I tested the R/C circuit with a few different types of capacitors and 4013s. Actually, the 4013 that I had been using was SGS and tonight I tested with a Motorola one. Of course, one expects them to work the same, but I needed to try it to make sure. The yellow capacitor that is in the circuit is one that I picked up last week: a fancy poly cap that isn't truely a precision capacitor, but it is rated at +/- 1%. The black boxy one sitting next to the bread board is +/- 10%. The green one is the one I have been using and is also +/- 10%.
The difference between the two images above is the position of the gimble. Turning the LED on when using the 1% capacitor takes 1 click at the center of the throw. When I use the black box capacitor, it takes 2 clicks about 2/3 up in the throw. When using the green capacitor, it takes 2 clicks at the center. After 1 click from off, the lower precision capacitors flicker. Of course, in real action, I'll use the switch (top left of the controller), but the gimble adjustment seems like a good test to see where the circuit is sensitive.
I feel good about the reliability of the circuit and parts availability, so it is time to solder a version together and test the first circuit with some higher current. The yellow capacitors are expensive at 30 cents each, but not prohibitively expensive - I think that I'll start with those and I'll use the Motorola 4013 since I have more of those than the SGS. The firing mechanism is currently using an IRF 531, which are locally available, so I'll be putting that into the initial prototype.