There's another choice. Just today I recieved a new catalog from Garret Wade, and someone there is paying attention. There hasn't been much choice for those wanting to purchase a new handplane. It's pretty much been either the Stanley/Record planes with the elegant plastic handles or the Lie-Nielsen models with the cherry handles. They are a couple of hundred bucks and more apart. Now comes someone here in the US stocking the Clifton line of Bailey-pattern planes, priced about in the middle. The #3, 4, and 5 are $199 apieceach. They appear to be worth a look.
They claim them to be "far superior" to the Stanley/Record tools. The level of finish appears to be much better than the S/R, and the price is about midway between the S/R and L-N. They say the frog is the "fully machined Bedrock-style." They are heavy! The #5 is 6 lbs--about 20% heavier than the #5 S/R. They have the #'s 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Sorry, no corrugated soles.
I have an old Stanley #4 with a Clifton iron/cap iron, and can say that they are wondrous. I like it better than the Hock I have in a #5. If someone buys one, I'd sure like to hear your impressions. Oh--the Clifton's handles are Bubinga, and I don't own stock in any of these outfits.