About . . .



          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 Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle.

          After 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.

          About 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. 

          To make 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 award.

          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 Gulf South 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.