Posts filed under Retro 51

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Review

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Review

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

In my brief stint living in California, I quickly fell in love with the California state flag. I'd seen it before, but when you're in the state of California, you definitely see it a lot more often. I have my fair share of mugs, shirts, stickers, and other trinkets that sport this iconic symbol. When JetPens unveiled a limited edition Retro 51 Tornado that used the same design, I knew I had to have one.

The California Republic Edition Tornado from JetPens is a perfect example of why some people are such loyal fans of the Retro 51 brand. It's the same pen, but the unique designs that borrow meaningful symbology keep people coming back for more and also suck in new people who don't already spend a lot of time in stationery circles.

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition

At $40, this Tornado is priced on par with other limited editions. It's a limited edition in the sense that only JetPens sell it, but according to the description, "quantities produced will be determined according to demand," which implies that this isn't a limited production. That being said, if you want one of these pens, snag one while you can!

Before we get in to look at the pen, there's also another special feature of this limited edition pen. For every pen sold, JetPens will donate $5 to the California Fire Foundation. This is a worthy cause to support, and one that I'm glad JetPens have decided to set up. Fires are tragic disasters that are impossible to control, and the damage they cause can go far beyond what any monetary support can provide. Still, monetary support always helps when battling these natural disasters, and I appreciate JetPens setting this up.

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic

Now, if you're familiar with the Retro 51 Tornado, then you already know this pen. It features the deliciously smooth P8126 refill from Schmidt, which glides over paper like butter in a hot pan. It's a delightful writing experience, and I believe everyone should own at least one. The pen is on the short side overall, but it manages to keep a comfortable weight and shape for long writing sessions. From the top of the pen down to the tip, there's a pleasant taper that provides visual design and a great writing grip.

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Refill

The pen is extended and retracted by twisting the top finial. The twist motion is smooth and quick, but you'll never have to worry about the tip extending by accident. The front section of the pen also unscrews so that you can replace the Schmidt refill.

The best part about this pen is the barrel design and finial. The California Republic flag wraps around the barrel, providing a fantastic view of the walking bear. The color scheme of the barrel is borrowed directly from the flag, but the metal accents match the color scheme perfectly. The aged bronze bits add a lot of visual interest and warmth to the pen.

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Number

The top finial has a lovely red star on a white background to compliment the star on the flag. It's one of my favorite elements on this pen. Also, the section that holds the knurled twist mechanism contains some light Tornado branding along with a unique serial number.

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the Retro 51 Tornado California Republic Edition. I knew exactly what I was getting when I first saw the pictures online, and it delivered in person 100%. At $40, the price is a bit higher than the regular Tornado line, but this is a special edition and this price range is normal for special Tornado editions. If you like the design, the flag, or just the general look fo this pen, you won't be sorry you picked one up!

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


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Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Comparison
Posted on December 19, 2018 and filed under Retro 51, Pen Reviews.

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri Mechanical Pencil Review

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri Mechanical Pencil Review

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to mechanical pencils. Give me a classic design over most anything. Bonus points if it is an engineering-style mechanical pencil, like my beloved Rotring 600.

That’s what has kept me away from the Retro 51 Mechanical Pencil for so long. Not that this isn’t a classic style with it’s twist mechanism. In fact, it may be more classic than the standard click mechanism. But the twist pencil is no longer the expectation for mechanical pencils, nor has it been for decades.

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri Mechanical Pencil

It took Retro 51 to design one to get me interested. The Dmitri, named after Dr. Dmitri Mendeleev, the father of the Periodic Table, is not only a great bit of scientific history, but is beautiful to look at.

Unfortunately, that’s where my joy with this product ended.

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri

Retro 51’s Tornado mechanical pencils are designed around 1.15 mm graphite diameters. I like larger diameters, regularly using both 0.9 mm and 2.0 mm varieties in various products I own. But, the graphite has to be good. I’m not sure this graphite is good. It has a more plasticky feel than I would like. That makes it smooth and firm, but it has no character. No depth. No darkness.

With a more standard lead size I would happily swap in a different brand, like I do with ballpoint and rollerball refills. 1.15 mm is such a peculiar size that it makes swapping the lead out more difficult than with other mechanical pencils. Quick Googling shows a dearth of options.

Retro 51 Tornado Mechanical Pencil 1.15 mm

Even the times I am content with the lead situation in this pencil, I’m not content with the mechanism. It works fine extending and retracting the lead, but when I’m writing and the tip hits the page between words, the lead scoots back into the barrel slightly. Not every single time, but enough to be noticeable. It’s like there is some play in the twist, allowing it to backtrack if it’s hit in the right spot.

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri Mechanical Pencil Eraser

And finally, the eraser. It erases fine, that’s if it remains in place long enough to get the job done. I figured out immediately that if I erased in a left to right fashion, the eraser would pop out of the barrel. If I erased in an up and down fashion, it stayed in place. End of the world? No. Annoyance? Yes.

Does the style of the pencil outweigh the annoyances I had with it? No, it doesn’t. There is no doubt it is a stunner, and would make a great gift for the right person. But if you aren’t looking for a gift and instead want a great writing experience, you should look elsewhere.

(Retro 51 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, 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!

Retro 51 Tornado Mechanical Pencil Review
Posted on November 19, 2018 and filed under Retro 51, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.

Retro 51 Rescue Tornado Buzz Review

Retro 51 Rescue Tornado Buzz 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.)

Of all the pen breeds, ballpoint is my least favorite. I still think they're fun, because pens, but I don't love them with the same manic fervor as I do other kinds. Except for this one!

Retro 51 Rescue Tornado Buzz Refill

There's something about the Retro 51 Buzz design and these crazy smooth Retro 51 Easy Flow 9000 ink cartridges. The pen will take any Parker-style ballpoint refill, but I've never used one that's better than this. It writes butter-smooth and never skips, but the line is crisp and as dark as gel ink--without the smearing. It has all the utilitarian properties of ballpoint ink but eliminates all my pet peeves about it. It's nicely saturated and doesn't feel dry or require hand-cramping pressure.

Retro 51 Rescue Tornado Buzz

When you take a refill that good and put it in a pen this beautiful, well. That's just pure fantastic-ness. The body of the pen is acid-etched in a honeycomb pattern, enameled with honey-gold colors and adorable wee bees. The accents are in brushed copper. It has the classic Retro 51 knurled twist mechanism and sturdy metal clip. The finial is decorated with a hungry looking bear who has just found his favorite snack.

Retro 51 Rescue Tornado Buzz Honey Bee Habitat

On top of all that, the proceeds from each sale go to the NW Honey Bee Habitat Restoration. So if you needed one more reason to push you over the edge, there you go. These would make excellent gifts, too--especially for people who like pens but don't want anything fussy or who need that ballpoint ink for work. It's just a good pen and this edition does good for the world. It is sweet as honey in every aspect.

(Pen Chalet 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, 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!

Retro 51 Rescue Tornado Buzz Writing
Posted on October 25, 2018 and filed under Retro 51, Pen Reviews.