I hope this doesn't come across as confrontational. It's not meant to be. If you want a 29er then go for it, but I'd have to say that your list of what you want and what you are prepared to give up just reads like a list of what you think will be the pros and cons of a 29er, but doesn't really fit in with your other comments. For example, your opening statement was that it must be Fun with a capital F, but then you say that you are happy to sacrifice playfulness.
Heh! No, it came across as the usual STW fault picking. But you're right - there is an element of contradiction in there. What I could have phrased better is that there are more 'aggressive' 29ers out there now, which is probably where I'd be looking - a midway point between a down-and-out XC hardtail and something with 'freeride' in the name - that's where the Fun comes in, and where I think the PA fits perfectly. However, I do think bigger wheels here on the sarf coast are probably a better tool for the job, which is where the 29er comes in. But, and there is a but, I have and still do aim to get an 'all mountain / enduro' susser to replace the one sold a while back, as I do go riding in bigger mountains, as well as play at places like Aston Hill (and there's some fun tracks round this way too). To me it makes sense to have a bike that works well locally, and one for when the local bike would realistically be out of its depth.
Re. changing wheel size, believe me - I've thought about it. Lord knows I have enough spare 26" tyres to make it something not undertaken lightly.
Is the PA 29er available now?
Not yet according to the website, although I have yet to whisper sweet things to Mike. Only problem is the better half has a PA - it could be a little his n' hers...
Keep the brodie and buy one of the cheap Scandal/Inbred builds on On-One?
That's a proper good idea, certainly until I can shift the kit on the Brodie onto something that bounces at both ends.
Well, it sounds like my local riding and preserve few are much like yours. I've got a Buzzard and I'm 100% confident it's more 'fun' than the more XC-orientated alternatives (I have an SS Inbred 29er for that stuff).
Not one I knew about, but the Buzzard does look a bit good...