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Tom Piccirillo

Tom Piccirillo

Tom Piccirillo started building scale models at age 12 after discovering a copy of the April 1964 issue of Model Railroader magazine for sale at a local corner store. After receiving his degree in mechanical engineering in 1974, he pursued a management career in well-known industries, such as Burroughs Corporation and Ohaus Scale, and holds patents on electronic connectors. His most-recent tenure was president of Micro-Mark where, for 24 years, he developed and marketed ingenious tools for builders of scale models.

Tom is a prolific author and has written many how-to articles for the hobby press, including Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, The NG&SL Gazette, Fine Scale Modeler, Dollhouse Miniatures, and Great Model Railroads. In 2009, Tom earned his Master Model Railroader certification, and has been awarded the Paul Mallery Trophy for model building excellence. Currently a member of the Hobby Manufacturers Association, Tom consults for major USA and international producers of tool and hobby products, providing editorial and photographic services in addition to Marketing Analytics.

He is perhaps best-known for the construction and operation of the O scale Somerset County Traction System, which he has described not only in magazines, but also on Public Television. Tom is also former-president of The New Jersey Live Steamers, where he operates his home-workshop-built 1/12th scale locomotives and cars. He is restoring an antique Mercedes-Benz automobile, and is an accomplished jazz rhythm guitarist.

Xuron® Model 450BN Bent Nose Pliers hold and place detail pieces

How To Add Details To A Model Railroad Or Diorama

By Tom Piccirillo | March 28, 2018

Tom’s Corner Tips, techniques and commentary from Master Model Railroader Tom Piccirillo Some people say, “It’s all in the details.” This is certainly true for award-winning scale models. Models are submitted for judging at contests, and much of the “score” needed to win an award is derived by the clean installation and proper placement of […]

Xuron® Model 450 TweezerNose™ Pliers

Wiring & Electronics For The Model Railroader

By Tom Piccirillo | December 15, 2017

Tom’s Corner Tips, techniques and commentary from Master Model Railroader Tom Piccirillo Wiring and electronics of a model railroad layout require a few basic skills and tools. In recent years, the most-exciting model railroad innovation has been in the field of electronic control. Micro-size components allow the installation of incredibly sophisticated circuits inside small-scale locomotives. […]

Model Railroad Track: A Beginners Guide to Rail Cutting

By Tom Piccirillo | September 24, 2017

Tom’s Corner Tips, techniques and commentary from Master Model Railroader Tom Piccirillo Model railroad track comes in a large assortment of lengths and curve radii. Even so, most track layouts still need some custom-sized pieces to fit together without kinks, and sections of flexible track need to have rails trimmed to length.  Cutting track to […]

Xuron® Model 485 Long Nose Plier was used to restore a vintage model railroad car

Restore Model Railroad Equipment Using Precision Tools

By Tom Piccirillo | June 4, 2017

Tom’s Corner Tips, techniques and commentary from Master Model Railroader Tom Piccirillo One of my favorite hobby activities is rebuilding old model railroad equipment that I have acquired over the years from friends, estate sales, and flea markets. I think it’s really cool to transform what appears to be a pile of junk into a […]

Tom Piccirillo's scratch built rmodel railroad pantograph

Building A Model Trolley Pantograph

By Tom Piccirillo | January 28, 2017

Tom’s Corner Tips, techniques and commentary from Master Model Railroader Tom Piccirillo Back in the 1960’s, when I was a teenager, I used to ride my bike several miles to view the annual model railroad show at the Central Jersey Model Railroad Club in Westfield, NJ. Although I liked watching the huge O scale steam […]