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Indian Pen Odyssey 3: Cheapie Shoot-Out


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9 replies to this topic

#1 amk

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 07:03

I decided to see what you could get for 15 rupees. Here's a shoot-out between


  • a Montex Handy 27 bought in Bhavnagar, Rajasthan (where I'd stayed in the lovely Jungle Lodge and spent the day in the nature reserve watching painted storks bringing up their vociferous children)



  • a Camay 1185 (not Camlin, and I have no idea whether they are related) bought in Chanderi, MP (a truly lovely little town with fine monuments and old havelis, and very welcoming people)



  • a Hamraj 1579 bought in a graphic arts shop in Varanasi. Actually, this one was 10 rupees!


pen028.jpg

 

 

Montex – bright coloured plastic (red and blue, but there were numerous other combinations) which definitely feels cheap, with a plastic 'clip' that doesn't really clip, and a very scratchy nib. The section is ribbed, a bit like Waterman laureat; it's quite a thin section, and there's a sharp step up to the barrel, which was not particularly comfortable. The nib appears to be folded and pressed steel with no tipping, like many cheaper Indian pens. It's a cartridge pen, taking international shorts. It blotted like stink, needed shaking every few lines to encourage it to write, and had very variable ink flow.

 

Hamraj – an eyedropper pen; like the Montex, it looks and feels pretty cheap. It's a workmanlike pen, in burgundy (I also have blue and I think green), with three thin metal rings (two on the cap and one on the end of the barrel); they're not particularly well made, and bluge out where the metal has been squeezed up to get it on. The clip is metal, and the plastic tassie protrudes slightly where the clip has been jammed underneath. Yet a major surprise on a pen this cheap, the cap is screw-on, not snap-on. The nib says it's tipped, and it probably is – it's not scratchy like the Montex, though it's a dry writer and suffers intermittently from poor ink flow. This was also, probably, the finest of the three nibs.

 

pen027.jpg

 

 

 

Camay – unlike the basically tubular Montex and Hamraj, this pen has a cigar/torpedo shape. It also came with a little syringe style converter; very basic, but well made. It has one vice; after filling, you need to expel a little of the ink, otherwise it will blot once or twice. Once I got used to this little quirk I was able to use the pen without mishap. The nib was good, though there is a little local scratchiness which is only apparent if I let the pen rotate while I was writing. This soon became my regular pen for keeping my journal.

 

Out of the three pens, the Camay wins hands down. It's also available in wonderfully vivid colours – I wish now I'd bought the lot; I have bright yellow and a lurid orange, but there was also pink and lime green... Now to resort to a little micromesh to get that nib nice and smooth, and it will end up one of my favourite pens - and a lot cheaper than my Lamy 2000!

 


Too many pens, too little time!

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#2 de_pen_dent

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 07:52

Great write-up.    The smaller towns is where you typically find the really off-the-radar stuff.     I found a Chinese hooded pen with some attempts at "Maki-E" (well, some paintings, anyway :) ) on it for Rs 50 in Port Blair last year.


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#3 hari317

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 09:39

:) Nice shootout. Avoid these 15bucks pen altogether. 50 and above minimum.,

 

 

 


  • a Montex Handy 27 bought in Bhavnagar, Rajasthan (where I'd stayed in the lovely Jungle Lodge and spent the day in the nature reserve watching painted storks bringing up their vociferous children)

Bhavnagar is in Gujrat. :)


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#4 amk

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:47

Sorry, Hari317 - I meant to say Bharatpur not Bhavnagar! Fat fingers, mini keyboard, brain not quite functioning. :-)

 

I'd usually avoid the cheapies, but actually with Camay and Rocky and Serwex, you can have a lot of fun at this price. Montex though, Jumax, and Hamraj you're quite right, cheap and nasty, rather than just inexpensive, at below 50 rupees.


Too many pens, too little time!

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#5 de_pen_dent

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 14:27

Sorry, Hari317 - I meant to say Bharatpur not Bhavnagar! Fat fingers, mini keyboard, brain not quite functioning. :-)

 

Ha, I was wondering where you had seen cranes in Bhavnagar, but didnt want to derail the thread.   Bharatpur should be jamming this year, now that there's actually been proper rainfall for a change.    


True bliss: knowing that the guy next to you is suffering more than you are.

#6 kaushla

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 15:43

I am not familiar with the pens you bought but you have certainly stayed at some very nice places, some of which I would like very much to visit myself.

Kaushla

 

I decided to see what you could get for 15 rupees. Here's a shoot-out between


  • a Montex Handy 27 bought in Bhavnagar, Rajasthan (where I'd stayed in the lovely Jungle Lodge and spent the day in the nature reserve watching painted storks bringing up their vociferous children)



  • a Camay 1185 (not Camlin, and I have no idea whether they are related) bought in Chanderi, MP (a truly lovely little town with fine monuments and old havelis, and very welcoming people)



  • a Hamraj 1579 bought in a graphic arts shop in Varanasi. Actually, this one was 10 rupees!


 

 



#7 amk

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 15:55

de_pen_dent, I'd been planning to give Bharatpur a miss as most of the guidebooks said there were few birds to be seen - it was only the advice of an Indian amateur photographer I met in Fatehpur Sikri that changed my mind, and thank goodness I had been chatting to him; the place was absolutely bursting with birds.

 

Yes, cranes in Bhavnagar would be interesting!


Too many pens, too little time!

http://fountainpenlove.blogspot.fr/


#8 wanahakalugi

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 15:24

When my dad was in India, he had bought me a few pens, including a montex handy. Compared to the nicer camlin pens he brought, the montex was terrible, so it sat, uninked in the back of my drawer. Then, one day, I had a yearning for a stub nib, but I had recently bought a flex pen from FPR, so I couldn't really got another pen so soon. I took the montex pen, clipped off the tip with pliers, an smoothed it down on a flat rock I found outside. To my surprise, I got an italic (or stub) that writes even smoother than my Camlin Trinity (my favorite at the time)! As the montex handy is pretty terrible by itself, I highly suggest this mod. 



#9 amk

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 17:05

Now that's an idea! After all, at 15 rupees I'm not going to cry if I ruin it ... so stub nib here I come! Thanks for the tip.


Too many pens, too little time!

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#10 FPFOLLOWER

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 15:47

Reminds me.....the school days......Used Montex handy and hamraj pens then








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