Re: Essential Freight Cars

Tony Thompson

      I completely understand Ted's feeling that some of the modeling background for the series deserves correction, such as kits no longer manufactured, and perhaps some techniques he has improved in subsequent years. But the biggest value for many of us was the combination of prototype information (analysis as well as factual material) and the very fine modeling techniques. I think some of Ted's reaction to the articles in hindsight can be termed (paraphrasing Paul Weiss) "Author Flaw Perception," in which even a small blemish of fact or description is enlarged in the author's mind to such an extent that it obscures the excellence of the bulk of the article. 
       Updating or extending the articles is an admirable goal, and I certainly would not want to discourage Ted from doing so. But I would not want that goal to overwhelm the project. Here are suggestions of ways to do so in a book. A simple way might be to present the article as originally published, and add a "followup" or addendum with commentary on things that might be done differently today, or mention that a particular kit might have to be sought on eBay, etc. Some articles, I'm sure, would need less of this than others. 
       I can understand Ted's dismay at the thought of completely re-doing all 45 of the articles and perhaps even having to build new model versions, but I would urge him NOT to approach it that way. There is immense value in what was already published, and I think many of us would be delighted even with simply the original articles in book form. Adding update comments to each would increase the value further.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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