Review: Noodler’s Borealis Black

My thanks to Straits Pen for the ink sample.

I’ve filled my Pilot Vanishing Point with Noodler’s Borealis Black under the impression it is a super wet ink but I think my Pilot Vanishing Point has defeated it. It still writes kind of dry-ish. Noodler’s Borealis Black is a water resistant ink that’s usually very black. But I’m thinking this ink has it’s favourites and works differently in different pens. I’ve seen reviews online where people complained about the long drying times but I had the opposite problem in my Pilot Vanishing Point. So be wary of which pen you fill this ink in. My TWSBI Mini has no issues with Noodler’s Borealis Black and I’ve experienced the long dry times with the TWSBI Mini.

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Noodler's Borealis Black-3.jpg
Posted on April 13, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Monteverde Moonstone

My thanks to Cityluxe for the ink and allowing me to give it away.

I’ve filled Moonstone in my dry Opus 88 and here’s where Monteverde’s ITF (ink treatment formula) shines. It has made my dry Opus 88 nib smooth and lubricated. Moonstone is a warm brown that has a strong grey undertone. It’s a truly unique colour that shades beautifully even in my stainless steel F nib. This is one of the stand out colours of the Monteverde Gemstone ink lineup.

I am giving away this bottle of Monteverde Moonstone. All you have to do is to leave me a comment below. This giveaway ends 12th April 2018. This giveaway is open to anyone residing in Singapore.

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Posted on April 6, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue

My thanks to Louisa for the ink sample.

Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue is very much traditional blue black ink, rather a dark blue with a strong grey undertone. It shades easily and rather wet for a Graf von Faber-Castell ink. That’s really unexpected. This is a suitable colour for corporate use in terms of its colour. Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue is a step above a standard blue or black ink because it’s not boring or devoid of shading.

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Posted on March 30, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: J. Herbin Amethyst de l’Oural

Amethyst de l’Oural is J. Herbin 2017 1670 Shimmering ink entry. There have been many companies jumping on the shimmering ink bandwagon most notably De Atramentis and Robert Oster but J. Herbin is the original.

Amethyst de l’Oural is a purple ink with silver dust. For the most part it’s a pretty ink but it isn’t as eye-catching as Emerald of Chivor. The purple by itself isn’t special. It doesn’t shade much. J. Herbin also updated the packaging. I like the new look but am disappointed by the ink itself. It’s also flinky in my Faber-Castell Loom and TWSBI Mini

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Posted on March 23, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Visconti Homo Sapiens London Fog

The Numbers:
Weight: 39g
Length (capped): 145.9 mm
Length (uncapped): 131.3 mm
Price: MSRP USD$995
Body Material: Acryloid and 925 sterling silver trim
Nib Material: 23kt Palladium Dreamtouch nib
Filling Mechanism: Vaccumatic
Colours: Single

Intro:

My thanks to Louisa for lending me her precious, precious pen.

Visconti introduced the Homo Sapiens London Fog a few years back. It was part of a 888 piece worldwide limited edition. It is an addition to the Homo Sapiens lineup. It’s shape and look closely resembled the Homo Sapiens but the main difference is in it’s material. It’s made of acryloid which I’ve inferred to mean it’s a material that has the characteristic of both celluloid and acrylic.

Celluloid is known for its being able to produce beautiful swirls and patterns but it is quite flammable. On the other hand, acrylic is light and much safer to work with. So to have the best of both world, Visconti added super thin strips of celluloid into the acrylic and we have the acryloid material.

Packaging:
The London Fog came in a very solid packaging. It’s first sheathed in the standard cream coloured Visconti cardboard box. Inside is a glossy black box emblazoned with the Visconti logo. Pulling the lid up, you will see the pen nestled in the cream bed of what I think is faux leather.

The box is heavy and unlikely to be repurposed for anything. I appreciate the packaging especially for a pen of this price but I really could do with a smaller and lighter box. This isn’t something that only Visconti does but also Aurora, Montblanc and the list goes on.

Performance:
Starting from the top, the cap is a nice mix of pearlecent grey and deep blue swirl. It’s accented with two 925 silver rings around the cap and finished with the traditional Visconti bridge clip. The finial is furnished with the Visconti emblem. The Visconti emblem can be removed and you can have your initials or a gemstone put in as part of the Visconti My Pen System. The clip itself is spring loaded, it isn’t particularly tight.

Just below the cap is the centre band for the pen. It has the words “Homo Sapiens” etched along the centre along with the number of your limited edition piece.

There is a ink chamber just behind the nib that’s separated from the main chamber. The main chamber being the entire barrel of the London Fog. That is where ink resides when you seal the main chamber by tightening the knob down. That chamber holds quite a bit of ink.

The barrel is mostly clear with swirls of blue celluloid. The pen terminates at the knob that you will need to unscrew to allow the ink to flow into the reserve ink chamber. You will also need to unscrew the knob to retract the seal when filling the pen.

The cap is the best thing ever! It uncaps with a tiny little turn, probably about 1/5 of a turn. The Hook Safe Lock is my favourite thing about this pen. However for me it’s a little of a double-edged sword. More on that later.

The grip section is nice and contoured. It dips in the middle before flaring out near the nib to help guide your fingers to the correct holding position. Though the London Fog is a large pen it is well balanced. The cap can be posted but it is definitely not advisable. By posting the cap, the pen becomes overly long and back heavy.

The London Fog is a vacuum filler that means it holds a hell a lot of ink in its barrel. It means you have to be careful when you fill it especially in a full bottle of ink, that displaced air need to go out somewhere and it’s likely into your bottle and your full bottle of ink won’t be that full once air get pumped into it. It also means you can seal the main ink chamber off from the nib which makes it less likely to regurgitate its entire “stomach” contents into the cap.

Now the London Fog and most Visconti’s higher end pens comes with the 23kt Palladium Dreamtouch nib. This pen came with a fine nib which is my usual choice for non-Japanese fountain pens in general but the palladium nib is super wet. Even when paired a dry like the Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight blue it still writes very wet. It’s close to unusable to me. I cannot imagine how it writes if I had a wet ink in it. The palladium nib is bouncy and provides a nice cushioned writing experience.

Ok now that Hook Safe Lock system is truly fantastic but it also means the “threads” are big and chunky. My fingers tend to wrap themselves around those said threads. It’s not comfortable if you are in the midst of a long writing session. Short sessions are tolerable but for this price, I don’t think I need to tolerate anything.

Conclusion:
Thankfully, this pen doesn’t belong to me. Once I’m done with the review, it’s back to its owner it’s going. The Visconti Homo Sapiens London Fog is a beautiful pen with a wonderfully juicy nib but it is just isn’t for me. And that’s all right. THere is no reason why every pen have to work for me. However, lefties do take note of that overly juicy nib. The threads issue might just be an issue for me and my weird grip.


Pros:

  • Beautiful swirls and pearlessence
  • Huge ink capacity
  • Hook Safe Lock system
  • Juicy nib

Cons:

  • Overly juicy nib for this lefty
  • Threads of the Hook Safe Lock system painful for this lefty

Posted on March 16, 2018 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.