Don't get me wrong, I have some nice cars and engines I have bought used also a few I have kit bashed or repainted and recoupled for a certain projects, but I wish now I had acquired most of my cars and engines new and in sets. I will tell you why. I bought a lot of cars and some engines on ebay, at shows and train shops that sell used stuff from estates sells, ect. At the time I didn't have a layout or a real solid idea of what I wanted to build when I did make a layout. I find now I have a lot of mismatched cars, cars and engines that are junk or have problems and just a load of items I have no use for. For example, sometime this winter I bought and F7 A&B unit in C&O colors to pull and passenger train. I also bought a number of A units that, being made by different makers had some paint and decal variations and I had to do some repainting. The A&B unit I find today is junk, the engine is trashed. Fortunately I was able to swap shells on the A unit and coupler on the B unit and once the glue sets on the shell it make run OK. I have 2 dozen coal hoppers and about 8 of those need serious work to operate with the others and so it goes. Now I wish I had bought a couple of sets of hoppers with consecutive numbers in 6 pack like Walthers for example. I wish I bought better engines. I have two old steamers that wont run worth a plug nickel I got cheap on ebay. You truly get what you pay for and being in the hobby a long time I should have been wiser but naturally wanted something for nothing. . Spending a $100- $175 or more I would have but several steamers that I would have been happy with. I do have some that came from my local shop however and they give me no trouble and I do have some nice ones I actually bought on ebay Some of those I tested with a transformer and two hot wires but not on a track. That doesn't tell you a lot. I do enjoy projects and I love to paint and make kits, kit bash and weather them, still not all my stuff is junk but I could have shopped wiser. The point is buy the best and plan your purchases and you will be happier and thriftier in the long run. Expect to get the quality you pay for is my creed now.