Were these locomotives being advertised as a truly authentic ATSF recreation? Historically speaking, yes, they are not correct in the way that the A-B set in California are. But to probably 90% of the people who visit this museum in Galveston, they will be close enough to the real thing to be the real thing. And without a photo of "real" ATSF F units for side-by-side comparison on the spot, many people wouldn't notice some of the generally minor differences. Here are my thoughts:
I don't care about the lack of stainless steel. I'm surprised they got away with having the horn stay where it is, given the new FRA horn placement requirements, but maybe it was grandfathered in? The SP pilot looks kind of funny, but it also changes the effect of the front, and its something kind of different that I kind of like. All of the electrical hook-ups on the front end do make it look kind of busy, but again, these are locomotives are to be functional, not just pretty. Their location does change the profile of the ATSF cross logo on the nose, which comparatively makes it looks squished, but without that comparison, you don't really notice. The numberboards do look a little chunky the way they are printed, but again, without comparison, they are ok. I think what I like least of all is whatever they decided to do with the front class lights....which are now empty holes. Not a fan.
Do these look good? Yes! If their paint holds they'll be photo backdrops and subjects for years to come in Texas. Are they authentic ATSF locomotive in truly authentic paint? No. Will this be a breaking point for most people? No. Would I be upset if I was told they were going to unveil two F units in authentic Warbonnet colors, paid money and those are what rolled out of the shop? Yes. But that's because I know what the ones in California look like.
If you want to see and support true ATSF F units, go to California. In the meantime, these will provide enjoyment to many visitors who visit Galveston. Paint is just paint. I'm generally in support of any railroad museum that wants to maintain their equipment, even if not truly authentic. They can restore them back to SP colors at any time.
And yes, the words preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, reconstruction, etc. do have different meanings. My professional background requires that I know the difference, as applied to historic buildings. They can be similarly applied to many pieces, types, and uses of railroad equipment: http://www.nps.gov/hps/tps/standguide/overview/choose_treat.htm