I'm looking for a modeling amp for practice (under 500 dollars). I'm thinking either a Roland Cube, or if those are utter crap, I'll just indulge in a Valvetronix. But it would be nice to just go for a Cube. I mean, I'm not looking for tube tone here, just a diverse range of sounds for noodling in my room.
Cube is good, or a line 6 flexitone.
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They're both good. I'd say the Roland Cube 30X or the Vox AD30 - what types of music are you into? The Cube is great for most anything including Metal - the Vox isn't that great for Metal but has some sweet sounds for everything else.

I'd buy a MicroCube and a DA-5 and have the best of both worlds!
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get the da-5 over the microcube. Honestly for anything less than metal its much better. You can tweak alot where as the MC cant.
Cubes are the least versatile of all the modellers. It does a fizzy modern metal tone decently and has a decent if sterile clean sound. All the in betweens are just bland and dull. The Vox Valvetronix is probably the most versatile, I liked a lot of the sounds I got from it.

The Flextone's quite nice but it is by nature a pretty grainy sounding amp, and struggles with high gain stuff.
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You may need some patience, but you might get lucky with an older Line 6 Vetta combo w/o the longboard, but it would take some serious waiting. If you need it fairly soon, I would say Flextone, or try to find a used/talk down a Spider Valve. Maybe a Vox, but I feel the others are a bit above it in sound quality. The Spider Valve is good due to the headroom the tubes makes and the fact it brings the sound quality alive, though the presets suck and the effects leave a bit to be desired. The Vetta is obviously the best of the bunch, but are going to be very sparse at that price. The Flextone is a good medium of all the features. The Vox seem pretty nice as well, but I've heard of minor reliability problems (same goes for the initial shipment of Spider Valves too) and it's effects lack the depth of the others. On the lowest end of the spectrum, the Cube is very versatile, and probably the best built. It's tones are a bit median between what you find. As a plus, I've noticed they take active pickups well, but the EQ range seems slightly lacking.
The Vox can cover a larger range than the Cube, IMO. The low gain models on the Cube lack warmth and dynamics, while the high gain models on the Vox are said to be a little lacking in, well, gain. I don't find that to be the case, but then again, I play blues, so whatever.

Flextones are good too.