Posts filed under Montegrappa

Montegrappa Game Of Thrones Targaryen Fountain Pen Review

Living in the Southeastern United States I’m about has far away from winter as possible, but knowing that Winter Is Coming and Game of Thrones Season 7 is only weeks away is keeping me cool this summer.

The other thing keeping me cool: The Montegrappa Game Of Thrones Targaryen Fountain Pen. One of the challenges in our industry is doing branded products well, and Montegrappa handled this one well.

Game of Thrones fans will recognize the four primary Houses - or families, for those not familiar with the show. Baratheon, Lannister, Stark, and Targaryen are the players, and Montegrappa has woven in their colors and sigils into a wonderful lineup of pens. We have covered the ballpoint and rollerball pens previously, and I’m up to bat with the fountain pen review.

If you ask me which House will claim the Iron Throne in the end, my money is on the Targaryen’s, or a Targaryen/Stark tag team to take down the Lannister’s and dispatch of White Walkers. The Baratheon’s are mostly dead, although their pen may be the best of the bunch.

The Targaryen’s though, that’s where it’s at. Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons would be proud to carry this pen and write the names of those she defeated in their blood.

The pen is made from metal and resin, giving is a sturdy feel, but not too heavy. The bronze section and finials give it a nice balance, and the matching colored steel nib sets it off nicely. It is a fantastic writer too. I love the lacquered red artwork and details on the pen, and the Fire and Blood emblem on the top looks like it would make a perfect wax seal.

If there is one issue with this pen it is the price. That’s what happens when you license one of the top franchises in the world. You can buy a lot of pens for $350, but if you are a Thrones fan and a pen lover this series is very well executed. Just like Ned Stark.

(Goldspot Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

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Posted on June 19, 2017 and filed under Montegrappa, Game of Thrones, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Montegrappa Game of Thrones Rollerball And Ballpoint Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

In their latest themed series, Montegrappa raises a bejeweled goblet to the popular Game of Thrones series with four new pen designs that pay homage to some of the powerful families in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga. Each of the designs is available as a fountain pen, rollerball, or ballpoint.

There's a blood-of-your-enemies red with gold-plate accents for the Lannisters, icy white with palladium for the Starks, regal black with gold for the Baratheons, and black and wine-red for the Targaryens that fittingly looks like it's been through a fire and come out of it even stronger. The colors are fetching and well-suited to the themes and the families they're made to represent.

At the Chicago Pen Show, I got the chance to play with the Lannister rollerball and Targaryen ballpoint models. Are they a bit cheesy? Yep. And also charming and a lot of fun.

They come in some of the best pen packaging I have ever met. There's an outer black cardstock slipcase. Inside that is a great hinged box with the Game of Thrones logo and the coat-of-arms of many of the great families of Westeros. The illustrations and colors are fantastic, and the box feels sturdy. Inside there's a lovely soft pen bed with a strap. The strap didn't do much to secure the pens--it's too loose and doesn't fit around the area where the clips are located. So I had to be careful carrying the box so that the pens didn't jiggle around too much inside. The Montegrappa name is engraved into the fabric of the lid. The bottom board comes out to reveal a compartment with the themed guide book. You could also store suspicious documents or a variety of poisons there.

The Targaryen ballpoint has a black lacquer body with wine-colored filigree pattern accents. The nose cone, center band, finial, and clip are dark bronze. The clip is molded in the shape of a dragon's head, the center band has the Game of Thrones trademark, and the finial is engraved with the three-headed dragon of house Targaryen and their words: "FIRE AND BLOOD". I didn't want to test this on borrowed pens, but I suspect the finial might serve as an excellent wax seal stamp--for when you need to keep any spiders or little birds out of your correspondence.

The pen twists to deploy the ballpoint cartridge. It's a Parker-style refill, so while it comes with the Montegrappa brand refill, you can easily replace it with your favorite brand. Which I would likely do, because this refill stopped writing for me every few words. When it was writing, it was fairly smooth and had a nice line--but I had to do the scribble-to-restart-it trick three times over the course of a fairly small writing sample. It's possible this individual refill is a dud, but since the pen takes a nice standard size, I don't consider that much of a ding against the pen itself. There are plenty of refills one could put in this very regal pen.

I do have a few issues with the ballpoint, though. For one, it is a little difficult to hold. It's broad and heavy, and the lacquer is slippery. My fingers kept sliding down the tapered nose. It wasn't terribly comfortable to write with. I do have very small hands, though--so this may not be an issue for others. Also, the clip is stiff and shallow. I didn't find it to be functional as a clip, but it does make a very attractive roll-stopper.

The Lannister rollerball pen is bright red with subtle gold scrollwork on the lacquer. It has 18k gold-plated accents on the finial, cap band, clip, and grip section. The cap band has the Game of Thrones trademark, the clip is in the shape of a lion's head with a long mane, and the finial has the lion rampant with the Lannister words "HEAR ME ROAR". The cap twists off. There is a long gold grip section that I found to be quite comfortable to hold. The pen does post, but becomes much too heavy for me when it is. It's still quite heavy even unposted. Unless you're Gregor Clegane, these pens are, I think, better suited to jotting a quick note to send by raven or adding your newest heir to the family records--but maybe not for writing lengthy declarations of fealty or 900-page books.

The clip on this pen has the same issues as the Targaryen pen--it's just not designed for effective clipping. It's designed more for intimidating your family foes into abandoning their principles and swearing loyalty to your corrupt lineage. I haven't been able to test that feature, but on first impression, I bet it works.

The refill in the rollerball is the Montegrappa brand, though it looks like it will take a variety of possible refills. The stock refill worked very well for me, though. It was smooth and never skipped and laid down a nice dark line.

These are definitely fun statement pens--especially if the statement you need to make is "I am the one true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms". If your plans involve world domination, you're going to need one of these sticking out of your shirt pocket or prominently displayed on your desk--right next to the strands of severed ears of those who dared to oppose you. Or next to some nice stationery--depends on which pen you choose.

If you're a fan of pens and a fan of the books or show, these are pretty delightful. They're just the right blend of a practical tool with a strong playtime factor. They are on the expensive side. Retail price for the ballpoint is $295 and the rollerball is $325. At those prices, even as a life-long fan of the books, these aren't something I would buy for myself. But if I were sacking an enemy city and happened across one, I wouldn't toss it into the fires of conquest. I'd likely pass it down my family line as a bit of nice treasure. Like a cool sword, but mightier.

(Kenro Industries provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

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, which I am very grateful for.

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Posted on May 18, 2017 and filed under Montegrappa, Game of Thrones, Pen Reviews.

Montegrappa Fortuna White Ruthenium Fountain Pen Review

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

Montegrappa is an Italian pen manufacturer that you've probably heard of in our little community. They have some seriously beautiful pens in their catalog, as well as some pretty outrageous ones. Regardless of what you've heard, you certainly associate the name with a luxury brand, and rightly so. These are luxury writing instruments, and the price reflects that. One of the more economical lines from Montegrappa is the Fortuna. JetPens recently started carrying this model, and I'll be reviewing the white model with Ruthenium finish here.

The Fortuna is a medium-sized pen, measuring very close in length to a Pilot Custom Heritage 92. It's wider than the Pilot, but the length is pretty standard. It's also quite a bit heavier than the Pilot due to the materials that are used in the pen. The body and cap are mostly plastic (resin), the grip section is lacquered metal, and the trim is plated in something called "ruthenium," which has a dark gun-metal finish. It's pleasing to the eye, and it garners plenty of comments. The nib is steel underneath the ruthenium plating as well, and features an interesting geometric pattern that I find enjoyable. The model I have is a fine nib, but you can also get medium and broad (no extra fines here!).

The pen is a bit on the heavy side due to the amount of metal found in it. Once it's uncapped, this mostly evens out, though it's a bit heavier on the nib side due to the metal grip section.

The top of the cap features a "1912" jewel that gives the pen a classy, elegant look. The band around the base of the cap features a scripted "Montegrappa" inlay that also adds to the classy feel. The clip is really strong and has a wheel at the end that rotates freely if given the chance. This makes slipping it on to and removing it from different materials a simple affair.

Being white, it doesn't show fingerprints at all. This is a nice departure from most of the pens I own. On the flip side, though, it does show dark colored particles and rogue ink stains much easier than other pens. This isn't a criticism, but just an observation that would apply to any light-colored pen.

I normally chuck the boxes as soon as the pen is out, but the Montegrappa presentation is really something to behold, and it really solidifies the "luxury" impression. Inside the outer sleeve, there's an elegant cardboard box that features the Montegrappa logo on a subtle geometric pattern. (This same pattern carries through to the nib of the pen.) Inside that cardboard box, you find a more ornate gift box that features the Montegrappa logo again on a metal plate. This hinged box opens up to reveal the Fortuna inside a soft, gray interior. It really is a presentation. Under the bed, you'll find some literature and a couple of black cartridges for the pen. But, the pen already has a converter installed.

Once you get the pen unboxed and inked, it's time to write. And, really, for any pen, this is where it counts the most. Sadly, the Montegrappa failed to please on this front.

I loaded this pen with several different inks, and experienced the same issues. It frequently has trouble starting ink flow, skips occasionally, and has a very finicky sweet spot. Being a standard fine nib, it's more finicky than my customized italic nibs that have very specific sweet spots.

Additionally, this pen wrote very poorly straight out of the box. It was extremely scratchy to the point of damaging the paper on light strokes. The ink flow was very light, and it was frustrating to use.

After inspecting the nib, it had a misaligned tine and a bad case of baby's bottom. I'm no stranger to brand new fountain pens that require a certain amount of adjustment and tuning, but I have zero patience for these kinds of issues when it comes to pens that cost more than about $50. I wrote about the baby's bottom issue I experienced with a Kaweco AL Sport, and that pen can be had for less than $100. Now, any reputable pen retailer will gladly accept a return or exchange for a pen that performs so poorly out of the box, but it's still unacceptable for a pen manufacturer to release pens to retailers and customers that fail even the simplest tests. The first and foremost function of any fountain pen, no matter how inexpensive or luxurious, is to write. When a $8 pen fails this test, it's frustrating, but somewhat understandable. When an $80 pen fails this test, it's inexcusable and maddening. When a $280 pen fails this test, I'm not sure what to say about it. It's embarrassing.

To be fair, there are other pens that have a bad reputation for nib quality. The Lamy 2000 comes to mind. A Lamy 2000 that's in good working order is a great pen. It's one of my favorite pens. I got lucky when I bought mine because it had a great nib from day one. Plus, I really liked the design and feel of the pen, so I would have gladly exchanged it for another copy if the first one had issues. And I can gladly recommend the same for the Montegrappa Fortuna. It has a unique, beautiful aesthetic. If you enjoy how this pen looks, understand that you can purchase it with full confidence that the retailer will make sure you are happy. For this pen junkie, I'm afraid I can't recommend it at all because of the poor experience I've had. And here's why.

At the $280 range, the margin for error is extremely small, and the competition for high-quality, excellent pens is very high. Here's a selection of some of my favorite pens that can be had for the same ballpark price:

At this price range, you're also encroaching on the world of handmade custom fountain pens from the likes of Edison Pen Co. and Newton Pens.

My point here is that there are so many excellent options at this price range that would serve you well. If the Fortuna has stolen your heart based on looks, I hope you get an excellent, top-notch copy of the pen to enjoy for many years to come. If you want some of the best pens money can buy at this price range, it doesn't make the list.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

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, which I am very grateful for.

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Posted on January 11, 2017 and filed under Montegrappa, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.