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Lanbo 508


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#1 myles

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 22:50

First Impressions

I was actually tempted by the "calligraphy extension" described by Todd on I Sell Pens. That turned out to be something of a disappointment, but the pen itself turned out better than I thought.

The pen turned up in a presentation case, which I wasn't really expecting for the price.




Appearance & Finish

Something of an interesting Frankenpen design, there are several non-symmetrical design features.

The end of the barrel has a flat gold end, while the cap has a round end. The end of the cap is decorated by a stylised 5-petaled flower (old-fashioned rose?) pattern that some might find vaguely reminiscent of the Montblanc end pattern at a distance.





However, that similarity is soon dispelled by the attention-grabbing dragon-head clip, similar to that on Jinhao pens.



A mix of fine and coarser ribbing adds texture to the cap, and the cap also shows the brand name as a log and also as part of the model number.



The barrel is smooth and shiny black lacquer over a brass (?) base. All trim is gold-coloured, possibly shiny brass, as the trim merges into the shiny interior of the pen with no change in colour or texture except somewhat less polished smoothness.



Design / Size / Weight

The Lanbo 508 is in my mind a good "standard" pen size, neither particularly thick nor as uncomfortably thin as a Parker Jotter.

Lifting the pen out of its box was a surprise - it is quite heavy. Capped it is even heavier than my Pilot Capless (Namiki Vanishing Point), which I'd always thought of as a hefty pen.
OK for a trouser pocket but I find it too heavy for a business shirt or polo top.
Uncapped and unposted it is a fraction lighter than the Pilot Capless.

Removing the cap reveals a matte black grip section and a two-tone gold-plated nib.



I found it a comfortable length and balance to use posted or unposted, but for me it is a bit heavy for prolonged use when posted.

Capped: 14.2cm (about 5&9/16")
Unposted: 12.2cm (about 4&3/4")
Posted: 15.4cm (about 6")



Nib Design & Performance

The two-tone (plated) nib is a graceful leaf shape without sharp shoulders, has no breather hole, and is decorated by swirls, the word Lanbo, and a representation of the eastern dragon head of the type on the clip.



The nib is a fine-ish medium and comfortably but not excessively smooth, albeit something of a dry writer. There is no initial hesitation or skipping, and it is a good writer. The back of the tip writes extremely fine but with noticeable tooth.

The slider extension blade in the feed that Todd describes as a "calligraphy" extension is (in my opinion) nothing of the kind. It is too thin and sharp, and ink does not flow down it (at least on my pen), although you might possibly make a mark from ink that smears onto it when it slides out.

The extension does seem to serve two purposes - firstly, it can clear the slit of paper fibres if present, flossing the nib, and secondly if the ink dries in the nib while the pen is uncapped (which Lamy Black seemed to do quite rapidly) then running the extension blade through the slit gets it flowing again. A useful feature but not for calligraphy purposes.






The Filling System

Cartridge/converter, twist converter supplied. A reasonable portion of the ink reservoir remains visible to see how much ink remains.



Cost / Value

Cost was about US$17 from I Sell Pens, and I think it presents excellent value for money.

Overall Opinion / Conclusion

If you don't mind a pen with solid heft and an average section width, the Lanbo 508 is a decent pen with some character to its appearance (particularly the cap), for less than you'd pay for most Western brand pens of similar quality.
The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory - Chinese proverb
The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice - Mark Twain

#2 Leigh R

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 23:59

Thanks for the review! How intriguing, a pen with a built-in nib flosser (at least that's what it looks like to me). What is this extension made of, and how does it slide? smile.gif Enjoy your new pen!

#3 myles

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 00:15

QUOTE(Leigh R @ Jan 4 2008, 10:59 AM) View Post
What is this extension made of, and how does it slide?


Silver-coloured metal (steel?), and the underside of the feed (under the nib) has a little slider handle (I just use a thumbnail to move it) which you can make out in the photos showing the nib from the side (the feed itself is not otherwise serrated underneath the nib).

Yes, it seems to be a built-in nib flosser to me too.

Thanks Leigh!

Regards, Myles.

The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory - Chinese proverb
The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice - Mark Twain

#4 lovemy51

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:04

QUOTE(myles @ Jan 3 2008, 10:50 PM) View Post
[b]
The extension does seem to serve two purposes - firstly, it can clear the slit of paper fibres if present, flossing the nib, and secondly if the ink dries in the nib while the pen is uncapped (which Lamy Black seemed to do quite rapidly) then running the extension blade through the slit gets it flowing again. A useful feature but not for calligraphy purposes.


i'm glad you mentioned that the extension is not intended for calligraphy purposes... i bought mine thinking it would because isellpens.com so indicates and found out it's not.

mine is a different model, w/o the dragon clip and it has a rampant lion on the cap band. a very nice writer even with the nib upside down!!!!

one thing i don't like is the filling system. hardly holds any ink in the reservoir. mine is an aerometric, bottled ink only, different than yours.

Edited by lovemy51, 21 January 2008 - 09:10.

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#5 laura400

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 20:32

hello , wonderful review !
i think i was bought same one (but in silver colour , now i waiting for my pen .

i add picture (which i got from seller)


bdd0_12.JPG

tell me please did these pen refills easy , as it is my first pen , which ink need use for these pen refilling ?

#6 laura400

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 20:40

hello , wonderful review !
i think i was bought same one (but in silver colour , now i waiting for my pen .

i add picture (which i got from seller)


bdd0_12.JPG

tell me please did these pen refills easy , as it is my first pen , which ink need use for these pen refilling ?

#7 RevAaron

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 21:19

What an odd thing, that slider. Is supposed to be there to control ink flow?
WTB: Ford's Patent Pen, Pilot Blue ink (Thai)
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#8 lovemy51

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:14

QUOTE (RevAaron @ Feb 7 2009, 01:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What an odd thing, that slider. Is supposed to be there to control ink flow?


i think it's designed to clear tines from ink clogs/jams.
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#9 MYU

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 13:53

I love the cap top... neat alternate motif to the Montblanc star. wink.gif I wonder if they make any other models? The dragon head looks so tacky...
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#10 PatientType

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 16:13

Good review. I think the Chinese and Indian pens are the "sleepers" in the pen market. Quality and value are increasing but prices are staying low. As the pen companies in these countries get a better sense for western tastes, I see them moving from the cheap fountain pen portion of the market to the mid-range (like your Lanbo) and higher ranges (like the 18K nib Chinese Opera pen by Duke, retail $280).