I definitely would not call the Wagner IC sub par junk. TBH I never considered the Helix when looking for ICs as it was out of my price range. The difference between the Helix and the Wagner is similar to Porsche vs. BMW. I dont really look at them as the same level of product. That being said I am happy with the cheaper option knowing it won't perform like a Porsche.
Have you every considered manufacturing a slightly cheaper FMIC that allows the use of stock plumbing and removes some of the bells and whistles of the current Helix FMIC? I think that would be a direct competitor to the Wagner IC. I dont see the Wagner being a competitor to the Helix. It isn't as good but it is 90+% there for 60-70% the cost.