his neighbors, Howard Zane is known as “that nut in the basement.” But
to the scale model railroading world, he’s known as an artistic
modeler and savvy businessman. He’s also known for colorful,
direct language and for saying exactly what’s on his mind.
Not a big fan of political correctness, he often expresses his opinions
with more than a bit of humor.
Zane fell in love with model trains at age three. Sixty-four years later,
nothing has changed. He had careers in military aviation, commercial flying,
industrial design, fine art, and model railroad promotions and sales. Retired
now except for several Great Scale Model
Train Shows per year (“They’ll
have to carry me out in a rubber bag.”), he works almost full-time
on his Piermont Division model railroad. He holds a fine arts degree from
New York University and is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. He did
graduate art and design studies in London, and Paris. Many of his figure
sketches, and paintings and drawings of European architecture, have sold
In addition to model railroading, Zane’s other love is Traditional
American Folk (Old Time) music. He plays guitar and several styles
of old-time clawhammer banjo, but his wife, 10 cats, Buck the Dog,
and his friends
won’t let him play the fiddle anymore. “The last time I
took the fiddle from the wall, the dog began howling, and several of
started packing.” (“Critics, Ugh!”) He currently
plays music with his wife, Sandy, an accomplished fiddler and singer,
Jones an excellent guitar player and singer. They are called The
New Southern Cowtippers.
Many articles on Zane’s work have appeared in national model railroading
magazines in addition to many TV specials and two professional video tapes,
now available on DVD. This is his first book, although he has authored
and coauthored several articles on model railroading.