It's always the little things, isn't it?
Big first stage engine loss? No problem--we've engine out. Stuck thruster with not much more thrust than a can of Aqua-Net hairspray--you're done (almost).
That was one of the reasons that I am so impressed with footage like this:
That thing is rock
-steady in hover, something a KKV isn't even supposed to do--support it's own weight on a column of thrust. That's what billions can buy
Now compare that with Carmak's contraptions.That is what millions buy.
Small craft can be very hard to control, what with the computer often faster than the plumbing, as it were. Rather like getting your shower perfectly between scalding hot and freezing cold.
Energia had time to gimbal even with dead-weight Polyus on its side. The smaller something is, the easier it is to get out from under you.