Braxton grew up
in Florida, with his family which included
three younger brothers. He developed an early interest in
scale models of all types, including cars, airplanes, boats and trains. An
early effort at model car building resulted in his winning first place in a hobby
shop contest, and he still cherishes the winner’s trophy. He also enjoyed an active membership in the
earning the rank of Eagle.
high school he entered the Air Force, where he was trained in electronics
then assigned to a Strategic Air Command base at
Roswell, New Mexico. There he helped maintain countermeasures
systems on a squadron of nuclear armed B-52’s, and spent his free time customizing
his 327 Chevy. He ended his military tour
operating a KC-135 flight simulator, where he helped train air refueling pilots in emergency procedures.
He moved to Atlanta to work for Delta Air Lines, and began attending evening
classes at Georgia Tech. By chance, he visited the School of Architecture
with a friend and, after
seeing the sketches, plans and scale models built by the young students, he was hooked.
He changed his major to Architecture and began a five-year
journey toward his degree. He landed a job with a prominent local
architectural firm and soon was working on plans for the state Capitol
building and the Georgia Governor’s mansion. He was awarded his Bachelor of
Architecture degree from Georgia Tech in 1973.
then his mother, Mary Payne, a road designer for the state
highway department, showed him some miniature flowers she had made of bread
dough, and asked him to make her some clay pots in 1" scale. To acquaint
himself with this "larger" scale, he visited a friend who owned an extensive
collection of dolls houses and it was there that he was
introduced to the fascinating world of scale miniatures.
the pots for his mom's flowers, he had to teach
himself the art of ceramic mold making, slip-casting and kiln-firing. Within
a few months, he was producing acceptable pottery, and built his mother a miniature
greenhouse to house her growing collection of flowers and plants. At the
same time, he became interested in creating and marketing scale
reproductions of some of the
architectural features he was already familiar with. His first advertisement,
in a 1974 issue of the miniatures publication Nutshell News featured
a smaller version of his mom's greenhouse (her larger one was now in the
Atlanta Toy and Miniatures Museum). He made all the wooden parts himself in a small
workshop next to the architectural firm where he worked. The late hours he was forced to keep as
he learned the finer points of both cabinetmaking
and miniaturing took their toll, and he still carries the
scars on his thumb from table saw blades! But his interest in
the hobby grew, and three months later his second advertisement appeared, for
a 1" scale Colonial room box. These two areas,
gardening and architecture, form the basis for the line of miniatures around
which he built his business, and they are still the dominant sphere of his work.
In 1978 he joined the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts and two
years later he was asked to
become a member of the NAME Board of Directors. He served ten years on the
Board, including two years as President and Chairman.
1989 he was nominated to the NAME Academy of Honor, as his mother had been
several years earlier. In 1999 he received the Academy's Mell Prescott
But, by far he is most proud of his efforts to show others how to enrich
their lives through the simple fun of the hobby. He has taught
workshops for small clubs as well as national conventions, and for twenty years he conducted an annual all-day seminar, attended by hundreds and
modestly called “The World’s Largest Miniature Workshop”, at the
Miniatures and Dollhouse Event in New Orleans. In 2014, Braxton Payne
Miniatures celebrated 40 years serving the small scale community, and he continues to create his
miniatures for collectors and enthusiasts around the world.