There's much to be said for scratchbuilding. It's sort of the high watermark of the hobby. A "High Watermark" is defined as the highest level of achievement or the apex.
The thing is, Joe (the builder of these wonderful items) probably hasn't hit that point yet. Every time I speak with him he's learning something new or he aspires to learn something new OR I better be telling him something new.
All the info I have and anyone can give is grist for his ideas. What I genuinely respect about him is his open mind and ability to put ideas into tin. I can't do that. I would like to though. I watch the O Gauge Tinplate Boards and forums. I see newbies that desperately want items that take a long time to acquire or are just too expensive. One the many actions several generations took before us is that when they couldn't get something they wanted, they built it themselves. If you can't find a 400E or cars you like, fine. We'll make them ourselves. I guess that Joe is damn good inspiration. Maybe I can head out West and he can teach me more than I know now (diddly).