Friday, November 17, 2017

Serious Nibbage Visconti Millenium Arc Moonlight Green

Thank you to Appelboom for lending us this pen for review! Reviews, writing samples, and previous Serious Nibbage episodes can be found on the Fountain Pen Reviews page and Serious Nibbage page!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: Rotring ArtPen Calligraphy Set @GoldspotPens

Thanks to Goldspot Pens, a current sponsor, for sending this ArtPen calligraphy set over for review! It's been a popular request so I'm pleased I can finally fulfill it!
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ABOUT

Body material: Plastic
Trim: Metal
Cap: Snap on
Posts: No
Nib material: Steel
Filling system: Standard international cartridge/converter/eyedropper for the brave
Length (capped): 178.55 mm/7.03"
Length (uncapped): 166.80 mm/6.57"
Length (posted): N/A
Length (section): 34.36 mm/1.35"
Diameter (barrel): 8.54 - 10.82 mm/0.34" - 0.43"
Diameter (section): 5.29 - 11.71 mm/0.21 - 0.46"
Weight (all): 14 g
Weight (cap): 4 g
Weight (body):  10 g
Price: ON SALE $48.05 USD!
Where to buy: Goldspot Pens
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PACKAGING

The ArtPen Calligraphy set is conveniently packaged and presented in a plastic case with a black cardboard sleeve. The sleeve has the Rotring logo, Germany 1928, and the product name on it, along with pen details on the back. The plastic case has a lift lid and comes with a box of Rotring ink cartridges, a paper pamphlet with minimal information, a full ArtPen, and two additional nib units with caps.
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The packaging is simple and useful. It does not waste space and offers a convenient way to store and/or carry your ArtPen Calligraphy set. 

APPEARANCE

The ArtPen is not the most stunning pen on the planet. I'm not wild about the design, to be honest, but it isn't hideous. It has a long barrel and is shaped like a desk pen. The cap has a flat top and the pen tapers all the way to the end of the barrel. The top of each cap has white rings with black stickers on them, indicating three nib sizes - 1.5, 1.9, 2.3. The clip is attached through a very small clean cut out in the cap. It is a long, thin clip with a rounded end and it's engraved with Rotring at the top. The barrel has Rotring ArtPen painted on in white. The end of the barrel has a white plug.
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When capped, there is a red plastic ring in between the cap and barrel, hence Rotring (red ring). The section is long, tapering slightly towards the nib and it has raised rings covering the whole thing. It's a simple design.

NIB & PERFORMANCE

The nibs are stainless steel in three sizes: 1.5 mm, 1.9 mm, and 2.3 mm. They feel like stubs as they are quite smooth and the edges are not sharp (like an italic). They each have a single slit, no breather hole, and are engraved with Rotring and the nib size.

I like these nibs. They're enjoyable to practice calligraphy with. They are smooth, assuming you keep the nib aligned with the paper, and they are medium wet, so suitable for regular writing and practicing with. Typically with calligraphy practice, one writes on the slower side so the ink flow can keep up with the demand. Fast writing is not ideal with these nibs, not only because of ink flow but because it's hard to keep them properly aligned with the page. Line variation is obvious from the shape of the nibs - thin side strokes and wider downstrokes. The lines are clean and distinct, but smooth enough on the edges for even new users to be comfortable with. I like crisp edges so I wouldn't mind some more tooth and bite, but it still serves me well for calligraphy. The nibs can be a little skippy on coated/smooth paper, which can be annoying, but overall they perform well.
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I like the idea of the nib units and caps - this helps keep things cleaner and prevents drying out if you are switching between nibs. One downside is the red plastic ring on the section is loose - it can (and will) fall off your additional sections. Funny design choice! That's not a deal breaker for me, though.

I would love to have three converters included in the set and a starter calligraphy guide (like that found in the Pilot Parallel calligraphy pen) to really complete the set. The cartridges work fine and if you settle on a nib, you can use the ArtPen as an eyedropper, but I like converters. 

IN HAND

The clip is springy and can be used with one hand. It easily slides on and off pockets, pouches, and papers. The section looks like it could be painful to grip but the pen is light and does not require a tight hold to control it. The rings prevent finger slippage and I like the long section.
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Top to bottom: Rotring ArtPen, Pilot Parallel, Lamy LX, Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen
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The cap on this pen cannot be posted. The pen is long and slender at the back end. It feels balanced, light, and comfy to use. No one wants a heavy or unbalanced when practicing calligraphy.
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PROS & CONS

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OVERALL

This is a fine starter calligraphy set at a fair price. It is packaged in a useful, convenient plastic case and comes ready to go. The pen itself is simple but practical and the nibs are clean, easy to use, write well, and do not dry out easily. Great for flourishing for fun, great for serious work, and excellent for calligraphy practice. The three nib sizes are also practical sizes - the 1.5 and 1.9 mm could even be used for regular writing. The downside - I experienced a few hard starts on smooth paper or if I moved too quickly. This is not unusual for wide nibs with a flat, stub shape.

Totally worth it if you are in the market for a calligraphy pen or want something to spruce up your handwriting.




I received this item/these items free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

November 15. 2017 - Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: @BaronFig Limited Edition Squire The Insightful Spectre Rollerball Pen

Peek-a-BOO!
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Baron Fig has sent me a few of their Squires to review, which I have shared with you here before. This time, I knew this one was incoming - it didn't appear in my mailbox as a surprise. As such, I was able to prepare immediately for it. This is great BECAUSE IT IS ADORABLE. You must see it right away. Thank you to Baron Fig for sending this review unit.

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The Insightful Spectre is your very own ghost writer. Whether you're in a fog or in good spirits, the Spectre will guide you on your journey.

ABOUT

Color: Slate Grey
Length (extended): 131.3 mm/5.17"
Diameter: 8.16 - 9.69 mm/0.32" - 0.38"
Weight: 23 g
Price for pen: $60.00 USD
Where to buy: Baron Fig

PACKAGING

Baron Fig offers themed attractive presentation and the packaging is robust and cute enough to put on your shelf (or reuse). The pen is presented in a foam-filled cardboard tube with a matching theme to the pen. Great for showing off! Super cute, but not useful for carrying your pen around.
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APPEARANCE

The Squires are minimalist pens with no bells and whistles, aside from looking darned cute. I love the smooth, sleek shape. They are slim with round barrels and rounded back ends (which are actually the twist mechanisms). The Insightful Spectre is phantom black - sleek, mysterious, magical. Or spooky. The particular engraving, in this case, is a little ghosty in laser-engraved grey with waves under the body and two solid white eyes. As others have pointed out, the eyes should glow in the dark. That would have been the ultimate ghosty! Nevertheless, very cute. On the other side, Baron Fig is laser engraved in a tidy font that matches the other Squires.
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I thought it would be a solid, pure black with a finish to match the original Charcoal Squire (not quite shiny but not matte either - more brushed). I was surprised when I opened the tube and was greeted by a dark slate grey pen. Not phantom black, unfortunately, and I feel like that was a missed opportunity, but then perhaps it would have been too similar to the matte black finish of the Limited Edition ABC.
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Pictured with the Squire in Charcoal. 

PERFORMANCE & FEEL

The popular Schmidt P8126 refill that is re-branded by Baron Fig - a small detail I appreciate. I like the consistency. The refill is a smooth, reliable writer that does not blob ink. It offers solid ink coverage, although not a huge range of colors. It's a great option if you are looking for a cool rollerball that will perform well.
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Like previous Squires, the Spectre itself is smooth, light, well-balanced, and feels good in hand. I find the model very comfortable. It's not too heavy for me, even for long writing sessions. The twist mechanism is super smooth, and the only downside is that I forget which way to twist and sometimes unscrew it a little. Minor thing. Most people can probably figure out the twist mechanism!
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I have to keep sharing this story because it's so relevant to how pleasant this pen is:
In my last review, I mentioned the story of my mom trying to steal my Charcoal Squire. Well.... I let her borrow it for a few weeks. When the Experiment arrived, she promptly stole that and we were fighting over it for awhile. I let her use it every now and then, and she loves it. She raves about it. Anyone who comes to visit us gets to see and try the Squires and she talks about how it's the smoothest pen she's ever used and it makes her want to write.
Same thing happened again. She's obsessed.

PROS

  • Refillable, and now with multiple colors - black, blue, red, and green!
  • Portable.
  • Well-balanced.
  • Comfortable.
  • Smooth.
  • Reliable.
  • Sexy.
  • Classy.
  • IRRESISTIBLE. ADORABLE. PERFECTION. 

CONS

  • A major downside reported by several users: the pens are so slim and slippery, they can slide out of your pocket without you noticing. Either put it in a sleeve or make sure you check your seats before you leave!
  • I'd recommend the leather sheath for your Squire pen, to protect the surface as well.
  • The pens are rollers! Watch them roll off your desk! 
  • Squire pens are pricey.
  • The Limited Edition pens sell out really fast. Be ready. Act fast.
  • It's hard to convince yourself to get another rollerball pen if you already own the others in the series... so get it and decide on your favorite later. It'll sell out too fast. 
  • The eyes don't glow... darn.
  • It's not really black. It's a dark slate grey. 

OVERALL

As I said before, the Squires are a great addition to the Baron Fig line up. Super smooth, reliable writers and a perfect accessory for your Confidant notebook. They're expensive, and for someone who spends a lot on fountain pens, sometimes I have a harder time justifying ballpoints and rollerballs. I'd love to see this around $35 (in a perfect, inexpensive world) but hey, sometimes you have to splurge to get the pen you really want. That still stands. I'm one of those people who would pay more for the color I want and that applies here. Even though I'd love to see it at $35, I don't think $60 is unreasonable. It's well made, it feels good, it performs well, and it's actually quite cute. I like to support companies that do neat things and produce new things for we stationery lovers to try out.

Other good things: you can buy multiples with a discount. That's hard to resist as well.


I was provided this pen free of charge to sample, play with, get accustomed to, and review. I was not compensated monetarily to write this review. All opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links in this review.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: @TactileTurn Mover & Shaker - New Click Mechanism on @Kickstarter

Thanks to Will of Tactile Turn for sending the updated versions of the Mover (copper) and Shaker (pink aluminum) for me to review and share with you! I hope this will help you make a decision as to whether you would like to back the project on Kickstarter or not. Although the funding goal has already been met, that doesn't mean you can't get in on the goodness as well!
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Top to bottom: The Mover (Copper), The Shaker (Aluminum)
ABOUT THE MOVER

Body Material: Copper
Clip: Stainless Steel
Mechanism: Titanium
Refill: Pilot G2 0.38 mm (see full list here)
Length retracted: 139.39 mm/5.51"
Length extended: 138.13 mm/5.44"
Barrel diameter: 10.7 mm/0.42"
Section diameter: 6.77 - 10.54 mm/0.27" - 0.42"
Weight: 54 g

ABOUT THE SHAKER

Body Material The Shaker: Aluminum (anodized)
Clip: Stainless Steel
Mechanism: Titanium
Refill: Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 ballpoint/Parker-style (see full list here)
Length retracted: 127.13 mm/5.01"
Length extended:125.72 mm - 4.95"
Barrel diameter: 10.81 mm/0.43"
Section diameter: 6.36 - 9.95 mm/0.25" - 0.39"
Weight: 24 g

Pledges start at $49 USD! Find them on Kickstarter!

APPEARANCE

The Mover and Shaker pens share a similar look, except the Mover is a little longer than the Shaker. In terms of design, the pens are round and taper towards the nose cone. Both have the "Tactile Turn" texture on them, from tip to end. Unlike the original models that had the texture only on the section, it's now on the entire body. The clips are stainless steel and have a simple shape with a little slope at the end. I like them. The underside, in this case, is engraved with Tactile Turn and a tiny Kickstarter logo so you never forget your pen's roots! The knock mechanism is larger and wider than the previous models so it almost looks like an extension of the body.
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The copper Mover is not as glossy and polished as a smooth copper pen because the texture changes the appearance a little. The Shaker is anodized pink - not a hot, brilliant, fluorescent pink, but definitely a bright pink. The Shaker looks a little shorter than the Mover because it is.

PERFORMANCE & FEEL

The Mover ships with a Pilot G2 0.38 mm gel ink refill - not my favorite refill ever but it works well, and the weight of the copper body makes the ink flow pretty flawless. Even though the pen itself is heavy in hand, it takes no effort to actually write as the tip hits the page and just flows instantly.
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The Shaker ships with my all-time favorite refill: a Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 (although it's black and not blue, which I prefer).
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I love the texture of both pens. I think putting the Tactile Turn texture on the entire body was a great idea. It makes the pens easy to grip and they're not slippery at all, regardless of how high or low you hold your pens. It even means the bodies handle scuffs and scratches well because the texture hides most marks.

The size of The Shaker is more comfortable for me, but if I rotate the clip inward, it presses into my hand a little. I don't have this issue with The Mover, which is slightly longer so the clip is out of my grip. It isn't a deal breaker for me because I can just rotate the clip out of the way and write comfortably.
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What else is different? The mechanism and retraction. Tactile Turn made the mechanism out of titanium, and it's larger to hold up to abuse and use. In addition, the mechanism allows the refill to retract further into the pen so there should be no ink messes. I have clicked the heck out of this. Sat down, watched an episode of Spongebob and just clicked. They're still going. They're not super smooth or silent, but I like the size and feel.

PROS & CONS - THE MOVER

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PROS & CONS - THE SHAKER

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OVERALL

I really enjoy machined pens, especially ballpoints/rollerballs because I like to throw them in various bags and not have to worry about how they're holding up being bashed around. Which seems to be something I do frequently. I'm not in love with the Pilot G2 refill that ships with The Mover but I know a lot of writers and stationery lovers out there enjoy them, but I do like The Mover itself. The size and weight are really comfortable, even in the copper. The Shaker is slightly smaller and overall, I just prefer that for portability, especially combined with my preferred refill. It's also pretty hard to resist the pink... or purple. Or blue. The new mechanism is intended to be more solid and reliable, and the change in the texture (now on the entire body) was a good move. The pens are even more comfortable than they were initially, and I didn't know what I was missing until I tried this new version.

In addition, shipping prices are very reasonable, and as I am an international buyer, I appreciate that a lot. Thanks, Will!

If you are unsure between the Mover or Shaker, consider if you prefer smaller or larger pens and what kind of refill you like to use.

Check the Mover and Shaker out on Kickstarter!


I received these pens free of charge for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. There are no affiliate links in this post.


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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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