whacky,

yes, the fp4 has the same 88 key multi-sample as the rd700gx (although i think it's eq'd a little differently 'out the box' as the rd is brighter to my ears).  

however,  you may be missing some of the 'extra' resonance samples such as key off resonance.  unfortunately, i can't remember exactly what extra samples go into the fp4 sound.

having said that if you're using it for gigs, unless you're putting it through one hell of an amplification system i doubt you'd notice those nuances.  the main sample is the same and that's what really counts.

although the fp4 has the same basic action as the rd700 and feels pretty good, you don't get the ivory feel coating on the keys so it doesn't feel as nice to  play.  however, the fp is considerably cheaper so you pays your money and takes your choice!  hope this helps with the decision.

the fp8 is a bit before my time with roland but i have heard the keyboards were notorious for the actions deteriorating with time (not something that applies to newer instruments thankfully). i don't know whether repairs are possible or economical i'm afraid.

all i can suggest is you contact roland us directly and ask them for their advice.  if  you ask a dealer, they'll only ring roland anyway so you may as well cut out the middle man.  i would speak to the service dept here but availability of parts often differs in different countries so it probably wouldn't help.

finally, the v-piano is something else and i think this will be as big a step forward as the move from fm synthesis to sampling - it's that big.

the revolutionary thing about the v-piano is that it doesn't use any samples, the sound is produced totally from  scratch using modelling technology.  roland japan have been working on this for around 15 years or so.

without samples, you don't get looping on long sustained notes or velocity switching so you have a much more responsive and versatile timbral palette and you can edit the sound in all kinds of different ways you couldn't countenance with a sample based engine.  

for example, you can change the material that the strings are made from, adjust the size, shape and hardness of the hammers or alter the size of the cabinet with ease.  you can alter the tunings of individual strings within a single note and do loads of weird and wonderful things.

if you know the specs of famous grand pianos, you can recreate them on the v-piano or you can create grand pianos that don't exist in the real world due to the limitations of the acoustic instrument.  for example, what would it sound like if all the notes on a piano had three strings made of silver?  in the 'real' world,  this is impossible because the cabinet would be huge.

there is also a totally new keyboard action, the phaiii with ivory-feel and escapement and the whole thing just sounds and feels like no digital instrument ever has before.  it is truly astonishing and if you can get your hands on one in a store of something you've got to try it out.

if you thought the rd700gx was good, this will just blow you away.  some other companies have tried to produce software pianos using non-sample technology but it's the whole package of sound and feel that make the v-piano so extraordinary.

hope these answers are of use dr w, let me know which way you go on the fp/rd question.
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