Model kit hierarchy and heritage


I like to build models. I enjoy researching prototypes and seeing how close to the prototype a kit is. I plan on progressing to the point I can replace ladders, steps, roof walks, trucks and wheels with prototypical details. Also, I want to add details like brake rigging and pipes, air hoses, cut levers, etc. I have amassed a large number of HO kits. They include:
Front Range
E&B Valley
Walthers (white box and red? Box)
Life Like Proto 2000
Branchline Blueprint series
Roundhouse (blue box and yellow box)
Train Miniature Industries? TMI
E&C shops
C&BT Shops
Central Valley
Kadee Lines
The Cliff Line
Prototype Modeler
I can see significant differences in detail and overall quality between brands. However, I also see similarities in things like detail sprues and offerings.
First, is there a general consensus on the quality of these brands? I can see wide differences in skill required and quality of things like painting and lettering.
Are any of these brands descendants of other brands, listed or not? I found one thread discussing one brands genealogy and just today there was a post that mentioned company A using company B's molds to produce new copies of a detail part under company A's brand.
Has time produced better quality products? I.E. are the newer brands better than the brands they succeeded.
For now the craftsman brands:
Ambroid, Central Valley, Kadee Lines, The Cliff Line and Prototype Modeler
have been set aside until I've developed better modeling skills assembling the plastic kits. This is a lot to ask in one post. If there are posts that already answer any of my questions, please feel free to direct me there.
Keith Kempster
Jacksonville, FL

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