Okay, so it doesn't have roller bearing rods. I bought my 5452 for pretty much the same reasons you did. To me, it is the epitome of a working New York Central Hudson. It is a locomotive that has the brutish, beefy look of a working steamer. No false glamour about it, which makes it so interesting. I can just see it on the mainline or in for servicing in all its steamy producing, grimy, blackened glory. As a slightly reformed 3-rail collector, who now likes operation as well, that is enough realism for me to really enjoy this locomotive. We just got in the Mr. Muffins version without the marker lights and I will shortly see how that affects me as a hobbyist as well.
The 5452 may not be totally accurate for the very detail oriented, but it has more than enough realistic looks to stoke my imagination to "see" what it might have been like when Hudsons actually ran on the mainlines of the NY Central.