Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian

Ever since its release, the Montblanc Meisterstück Calligraphy 149 has been pretty exciting for those of us who love flexy writers. We all wanted to know: could Montblanc really get it right? I have used three of these pens: two from personal use and one tester at a Montblanc boutique. That means I have used only three out of however many are out there, so your miles may vary. If you'd like to see the full video, check it out here.
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 9
What I wanted to do here was compare the Montblanc Calligraphy nib with an Aurora 88 flex that has a Mottishaw (nibs.com) Spencerian modification on it. Before continuing with handwriting samples, I apologize in advance for my shaky writing. My hand has been unsteady for the last little while and it really shows up in hairlines.
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 12
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 6
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 1
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 7

MONTBLANC

• ~ $1000USD⁣ - this is a heck of a purchase. It's a splurge and then some.
• Large, girthy pen⁣. I find it quite thick in my grip so I don't have as much control over this pen as I do over something smaller - like the 146 or the Aurora. However, it is usable, but of all the nib options available on the 149, this one is the hardest for me to control.
• Without pressure, the nib puts down a Western fine⁣. It's not an excessively wet nib but it performs well and ink flow is consistent.
• Fairly smooth writing experience overall⁣. It's quite pleasant as a daily writer even if you choose not to use pressure. In fact, unless you have a particularly heavy hand, it can easy be used for regular writing.
• Moderate pressure gives you up to a double broad line - the softness feels like a super flex⁣ to me.
• It does not offer a whole lot of feedback when you are pushing it too far so you can railroad⁣ and run it dry. It also means it's easier to spring it so it takes some practice to get to know the nib. This is really the case for any pen with a soft nib but pay attention as you are writing and watch the tines. Look for how they're responding and if they're starting to develop a crease or something that indicates the metal is becoming fatigued.
• Snap back is a little slow but as a result, it's fairly easy to achieve smooth lines⁣ (unless you have my shaky hand).
• Line variation is decent but not Copperplate-type variation⁣. The contrast is not super crisp.
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 8
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 16
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 15
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AURORA/MOTTISHAW SPENCERIAN GRIND

John Mottishaw at nibs.com offers a Spencerian modification:
The Spencerian starts from a semi-soft 14k nib and adds additional flex and a regrind to needlepoint to create a specialized writing point used for copperplate calligraphy. 
• $585USD + $130USD for mod (also available on other less expensive pens, or equally expensive pens!)⁣
• Pen size is likely more comfortable for most users⁣. The section is nowhere near as thick as the Montblanc and because the nib is smaller, I can also get closer down, which gives me more control.
• Without pressure, puts down a Western extra extra-fine⁣. It has been reground to be a needlepoint so you're really getting something precise.
• Sharp, crisp writing experience. It nears the realm of feeling scratchy and it requires a light hand.⁣ If you apply too much pressure, the nib can catch and make horrible sounds and do terrible things as you cross the page. Remember: very, very light hand. Never, ever apply pressure on the upstroke or cross stroke. When you apply pressure, make sure it is only on the downstroke and it's best to keep the tines aligned with the angle of your downstroke so the pressure is applied equally to both tines.
• Moderate pressure gives up to a generous broad - a little softer than the Montblanc⁣
• Gives some feedback - nib starts to resist when you're pushing it too far. Ideally, you'd want to stop before this resistance so as to not damage nib⁣. This nib needs to be treated with great care and attention. It's easy to spread the tines too far and even if they don't get sprung, you can inadvertently change the alignment or gap between the tines, which can make it write too wet. Your needlepoint won't be a needlepoint anymore!
• Snap back is fast so it requires careful control to achieve the variation and lines you want⁣. The result is delicious.
• Nice, crisp line variation⁣. The hairlines are exquisite and the contrast is outstanding.
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 17
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 14
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 13
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Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 5
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 2
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 3
I thoroughly enjoy both of these nibs. For ease of use and forgiveness, the Montblanc nib is a great choice. The major downsides are the price and the size of the pen. The Aurora (or any other option that can take the Spencerian modification) is likely to be a more usable size pen for most writers, it costs less, but it is more delicate and less forgiving. I think it's safe to say the Spencerian modification is for more experienced users. That's not to say a new fountain pen user can't use it; it just must be taken up with great care and attention.
Modern Flex Fountain Pen Comparison - Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Flex vs. Aurora 88 Mottishaw Spencerian 4
The joys of "modern flex"! The honest truth is nothing compares to a dip nib in terms of flex, versatility, and cost but a flexy nib fountain pen is just so much fun!⁣ A good rule of thumb for flex nibs: never, ever apply pressure on the upstroke or cross stroke. When you apply pressure, make sure it is only on the downstroke and it's best to keep the tines aligned with the angle of your downstroke so the pressure is applied equally to both tines.

Where to buy? I purchased my Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Calligraphy flex pen at Appelboom. The Aurora is on loan from a friend but you can get an appropriate pen for the Spencerian grind by visiting this page and seeing your options. 

I hope this has been helpful! Thank you for reading. If you enjoy and/or appreciate this type of information and you want to lend your support, please do check me out on Patreon! You can support yours truly for as little as $1. You are in no way obligated to do so, of course. I am most grateful for your readership as is.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Pilot Vanishing Point Raden Water Surface Fountain Pen

Thank you to my kind friend for loaning me this pen so I could review it. I really, really did not want to give it back. Also I mention the price in the video - but that's the MSRP. Street price is a little lower around $640USD.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Benu Grand Scepter A Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kids In Us! Also for Proper Adults.

Should you get a Benu Grand Scepter fountain pen? Are you into shiny things? Then it's a no brainer!
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 9
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 14
A few notes about Benu that I think make the company interesting: all the pens are designed and handcrafted in the company's Moscow-based production facilities. They are described as "conceptual writing instruments and desk accessories, which play with streamline shapes and an extensive palette of vivid colors". I can't argue with that - they are absolutely vividly colored and the designs and shapes are intriguing and often unusual.
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 13
The team goes through quite a few steps to achieve the final product: sketch and technical drawing, product prototype and pilot model, usability testing, production process mapping, color palette and material, materials testing, production of parts, final polymerization, midpoint quality control, product assembling, fountain pen nibs, and where applicable, hand painting on certain models, hand polishing, finished products packaging, and finished products quality control.
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 4
There are a few things I am really pleased with: the packaging is very simple, tidy, and recyclable. They are small cardboard boxes, paper sleeves, and shredded paper inside. It's so minimal and if you do choose to keep them, they stack and store very well. I love the color options because I like colors and shiny sparkly things! This aspect appeals to me. Lastly, I have used over twenty Benu pens over the last few years. Your miles may vary, but I have never had a nib that did not work. Especially the broad nibs - they are exactly my flavor: smooth, wet, juicy, very pleasant to write with, providing killer ink shading. The nibs are firm steel writers and I find they perform really well for hand lettering and round-point style calligraphy.
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Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 5
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 6
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 7
Benu's Grand Scepter series comes in five different colorways and they all have awesome sparkles, cool colors, and magical glow-in-the-dark ends - this is the X colorway. They made it even better by giving them #6 nibs and facets that line up *perfectly*.
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 3
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 1
It looks like it may be super uncomfortable in hand but it's not. They don't roll, they write super smoothly, they're so easy to clean and take care of, they're pretty robust to carry everywhere, they glitter, and they glow.
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Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 8
Here are a few reasons why you might need a Benu Grand Scepter:⁣

⁠• your budget is $110USD⁣
⁠• you are looking for a robust pen that isn't heavy⁣
⁠• you want a niiiiice smooth steel nib (go for the broad)⁣
⁠• low maintenance standard international cartridge/converter filling system⁣
⁠• you love shiny, sparkly things⁣
⁠• you love details like twisted facets lining up every time⁣
⁠• very comfortable in hand - no slipping, no sliding, no sharp bits⁣
⁠• you want a fun gift for someone (or yourself)⁣

As they are standard international cartridge/converter, it's really easy to work with. Cartridges are a cinch to find and you can choose from a massive range of colors (from Diamine, for example, but in my case here, I used the discontinued Montblanc Pink). The converters are also easy to come by and replace should anything happen to it. This also makes them easy to flush with water when you want to change your ink color.

Grab a Scepter at Pen Chalet!

⁣⁣This is an affiliate link. I receive a wee credit for your purchase but it doesn't cost you an extra penny. Win-win-win.
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 12
Benu Grand Scepter $110 Pen that Sparkles and Glows For The Kid In Us! 11
Thank you to Benu for providing this pen for sharing! I really enjoy their pens and I really appreciate that they keep branching out with designs and colors. I love the diversity and options.⁣

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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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