John Mel told me once in reference to Skil Planers and anyone who is or wants to become a serious shaper; "Who wouldn't spend $1000 for a good tool". There are other alternatives for beginners and people who just do the occasional board. Lots of Pros use the Hitachi usually because that is what they got started with originally and what they are familiar with and comfortable with. The Hitachi has been in use a long time and for plastic, gets the job done. I own two of them and one of them has seen a lot of use. The other has never been used. If I were starting over and had 100 or so blanks shaped under my belt done with the Hitachi; I would be looking for a Skil. It's kind of a natural progression. If I couldn't find one somewhere for less and R'n'R it. I would consider a "bite the bullet" $1000 Skil 100, 676 or 190 that someone else had taken care of and kept up.
That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.