Thanks Dsavitsk for the desoldering advice, i had been using flux when i was struggling, but it was a no-clean flux and didn't seem to work the best with the braid i had - which already had rosin flux in it.
I got some liquid rosin flux and some fresh braid, followed your advice and was all done in 5 minutes. Orders of magnitude easier than the struggle before.
Replacement transformer for the faulty one was received today, thanks Tom.
Another torpedo complete and ready for launch...
In case someone was going to ask, the little blue parafeed caps there are 4.7uF jantzen standard z-cap (about $3.70 from partsexpress)
otherwise a pretty much standard bom.
A point that other builders might find useful is that all hardware I used is M3-0.5, so those from countries where metric is more readily available that's a good option - it will have about 5% less wiggling room that #4 screws, but all the holes line up good so that extra leeway didn't seem to be needed. If tapping the front/rear panel holes for M3 though you will need to enlarge the holes with the correct pilot drill.
The tubes in the pic are GE 6J6s, the left one though had a bad case of electron tubicus microphonicus
change the volume, piiiiiiing! click my mouse, piiiiiing! tap my foot on the ground, piiiiing! tap the case, piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!
And Tom, don't worry about it mate, got plenty of others.
So swapped in my 5844s. Man this amp sounds epic with MSpros. Sounds good with other cans too ;)
Not going to try and say too much without spending more time with it.
I'll try to get some good pics next week.