Monday, January 6, 2014

What's in a name?

Depending upon your perspective, quite a lot.
If you've been following this blog for awhile you will know that last April I posted on the completion of the pilot models for the CPR plywood sheathed boxcar.
I've also taken to calling it the CPR War Emergency car, in part following the lead of an article written in the RP CYC #23. At the time the best source I had for a car history.
Over the course of the months that this model was in development, none of the many helpful people I consulted about this car ever felt the need to correct me on what I chosen to call this car.
So you can imagine my surprise to discover that one of my products was renamed for a Product Review in the December Railroad Model Craftsman. The reviewer, who put forth a very detailed prototype history for the review, did not agree with my calling this car a "War Emergency" car. Rather he believes that the car should be titled the "Victory" boxcar.
That is his opinion and there is some data to support his argument. However if you attempt an online search for a CPR Victory Boxcar, you will not find any reference to my model kit. In fact all you'll find is an old Montreal Gazette news item on the cars.
Part of the point of Product Reviews is to assist and direct modelers to new and interesting products. I've written a few of them myself. There are 3 things one has to get right. The company name, the product name and the contact information. Otherwise you're doing a disservice to the manufacturer. Now if a manufacturer has, in the reviewers opinion, misnamed something, it is not the reviewers role to retitle the product. The reviewer has the capacity to state his view in the text of the review along with the option of contacting the manufacturer and discussing the concern.
The renaming of a product, for whatever reason, is a highly irresponsible act and rather arrogant. At least I now understand why I've been getting emails asking about a "Victory" boxcar.
At this time I'm still waiting on the editor to get back to me about this issue, but it is causing me to think long and hard about my relationship with the magazine.
Stay tuned.

After a day passed, I did speak with Chris D'Amamto of RMC. He is very understanding of my position here. He will be printing a price correction and a title correction. What may or may not get said to the author remains unknown to me. Frankly I believe I'm at least owed a public apology. Watch me not hold my breath.


CVSNE said...


I completely see your point - the magazine's primary responsibility is to its readers. To make it as convenient as possible for readers to obtain a product advertised, listed (with, say a product announcement), or reviewed mandates the reviewer use the name the manufacturer calls his product - whether it be "Victory", "War Emergency", "Official Mickey Mouse Disneyland boxcar" or anything else. The reviewer may not agree with what the manufacturer calls it, but he has no more right to change that than to decide "This company should be in Montreal instead of Toronto, so I'll change the address."

One positive note. At least you're getting some inquiry on the product!

And the kit is excellent, by the way.

Marty McGuirk

Pierre Oliver said...

Thanks, Marty.
You get it completely, too bad the reviewer doesn't.
His "right" to demonstrate his superior knowledge seems to trump my right to accurate representation.

Thom said...

Such details (which are actually very important) must not be changed without discussion and agreement. In these occasions there is a right to be irritated.