With all the searching and studying it came down to just going for the real thing.... a post-bed, wheel-feed machine. The Cowboy 8810 is one of a series made in China that has a lot of user development baked into it (or so the net says.)
This type of machine is primarily for shoes & accessories only. It came with a low speed servo motor because that's the only way you can control the stitch path to the degree necessary for shoes.
Wheel feed means that both the upper and lower wheels are gear driven; the "presser wheel" is not just holding the material against the lower wheel but is driven in sync with it. There are machines with just a lower driven wheel and a friction on top, and you can get a presser foot with wheels on it for your home machine but nothing matches this arrangement for control. I love it!
I picked this up directly from Bob in Toledo a great guy to work with.