I finally got around to taking the paper and other wrappers off of the electronics tube, and there seems to be a manufacturing defect - I'll post a picture, but it's a small dark occlusion seemingly embedded in the acrylic, and there's a corresponding small dimple in the surface. I'm wondering if anyone else has seen such a flaw, and whether folks think it poses a risk when the tube is under pressure. Other than that, I finally got it together enough to plug it in, and it booted up right away!
Weird. Yes, do post a picture. Also, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get you a new one.
Here's a photo of the flaw. It's definitely "in" the acrylic. That is, the inner and outer surfaces of the tube are perfectly smooth, and the edges of the little black thing can't be felt. Seems likely some little bit that was incorporated during manufacture? If it was just the little bit, I wouldn't be worried necessarily about failure, but there is a noticeable ripple of sorts - it's sort of visible in the photo.