MakerBot support is great. Quick responses, great information, and very helpful. They are sending me the missing filament guide tube, even though I have a usable replacement, and all my other problems are currently resolved.
I do think the extruder mechanism is flawed. A spring loaded version is available for user modification and I will likely attempt the modification soon.
I've had a few problems with PLA not sticking to the platform, but I have not yet tried using blue tape on the platform, and I need to re-level the build platform. Mark that up to user error and the learning process.
More to come as I get more experience with the printer.