I literally entered the hobby at age 3 with my dad, who had a HUGE pike. Although I did not assist in building this masterpiece, I learned how to do almost everything in the hobby from Dad and his friends, and I was infected by the "train bug." Dad's layout was rather advanced and he pioneered many techniques which are now standard. Every structure was scratch-built on this 1:48 pike. It was this experience that drove me into industrial design and architecture….and of course into model railroading.

I went on to earn a degree in industrial design from NYU and graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1961. Several years were also spent in Europe studying fine art and advanced design at Universities of London and Paris. The Army eventually got me as a reluctant guest at first, then taught me about airplanes and helicopters, and after many years in the service, I went on to commercial flying for a total of 18 years. Then at age 39, my love of fine art beat out flying, so I began an industrial design firm, and also turned to painting and sketching. My design firm, “Imagery” specialized in designing, fabricating and installing sales centers for new housing projects. Many times presentations required scale models of homes, which I built. This was how I learned styrene techniques, as 95% of my models were constructed from Plexiglas and Styrene. I also did over a thousand renderings using several techniques. Now, since I have discovered Mt. Albert Scale Lumber, I use basswood whenever possible.

My "other love" is music, so when I clipped my wings, I also returned to folk music, playing the 5 string banjo clawhammer style, the guitar, and several other instruments. My wife Sandy and I are members of the "New Southern Cowtippers." And what could possibly be better than a song about a train? See and hear us in this 2013 performance at the Potomac River Jam. Please forgive my scowl - I was really very happy.

Just as fine art again bit me at age 39, the model railroading bug acquired in my youth awoke 10 years later and really bit me in the butt…and big time. With the help of Ken Young, we started the Great Scale Model Train show ( which ran for over 3 decades until I sold it in early 2014 to two gentlemen who have done a good job advancing our vision. I became a dealer in brass models, and began Howard Zane and Associates, building scale models for model railroads. Somewhere during this period I also owned a rather large hobby shop specializing in trains. My own layout, The Piermont Division, has grown to almost 3,000 square feet, and has been featured in three Allen Keller videos, and several others including Kalmbach’s “Dream, Plan, and Build” series. Several articles written by me and others working with me have appeared in the model railroad press including articles on how to use red rosin paper for scenery.

I have written a book on my layout and techniques I used. Over 4200 have been sold thus far, and a few copies remain. They are available inline at as well as the Great Scale Model Train Show.

Recently completed projects as far flung as Boulder, CO and Richland WA, include a 3 rail pike as pictured below and other projects, both near and far.

I am now offering scratch built and custom structures as seen on this web site.

I no longer construct exclusively from styrene; high rise, concrete, metal faced, and brick faced buildings will be still constructed from super-braced styrene and natural wood used were deemed appropriate. Decades ago I worked exclusively in wood, but the quality of what then was available drove me into styrene construction. I have over the years learned and pioneered several techniques with this medium, but quality wood has always been my first choice.

Many buildings shown on this site have been sold, but I can re-create the one you choose. I may change some details as I never build two exactly alike. Also any shown structure may be constructed in” HO” or “O”. I most likely can build in other scales but have not done so to date. If a sold structure is desired, we will have to discuss price as costs have gone up for materials since these were listed four years ago. Also please understand that I no longer work for $3 per hour…although still many are shocked that I don’t!

If a building is shown in one scale and you choose this building to be built in another scale, I will not and cannot guarantee exactness as commercial castings and detail parts are not available in all scales. I will, however, guarantee closeness and satisfaction.

All structures are original designs by me. I’ll only copy a building or other structure if I like the design. Many of the single family house designs are what I refer to as Appalachian Gothic, a fictional label based on Victorian, but could have been constructed in the Appalachians during the early 20th Century. I love true Victorian architecture, and I’m excited to build such a structure, but not on speculation. There would be just too many hours to be able to turn a profit. I have built several true Victorians, but by special request and price.

Most ready made buildings have both interior and exterior 12 volt lighting. Multiple fixtures are placed so as to simulate actual evening appearance….NOT a single “tinplate” type large bulb in center of building. Buildings shown on dioramas may be removed from diorama setting if to be placed on a layout not requiring a scenic background. Or I can easily show how to install the diorama in an existing layout. I’m also available to do this work on your layout if needed.

I prefer not to ship and strongly recommend either a pick up here or delivery by me or a third party. Otherwise, I can bring your work to the train show, where you may retrieve it.

More About
the Structures
See Piermont Division
in Action
Contact and Delivery
Our Band:
The New Southern Cowtippers
My Books:
Zanes Trains
"World's Best": The Great Scale
Model Train Show
Brass Trains:
Zane's House of Brass