Carstens Publications, Inc.

About Carstens Publications

Carstens Book Store

Carstens Publications is now closed.
Railroad Model Craftsman
and Railfan & Railroad are now part of White River Productions.

We thank you for allowing us to serve the hobby industry for more than 80 years.

Hal Carstens at Carstens Publications Headquarters, 1973

Founder Hal Carstens (1925-2009) in front of the new office in Newton, New Jersey - 1973
In Memoriam - Harold H. Carstens (1925-2009)

Carstens Publications, Inc. was home to popular monthly magazines Railroad Model Craftsman, Railfan & Railroad, and Flying Models. We also publish the On30 and HOn3 Annuals and the new Great Railroad Photography. Carstens also published an extensive array of railroad and aviation book titles representing the work of some of the finest hobby authors and photographers. We also distributed a wide selection of railroad and aviation books and magazines, and offers a collection of over 1,400 freeflight, radio control and control line model airplane construction plans.

Founded in 1933 by Emanuele Stieri, our first product was The Model Craftsman, aimed at all areas of scale modeling. Ownership of the publishing company passed in 1934 to Charles A. Penn, formerly with Bernarr MacFadden’s publishing empire. Enjoying modest success, in 1942 the company moved from New York City to suburban Ramsey, New Jersey. In 1949, the name of the publication was changed to Railroad Model Craftsman, with a focus on the scale model train hobby exclusively.

Hal Carstens joined the publishing firm in 1952 as associate editor of Railroad Model Craftsman and Toy Trains magazines while attending Fairleigh Dickinson University at night. He studied journalism and art at the Philippine Institute for the Armed Forces in Manila. He was appointed managing editor of the two magazines in 1954, becoming Editor and Vice President in 1957 and President in 1962 following the retirement of Charles A. Penn. Soon after, the popular Flying Models magazine joined the family with the July 1969 issue.

Located in the beautiful hills of northwestern New Jersey, Carstens Publications has been at its present location in Fredon Township since 1973. This 11,000 square foot facility houses the company's full-time employees and is where all of the magazine and book design work is accomplished. In 1974, Carstens launched Railfan as a bi-monthly publication. Five years later, it was combined with Railroad Magazine to become Railfan & Railroad. In 1987, Railfan & Railroad became a regular monthly publication.

In 2006, Carstens Publications launched the popular On30 Annual for narrow guage model railroaders. Building on the success of that product, the companion HOn3 Annual was launched in 2009. Expanding its reach into the world of railroad photography, the editors of Railfan & Railroad will launch the new Great Railroad Photography annual in 2010.

Carstens Publications closed permanently on August 22, 2014. Railroad Model Craftsman, Railfan & Railroad, the On30 Annual, the HOn3 Annual, and our books publishing division were acquired by White River Productions on September 1, 2014.