Posts filed under Fountain Pens

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen with Rollerball Adapter: A Review

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

The PenBBS 350 is an aluminum fountain pen that comes in silver or matte black finish. It is supplied with a fine steel nib and a rollerball adapter that allows you to use fountain pen ink.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Components

Because it is made of aluminum, the pen is rather heavy, weighing in at 23.6 grams. Without the cap, it weighs 15.7 grams, so it still has quite a bit of heft. You can post the cap, if you dare, but it makes the pen very unbalanced.

PenBBS 350

This is a medium-sized pen in length, 5.12 inches/130mm capped, 4.84 inches/123mm uncapped, and 6.5 inches/166mm posted. The grip is a little over 10mm in diameter, which is rather small for my hand (see my discussion on how it writes below). But it does have a lip that keeps your fingers from slipping.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Cap

The clipless cap is octagonal with PenBBS engraved on one of the facets. The finial is also engraved with “PenBBS 350” and a tiny “F” or “P” (I’m not sure which) in the middle. The inside of the cap appears to be lined with plastic.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Finial

The body of the pen is smooth aluminum broken only by the cap threads. The threads are placed well away from where your fingers sit on the grip, so they do not interfere with writing at all.

You can fill the pen with the supplied converter or you can use cartridges.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Converter

The fine steel nib is adorned with scrollwork and “PenBBS Since 2005 China.”

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Nib

PenBBS nibs come only in fine and medium (and this model may be limited to fine). They are interesting nibs because their tips flip up just a tiny bit, almost like a mini-fude nib.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Nib Tip

The nib writes smoothly, but I noticed a good amount of skipping with KWZ Baltic Memories. I read other reviews of PenBBS pens that indicated these nibs can be a bit stingy with ink. So, I’ll try the pen with a wetter ink next time.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Writing

Because the pen is so heavy and the grip so small in diameter, I found my wrist and fingers cramping up even after only short periods of writing. I normally like hefty pens, but they need to have larger diameter grips that help balance the weight more evenly. Then again . . . maybe it’s not the grip. Maybe I’m just old and a bit arthritic.

I’ve never tried a fountain pen with a rollerball adapter, so I was pretty excited about this little extra.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Rollerball

To my amazement, I actually enjoyed writing with the rollerball more than I did with the fountain pen nib. The rollerball was smooth and the ink flowed perfectly. You can see a writing comparison between the nib and rollerball below. I love the idea of using fountain pen ink with a rollerball. I will say, however, that trying to clean ink out of the rollerball unit was next to impossible.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen vs Rollerball

This is my first PenBBS. I’m very impressed with the pen. It has a beautiful, simple design. All the components work well, especially the rollerball adapter. The nib seems a bit stingy with ink, but it’s usable, and I suspect it will write better with a wetter ink.

At only $22.00 I think this pen is a steal. You can purchase it from Vanness Pens in either silver or black. Other colors are available from the PenBBS Etsy site, but you have to wait quite awhile to receive your pen as it is shipped from China. I ordered two different models last week and plan to review them later this summer.

(This pen was purchased from Vanness Pens with a reviewer’s discount.)


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PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Packaging
Posted on May 24, 2019 and filed under PenBBS, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen: A Review

Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen Review

I saw the Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen a few months ago on the Vanness Pens website. It was love at first sight--I mean who wouldn’t love a pen that looks like a creamsicle? Unfortunately, Vanness was out of stock, and I decided that it wasn’t meant to be. But, a couple of weeks ago there it was! The 70s Soul back in stock! So I ordered one immediately.

The pen comes in the usual Kaweco tin box with one blue cartridge.

Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen Box

Fortunately, I had a Kaweco converter in my stockpile, so I loaded it up with my favorite orange ink: Kyoto Kyo-Iro Higashiyama Moonlight (reviewed here).

Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen Converter

The Student is a small pen, though it is not pocket-sized. It measures 5 and 1/8 inches/130mm capped; 4 and 3/4 inches/121mm uncapped, and 6 and 1/4 inches/159mm posted. Although the pen writes fairly well posted, I always feel like posting throws off the balance unless the cap posts deeply. This one does not.

Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen Posted

I love the shade of orange used on the 70s Soul. It really does look like a creamsicle alongside the cream-colored barrel. The cap has a gold Kaweco finial, a gold clip engraved with the Kaweco name in cursive, and a gold band engraved with “Kaweco Germany.” The back of the cap also has “Kaweco Student Germany” printed in gold lettering.

Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen Cap

The body has no branding at all, just a clean, uninterrupted line. I love how it tapers near the bottom. The grip is gold (presumably over steel). I normally don’t like metal grips, but this one isn’t heavy and my fingers don’t slide all over it. That said, it is a thin grip. I don’t own a caliper, so I can’t state the diameter of the grip, but it’s too thin to be comfortable for long writing sessions, at least for me.

Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen Barrel

I chose a steel, gold-plated fine nib for this pen. It’s a tiny nib, but, fortunately, it’s smooth and the tines are aligned. Kaweco nibs are often hit or miss, and I lucked out on this one.

Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen Nib

Unfortunately, the converter is just okay. Ink tends to pool near the piston end, so I have to open the pen up and manually push the ink down toward the nib to keep things flowing. I’ve read that Kaweco pens work best with cartridges, but, dang it, I like using my matchy Japanese inks!

Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen Writing

The Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen is adorable. I love the colors, and it’s fun to write with (at least in short spurts). At $70 (converter not included) I think it’s way overpriced. I guess you’re paying for the Kaweco brand and . . . I’m not sure what else. It’s a plastic pen with a steel nib. I think $30 would be more reasonable for a pen of this size and quality. Vanness Pens has this pen in stock if you need some 70s soul in your life.

(I purchased this pen with my own funds with a reviewer’s discount from Vanness Pens.)


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Kaweco Student 70s Soul Fountain Pen
Posted on May 10, 2019 and filed under Kaweco, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White Bespoke Fountain Pen: A Review

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(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

The Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White is a bespoke pen--only eighteen were made. Vanness Pen Shop had one of the eighteen, and Brad purchased it (at a discount) for me to review on The Pen Addict.

Packaging is, of course, not the most important factor when reviewing a pen. But, when you’ve purchased a special pen, presentation can make it feel even more extraordinary. Conway Stewart definitely knows how to present a pen. The Churchill comes in a handsome leatherette box with a black velvet interior. Included are a certificate of authenticity, a user guide, cartridges, and a pen cloth to remove tarnish from the silver fittings.

Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White Bespoke Fountain Pen Packaging

The Churchill is an oversized pen, measuring 5.7 inches/146mm capped; 5.4 inches/138mm uncapped; and 7.1 inches/181mm posted. Unposted, the pen feels wonderful in the hand with excellent balance. Posted, the pen is ridiculously long and feels more like a wizard’s wand than a fountain pen. Actually, my Professor McGonagall wand is better balanced than this Conway Stewart pen is posted! The pen weighs 35gm total.

Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White Bespoke Fountain Pen

Although the barrel and cap are made of acrylic, both have brass fittings which gives them heft. The barrel screws onto brass threads, and the finial is attached to a brass piece in the cap. I like the fact that there is added weight near the grip because it makes the pen more comfortable.

Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White Bespoke Fountain Pen Brass Threads

The cap has a large, engraved black finial. The clip and cap ring are solid sterling silver. I love the shape of the clip which ends in a diamond, and the raised Conway Stewart logo looks classy. The cap ring has no branding, but the silver content is engraved in small letters.

Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White Bespoke Fountain Pen Cap

The body of the pen is acrylic with a black grip and black finial at the bottom. Both ends are adorned with silver rings (two near the grip and one near the bottom).

Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White Bespoke Fountain Pen Body

The acrylic is called “Peppered White,” which is an apt name. It has white, gray, and black flecks and an occasional blue fleck.

My pen is fitted with an 18k gold two-tone fine nib. It has a simple design without any scrollwork. There’s a tiny British flag engraved underneath the breather hole, and the gold content and nib size are engraved near the base of the nib.

Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White Bespoke Fountain Pen Nib

I’ve found the nib to be smooth and wet and unyielding. It’s definitely a Western fine with no flex or bounce. Although it writes well most of the time, occasionally it skips on downstrokes. Nevertheless, I really enjoy writing with this pen.

Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White Bespoke Fountain Pen Writing

The Churchill is a cartridge/converter pen. I’m a little disappointed that a pen of this size and price point isn’t a piston filler, but the converter works well and supplies an adequate amount of ink to the nib. I definitely prefer a cartridge/converter over a lever filler (some modern Conway Stewarts are lever fillers), because lever fillers can be difficult to clean.

Conway Stewart Churchill Peppered White Bespoke Fountain Pen Converter

I am really pleased with my Conway Stewart. It’s a gorgeous pen with presence. The size and weight are perfect for me, but if you prefer small, light pens you won’t want this model.

Vanness only had one Peppered White in stock (and I now own it), but you can purchase this bespoke pen directly from Conway Stewart for $478.80.

(This pen was purchased at Vanness Pens with a reviewers discount.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

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Posted on May 3, 2019 and filed under Conway Stewart, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.