Posts filed under Pen Reviews

Pentel i+ 3 Color Multi Pen Review

The Pentel i+ 3 Color Multi Pen is the latest entry into the customizable multi pen category. It’s not Pentel’s first foray though, as their Sliccies model hit the market back in 2009. It was met with mixed reviews, as was the Sliccies 2+1. I wasn’t a fan of either but the i+ 3 has finally put Pentel on the right track.

The barrel design is what I like to call “standard operating procedure” for Japanese multi pens. Plastic barrel, clear, threaded section, plunger-style refill deployment - all the basics other companies have covered as well. It is good looking and inexpensive too. Everything you need to start building your multi pen.

Building it out is where Pentel wants to seperate itself by giving fans of their inks - specifically the EnerGel and Vicuna - the opportunity to use them in a multi pen. The EnerGel is available in black, blue, and red in 0.5 mm, and the Vicuna in the same colors and tip sizes. There are also 0.3 mm and 0.5 mm pencil components.

I went with the black and red EnerGel and the blue Vicuna refill. The EnerGel refills are excellent writers and I especially like the needle tip style as opposed to the conical tip. The gel inks are some of the smoothest and darkest on the market. But the Vicuna - that is the big winner here. I was already a fan of the 0.7 mm refills and the 0.5 mm may be even better. It is easily as good as the Jetstream and Acroball.

So where does the i+ 3 fit in the grand scheme of Japanese multi pens? Pilot and Uni-ball still take the top spot for me, but Pentel’s fans should be pleased. This gives them a valid option to use some of the best refills on the market. If Pentel can find a way to broaden the EnerGel refill lineup with more colors and sizes they will be able to easily compete with the big boys.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on October 24, 2014 and filed under Multi Pen, Pen Reviews, Pentel.

Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed Roller Ball Pen Review

Finding the perfect pocket pen is a challenge. Most of us only carry one. Should it be a ballpoint that will write in almost any situation? A fountain pen that will give you the writing experience you crave? Or a rollerball that is a bit of a mix between the two?

I’ve carried a fountain pen for the most part for the past couple of years, either the Kaweco AL Sport or, more recently, the Kaweco Liliput Brass Wave with a custom nib grind. Now that the AL Sport Roller Ball comes in the awesome Stonewashed finish I wanted to see if it could break into what has been a fountain pen only rotation. Short version: It can, and it has.

If it wasn’t already obvious, Kaweco not only makes great pens, but many of their models are perfect for every day carry. The AL Sport Stonewashed Roller has the same great build quality as its counterparts. The aluminum barrel has a solid feel, threads nicely, and can take a beating on the go and not skip a beat when it is time to write or draw. Just what I want in a pocket pen.

What makes the AL Sport Roller a real contender is the use of a Parker compatible refill. It ships with a Kaweco-branded Schmidt roller in medium, which on its own provides a smooth, dark line. It’s too wide for me, so I swapped it immediately with a Moleskine 0.5 mm gel refill in black and went to town. If you prefer the pressurized ballpoint of the Space Pen Refill that is an option too. Any Parker-style refill fits, making this a customizable EDC workhorse.

Kaweco pens are built for this. They are durable, long lasting, and flat-out beautiful. The AL Sport line is made for the pocket as much as they are made for writing when it is time to get down to business.

(JetPens is a sponsor of The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on October 20, 2014 and filed under AL Sport, Kaweco, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Rotring Tikky Graphic Drawing Pen 0.1 mm Review

A few years ago I reviewed the Rotring Tikky Graphic Drawing Pen in the 0.4 mm tip size. I enjoyed the build quality of the pen but the 0.4 mm tip size spews ink. Not in a terrible mess kind of way, but it goes on heavy. Great for artists, not so good for my writing style.

With all the praise this pen gets and my love for drawing-style pens I knew I had to pick up a smaller size. I went as small as they make (0.1 mm) and my writing is much better off for it.

The Tikky Graphic Drawing Pen has three main features. One, the ink is archival, which most other pens in this category have. Two, it has a metal encased nib to help with tip durability, which a few of its competitors have. And three, Rotring's Free-ink technology makes the ink flow consistently down to the last drop, which no one has that I am aware of.

While feature one is great, and three is nice to have, I'm a fan of anything that makes fiber and plastic tips more durable, especially when dealing with 0.1mm tips. It usually doesn't take long for drawing pen tips to show some sort of breakdown but this one has help up well so far. More use will be needed to see if any real issues pop up but it is tracking nicely at this point.

Ink darkness is important to me too, and the Rotring fares well there. On its own, I thought for sure the Tikky would be the darkest ink I would test, but to my surprise the Sakura Pigma Micron took that title. I've always felt the Micron was lighter than others so this comes as a surprise. I did use the 03 Micron so the line was wider but I don't think it affected the darkness. My favorite Kuretake Zig Mangaka falls in the middle of the range.

Overall, I can see why this is a popular drawing pen. It is more expensive than many ($3.60 at JetPens) but it offers added features that make up for some of that cost. If you are in the market for a durable, dark drawing pen then the Rotring Tikky is worth a look.

(JetPens is a sponsor of The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on October 17, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Rotring, Drawing Pen.

Lamy 1.5 mm Stub Nib Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

When I wrote about the Pilot Plumix several months ago, I said that it wasn't a large enough variation for my tastes. Well, I tried the other end of the spectrum with a 1.5mm Lamy calligraphy nib, and I can't say the same thing about this one. This nib makes a voluptuous line, but doesn't quite cut it for me in the everyday writing area. Still, it's a fantastic nib and loads of fun.

The Lamy 1.5mm calligraphy nib fits on almost any Lamy fountain pen very easily. Just slip off the normal nib from the feed, and slide the 1.5mm nib on. If you have a Safari, Vista, or AL-Star lying around, this is a great way to try out a well-made calligraphy nib. There are many other options, but rarely for this price.

First looking at the nib, you can't really tell it apart from the other Lamy nibs. Then, you notice the blunt tip and the large "1.5" stamped on the top and realize how wide it actually is. I really had no idea it would be that wide. Little did I know.

I put the nib on a Safari that I had lying in a drawer, and promptly filled it up with some green ink. In my rush, I didn't think to pick out an ink that has great shading qualities, so I was little disappointed to find that the finished product looked a bit like a magic marker line—wide and wet. After a quick flush, I filled it with J. Herbin Rouge Hematite. What a difference that made. It no longer looked like a magic marker line, but a sophisticated and interesting line of varying widths, shades, and hues.

This nib was made to be used with calligraphy lettering. I don't do much calligraphy lettering, and I certainly don't claim to be any good at it. Using this nib and experimenting with the variations, I wanted to practice lettering a lot more. Expert lettering really takes a lot of skill and practice, and I really admire anyone who can make it look fluid and consistent. They've put a lot of practice into it, and they can make it look as easy as scribbling in a Field Notes book propped up on my knee.

That said, I didn't really find much place for this nib in my everyday writing. For one, you have to write really big in order to form letters and words (as opposed to big blobs of ink). Second, since the nib is wide and requires a bit more from the feed system, there are consistent starting issues. They're never difficult to get rid of, and I found that they're actually very predictable, but they're still frustrating in general writing practices.

For me, this nib gives me two things: the ability to play and experiment with large, ornate lettering, and a nib that provides a great showcase for inks that have excellent shading properties. This nib is more about creating art, and much less about writing things down.

If you're even the slightest bit interesting in calligraphy nibs, and you already have a Lamy, I can't think of a better way to try out a calligraphy fountain pen (I'm not counting disposable porous tip pens here) than the Lamy nibs. They have other sizes besides the 1.5mm, which are 1.1mm and 1.9mm. I just recommend getting an ink that shades well to go with it!

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Lamy, Pen Reviews.