I’m reading though a stack of early ‘60s Railroad Model Craftsmans, and I’m here to say they strike me as having just the right balance of irreverent fun, quality projects, excellent photography, news flashes, skilled drawings and interesting prototype information. But as my magazine mould induced hallucinatory reading trip through 1960, ’61, ’62, and ’63 continued, one name seemed to appear in each and every table of contents with some sort of fascinating construction project: Gil Mellé. Those years seemed to be a Gil Mellé catered smorgasbord of model structure building goodness. For the most part, he had an article in every issue, and sometimes two. His name doesn’t appear on RMC’s masthead, so I don’t think he was a staffer, but he clearly had some solid business arrangement with them. I really need to create a Gil Mellé master index.
RMC author Gil Mellé dropped into these hallowed walls recently with his latest creation. Gil is a one time model railroad manufacturer, artist, jazz musician, composer and has even written singing commercials. His latest creation will be shown in the March issue: an old brick foundry complete with sound. Gil describes the construction of both the foundry and the sound unit, which can be installed into any industrial structure.
From Hal Carsten's Notes on an Old Timetable in the February '62 issue of RMC
The Feb '62 and Jan '64 issues spilled the beans on Mr. Mellé. It turns out he’s Gil Mellé the famous jazz saxophonist, painter, sculptor and composer. Marc Myers has two excellent posts on him at JazzWax: Gil Mellé: Blue Note and Prestige and Denny Mellé on Husband Gil. There's also a biography at the Blue Note records site. Gil Mellé was no slouch of a model builder either, although you’d never know that from his skimpy entry on wikipedia’s celebrity model railroaders page.
MEET GIL MELLE' - Jazz musician, band leader, composer, Gil has had original works played at the United Nations and has had his group featured on lp recordings. Some years ago Gil also had a fling at kit manufacturing under the name "Industrial Model Works" but gave it up to return to music and oil painting, at which he has also received a number of awards and one man shows in New York and other cities. Gil enjoys turning out super construction features for RMC and thinks model railroading is more fun than ever for the creative model railroader. Gil is married to another musician, known under her stage name of Jackie Parker. The couple have a little girl, Lisa.
Biographical note accompanying Gil Mellé's Mountain Flotation Plant that appeared in the January '64 issue of RMC. The lead photo to this post - a slightly larger version actually - accompanied the bio.