I am debating on which engine to buy..
My other choice is the SUNSET Brass Norfolk & Western K-2A 4-8-2 Locomotive #133.
Thanks for any information.
No brainer. This is the ONLY K2a ever produced. They are beautiful and sound and run great. You can't swing a dead cat by the tail without hitting a J. They are everywhere, and everyone has made them many times. You should be able to get a J whenever, and wherever you want in the future. I cannot promise the same for the K2a. Get it while you can.
I have the Sunset K2a (#137) and three MTH J's (604, 605 (Unshrouded), and 611).
The Lionel 600 and/or 603 would have been wonderful to have, if they had been done correctly. The N&W J's were built in three groups. They were 600-604, 605-610, and 611-613. Early and late valve gear, streamlined and un-streamlined. There were mechanical differences between the first and last J. The 600-603 had Laird valve gear and spoked pilot wheels. The 605-613 had Alligator valve gear and solid pilot wheels. Those are just two differences. A 600 or 603 isn't as simple as a 611 with a different number on the side.
If you're spending $1K+ for a model, make sure it is an accurate representation of the prototype. Otherwise, as mentioned earlier go ahead and pickup a MTH RailKing Imperial J. Not scale, but nice detailing and very affordable.
If I had to choose just one, I'd keep my brass K2a. FWIW, the K2a has no issues with "the stripe". For now, I'm hanging on to all four. Add my Sunset N&W K3 to the mix, and make that five.