Mel Thornburgh
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis – 2011
Best known for his scratchbuilding with simple hand tools. Mel Thornburgh was a rather prolific locomotive scratchbuilder and used only the most basic of tools. Anybody who was around at the time will remember the series of MR articles “Thornburgh Builds A Wabash Mogul” (IIRC starting in 1959). The Mogul(s) in question were the two F-4 class Wabash Moguls that were the last Wabash steam locomotives in operation. They lasted longer than other Wabash steam as they were the only locomotives light enough to cross a bridge on a Wabash branch line. Andre Chapelon –

In the 40 & 50s he was featured in MR often. Always with a series of articles about scratch building Brass Locos. Mel was an amazing man , his work was impeccable, he made pretty much EVERY part of the loco , except the wheels, gears & motors. He used no commercial details — bells, compressors etc, instead hand fabricating them all. On top of that Mel owned NO power tools , not even an electric drill — he turned any machined part with a hand driven “eggbeater” drill & a file!!! He also had no workshop, using his kitchen table to build on. The man & his work always amazed me — a few years back I bought a collection of MR magazines that had the complete set of his build of a K4 Pacific that was featured starting in 1949 & going thru part of 1950.

Dave Harris –