HLW engines and rolling stock are vey durable. I have yet to hear anything negative about them. I currently have the Big John and Mack. I also have a few flat cars, mini series log cars and a caboose. They are very easy to kitbash. They are not as detailed as Bachmann but they are much more durable and you can easily detail them. I am a hudge fan of HLW products bth for quality and price.
Big John with HLW flats repainted.
HLW mini series log cars with LGB porter, all repainted
HLW caboose (Still have to repaint ect...)
HLW flat mini series. (Currently being made into a small tender for my porter.
HLW mini series gondala converted into a tender (Currently my snow plow)
HLW gondola (was tender)
This just give you an idea of what can be done for very little money