I did the Kyosho thing for quite awhile, as I noted, Nexus x 3, Caliber 30 x 3, Caliber 5, Caliber 4, and going back awhile, Concept 30 and Concept 60. Add to that a Kyosho EP 400, and then I modded that to be an EP 400 XP.
If you look back through the Kyosho pages here, you'll see that I was really gung-ho on them, and did what I could to promote them and see that people had a good Kyosho experience. The day that Kyosho announced that the Caliber 30 was discontinued was indeed a sad day here.
The introduction of the Caliber 3, in my opinion, was a horrible mistake. I stated so here a few years back. Dwight Shilling took me to task for that review, but then, the Caliber 3 never made it to prime time here in the states. That should have been a tell-tale clue as to its viability in the market.
When the 4 was announced, I had to buy one, as it seemed this would have all the good characteristics of the Caliber 30, and maybe might just be quite a bit better. I didn't find that to be the case.
The stock Caliber 4 doesn't really have all that much aluminum. Clutch bell and swashplate, that's it. The head is totally plastic, that goofy flybar adds more drag than it should, and overall, I was extremely disappointed in the 4 and its performance. I tried for a couple of years to get it to fly well, but it just never did. I never had a satisfactory flight out of the 4. It was nowhere near as fun to fly as the older Caliber 30.
I see that at one time you could buy the Caliber 4 FT, that cost a bit more, but you DID get additional aluminum -- the head for sure, and that goofy flybar got ditched for the Caliber 30 "standard" flybar. The Caliber 4 FT was very close to being an upgraded Caliber 30 with aluminum in all the right spots, but being an FT, it wasn't necessarily available in the US, and if it were, the cost would be something I'd not have been willing to pay for a 30 sized heli.
I had an OS 37 in mine for power, and had installed a CYE Muscle Pipe for the 37, bought in like new condition here on RR. I ran 30% nitro and found the heli to be just not as much fun as the older Caliber 30 with the same power plant.
My Caliber 5 was also somewhat of a disappointment. I initially liked it, found it to be a very smooth flyer, and it tracked well. But I also found it to be heavy, especially nose-heavy. I think it was that massive bleach bottle canopy that pushed it over the top.
I opted for the EMS (CCPM) linkage from the start. I ran both an OS 50 (non-Hyper), and YS50ST in that heli, with CYE muscle pipes (MP5, as I recall). At the same time I had the 5, I also had an EVO 50. The EVO ended up getting a lot more air time. At least until it met its demise after throwing a tail blade in flight, and a not so smooth autorotation that followed.
Then, I picked up a Trex 600 Nitro Pro to replace the EVO. I hadn't intended to buy the 600, but was looking for something to replace the dead EVO. Wes Gray at Modefo's made me an offer I couldn't refuse. He sent me a Trex 600 Nitro Pro kit, with all the trimmings, at no cost. I was to build it, and fly it. If I liked it, he'd make me a deal on the combo package. If I didn't like it, I could return it to him, and not be out any cash. A real test drive, with no strings attached.
The performance increase of the 600 Nitro Pro over the C5 was unmistakable, and noticeable. The Caliber 5 went up for sale real quick after I got that first Trex 600. Needless to say, I bought that 600, and I've not looked back on the sale of the C5.
My EP 400/EP 400XP experience was also a let-down. The EP 400, in my opinion, was a waste of time, effort, and money. I ran a fairly extensive build thread for that heli here on RR, really trying to make it perform well.
I upgraded it into the XP version, hoping for some improvement, that turned out to be a waste of time, effort, and money, as well. One last experiment with the 400 was my attempt to stretch the boom so it could turn 325 mm blades. The project succeeded, but the head and collective system simply could not handle the additional loading from the lengthened blades. The stretched heli flew poorly. In retrospect, the EP 400 and EP 400 XP came nowhere close to matching the performance of my old TRex 450X and X-V2 with relatively wimpy motors.
That heli still sits in my garage, alongside those original Trex 450X and 450X-V2 choppers. I'd almost be wiling to give it away, just to get it out of my garage. Maybe if someone wanted to pay shipping costs, I'd do just that.
As for the Caliber 90, yes that is a very very nice heli. Just way darned expensive. But Kyosho no longer makes it, it has been picked up by a third party for parts support. Long-term support and supply of kits, I'd think, would be a major concern for a heli whose initial acquisition cost is outrageous.
Once I started flying stuff other than Kyosho, I found what I'd been missing with regard to performance and flyability. My current fleet is all Align Trex. It kind of evolved that way.
Yes, you can never have enough helis, with that I agree. My gallery and current list of helis attests to that. Though at present, it's dominated by Align products, it doesn't have to be. Future additions to that fleet? Well, I'd give the Fury 55 and the Furion 6 a real close look, as I would the Synergy N5 and the Raptor X50. If I had the money and the place to put them all, I'd probably add all four to my fleet. My old 9303 transmitter still has a lot of open model memories to fill.
I understand your desire to fly Kyoshos, and have nothing against doing so. But where I once was a Kyosho advocate, the Kyosho shine, at least for me, has dimmed quite a bit. With Kyosho all but abandoning the heli market for good, I can't really continue to recommend them, however.
I think the recent Miniature Aircraft ads say much the same as you -- that helicopter development is no longer seeing major technological advances, there is only so much one can do to design a rotor head, drive train, and tail rotor system. Materials have changed. Adding the ability to run without a flybar with the current crop of electronics has added a new dimension to flying, but overall, the helicopter seems to have been refined to the point where it will take some magic innovation to make something radically new and exciting.
* Making the World Better -- One Helicopter at a time! *