This has been a very interesting thread to read.
I have a mix of vintage, older and new Pelikans, ranging from a 1980s Pelikano I paid five bucks for at a pen show, and my M405 Anthracite Stresemann. I also have a range of nib widths, from EF (the M405 Blue/Black) to OB (the 1950s era 400).
The only pens I really had trouble with were on the M200 Café Cremes. The first one? The B nib had case of baby's bottom -- it skipped no matter what ink I put in it. Okay, fine. $20 to a nibmeister at a pen show fixed that, only then I lost the pen (and another pen, and the case they were in). The second one, I got used on eBay; it had a "wide" nib according to the seller, which turned out to be a firehose of an IM nib -- it was a gusher even with IG ink in the pen. Again, I got it worked on a bit, and also bought a replacement B nib for it (which was tuned on the spot at a pen show while in a different pen so I didn't have to dump the IG ink in the pen). That one seems to have also gone walkabout (although there's a part of me that's still convinced it is somewhere in a tub or crate in my living room, just waiting to be unearthed (the IM nib got put on my other M200, which is from the 1990s, and with 4001 Brilliant Black it worked like a charm after it got worked on a bit; the original nib was an M and it was boring but nothing wrong with it otherwise... and the pen was a gift from a friend so I can't complain).
The other birds? No issues. If you want an eensie weensie line? Yeah, you're not gonna get that from a Pellkan EF nib and should be looking at Japanese pens instead -- but I like how the M405 Blue/Black's EF nib writes. The B nib on my M405 Stresemann? No problems (unlike on the first Café Creme). The F nib on my older M400 Brown Tortoise is very nice -- not what I'd call an F, myself, but beyond that it's very springy and wet. The 1980s Pelikano? It's a nail (forget if it's an F or an M), but a smooth writing nail (honestly it's better than the M nib on the M200 my friend gave me). The 1980s era M100 (I think that's what it is) -- the 1 mm stub works well for stuff like shimmer inks. And the M120 Iconic Blue? Also an M, but very nice writer.
So. 8 out of 9 purchased pens. More than half were "new" as in the last 5-6 years' production, and of those only two had nibs that needed work (and the 1990s era M200 is "meh" but still completely useable). I'd say that two out of nine total needing work was a pretty good batting average, and only 2 out of the five NEW pens had issues bad enough to have the pens worked on. And they were NOT the really expensive ones.
Was I lucky? Maybe.... (I seem to have pretty good luck with not getting bad Noodler's pens as well -- especially after reading some of the complaints about the smell of the "vegetal resin".... ).
I'll admit that I was worried a bit about the two M405s because they are the most expensive pens I own of ANY brand (to the point that when I ordered them the cost flagged something and I got a call from PayPal, going "Did you know that a payment of XXX dollars was sent to a vendor in Europe?" "Why, yes, yes I did. Thank you for calling though...." And sat there after hanging up going "Yikes! I really DID just spend that much money on only TWO pens...." And if there had been a problem I would have been pretty upset -- but both pens write GREAT!
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth