thanks! just in case our models are different, mine's a "DT-ATV36" although i highly doubt they are different. i forgot the firmware i started with before i installed, but i later flashed the walmart firmware (from the factory images provided in this post), so thats what it is for me right now.
I checked another wade device. It had been in storage and had older firmware installed.
It did have problems running recovery, both by direct boot or if flashed. Best I could tell, it was the particular dtb installed that would allow recovery to boot/run or not
Better to just wait for the real build since it's being worked on presently.