I was a longtime subscriber to RMC (from 1971-1985), and I was wondered how they stack up against each other nowadays
I think you're missing the big picture here, although you did say it in your first paragraph (which I didn't quote). MR is, by design and intent, a General Interest publication that is trying to appeal to hobbyists of all levels. They deliberately shy away from the niche and narrow interest topics, not because they lack the technical expertise, but because they don't believe that there is a broad enough interest.at least in the past, Linn Westcott had articles on innovative electronics including the transistor throttle. While i've seen a couple electronic and Arduino articles in MR, i think they were very poor. MR seems to focus on layout tours and building model structures or detailed rolling stock.
in a recent thread on the MR forum, it was emphasized that readers should write the types of articles they want to read. but my opinion is that the MR staff doesn't understand technology well enough to properly judge, edit and present more technical articles
i'm learring more about model railroading from fellow modelers than from magazines, forums and websites. i think their perspectives come from the NMRA and i recently joined. i let my RMC subscription lapse a few years ago and don't plan on renewing my MR subscription.