Every time I think "I don't really need another Retro 51", they go and do something like the Elephant and Rhino Rescue Ballpoint. Beautiful pen? Check. Great writing experience? Check. Charity contribution that not only tugs at my heartstrings but pulls them out through my tear ducts? Double check.
Here's another edition of the Tornado that takes a quality pen build and turns it onto a work of art--something Retro 51 does so well. The gunmetal grey body has been acid-etched with a geometric elephant and rhino pattern that mimics the look of pachyderm skin. Clever and gorgeous--and functional, as the texture gives the pen excellent grip.
The build also includes the much beloved features of the Tornado--the knurled top with the twist mechanism to deploy the tip, and the sturdy but springy metal clip. The nose cone unscrews to remove the Easy Flow 9000 ballpoint refill.
The ink in the refill is intended as a ballpoint/rollerball hybrid--and I think it achieves that. It has the smoothness and darkness of liquid rollerball ink, but the drier, long-lasting properties of ballpoint ink. It is very smooth and pleasant to write with. I did get some slight smearing on the side of my hand at one point, but I was writing on coated paper and not being terribly careful. Once the ink had a moment to dry, I didn't have any more smearing. If the ballpoint ink isn't to your taste, it looks like the rollerball refill will also work, if you purchase it with a conversion pack--or you can use any parker-style refill.
Best of all, for every pen sold, donations will be made to ERP--Elephants, Rhinos & People--a nonprofit that helps save the endangered Elephants and Rhinos of Southern Africa. You can learn more about their fantastic work at ERP.ngo.
If I'm to find anything to criticize about this pen, I have to pick some nits. Because really, overall, it's swell. But. The texture is a little on the harsh side and can feel a bit sharp in the hand. And I wish they'd put a decorative finial on the top like they do for other special editions. Also, I found it a bit tricky to insert the refill properly. That's probably something the matter with me, rather than the pen, though.
It's a great new addition to the Tornado line. If you're a Retro collector, an animal lover, or a pen addict of any kind, this is one you don't want to miss.
(Vanness Pens 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!