Posts filed under Sheaffer

Sheaffer Pop Star Wars Collection BB-8 Rollerball Pen Review

Sheaffer Pop Star Wars Collection BB-8 Rollerball Pen 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.)

The Sheaffer Pop Star Wars Collection BB-8 Rollerball Pen might be a limited edition, but it isn't a collectible--the quality isn't high enough. It's a novelty item--a fun one. And sometimes fun is all a thing needs to be. So if you just want a fun Star Wars pen, this is a great choice, though it's a bit pricey for what you get.

The body of this pen is a lightweight plastic patterned with designs from the Star Wars character BB-8, runner-up for the cutest droid in the Star Wars movies. The designs look a bit off to me, probably because BB-8 is a sphere, and here he's presented as a cylindrical pen. It's still unmistakable, even with a quick glance, that this is a BB-8 pen.

Sheaffer Pop Star Wars Collection BB-8 Rollerball Pen

The grip section is black silicone that collects dust like crazy. It's also the kind that deteriorates after time with exposure to light and moisture. So, while the pen is refillable, it won't last forever. The body designs are also not printed in a way that will last with wear and tear.

The refill is a 0.7 mm gel rollerball that writes a dark, smooth line. It writes really nicely and covers completely. With its lightness and this rich ink, it would be a great pen for long writing sessions. I had no trouble with skipping. And despite the seeming firehose of ink, it didn't bleed. I was pleasantly surprised by the refill.

Sheaffer Pop Star Wars Collection BB-8

The pen is short, so it may not fit larger hands. It has a snap cap that fits securely and posts well. The clip is metal and quite flexible and sturdy. It has the Sheaffer white dot that hearkens back to old Sheaffer traditions.

Sheaffer Star Wars Collection BB-8 Pen

As a long-time pen hound, I have a conditioned response to that white dot--excitement! Because Sheaffer is a quality legacy brand. But I confess, to me, that white dot looks out of place on this pen. The Sheaffer company has changed hands and is certainly pursuing new brand directions. One of those directions is in these whimsical licensed properties. While this pen is cute and fun, I can't find it exciting. But I'm not its audience. Who is? My eleven-year-old, who can't wait for me to finish this review so he can have it. I suppose I better wrap this up--because he is definitely excited. If you're looking for a gift for a young Star Wars fan, this is a good bet. The $22.99 price tag is more than I would pay for a rollerball of this quality, but it's well within the window for a gift for a young pen addict. Or an older one with a young, fun heart.

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


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Sheaffer Pop Star Wars Collection BB-8 Rollerball Pen Box
Posted on November 29, 2018 and filed under Sheaffer, Star Wars, Pen Reviews.

Sheaffer Pop Star Wars Darth Vader Fountain Pen Review

Star Wars Darth Vader 1

Star Wars fans rejoice - there are now inexpensive fountain pens to add to your collection! The Sheaffer Pop Star Wars series features fountain and rollerball pens of three beloved characters: Darth Vader, R2-D2, and Yoda.

I picked the Darth Vader fountain pen for this review, although all three designs represent their characters very well. The Vader pen was just too slick to pass up with its black base and silver accents.

Star Wars Darth Vader 2

The barrel itself is made from plastic, and the cylindrical shape has a nice feel. The cap snaps on solidly, and posts on the back equally as well. The grip section is rubberized, which I’m fine with. It’s not slippery at all. The clip is a little thin, buts seems strong enough to last, and of course features Sheaffer’s famous white dot.

I’m in love with the look and feel of the pen, but as you know, that is only part of the story. The writing experience could be better, like the Phantom Menace if you erased all of the Jar-Jar Binks scenes.

Star Wars Darth Vader 3

The medium steel nib - the only size choice - is a smooth writer. Very smooth in fact. There is no scratchiness, and no skipping. But it is wet. Far too wet for my tastes. It writes like a 1.0 mm or wider rollerball pen.

I think it is the ink to be honest. The pen ships with a standard Sheaffer black ink cartridge, and it flows like a sieve from the nib. The way it spreads as soon as it hits the page - even on fountain pen friendly paper - makes me think the ink is the issue. You have to write fast to keep ahead of the ink pooling. It’s a proprietary fitting too, and I don’t have a Sheaffer converter to try other inks, and I wasn’t going to drain my only Sheaffer cartridge either.

Star Wars Darth Vader 4

So, what to do with this pen, and this series of fountain pens? If you want to buy this pen for someone who has never used a fountain pen I would choose one of the rollerball pens instead. Yes, it looks amazing, but the wetness of the ink could frustrate a beginner. If you want to buy this pen for someone who has experience with fountain pens then I say go for it. They can change things up as needed.

For me, I like this pen so much I’m going to buy a converter and see if I can get the performance more to my liking. The outside of the pen is cool enough to make me want to work on the inside. Plus, my son says it has have red ink, and I think he is right.

Lightsaber mode initiated.

(Goldspot 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!

Star Wars Darth Vader 5
Posted on November 27, 2017 and filed under Sheaffer, Star Wars, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

The Sheaffer Snorkel

(Ron Gilmour is a fountain pen enthusiast, would-be calligrapher, and librarian. You can find him online at Twitter @gilmour70 and Instagram.)

In the early 1950s, Sheaffer faced significant challenges on at least two fronts. First, there was the tremendous popularity of the Parker 51, with its sleek, modern design. Second, the ballpoint pen was making inroads, boasting ease of use with no messy dipping or filling.

Sheaffer responded with the Snorkel. Its look was clearly influenced by the 51, but with some uniquely Sheaffer elements. Best of all, it could be filled without any mess thanks to a tube that extended from the feed to suck up ink. This meant that the nib need not be submerged to fill the pen.

Most modern fountain pen users are unlikely to be put off by the alleged messiness of filling a pen, but the Snorkel's eponymous tube is unbeatable for getting those last precious drops out of an ink bottle.

Buying a Snorkel

The Snorkel is such a uniformly great pen that your choices in selecting one will be largely aesthetic. Personally, I'm a fan of the tubular "Triumph"-style nib, but Snorkels are also available with conventional nibs.

The original color range was fairly subdued, but starting in the mid-1950s the palette expanded to include colors of Fiestaware-like vibrancy. There were all-metal models (these were rarer), and very attractive "Crest" and "Clipper" models with plastic bodies and metal caps. (See David Isaacson's article for explanations of the 13(!) model names used for the Snorkel.)

For a functional, but "nothing special," Snorkel, you can expect to pay roughly $70-150 US.

Filling

For a pen that boasts the most complex filling system in the history of fountain pens, the Snorkel is surprisingly easy to fill.

Unscrew the blind cap and pull back. This will expose the metal "Touchdown" tube that surrounds the ink sac, and will also cause the snorkel tube to extend. Put the end of the snorkel tube in the ink and push the blind cap back into position. As you tighten the blind cap, the snorkel tube will retract into the feed. You're ready to write.

Cleaning

In principle, cleaning a Snorkel isn't much different from any other sac-filling pen. Just draw water up into the sac and expel it. Repeat until the water comes out clean. In practice, this is easier than cleaning a lever-filling pen, since the Snorkel's filling mechanism can be operated more quickly.

In Closing

The Snorkel is a solid pen that will not disappoint. As with all vintage Sheaffers, the nibs are excellent, though generally very firm. The relatively low cost on the secondary market and the large number of models and colors makes the pen a nice option for a collection as well as a great user.

If you like the idea of the snorkel tube, but don't like the slim body of the Snorkel, you might look at the Sheaffer PFM, a later model that uses the same filling mechanism, but has a chunkier build and a beautiful inlaid nib.

Further Reading

Brian Gray's explanation of his pneumatic filling mechanism discusses how a similar filling mechanism works and includes a helpful video.

David Isaacson's Sheaffer Snorkel Collector's Guide helps to decipher the profusion of model names for the Snorkel.

Richard Binder's extensive profile page on the Snorkel is helpful for determining the age of your Snorkel and lists many of the colors.

Richard Binder's Anatomy of a Fountain Pen III: Sheaffer's Snorkel explains the complex internal workings of the filling mechanism, with detailed diagrams.

Posted on September 28, 2016 and filed under Sheaffer, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.