Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: Noodler's Konrad Flex Fountain Pen - Hawaiian Tortoise @JetPens

I took the plunge and got a Noodler's Konrad flex fountain pen from JetPens. My third Noodler's fountain pen. And this time, I was really hoping this one would actually work. (If you interact with me personally, you probably know I have two Noodler's flex fountain pens and neither of them work, despite my best efforts. I have tried everything under the sun to get them to work.) I thought, there was no way this one won't work. Peeps. Let's just say from now, I'm super happy. Now on to the pen.

ABOUT

Brand: Noodler's
Model: Konrad
Body Material: Plastic
Trim: Chrome coloured
Origins: India
Length (capped): 13.0 cm
Length (uncapped nib-end): 12.6 cm
Length (posted): 13.4 cm
Barrel Diameter: 12.0 mm
Section Diameter: 10.5 mm
Nib type: #6
Nib material: Steel
Weight: 15g
Barrel design: Round
Fill type: Piston
Price:$20.00USD
Where to buy: JetPens

PACKAGING
Noodler's Konrad Flex Fountain Pen
Simple Noodler's style packaging - arrived in a plastic sleeved, wrapped in Noodler's info paper, placed inside a cardboard box with artwork on it. For the price, I don't mind terribly, and because I rarely keep the boxes for my pens anymore, I prefer less packaging. Less waste, less resources. The pen arrives safely and without damage.Don't expect much from the packaging!

APPEARANCE
Noodler's Konrad Flex Fountain Pen Uncapped
Shape-wise, the Noodler's Konrad fountain pen isn't a bad looking pen at all. The pen has a classic style and shape with blunt ends, a metal center band and clip, and features a piston-filling mechanism. The screw-off blind cap can be removed to reveal the piston-turning knob.
Noodler's Konrad Flex Fountain Pen Blind Cap Removed
What is going to catch your eye with this Hawaiian Tortoise Konrad is the smooth, colourful body - a yellow/orange/gold mixture, which also goes as dark as a deep amber, of translucent plastic with a clear ink window. It varies from translucent to opaque but it's quite interesting and there are many colours to choose from.
Noodler's Konrad
Noodler's Konrad
Noodler's Konrad
NIB & PERFORMANCE

For starter's, one should always flush a new Noodler's fountain pen before use, so I did that. Afterwards, I inked up with Noodler's Apache Sunset. I knew the pen would write for a few lines at least because it had just been inked, but after my previous experiences, I was expecting it would run dry and just never write again.THIS DID NOT HAPPEN!

For the love of St. Nibbius, it actually writes!!! I didn't even have to tweak the nib (although I will to make it a touch wetter). There is some feedback and is fairly fine but flexes well - not a soft flex - it does require decent pressure to flex. Consistent ink flow, and with slow and steady pressure, ink flow keeps up with the nib's flexing capabilities. For me, it was well worth the $20 risk. This pen lays down a good, solid line, even without any tweaking, and the wetness is quite decent without pressure. The nib snaps back quickly to its original position after flexing. 

The piston operates very smoothly and easily. No issues there. 
Noodler's Konrad Flex Fountain Pen Writing Sample
IN HAND

This pen is light and comfortable to use. It has good balance and isn't particularly slippery at the grip section or sharp at the threads during use. It is well weighted both posted and unposted, though I prefer to use it unposted. It posts well, which I appreciate and I'm sure a lot of other users will appreciate. I gave the pen a good test run and wrote extensively with it - no issues with ink flow keeping up and no issues with hand fatigue. I was most pleased.
Noodler's Konrad
PROS
  • Piston-filling pen (for only $20!)
  • Good ink capacity.
  • Easy maintenance - easy to take apart and put back together, even as a new user.
  • Affordable.
  • Many colours available.
  • Ebonite feed. Can be heat set to fit various nibs. 
  • Lovely line variation!
Noodler's Konrad Flex Fountain Pen Writing Sample
CONS
  • Some units may require tweaking to achieve optimal performance. May be difficult for new users. (But there are many, many tutorials and guides online on how to do this!)
  • Nib needs to be broken in with use before becoming a softer flex.
  • Pen must be flushed before use to remove machining oils. If you don't do this, chances are your pen won't write properly. 
  • They do have that strange smell. Smell will fade or a few washings should help it wear off. 
OVERALL

I was hesitant to try the Noodler's Konrad flex fountain pen and I am most happy that I finally took the plunge on it. The pen is not as translucent as I had expected, but it's a very nice swirly colour that is growing on me daily, and more importantly, it actually works. It offers decent line variation and the ink flow can actually keep up! Not bad for $20, not bad at all. If you can spare $20, I would recommend you pick one (or if you have $40, pick up another in a different colour), and try it out. Give one to a friend. JetPens offers a variety of colours, if Hawaiian Tortoise doesn't strike your fancy. These are good pens to try out flexible nibs and flex handwriting - affordable and easy to get!

11 comments:

youstruckgold said...

Great revue as usual! Just bought some Apache Sunset myself and you're right (of course) great shading, great fun!

Azizah Asgarali said...

Thank you! Oh what a lovely combo these two are! I can't wait to see what you put your Apache Sunset in - you have a goooorgeous selection to work with :)

howie86 said...

nib adjusting...did yours write well right out of the box?

youstruckgold said...

lol. Thankyou.

Da said...

Not bad, one in 4. Lovely pen. If it writes. Love the nib. Love the grip/ pen in hand. I have zero from three working. I shan't try a fourth.

Azizah Asgarali said...

LOL yeah, great odds, huh? Finally lucked out. It's so comfortable, such a nice pen. I would honestly pay more for it if I knew each one would actually WORK.

Azizah Asgarali said...

No nib adjusting was needed whatsoever on this one - it was perfectly set up. I didn't remove the nib and feed when I flushed it. Aside from flushing it, I did nothing to prepare it.

howie86 said...

Thank you! Regarding the flush, just water? These pens are tempting to me because I favor piston fillers, and am just getting into the flex nibs. The color schemes also look enticing. My concern was the quality control I had read about.

Azizah Asgarali said...

I understand - I was and still am concerned about that, but the Konrads seem to be relatively safe a risk. I flushed with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. If you have household ammonia, you can add a few drops of that as well. I was too lazy to dig mine out, but if the pen gave trouble, I would have gotten it out.

howie86 said...

Thanks!

kb said...

all mine get pressure locked when i try to use them. i wish Noodler would make some fixed nibs that feed an entire piston full of ink. then the air gets in and dries and discolors your ink. i love the piston, size, posting, and everything else. if only we could get an Esterbrook nib unit into this pen we would have something that works. you can hobble along for awhile by moving your piston forward as you use the ink, but that is a poor solution. might as well get a file after the feed and bleed channels. this pen could be the Esterbrook of its time with a line of fixed nibs that worked. the rollerball with the serpentine vent does no better. same deal. lots of kits for turners and converters have the same issues. 3 noodler pens plus a Ben Franklin gets you a Lamy 2000 that works.

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