I've been waiting for what seems like an eternity for Lionel to finally produce a true to scale 4-4-0! I've read all of the above discussions regarding the lack of smoke a sound from the engine. It is very obvious, that many on this site lack the knowledge needed to discuss such a subject in any detail, yet they elect to pipe in the loudest regarding their notion of perceived short comings.
Of those who believe Lionel could use HO boards and sounds in a O Gauge model can't be serious. Those boards aren't designed to carry the loads that an O gauge model would need to operate the functionality you so desire nor the sound system you are seeking. Also have you ever looked at a REAL 4-4-O and compared it to late 40's engine? If so you would have noted how much smaller these machines were than their more modern counterpart. And in O Scale they will look more like something between S Scale and HO. Thus the available space for electronics' is severely limited.
Lionel indeed could have spent a lot more money on the project trying to squeeze everything in, but would you be will to pay for the significantly increased product development costs? I think not. From what I've seen of their product presentation it looks like to me that they've spent a great deal of time and energy in developing a true scale model of these two iconic locomotives. Many kudos to them for taking on such a project.
I look forward to seeing these and picking one up as they will look great on a layout. The inclusion of "brass" piping and detail is a huge plus in my book. They've tried to capture the look and feel of the actual machine from a long ago era.
Good going Lionel, and don't pay any heed to the naysayers on this website. Just keep up the good work you are doing.
Think and act positively and good things will come to pass. This is true for all things in life.