What would be your concept and take on a general Scout class w/out wilderness and w/out overlapping with the thief?
I wouldn't have one...lol. A thief is already a scout to me especially in dungeons or urban areas. Rangers serve the same function in the Wilderness.
Not per the Rangers and Paladins supplement. And even if Rangers had it, its nothing really exclusive of them.
Well I meant according to how the Ranger is laid out in 1e, Osric, Advanced LL, and Advanced OSE. Rangers have awareness and increased surprise chance.
Not quite true, although 3 of their skills share the same values (Move Silently, Hide, and Listen) the other skills are lower, and due to XP costs the Thief has a slight advantage as he earns levels a tad sooner. But this difference in levels is really small, I would slow down a little the improvement in those 3 skills to further maintain distance.
That could work. I personally would be okay with replacing the thief with the Scout even with the slight XP increase. For me personally I would rather have one or the other.
And a faster XP progress
I realize its only by level 5, but Scouts can do double damage from a distance. Because of this they will more reliably pull it off as opposed to a Thief who still has to get up close and personal. Now if you allow Thieves to have normal backstab progression (x2, x3, x4, x5) then I agree. The XP difference as you mentioned isn't much. And if the Scout is a human as well then they will level pretty quick.