I applaud your decision: when I installed my first cut lever (properly, "uncoupling device" -- OK, I said it) on an STMFC, I never looked at the end of a car the same way again -- cars look naked without them -- even though for some years I didn't always install them. (I do now.)
I don't think there was a "standard" cut lever, at any time in the universe of this group; although I think it's true that in general, top-operated cut levers were more common on cars built before 1940, and bottom-operated thereafter. Carmer cut levers competed with top-operated until about 1930. But to model a specific car correctly, there's no substitute for a photo of the end. (A 3/4 side view will do, if it shows the cut lever. That's left side from the B end, or right from the A end.)
It used to upset me that there are no commercially-available top-operated cut levers, until I realized that they can be modelled (as you rightly point out) with two eye bolts and an appropriately bent wire. Cut levers come in a variety of shapes: match yours to your prototype. It's nothing anyone can't do with pliers. They get fancier post-1960: but that's for another group.
"Whiskers" on model couplers, being inside the draft-gear box, make no difference to the way I install cut levers. For a top-operated cut lever, the inboard eye bolt is on the end of the car above the draft-gear box; for a bottom-operated cut lever, this eye bolt is on the bottom of the draft-gear box, but I put it on the left side, so the eye-bolt stem goes into the side of the box (vertically): it doesn't enter the box nor interfere with the "whiskers". Not sure if this makes sense.
I too like Hi-Tech brake hoses.
Many members of this group are far more knowledgeable than I. I defer to them.
Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.