Large Scale Central

My Dad Mik

Hi there everyone
My father’s birthday is coming up, the tenth one did m since his passing. You may have known him as Allen or Mik. I was feeling down and nostalgic while making plans to go visit his grave and Googled his name. That’s how I found a post about the annual Mik Build Challenge and was completely blown away.
I started crying, actually. I had no idea his internet friends had memorialized him, let alone in a way that brings such excitement to his favorite hobby.
My childhood was filled with trains and steam traction engines. I knew how a boiler worked before I knew how to do long division. I can remember the smell of spray paint filling the basement as he worked on a new build. I remember the delight each time he made a little figure of myself and my sibling and hid them somewhere in his displays. I remember feeling very strongly that G guage was superior to Lionel, because my dad thought so and he must be right. (That hasn’t really changed, I just don’t do much with trains myself lol)

If you were on the site all those years ago, maybe you have memories of him, stories I’ve never heard. I’m 31 now and would like to get to know who my father was as an adult and not just as a parent. I’ve read post after post of his on his Facebook but never thought to seek out forums and his friends until today.

Thank you so much for the honor that is the annual Mik build challenge. I know it would mean the world to him. I can’t think of a single better way to memorialize him.

Also I’m planning to visit his grave on the 11th. If anyone has a message you’d like me to pass on, please let me know.


be most welcome, Jules.

if you are following your father’s tracks, you might search in the forum as well.
that is, where i first met him in 2009


Welcome Jules.
I remember boxing up some junk (spare parts) and sending them to him years ago.

Welcome Jules and if you look down the forum you’ll find the MIK with your fathers words as a tribute to him

I always enjoyed your dads project builds. He once was in need a a motor block for a project. I sent him 2 aristocraft 2 axle motor blocks. He told me he would make a motor car out of one for me and use the other himself, That was the deal. I still run it to this day.

Hi Jules,

"Thank you for posting your message. Your dad has been a bit of a guru for me. As a new member, my only connection with your dad has been through his writings on this forum and participating in the Annual Mik build for the first time this year.

Participating in the annual build named in his honour has been an enriching experience for me. Large Scale Railroaders coming together worldwide, sharing insights on your dad’s methods, has been nothing short of inspiring. The tales of his craftsmanship, creating wonders from the most unlikely bits and bobs, are truly remarkable.

A couple years ago one respected contributor wrote, “ Every time you build something, “Mic’s Way”, you learn so many things that can’t be bought, no mater how much you spend.” So it is quite apparent why he has legendary status within this group.

While there’s a fair bit of your dad’s projects and advice to be found here here, as well as a photo of him, (sitting atop a locomotive, of course), few of us know much about him outside the contribution he provided to this venue.

I believe many of us would greatly appreciate hearing a bit more about your dad if you’re able to share."

Hi Jules
This post hit me right in the feels. Mik was a fantastic asset to the modeling industry, with his “build with whatever you have on hand right now” attitude. I’m glad he chose LSC to hang out at and share his work. I dont think I’m overstepping my bounds here, but I would say that everyone that knew him was affected in the way they model. The Mik Annual Build Challenge is a fantastic way to honor him. I hope you keep in touch here. Say hello to Mik for me, and all of his friends here at LSC.


Hello Jules. Welcome!

Besides starting and inspiring the continuation of the Annual Build Challenge in his memory, there are a number of things your dad did that left lasting impression.

Not the least of these, was his need to use his clothes washer as a build table. That began a tradition of photographing our finished models on a washing machine! I still do this today, even for builds that are not part of the annual challenge.

Your dad also maintained a website - The Ashpit - where he posted photos and drawings of prototypes for all to use. When he passed, we knew that website would go away as soon as the domain expired, so I took took steps to archive the entire site. It is no longer functional since I didn’t take the time to sort out his code, but it is on-line and could possibly be repaired.

Allen was also very quick to share ideas, drawings and photos when ever someone posted the start of a new build. One example is a set of log cars I built with your dad’s help. Sadly, I’ve never finished them but the build thread is still here at Build Log: The CVSRy's replica log cars

He is genuinely missed.

Edit to add this example of The Ashpit website. This being a page railfanning his last layout. Note that the links on the page are all broken.

I never had the pleasure of conversing with your father. I came on board after his passing. But he IS the reason I joined this forum. It was his build challenges that intrigued me. As a scratch builder I loved the concept of take what you have on hand and make something. I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Along the way I have learned of the great respect your father received from the folks on here. He must of been a heck of a guy because he is sure loved here. I am honored each year to celebrate a piece of him with each challenge.

I remember days when your Dad would spend playing on the steam engines ( the real ones) and he always got really excited on the show case days. It was my first introduction to non railroad steam power on land. Sure I “knew” about it but MIK showed just how cool it was see a full tractor with a head of steam.

And I’ll echo Jon’s comments about his painting on the washer. We always joke that he painted with a broom because his paint jobs weren’t exactly perfect.

I knew him on my largescale as well as Mik and was shocked to learn he had a real name. :joy:

That was because in his frugal ways, he would paint with Q-tips.


Aloha Jules,

I never met your Dad, but I am so grateful for his go-with-what-you-got attitude and have-fun-first policy, as both made our little railroad possible. Internet forums can be intimidating, but his spirit infuses LSC, and it makes this community a welcoming virtual club for our family to experiment and tinker and learn.

While my own kids are starting to grow into their own interests now, I am glad to hear involving them in virtuall every project in some way is in keeping with your Dad’s spirit, too.

Please pass a big “Mahalo!” (Thank you!) to him when you visit.

On Behalf of Team Mueller,


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Hello Jules,

First off I think this is SO freaking cool and I’m glad you took the time to post here! I do remember your father very well and like the others have said I believe he was on different large scale train sites also.
I’m pretty sure that MIK came from Kim spelled backwards and I’m also pretty sure he used to recommend checking under the sofa cushions occasionally for spare model train money/change!
I tried it and it WORKED!
Your dad and I didn’t always see eye to eye which was fine but we did share a hobby together and that says 1,000 words!


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A great heartfelt post Jules. Your Dad meant a lot to many and his legacy lives on. He has shown us that this hobby can be lots of fun without having to spend a pile of cash. In fact I think for many of us that rise to the challenge of the Mik, the things that we have built for the fun challenge are the best things on our RR’s.
We can thank Dave Taylor for creating the Mik build challenge and we can thank your Dad for the Inspiration.

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Jules: Thanks so much for your post about your dad. Great to hear from you.
While I have not participated in the challenge as of late, I did when it was on the other G train forum, MLS.

I built a short line water tank installation. The core of the water tank was a plastic water glass that had cracked on me, the perfect MIK approach to buildings on my garden railroad.

You might like a photo of this masterpiece! I actually won that year, and your dad sent me a prize, which was an “annual” publication on narrow gauge trains, which I still have.
Best regards.




I won an early MIK contest with the “train protection vehicle” shown below. It was meant to go with my Brandywine & Gondor Railroad equipment (the railroad is supposedly dwelling in the Fourth Age of Middle Earth). The prize was (appropriately) an ash tray shaped like a dragon.

Best, David Meashey

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