(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
A few weeks ago, Jeff introduced Karas Kustoms Starliner pens which are part of the company’s new Reaktor Writing Instrument line. This week, I’ll be highlighting the Starliner XL pens which are part of the same line but are full-sized pens rather than pocket-sized like the Starliner.
The Reaktor Writing Instrument line harkens back to the atomic age of the 40s and 50s and the space race in the 60s and 70s. The name “Reaktor” is a play on the atomic idea, and the pens in the range are designed to reflect elements of the space race (more on that below). In addition, Karas Kustoms wanted to make a series of pens at a lower price point than their other lines. With that in mind, they kept the pens simple both in design and color range (silver, black, and tumbled finish).
The Starliner XL pens are full-sized pens, measuring 5 inches (127mm) capped, 4.8 inches (123mm) uncapped, and 5.3 inches (135mm) posted.
The cap snaps on and has a machined clip. You’ll notice that while the cap and barrel look flat at the top and bottom, they both actually have small peaks. This detail is meant to evoke the glint of a star.
An additional space design element is the six machined rings—three on the top of the cap, two on the cap lip, and one near the barrel’s bottom. These rings evoke the “3-2-1” countdown of a rocket launch.
As I stated earlier, the Starliner XL series comes in only three finishes: black, silver, and tumbled. However, you can choose either blue or red anodized grips for the silver pens. These colors were chosen for their association with space suits, which often had red and blue fixtures.
The Starliner XL comes with a polished steel Bock 076 (#5) nib in sizes from EF to 1.5mm stub. You can also upgrade to a Titanium nib or a 14k gold one. The nib is a standard Bock design with some scrollwork and the Bock name and logo. All the nibs on the pens I received write smoothly and are unproblematic—no hard starts, skipping, or blobbing.
Included with each Starliner XL is a Schmidt K5 Converter and one Monteverde black standard international cartridge.
You can purchase the Starliner XL from Karas Kustoms for $55.00 with free shipping in the US (international shipping will cost $15.00). At the time of this post, the pens are not yet up for sale, but they should be available soon.
I’ve enjoyed using the four Starliner XL fountain pens for the past month. I love the sleek design and the snap cap works well—easy on and off. And, wonder of wonders, I even like posting the cap on these pens. It posts deep onto the barrel and does not throw off the balance.
I think you’ll find the Starliner XL to be a terrific every-day-carry pen. They are rugged and the clip makes it easy to stow them in a pocket. $55.00 with free shipping seems like an excellent deal, especially for a pen that will last for a long time.
(Karas Kustoms provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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