Yes, agreed, however my benchmark is realism from top to bottom, not an attempt to compare older with newer models, and as its only recently that EU brands are embracing reasonable wheel look and quality, my personal benchmark is only recently being achieved.
My comment was specific to that FLM illustration - to each his own of course, but to me, the coupler gap was far less abhorrent than the very nasty wheels!
Re Bachmann, yes, of course, but the re-endergising and total retooling of the chinese production capabilites made the change possible: Over many years I've visited those factories before and after, and they are now aa totally different level of facility and expertise... with a different professionalism and pride in results
Brawa did indeed do lots of quirky and mediochre stuff, I have owned some of it over the years...but again, Brawa now and then are different in attitude to the market - I have no doubt it was a change they had to make to stay afloat in a growing sea of ever improving product - but their position is now consciously high end, and that appeals to me.
Comparing similar HO scale prototypes, I'd say that among those I have handled in the main they are significantly better models plus finer detail and more of it - not merely good.
Importantly to me, Brawa is at least now consistent with their product release quality level... It still appears to me most EU brands just dabble with excellence whilst maintaing a mass of "average to good" offerings.
If this trend accelerates and RP25 or hopefully finer becomes the norm, then it means not having to re-wheel my fledgling fleet of EU loc'os, and that appeals greatly - encouraging me positively towards EU modelling at long last... I don't mind doing it but I already have enough high quality UK 4mm and NZ S scale kits to build to last two lifetimes!