Ahh.. the curse of being cheap (aka "thrifty").
Some model prices are unbelievable. I'm just starting to build up a fleet of freight cars, because of the era i'm interested in it's mostly boxcars. I was at a train show on sunday looking at a beautiful 40 ft CPR boxcar in block lettering made by True Line Trains… the detailing is immaculate, a rivet counters wet dream. Price: $49.98! Holy s–t! I thought it was a misprint. I didn't pay that much for my locomotives.
Instead I bought a couple of boxcars made by some company called Trains Canada. The detailing level is decent & good enough for me. Best of all they were discounted down to $11.99. I'm planning to buy more if they still have some in November at the Vancouver show. I kick myself for not buying more as I just learned today the company has closed. I've been looking for a Bachmann Spectrum H16-44 priced right so I held onto my money at the time.
Model trains seems to be all about compromise.