I have a set of Baldwin Sharks that cames as Aluminum sand castings. I sanded on the bodies on and off for at least 5 years before I finally assembled the shells. Origianllhy I powered them AHM power trucks from their foray into O. Then I repowered them about 8-10 years ago with weaver single motor (original) drives.
The castings are thick and the detail a little crude, but they paint up into a recognizable loce.
Jan offered a lot of kits and they were definitely craftsman - skilled craftsman. You may have heard the story of the guy opening kit from so and so and there was block of brass and a file. A single instruction said, "file away anything that does not look like a K4". While that was said long before Locomotive workshop, and is an exaggeration, His kits were real kits.
I have seen a few of the diesel kits with etched brass bodies. The etchings were nice but the brass was not formed. For example the Alco RS1 kit I looked had all the hood and cab parts as flat brass sheets that you formed youself.
On the other hand they were buildable. A friend purchased a Steam 4-4-0 kit and built it. It ran pretty well and looked ok. It was not a museum piece but would fit with any of the brass from 60s and 70s.