bio_feature_editor

Scott fell in love with live steam locomotives at a young age from the many visits to Disneyland as a child. Being born during the time when diesel was replacing steam, the only place to hear the chuff of a locomotive was through amusement parks and tourist railroads. Model trains have always been a part of his life and as a young man in the Navy he was introduced to small scale live steam through a popular model train magazine.

Scott was immediately enthralled with the idea that there was a lower cost alternative to ride on steam that could run around his backyard. It would take ten years after that introduction to get to a point where he could jump into the hobby when he purchased his first house in 1986. Scott started construction of his first garden railway in 1987 and purchased his first steamer ­--- an Aster B-1 Baldwin 0-4-2T.

While still on active duty, Scott wrote his first article for Steam in the Garden -- Issue No.12. about enjoying live steam in Japan. After his retirement, Scott was asked to represent Wada Works of Japan for an innovative new gauge one product -- a diesel locomotive that ran on fuel. Wada Works of Japan also produced several gauge one steam locomotives. Operating as Potomac Steam Industries, Scott soon became a Brandbright representative adding their products to his growing home based business. Unfortunately, his post-Navy career was requiring more travel and he saw that he was becoming unable to provide the customer support he thought was important. After ten years of operation P.S.I. reluctantly closed shop

In 2010, following the passing of Steam in the Garden founder Ron Brown, Scott was asked to come onboard the new LLC that was forming to continue the magazine. He accepted the role as the magazine's archivist and representative at all the steamups he could attend. Scott began to write more articles and was the lead author for the "Starting in Steam" series and subsequent booklet. Scott would then be called to step into the shoes left vacant by Dave Cole's passing and put his computer skills to work as Editor.

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A recent cover of Steam in the Garden magazine

Steam in the Garden is available in hobby stores throughout the United States and Canada, with distribution handled by Kalmbach Publishing Co. of Waukesha, Wisc. Hobby retailers interested in carrying the magazine should contact Kalmbach Publishing at (800) 558-1544, ext. 818, or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A recent cover of Steam in the Garden magazine

Small-scale live-steam railroading — using models that are anywhere from 1:13.17 scale to 1:32 scale and run on 32mm or 45mm track — is a fun hobby that has room for rivet counters and freelancers, prototype purists and lovers of whimsy.

Steam in the Garden is North America’s only magazine devoted entirely to covering the small-scale live-steam hobby. Since 1990, the magazine has taken readers inside the railroads and inside the workshops of the leading modelers and shown how fun and easy live-steam model railroading can be. Six times a year, Steam in the Garden gives readers a look at the current trends in the hobby and reviews the latest products available from all of the makers.

For builders of live-steam models (or would-be builders), Steam in the Garden has detailed articles that explain how experienced builders create those once-in-a-lifetime projects that can’t be found anywhere else.

For those who just want to run trains, Steam in the Garden Ad rate cardexplains how to build the best backyard live-steam railroads and how to build portable layouts as well.

Locomotive improvements are high on Steam in the Garden’s list: it has dozens of articles every year that show in detail how to add features to small-scale locos or make rolling stock run better.

Want to know what’s happening at the leading live-steam events? Steam in the Garden takes readers there, giving a flavor of what’s happening, both on the track and in the clinic rooms, as well as bring readers the latest products shown by exhibitors.

In 2011, Steam in the Garden gained new owners and a new editor, but the magazine committed to sticking to its 20-year Advertisers' links history of giving hobbyists the best information, illustrated profusely, in an easy-to-read format.

Who are small-scale live steam hobbyists? A back-of-the-envelope analysis leads us to believe them to be:

♦ Moderate- to high-income ($50k and up).

♦ Home owners.

♦ Spend between $1k-$2k per year on the hobby.

♦ Heavy Internet users.

♦ A preponderance of college-educated (many with advanced degrees in medicine or engineering).

♦ Twenty percent aged 29 and younger; 20 percent aged 30-49; 60 percent aged 50 and older.

♦ Gender: 90 percent male; 10 percent female.

Reaching this highly fractionalized niche market is difficult, unless you become an advertiser in Steam in the Garden or a sponsor on the web site Steamup.com. Multiple-issue contracts for the print magazine drive down ad costs considerably and only print advertisers can be sponsors on the web site.

For more information on advertising in Steam in the Garden, contact our advertising manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today, or just download our advertising rate card as a PDF file.

A recent cover of Steam in the Garden magazine

Thank you for taking the time to review Steam in the Garden’s contributor guidelines. Steam in the Garden — both the printed magazine and the web site — is based on reader-contributed works and without unsolicited articles and photographs, we would have no magazine.

Our goal in publishing Steam in the Garden is to further the hobby of small-scale live steaming and we define that to be locomotives and rolling stock that run on 32mm or 45mm track and that are propelled only by steam. This can therefore take in modeling scales ranging in size from about 1:13.7 to 1:32. We are not a magazine of “narrow-gauge” or “standard-gauge” railroads, but of all sizes and scales that can be run on 1¼-inch or 1¾-inch gauge track.


Writing guidelines
Steam in the Garden desires articles that will make readers enthusiastic about our hobby. We have found that the best article is the first-person project-building story, whether kit- or scratch-builds. Other good article topics include how-to guides on modifying and improving manufactured locomotives; portable or stationary layout building stories, and coverage of steam-related events, including the large steamups held in Diamondhead, Miss., and Sacramento, Calif., as well as backyard events attended by only a handful. We will also publish articles about “prototype” — full-scale — locomotives or railroads, as long as they pertain to existing or potential models.

A great Steam in the Garden article is one in which the reader is drawn into the mind of the writer, bringing understanding as to how the writer achieved their goal and conveying the writer’s enthusiasm for the project.

Many people are hesitant to submit to Steam in the Garden because they are concerned about their writing skills. Please don’t worry about how poorly you might think you write. You’re probably a better writer than you know, but regardless of your writing experience, your article will be in the hands of skilled, professional editors who have worked with amateur and non-professional writers for more than 35 years. Even the best writers need an editor and it is the goal of Steam in the Garden to make you look as good as possible.

If you’re writing a how-to article, please don’t attempt to write the text into a layout, where you might have a phrase such as, “And here’s what my completed widget looked like:” Writing and layout are two separate functions. Take notes on your process, make photos as you go and write and submit the article and photos. That’s enough work; don’t try to do the editor’s job too.

Queries: We are always interested in having discussions with writers who are uncertain whether an idea or topic would interest the readers of Steam in the Garden. Please put your concise thoughts in an e-mail and send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Length: A typical article is around 2000 words — maybe 1500 or maybe 2500 —  which would be published across four or five pages, depending on art and/or photography. We have space for both shorter and longer pieces, but please query the editor in advance.

RPO: Maybe your article is just a few collected thoughts; our “RPO” section (“Railway Post Office” — aka “letters to the editor”) may be the place for your submission. Items for the RPO can be sent as e-mail — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — or to Steam in the Garden, P.O. Box 1539, Lorton, VA 22199, USA.

Fact checking: We do not provide fact-checking services; writers are responsible for knowing their topic and for having done adequate research to be able to write an article.

Your article will be edited for sense, style (we use the Associated Press Stylebook), grammar, syntax and spelling.

Of special note is the spelling of names; please be certain you have spelled the names of individuals and/or companies in your article correctly. Writers find it embarrassing to see once the magazine is printed that they have spelled Jon Jhones’ name as “John Jones” (don’t assume you know a spelling — check it out).

Drawings: Any drawings done with computer-assisted design (CAD — AutoCAD, Solidworks, etc.) software should be sent in DXF format. These usually need to be manipulated for line weight and other technical reasons before they can be reproduced in the magazine. Drawings done in Adobe Illustrator should be down-saved to the CS3 format. Drawings done on paper should be scanned and sent as a PDF, GIF or JPEG format file; these will be redrawn in Adobe Illustrator to make them publishable. All redrawn and altered digital drawings are submitted to the author for approval before going to press.

Bylines: Writers are expected to use their given names; no pseudonyms allowed.

Format: Please submit your article as a computer text file in plain text (.TXT); do not submit in the proprietary format (.DOC or .DOCX, etc.) of your word processor and do not submit printouts. Files submitted in proprietary formats will be assigned a last-priority review status. We prefer to receive articles as email attachments; again, send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Biography: Please include with your article a 90-100 word biography that explains where you live and how you’re connected to small-scale live steaming. we also need a nice portrait photo as well.

Please don’t send us an article you have submitted to another publication unless you have had that article returned or rejected (no simultaneous submissions, please).

Anticipate that we will acknowledge the receipt of an article or a query within a few days of its arrival (sometimes this takes a week), but that a full response may take weeks or months for us. Editing Steam in the Garden is a part-time job and sometimes life gets in the way of good correspondence practices.

Once we accept an article, we may end up “holding” it for a number of months (it could be as long as a year); sometimes we are seeking a companion article to fill out a themed section, while other times we will have so many articles in front of yours that it will take a while for your turn to come up. Please be patient.

Please be aware that Steam in the Garden has six editorial deadlines per year: Feb. 15, April 15, June 15, Aug. 15, Oct. 15 and Dec. 10. The production process runs for about four weeks following those deadlines; it’s much easier to get our attention on Feb. 10 than it is on March 10.

Effective in 2013, Steam in the Garden has begun to pay contributors; please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for rates.


Photography guidelines
While some photos reproduced in the magazine are black-and-white and all the photos on the web site are normal web resolution, we request that all photography submitted to the magazine be RGB (or sRGB) in high resolution.

This means that JPEG files must be between 1.5- and 3-megabytes each (sized at least 300 dots-per-inch and 8¾-inches wide).

The rationale behind this requirement is that we want photos that can be used in the full width of the print magazine’s page, which is four-color reproduction. Our printer’s presses require 300-dots-per-inch for that to happen and a full page is 11 inches tall, meaning we need at least 3300 dots vertically to be able to use a photo to fill a page. (Said another way: shoot with at least a 9-megapixel camera and don’t change resolution.)

Most modern digital cameras allow for plenty of resolution for our color full-page needs; many don’t have the out-of-the-box settings at that high of resolution.

If your camera has the capability to place a date on the image, please turn this function off. It takes the focus off of the subject and invariably it will appear in a location that will obscure an important part of the subject or creates cropping issues.

If you want to shoot for us, learn how to set your camera’s resolution to its highest setting.

Such large images cannot be easily e-mailed (they work fine at our end, but your computer or ISP might not like them); we can also use ”cloud” services to exchange files (contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information).

Alternately, most modern computers can “burn” CD-ROMs; virtually all can use “thumb drives,” the USB dongles (aka “flash drive“) that are like portable disks. Photographers can make CDs or thumb drives and send them in the postal service to:

Steam in the Garden
PO Box 1539
Lorton, VA 22199 USA

Whether submitted via email, CD or thumb drive, please provide full caption material: identify the people (make certain names are spelled correctly) in a picture, explain where and when the picture was made; explain what the photo illustrates (and please get the names and makers of the locomotives).

When making photos, please shoot in both horizontal (landscape) and vertical (portrait) orientations — having photos in mixture of formats helps with layout.

Please note: when making a “beauty” shot of a front of a locomotive, make two: one facing left and one facing right (we like the engines to “run off” the page, not into the gutter).

If you believe a photo needs annotations (overlaid type and arrows), please provide as a Photoshop PSD file in layers or please send a blank version of the photo as well.

Please refrain from the allure of enhancing your photographs with a photo-manipulation program such as Photoshop or GIMP. The rule-of-thumb is to perform no enhancements you would not have be able to do in a darkroom with an enlarger and/or chemistry. Of special note is the addition of steam or smoke to photos that didn’t have them when made — if there is steam or smoke in a photo and you’d like to enhance it, add no more than 10 percent.

Photographers and providers of other types of illustration are compensated for their submissions; please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for rates.

Marie Brown

A co-founder of Steam in the Garden magazine in the late 1980s, through the decades Marie Brown was listed on the masthead with titles such as “faithful assistant” or “awesome assistant.” Sometimes, though, her title included wisecracks from her husband — the magazine’s editor, Ron Brown — such as “go-go dancer,” or “five horses.”

In fact, she was the magazine’s circulation manager, a title she was officially given in 2011.

Brown’s devotion to the magazine is such that every subscriber who is new or a renewal gets a little note from her. She has been known to call subscribers on the phone in the waning hours before a magazine is scheduled to be shipped, to inform them their issue might not mail because of a lack of a check or a credit-card number.

For more than two decades, Brown puzzled out the intricacies of dealing with the U.S. Postal Service and six times a year, her home became littered with little piles of addressed magazines, which she put in the precise order as determined by the archane rules of the post office.

When not working on Steam in the Garden, Marie Brown spends time with her children and grandchildren. She lives in Newark Valley, N.Y.

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Photo courtesy of Rick Parker.