Ray Plummer

Ray L. Plummer is a longtime contributor and columnist for Classic Toy Trains magazine. He has authored four books on toy trains including two on toy train repair.

Books by Ray:
Beginner's Guide to Repairing Lionel Trains
Toy Train Repair Made Easy
Wiring Handbook for Toy Trains


Peter Riddle

After 44 years in the teaching profession, 36 of them on the faculty of the School of Music at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Peter Riddle retired to begin a second career as a full-time author.

A life-long model railroader (he inherited his sister's Lionel set before he was five), Peter is the author of over a dozen books on the subject and has written on the topics of wiring, scenery, track planning, and the history of toy train manufacturing. He contributes regularly to Classic Toy Trains magazine and has also published five novels.

Peter and his wife Gay make their home in Nova Scotia. Their two grandsons, Alexander and Steven, are already enthusiastic about grandad's O and Standard gauge trains.

Books by Peter:
Easy Lionel Layouts You Can Build
Tips and Tricks for Toy Train Operators
Track Planning Ideas for Toy Trains (with Gay Riddle)
Trackwork for Toy Trains
Wiring Your Toy Train Layout
Scenery Techniques for Toy Trains
Wiring Your Toy Train Layout, 2nd Edition (forthcoming)

Sheperd Paine

Shep Paine is one of the best-known modelers in the United States, if not the world. Although much of his fame comes from the stunning dioramas he created for Monogram Models to promote their armor and aircraft kits, his reputation is also based on his military miniatures and boxed dioramas, which have won prestigious awards throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

In 1972, Shep was elected the first Grand Master of the Miniature Figure Collectors of America. He is a member and Fellow of the Company of Military Historians. In addition to regular coverage in modeling magazines, photos of his work have been featured in such national publications as Fortune and Sports Illustrated. Shep is one of the few modelers fortunate enough to be able to devote full time to his craft. His output is small and his boxed dioramas and original figures are eagerly sought by collectors.

Shep has always had a desire to share his ideas and techniques, and he has successfully taught how-to classes in model building; many of his students have developed significant reputations of their own. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, and his other interests include a growing collection of military antiques and a long-suffering devotion to the misfortunes of the Chicago Cubs and Bears.

Books by Shep:
How to Build Dioramas
How to Build Dioramas, 2nd Edition
Shep Paine's Armor Modeler's Guide

Louis Sassi

Lou Sassi has been model railroading since his pre-teens. His HO scale "West Hoosic Division" has been featured in the July 1988 issue of Model Railroader, the 1999 issue of Kalmbach Publishing Co.'s annual Great Model Railroads and Volume #23 of Allen Keller's Great Model Railroad video series. He recently dismantled the West Hoosic Division and is presently building an 0n-30 layout based on the prototype two-foot-gauge Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad in 1930s Maine. Lou's spectacular photos have also graced the pages of Model Railroader and other model railroad publications since the 1980s.

Lou and his wife Cheryl live in upstate New York. They have two sons, Aric and Adam, and two grandchildren.

Books by Lou:
A Realistic HO Layout for Beginners
Basic Scenery for Model Railroaders
How to Build and Detail Model Railroad Scenes

Rick Selby

As a teenager, Rick Selby worked in a San Jose, Calif., hobby shop, where he began acquiring his knowledge of model railroading. Then, as a columnist for Model Railroader's Student Fare department, Rick enthusiastically shared his knowledge with an audience of student-age, typically entry-level model railroaders. His ability to clarify some of the more confusing aspects of model railroading made him an ideal author for his first book, HO Railroad from Set to Scenery.

Rick now works as a game designer in Redmond, Wash. He is an NMRA member and has been an active model railroader for more than 30 years. When he's not building models, Rick also enjoys railfanning, photography, automobiles, and golf.

Books by Rick:
HO Railroad from Set to Scenery
Basic Wiring for Model Railroaders
Basic Wiring for Model Railroaders, 2nd Edition


Pelle Soeborg

Pelle K. Soeborg is a graphic designer in Farum, Denmark. In the early 1990s, several Model Railroader magazines caught his attention, and he has been a model railroader ever since. A trip to the United States in 1992 added to his interest in modeling United States prototypes.

Pelle has written a number of articles for Model Railroader. His images have been featured in MR calendars in addition to Woodland Scenics and Walthers catalogs. He is the author and photographer of the book, Mountain to Desert: Building the HO Scale Daneville & Donner River, by Kalmbach Books, which demonstrates modeling techniques through the construction of his home layout. In addition to model railroading, Pelle enjoys slot car racing, oil painting, and photography.

Books by Pelle:
Essential Model Railroad Scenery Techniques
Mountain to Desert: Building the HO Scale Daneville and Donner River
Done in a Day
Rebuilding a Layout from A to Z

Visit Pelle's web site
Pelle K. Soeborg Design Studio

Andy Sperandeo

Andy Sperandeo has been on the staff on Model Railroader since 1979, and served as editor from 1993 to 2001. He was also the founding editor of the annual Great Model Railroads Magazine, launched in 1990, and is the editorial director of a second annual launched in 1995, Model Railroad Planning.

Andy has been a model railroader since his teens, and his interests in the hobby include modeling the Santa Fe's route through Southern California's Cajon Pass (he started building his basement layout in April 1995) and operating model railroads (he likes to run the yard). A native of New Orleans, he and his wife Arlene now live in Brookfield, Wis., near the Model Railroader offices.

Books by Andy:
Easy Model Railroad Wiring
The Model Railroader's Guide to Passenger Equipment & Operations
The Model Railroader's Guide to Freight Yards

Jack Verducci

Jack Verducci has always had an interest in models and miniatures. As a child, he built ship, automobile, and train models. He built his first layout (HO scale) in the early 1960s as a Boy Scout project with his brother. He discovered large-scale trains during his time in the Navy in the late 60s, after purchasing a Marklin set.

In 1988, he built the initial version of his Crystal Springs Railroad, and displayed it at the 5th National Garden Railroad Convention in the summer of 1989. A few years later, in 1992, Jack began building garden railroads professionally. Since that time, he has built nearly 75 garden railroads in many areas of the country, as well as a few indoor layouts. He recently earned the NMRA's title of Master Model Railroader based on his garden-railroad accomplishments. Jack is also a regular contributor to Garden Railways magazine. His "Garden Railway design & construction" column has appeared regularly in the magazine since December 1996.

Jack lives in the San Francisco Bay area in California with his wife Pauline. In his spare time, he enjoys sailing his boat with Pauline, his two sons, and their families.


Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson has written more than 20 books on railroads and model railroading. He spent 10 years as an associate editor at Model Railroader magazine, and he currently works as a freelance writer, editor, and photographer, contributing articles to MR and other magazines. He also writes a model railroading column for Model Retailer magazine and is a correspondent for Trains magazine. He enjoys many facets of the hobby, especially building structures and detailing locomotives, as well as photographing both real and model railroads.

Books by Jeff:
Basic Model Railroad Benchwork, 2nd Edition
50 Ways to a Better-Looking Layout
The Model Railroader's Guide to Industries Along the Tracks 4
Introduction to Model Railroading
The Model Railroader's Guide to Trackside Structures
The Model Railroader's Guide to Diesel Locomotives
Building a Ready-to-Run Model Railroad
The Model Railroader's Guide to Industries Along the Tracks 3
Detailing Diesel Locomotives
Detailing Freight Cars
The Model Railroader's Guide to Industries Along the Tracks 2
The Model Railroader's Guide to Junctions
The Model Railroader's Guide to Bridges, Trestles, & Tunnels
The Model Railroader's Guide to Freight Cars
Basic Structure Modeling for Model Railroaders
The Model Railroader's Guide to Industries Along the Tracks
Basic Trackwork for Model Railroaders
Basic Painting and Weathering for Model Railroaders
HO Scale Model Railroading
Basic Model Railroad Benchwork, 2nd Edition
Great Northern Railway in the Pacific Northwest

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