While catalog pictures can be deceiving as they are sometimes computerized drawings, the new Lionel catalog shows what looks like actual photographs of the J3A Hudsons, and the gap between engine and tender is fairly large. I understand it has to be a certain distance to accommodate minimum diameter curves - O54 in the Hudson's case (otherwise front of tender collides with rear of locomotive cab). However Lionel has a technology called "kinematic drawbar" that works quite well - my Legacy S3 locomotive has it and it seems fairly strait-forward Since whistle steam is now almost standard feature on scale Legacy steamers, is it too much of a stretch to install kinematic drawbar on new releases as well? Or, include an extra drawbar that allows close coupling, am not sure if that's feasible given wireless technology though.
Maybe others are not as bothered as the gap as I am, and frankly, I am not a bona-fide rivet counter. For some reason the gap is a sore spot with me, perhaps because when I see photographs and videos of steam locomotives, they don't have a large gap (nor do they run on 3-rails but that's another matter I've even replaced the stock drawbars on my PS3.0 engines with the shortest one possible.