Posts filed under Star Wars

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.

Why I Bought the Cross Townsend Star Wars Limited Edition Fountain Pens

(This is a guest post by Jon Bemis. You can find Jon on Twitter @jtower42.)

Episode IV: A New Pen

"Force Friday," as it was called, was one of the most impressive marketing and merchandising accomplishments I've seen as a consumer. A few teases, a few leaks, and then BOOM, Star Wars swag everywhere. Lego. Furniture. Toys, of course. Apparel. Thursday, nothing. Friday, it was as if though thousands of retailers cried out in joy and were suddenly overwhelmed with shoppers.

I was enjoying watching the hype and goings-on via social media in a sort of detached way when a tweet from a pen retailer popped into my feed and my eyes bugged out like Jar-Jar Binks'. Hands trembling, ears filled with the sound of rushing water, I clicked on a link that included the words "Star Wars" and "pen."

I've been a Star Wars fan as far back as I can remember. I was born after Episode IV came out, but I remember it being shown on network TV when I was a kid, back when you couldn't just pull up stuff on Netflix and VHS tapes were $100 a pop. My parents said I could stay up late to watch if I put my PJ's on before the movie started, and I remember selecting jammies with multi-colored stripes because they looked like blasters firing. On my second date with my future wife, just as the Fox fanfare was playing, I leaned over and whispered to her, "I saw Episode I FIVE TIMES in the theater."" And today, I am introducing my four daughters to the Star Wars universe.

So of course I was drawn to the "fine writing instruments" Force Friday tie-in, the Cross Townsend Star Wars Limited Editions. There were three designs - C-3PO, Stormtrooper, and Darth Vader. These were the pens I was looking for, and I immediately ordered all three.

Little did I know that much of the rest of the pen world was reacting differently. The Fountain Pen Network Facebook page was a wretched hive of scum and villany. Reactions ranged from the ostensibly helpful ("Keep an eye out on Overstock next year") to the rude and nearly unintelligible ("WHAT THE FUGGH?!")

The primary complaint was the price of these pens. They are expensive, no doubt, at $575 each. But in a world where beloved brands like Montblanc and Nakaya START above that price and where it seems like everyone is waiting for a bespoke pen from one of the community's artisanal pen-turners, this hysteria seemed as forced as Hayden Christiansen's line readings..

Even the Pen Addict Podcast hosts got their pokes in:

"They don't LOOK good," opined Myke. "They're not PUTRID," Brad sort-of demurred.

Additional pithy thoughts from the gents included "asinine," "embarrassing," "ridiculous," and "a joke." Against both the tide of public opinion and my better judgment, I posted in the live chat room that I had ordered all three, which Brad noticed. Myke was incredulous. "I didn't BELIEVE him."

I felt kinship with the Star Wars fans that hold a wildly unpopular opinion like "I like the scene Lucas added where Han steps on Jabba's tail," or "the whole midichlorians thing totally makes sense," or "Jar-Jar Binks is my favorite character." I felt the need to defend myself, like Luke deflecting blaster fire while practicing with his lightsaber. I mean, I really liked the look of these pens from the first. But more than that, what really drew me to these pens was that they represented the nexus of two of my favorite things. Whenever I see a product that does that I get a feeling like that product was made just for me.

In the pen world, Retro 51 has nailed this concept. Their special editions are always aimed at different niches - sports fans, space fanatics, dog lovers, retro gamers, even ugly sweater enthusiasts - and typically sell out quickly. Personally, my family and I are huge Disney fans, so I have spent a fair amount of time hunting down Disney Retro 51s and Uni Kuru Togas. There are parallels to Field Notes as well. My favorite edition is Traveling Salesman because I AM a traveling salesman, and I love Two Rivers and Shelterwood for their connections to my beloved home state of Wisconsin. So when nerdy hobby "Pens" intersected with geeky obsession "Star Wars" it was pointless to resist.

Brad swept in like Han Solo in the trench and commissioned, right there on the air, a review of my newest pens for the Pen Addict blog. So here is my review of the much-maligned Cross Townsend Star Wars Limited Editions. (I hope it's not a trap.)

Episode V: The Reviewer Strikes Back

The low-resolution images on some of the retailers' websites have disappointed for the last time. In person, these pens are just stunning. While the basic design of the Cross Townsend is so classic and simple as to nearly be boring, the details added for these editions elevate the pens to something special.

While it looks like a standard brass pen body from a distance, close up the C-3PO is fluent in over six million forms of beautiful. It is gold (of course) and covered with accent lines recalling the curves and circles etched on Threepio himself. The clip is centered in a ring of concentric circles like those in the center of the protocol droids chest, and the caps finial looks like his eye.

The Darth Vader is deep matte black with Vaderesque pinstripes running the length of the barrel, and the cap has subtle lines recalling the Sith Lord's mask under the clip. A red crystal is set in the caps finial, and while normally I'd scoff at the addition of a Swarovski crystal as a selling point - seriously, what is the deal with Swarovski? Isn't it just, you know, crystal? - it is a nice touch here as a callback to the color of Vader's lightsaber.

The Stormtrooper is my favorite of the three. The pen is, naturally, stark white with black furniture, and the finial has the mesh pattern of the communicator on the helmet. It's a very simple design but elegantly so, just like the armor for which it is named

The one design quibble I have is a fit and finish concern. Where the barrel and section thread together is meant to be a seamless fit, but the joint is not quite perfect and means there is a tiny mismatch between the barrel and section.

I have read comments that the Cross Click Gel Star Wars editions are better because they sport bolder design elements, including a badge on the clip that identifies the character. Thing is, I really like that the design on the Townsends is subtle. I love the idea that I can be sitting in big important formal meeting and be using my nerdy pen and no one will even know.

These pens look great...but so did the pod race. A good fountain pen is not as random or clumsy as a ballpoint; it is a more elegant writing instrument from a more civilized age. Even so, a bad writing experience will ruin even the best-looking fountain pen. So how do these pens write?

Episode VI: Not Returning the Pens

The nibs on all three were very smooth right out of the box with almost no feedback. They are not "soft" nibs per se, but as with most 18K nibs, these have a little bit of softness and create a little bit of line variation, which is an awesome bonus. Ink flow is fairly wet and broad, and there is little difference between the fine and medium nibs, which are the only available choices. Using the included Cross black cartridge on 80 gram Rhodia paper, there is some very minor ghosting, but no bleedthrough of any kind.

The Townsends are slim, which is a Cross design hallmark, but not so slim as to be uncomfortable to use for extended writing sessions. The section is plastic, which I prefer, and offers a solid grip. The caps post solidly, but being solid brass, make the pen untenably back-heavy when posted.

Overall, I really love the way the pen writes - the quality and tuning of the nib are top notch, and I've enjoyed using them in the weeks since they arrived.

Having never owned a Cross fountain pen, I didn't know what to expect, and part of me was worried I'd be disappointed. I did hesitate (briefly) before I ordered them, but then I remembered some excellent advice. "C'mon, let's keep a little optimism here." Happily, my leap of faith was rewarded. The Force is very much with these pens.

Posted on December 10, 2015 and filed under Cross, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews, Star Wars.