I've got an 18" Elliott, I love it, and wherever I can, I use it in preference to my turret mill for removing metal. I haven't done anything like make splines etc, it gets used for jobs like making stock for tee nuts, hogging off metal, making plate flat etc.
So far, every job I've done has been held in the vise - so you'll need one of those. I paid €140 for the machine, with vise.
I'll often set it going and then do something else. Dead cheap to run - the tools were ex-jumble sale 1" x 5/8" lathe tools. It runs quiet, and can produce a very good finish - certainly adequate for what I want.
I think it weighs around 1,000Kg.
I certainly wouldn't have wanted a smaller one, if a bigger one had come along when I was looking, I'd have gone for it. For a shaper to run quietly and smoothly, you need the weight. You just need to have the space.
You can do small stuff on a big machine, but you can't do big stuff on a small machine...
All of the gear, no idea...