Getting paid for your work is not always in cash…

Long before I ventured out into the cold world of self employment, I worked for a model railroad magazine. One of our mainstays were reviews of new products when they became available. It was a lot of fun, and since we got to keep the products we reviewed, I ended up with quite a collection of model train related stuff (toys).

The magazine has changed hands since I was on board. On a whim I contacted the current editor about the possibility of writing for the magazine again. A year went by before I heard anything, then out of the dark void of forgotten emails I was contacted.

The editor wrote that he was cleaning out his in-box, and apologized for not getting back with me sooner. He also wrote that he would be happy to accept my offer, and a review sample was soon at my doorstep. Putting on that old hat once again was nostalgic, and a bit sad (read, “Back in the News”).

For those that read my previous Medium post and wondered what the experience developed into, here is the review in it’s entirety as it appeared in Model Railroad News…

Accurail HO-scale 50-foot riveted AAR boxcar

Review and Kit Photos by Michael Pratt

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Accurail’s 50-foot Riveted AAR Boxcar decorated for Illinois Central Gulf.

Adding to their list of available HO scale freight car kits, Accurail is offering the AAR 50’ Riveted Side Boxcar with 8’ Superior Door for Illinois Central Gulf (5505). The ICG freight car comes lettered and numbered, and pre-painted in ICG orange.

Other offerings of this body style include: 5500 Undecorated, 5501 Santa Fe, 5502 Chicago & North Western, 5503 Baltimore & Ohio, 5504 Western Pacific, 5506 Southern Railway, 5507 Chicago Burlington & Quincy, 5508 Grand Trunk Western, 5509 Seaboard, 5510 Missouri Pacific, 5511 Gulf Mobile & Ohio, 5512 Rock Island, 5513 Pennsylvania, 5548 data only mineral red, and 5549 data only oxide. …

I have often pictured my Dad sitting in a class room as he heard the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was in the eleventh grade, a good student with a hopeful future — or so the story went.

. . .

Joseph Lee Pratt (Lee after his father) was born in the month of January, 1923 in Merriman, Nebraska. …

I got my start in computers, graphic art, and editing working for Lamplight Publishing out of Merlin, Oregon. The company was owned by my best friend from high school. The first of countless career guiding lucky breaks.

It wasn’t much of a company, publishing wise — we only had one magazine, “Model Railroad News”. As the name clearly states, the magazine was all about model trains. Two guys working with computers and model trains — you couldn’t get more geeky.

My job title was Managing Editor, which meant I worked with article writers, proof read everything, and even wrote an article or two. I tried on the graphic art hat when we began to scan our own photos, or when the magazine needed a final tweak of its layout. …


Michael Pratt

Married to a genuine Georgia Peach. Graphic designer, web designer, writer, photographer. Former Managing Editor of Model Railroad News. Owner of Pratt Graphics

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