TMC 04 Cover Copyright OST Publications

TMC 04 is almost here. The theme for this volume is craftsmanship and features interviews with two of the hobby’s finest craftsmen, Tom Mix and Tony Sissons. 

Tom Mix is well known in the P48 community for his scratchbuilt brass Burlington steam locomotives. Tom will scratchbuild whatever he needs to replicate a prototype faithfully. This includes drivers, tender trucks, and loco appliances if needed. Those who have seen his work, have run out of adjectives to describe it. It’s just beautiful.

Burlington K2 4-6-0 By Tom Mix. Photo Copyright Tom Mix

Burlington K2 4-6-0 By Tom Mix. Photo and copyright, Tom Mix

Working in HO, Tony Sissons takes a similar approach to modeling modern diesel power. Tony starts with a commercial model, like an Athearn or Kato, and carves away or adds whatever is missing in terms of details to turn the model into a replica of a specific prototype. What amazes me is his ability to fabricate the smallest of details in HO using brass and styrene.

Tony Sissons SD 50 Engineers side finished Copyright Tony Sissons

Tony Sissons SD50 Photo and copyright, Tony Sissons

Both interviews dive into the “why” of what they do rather than the how. Knowing why a certain choice was made or procedure followed goes a long way in demystifying the how. There are also plenty of large format full color photos of the work for you to enjoy.

A well organized work bench is a modeling tool that’s as important as any other. In addition to the interviews, Volume 04 wraps up with some thoughts on organizing your workspace and a new look at the mental commitment of “Turning Pro” and how that impacts our practice of the hobby. This is a brand new article and not a reprint of my post of the same title from the blog last year.

I could never do work like that!
It’s easy to look at modeling like this and just walk away totally intimidated by the level of skill involved. That’s not why I”m presenting their work. My purpose in TMC is to encourage modelers to go deep by presenting examples of what this hobby can provide to anyone willing to put forth some effort to learn the requisite skills. Tom and Tony didn’t start at this level. Over many years they simply kept pushing themselves to learn and improve. This is something anyone can do. The work shown in this edition is the result of many small tasks done well, then combined into the whole. There’s no magic or rocket science here.

By learning about their philosophy, motivations and methods, the veil of mystery is lifted just a bit. I had the pleasure of editing Tom’s six part series in O Scale Trains Magazine on building a small diesel in brass. By gaining a better understanding of his methods and approach, scratchbuilding in brass didn’t seem as scary as it used to be for me. In fact the urge to step up my modeling skills has grown considerably as I’m exposed to more work at this level.

That’s my hope for the readers of TMC. That you’ll be inspired to pursue your own modeling in a deeper, more meaningful way and to explore the greater depths of enjoyment that this hobby has to offer.

Look for Volume 04 coming at the end of March or first week in April.



  1. Dunks

    Burlington K2 4-6-0 By Tom Mix.
    “Just beautiful.”

    As you say, there are insufficient superlatives in the language.

  2. mike

    Well said Simon.