Saturday, March 2, 2019

Was E. L. Moore Gil Mellé’s successor?: A bibliography and some wild speculation

Awhile back I wrote about how jazz great Gil Mellé was also a prolific Railroad Model Craftsman writer in the 1960s. I spent a little time compiling a bibliography of his Railroad Model Craftsman stories as I want to have a reference when, hopefully, I get around to building a couple of his projects – I particularly like his Rail Cutting Shed  that appeared in the May '61 issue of RMC.

I thought compiling this bibliography would be a simple task, and maybe a little tedious. It turned out to be a bit more demanding than I had expected. RMC didn’t appear to have the highest standards for copy at the time. There were numerous instances of table of contents titles not matching story titles, mismatched attribution, and attribution given in the story, but missing from the table of contents. Hopefully, I’ve straightened things out for the Gil Mellé stories. In particular, I should note that as far as titles are concerned, if there was a conflict I’ve used the ones printed on the stories instead of the ones in table of contents. If you see problems with this attempt at a bibliography, please leave a comment so I can fix them up.


Oct: Oldfield Coal & Supply Co.
Dec: Polyurethane for Scenic Construction
     Lehigh Valley Icing Platform


Jan: Lehigh Icing Platform, Part 2
Feb: L. V. Sandhouse
Mar: From Engine Shed to a Superdetailed Powerhouse
Apr: Customizing Tru-Scale's Blacksmith Car and Jail House into a 
     Superdetailed Blacksmith Shop and Flat Car
     Customize Those Plastic Buildings
May: Rail Cutting Shed
Jun: Black Bart Mine
     Transformer Poles
Jul: Gondola Loads
Aug: Highways are High Points
Sep: Build this 50 Ton Composite Hopper
Oct: A Dust Collector
Nov: Old Time Sand House
Dec: Vertical Tank
     Pump & Bolier House


Jan: The Security Fence
     Customizing and Superdetailing Suydam's Chemical Factory
Feb: Americanize the Airfix Traveling Crane
Mar: Easy to Build Sound Light Unit
     A & S Wheel Foundry
Apr: Horizontal Oil Tank
     Norfolk & Western Coaling Tower
May: RR Police Headquarters
Jun: Customizing a Faller Freight Station
Jul: Quickie Quonset
Aug: Wayside Stock Yard
Sep: Water Car
Oct: Lehigh Valley Office and Crew Quarters
Nov: Portable Car Jack


Jan: Air Raid Warning Signal
Feb: 100 Ton Coaler
Mar: 100 Ton Coaler [JL: Part 2 of the Feb story]
Apr: Building a Split Level Lumber Yard
May: Operating Factory
Jun: Oak Hill Pit Head, Part 1 of 3
Jul: Oak Hill Pit Head, Part 2 of 3
Aug: Customizing the Oak Hill Pithead, Part 3 of 3
Sep: Scenery to Improve Your Layout
Oct: Mine Site Detailing


Jan: Mountain Flotation Plant
Feb: Mountain Flotation Plant, Part 2
Aug: A Car Barn For Your Layout
Sep: Car Barn, Part 2
Nov: Customizing a Tru-Scale Factory
DecSignal Tower, part 2


Jan: Logging Mill, Part 1
Feb: Logging Mill, Part 2
Mar: Howe Truss Bridge
Apr: Build a Tie treating Creosote Plant
May: Los Angeles Junction Diesel Shed
Jun: Scratchbuilding a Styrene Arch Bridge
Jul: Diesel Fuel Tank, Part II [JL: Although it says Part II it's a single part story]
Dec: SP Parts Servicing Depot

If you drop by 30Squares frequently you know that I think everything somehow relates to E. L. Moore :-) and this bibliography is no exception. The thing that struck me as I was compiling it was that during Mr. Mellé’s high output years in the first half of the ‘60s, Mr. Moore’s publications were more-or-less equally spread out across RMC, Model Railroader and Model Trains. E. L. Moore wasn’t predominately being published by RMC; it was just a smattering of stories, and his output in RMC was quite low in comparison to Gil Mellé’s. But when Mr. Mellé’s run ended in ’65, E. L. Moore’s publication rate in RMC took off from then until the end of the ’60s. My speculation is that when Gil Mellé stopped publishing in RMC – likely because his musical career was taking off again -  E. L. Moore was his de facto successor since he could also produce stories at a high rate. Going further with the speculation: if Gille Mellé hadn’t left the scene, it’s an open question as to whether E. L. Moore would have had the impact that he did, and whether any of those AHM plastic kits based on a number of his RMC projects from ’67 and ’69 would have been manufactured.

Well, that's all for now. I leave you with Gil Mellé and his awesome Percussotron.

[4 March 2019 update: Vince cross-checked my list against the online model railroad index and found Mr. Mellé's Dec '64 story was missing from my list, so I've updated it. Turns out Dec '64 seems to be missing from my RMC collection :-( I note that the online index leaves out the Gil Mellé articles that appeared in RMC's Right o' way Models column. It's easy to miss because Mr. Mellé is only credited in small print at the bottom of each column, and not in the magazines' tables of contents - indexing tools would likely have a problem with that, score one for us humans! From what I've read so far, it appears that all stories that appeared in Right o' way Models were by Gil Mellé.]


  1. Without looking them up, I remember Gil's articles looking more daunting than ELM's. Excellent stuff, though!

    1. I agree, they are certainly more involved, and he often incorporated home-made electronic gadgets. Given I had GM on my mind, I re-watched Andromeda Strain over the weekend - I think he used his percussotron to score it.