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Haha, wow, Red Tips RULE!

I ordered an SS Red Tip for $12 shipped on Ebay, and it turned out to be in rather poor shape- handle full of shaving schmutz, rust, bad plating/paint... I gave it a boiling and a round of Simichrome polishing and it looked ok... Still a little miffed that the seller's pics had not represented the razor well, but it wasn't an expensive mistake.

I did a fast in-shower shave with it this morning (I used Cetaphil for lubrication... I know, I know... ;) and wow, it really shaves like a million bucks! It even grabbed some hair WTG, which is almost a no-go on all my other razors. Very smooth, considering I had a nice shave in about two minutes with inferior lather.

It's tripping me out how different my Merkur HD, 40s SS, Gem Jr and this razor shave, even with the same blades. I've got to say, the HD is just not thrilling me anymore.

Now, if I could only learn how to get a close shave with the Gem without hacking my face to bits...
Got my first Red Tip 2 days ago. I'm pretty impressed. I have a nondescript all silver flare tip SS I got about 6 months ago and I remain totally unimpressed by that. But this has more heft, a much better knurling/grip, and actually cuts whiskers. I'm pretty happy with it.
NickedUp meets his first Red Tip;

I'm in.
Like you OP, my first one was a bit of a rip off. I paid $16 for it and it has very worn paint and some water marking on the doors.
The next one was a cased version with 99% of the paint there, and only cost the same price as the first one.
I use the worn one to shave with though, so all is good.
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