That plastic isn't my personal issue with an Ion, it's the rubber on top of the plastic that bugs the **** outa me. It's just hard to clean quickly after a game and keep clean on my shelf. Damned rubber picks up dust quicker 'n a *****.
As for Ted... He doesn't like the Ion platform being picked out as a "nube" gun. I think that it is not, it is merely shoddy SP quality that allows the guns to be made for so cheap. With aftermarket parts and the proper shooter, Ions will hang with the best. The platform that they created is one of the best done to date, and will most likely be one of the more prominent designs in the future. Don't bash the Ion just yet.
In that price range that the PMR's in (not going to read the whole thread).... Alias. Hands down. Best shooting gun for under $300. Save up the extra and bide your time. It will be worth it.
On second thought, wait a while longer than it takes you to raise the money for it. I personally wouldn't trust a 15y/o with one of my Timmies, just how I am, they're far more advanced than a run 'o the mill Spyder. I'd wait until about your birthday, then ask for money to get a gun. About that time, prices will have dropped enough that you can buy the gun and then go playing for your birthday. Your Pilot is more than enough for rec play... I don't use anything more than my Traccer normally when I go rec ballin'.