Blah. So that's that.
I have a feeling that I may need Judo to have strong Aikido.
Here's something to think about
: Ueshiba and most of his top students had experience in other arts prior to training in aikido. Some trained judo, sumo, etc. Ueshiba himself trained in several styles of jujitsu before making aikido. I may be way off here (I've never trained in aikido), but to get to a high level of aikido where it can be applied easily, training in a harder style and experience with fully resisting opponents might be needed.
I agree with what Monty Collier said about first learning to grapple at close range (on the ground and in the clinch), and then branching outwards. It is a lot easier to close the distance than it is to maintain it.