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Rawr, Grr! - The Cartelo 100


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#1 Mike

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 18:38

After hearing all the neat stories about the things that Noodler's Bay State Blue supposedly does to pens, I decided to get a couple of the cheapest and least attractive fountain pens that I could, fill 'em with BSB, sit back, and see what happened. I was disappointed, insofar as I didn't get any pen to melt or explode or do anything cool like that, but that's a story for another time.

I offer that as partial explanation, however, as to how I came to be the owner of a pink pen called a "Cartelo 100":

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It was on eBay for $0.99 USD with free shipping; how could I resist, when I was looking for lambs to sacrifice upon the altar of inky inquiry?

The descriptions - and photos - in the listing on eBay were pretty un-helpful; when I bought the pen, the photos actually weren't even loading, so I didn't have the greatest idea what I was getting.

What I got is a heck of a nice pen - possibly one of the nicest pens I've ever used. And don't worry, it comes in colors other than pink.

Let's go through the basics here:

Length capped: 135mm
Length posted: 145mm
Width: 10mm
Nib: fine stainless steel hooded, with tipping
Filling mechanism: quite nice removable piston converter with glass or plastic bb inside
Body: enamel or lacquer over brass
Cap: matte aluminum(?) with un-sprung clip
Section: aluminum(?)

It's a pretty average sized pen - similar to a Parker 21, or a Lamy Safari, and so on. The metal construction gives it a nice heft - it's not featherweight, but it's not "heavy", either; it has a nice quality feel to it, and the fit and finish are fantastic. The cap is snap-fit, and does so firmly and securely. It comes in a kind of useless cardboard presentation box that does a good job protecting it in the post. The cap band and converter are marked "Car Telo" in English, along with a picture of an... alligator? Crocodile?

The nib is a fine hooded affair of stainless steel, lays down a perfect moderately-wet line, and is pretty much perfectly smooth. This is a pen that I could write with for hours with at a time... and have.

This is, like I said, one of the best nibs I've come across, and from a manufacturer (or at least brand) that seems virtually unheard of. I am almost unreserved in my praise for this pen; I am so very close to suggesting that if you like medium-sized pens with hooded nibs, you owe it to yourself to bid on one of these babies in the color of your choice.

But!

There's this one little thing...

A thing the seller is kind of hoping you'll overlook, I think.

A thing which will either make this pen a "must have" for you...

...or completely break the deal and ensure you'll never buy one of these pens.

You see...

Someone, somewhere, did a really good job of trying to make this pen cute, in the way that only Southeast Asians can manage.

You see, the humble Cartelo 100 has personality - and a pair of fake rhinestones (Boring old BCHR fans might want to look away now):

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I'm still undecided on whether that's an appalling travesty to pendom, or the most awesome bit of cuteness ever to sport a nib. I mean... I mean... I have a very nice Sheaffer Snorkel, and a Pelikan, and several Rotrings, and a military-clip Tuckaway, and a nice Ero piston-filler, and a red Esterbrook dollar pen with a 9-series flex nib; I'm a Serious Fountain Pen Afficionado, right? But the horrible truth is I now have a (pink!) pen with a pair of rhinestones on it and a crazy lizard's mouth design thing going on at the business end. Rhinestones! Pocket bling! Cuteness! Whatever will I do?

Suck it up and buy one in blue, or maybe black. Or both. They're that good of pens. Function over form, baby. Function over form.

Cartelo 100 pens can be had on eBay in a bewildering variety of colors. That's where I got one, and where you might want to think about doing the same...

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#2 Bobby Check

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 19:01

Let us know of your ongoing adventure when you ink it.

And please include a picture of the "eyes" when dipped in blue.

I'm going to get my sunglasses before I am noticed admiring your pen.

Bobby


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#3 wackyjacky1

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 19:34

I literally laughed out loud. I want one!!! :clap1:

ETA: What a schmoe I am. The same seller has some of the pens listed with free shipping, and some with +$5 for shipping. Naturally I accidentally bid on one with a shipping charge. :headsmack:

Edited by wackyjacky1, 03 January 2010 - 19:37.

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#4 Mike

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 19:56

I was inking it directly with the converter, just for that reason... but I've got it flushed and drying right now, and I'll fill it the usual way later today with BSB, just for you. :)

#5 Mike

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 23:47

After letting it dry, I reassembled it, then plunged it head-first into a bottle of Noodler's Bay State Blue, and filled it the usual way. I then wiped the excess ink off with a clean paper towel, and took about five pages of notes for work. Here's the end result:

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Expressive pen is expressive, as the lolcat people would say. And slightly dramatic-looking, too.

I suspect that a little attention with a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol would clean up the last remaining hints of blue, there - and remember, this is Bay State Blue, reknown far and wide for its aggressive permanence and stick-to-itiveness. (Or is that stick-to-ituity?) Also remember that unless you're viewing this on your iPhone, the picture is lots of times larger than the pen in real life - the ZOMG HUGE BLUE STAINZ!!!!1111 you see really aren't noticeable in, you know, real life. (And would be less noticeable even then on one of the models with a dark-coloured section, rather than bright anodized silver.)

#6 lynxcat

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 01:01

i actually like the blue gleam to the rhinestone "eyes", there. it's a little silly of a design for me, but i'm almost tempted anyway. :-)

#7 Kabe

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 03:01

<youthspeak>Dude, that's like, so out there, dude.</youthspeak>
The voice of this guitar of mine, at the awakening of the morning, wants to sing its joy;
I sing to your volcanoes, to your meadows and flowers, that are like mementos of the greatest of my loves;
If I am to die away from you, may they say I am sleeping, and bring me back home.
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#8 TheNibsmith

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 03:29

I'm still undecided on whether that's an appalling travesty to pendom...


It took me less than a second for me to make my decision. Fountain pens are now forever ruined for me. Anyone want to buy a 40+ pen collection???:crybaby:

#9 Mike

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 04:20

I'm still undecided on whether that's an appalling travesty to pendom...


It took me less than a second for me to make my decision. Fountain pens are now forever ruined for me. Anyone want to buy a 40+ pen collection???:crybaby:


<FrankZappa>
I knew you'd be surprised!
</FrankZappa>

Glad I could ruin your hobby for you. :D

#10 TheNibsmith

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 04:22

Hey, no worries. There's always watches, right? I mean, as long as none of them remind me of that pen. :P

#11 betsypreston

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 04:39

I love EVERYTHING about this.

I love that you sought out and bought the ugliest pen in the world to test BSB.
I love that you were disappointed that BSB didn't make your pen melt or explode.
I love the the pen has eyes. Crystal eyes. And a mouth.
I love that it's pink pink pink pink.
I love the BSB stained crystal eyes.

There is no part of this story that doesn't make me laugh, laugh some more, wipe away a few tears catch my breath, and then laugh again. I'm going to go re-read the thread again!

I went to eBay and bid on my own immediately. Glad I got the heads-up about the free vs not-free shipping.

I have my very first bottle of BSB on its way, but delayed by a backorder on one the other items in my shipment. While waiting for it to arrive I have been worrying about which pen to use it in. Problem solved!!

#12 Pepin

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:31

I like it. You have style. :thumbup:

Edited by Pepin, 04 January 2010 - 06:31.

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#13 ToasterPastry

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:21

This pen came up about a year ago. I think it was Robert Hughes who mentioned it on this BBS.

I think Baystate Blue ink has become urban legend. I don't choose this ink because of what it conceivably does to pens, but rather what it does to my clothes (when I spill it on them).
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#14 enricof

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:58

Almost made me fall from the chair when I saw the close-up.

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I reckon I will not buy one, but my daughters could love it...

Now this make me wonder how a Hello Kitty FP could look like...Posted Image

Ciao - Enrico
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Daddy, please no more pens - we need food, clothes, books, DENTISTRY...


#15 duna

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 09:12

Now this make me wonder how a Hello Kitty FP could look like...Posted Image


Enrico, take a look to ebay item # 140334655160 to have a good idea (an official sailor sapporo mini - hello kitty..) :mellow:

#16 wackyjacky1

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 15:20

I went to eBay and bid on my own immediately. Glad I got the heads-up about the free vs not-free shipping.

:roflmho: My pain, your gain. :roflmho:
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#17 Mike

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 16:05

I'm glad I could provide a little entertainment to everyone. :)

#18 rwilsonedn

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 22:06

What a delightful review!
Would you mind updating us in about six months (if you continue to use the pen that long) on how you and the smiling anaconda are getting along?
ron

#19 Suggie

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 22:20

Hello,

I think I bought a Jinhao with a similar styling from ebay about a year back. Two red jewels and a black body. I think the nib styling was referred to as "cayman mouth." It had an odd kind of plunger converter. Worked well, and still does.

Regards,

Suggie

#20 Mike

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:14

Cayman mouth, huh? I searched on eBay with that term, and found similar pens with apparently identical hoods/faces/whatever, listed as from Jinhao, Crocodile, and Leonardo, as well as quasi-generic ("Noble/Noblest", et cetera.) Strangely, the Jinhao ones come with el-cheapo converters, while the "Crocodile" pens come with the same converter the Cartelo came with, and the Leonardo pens come with some strange sort of twist converter. Some of the nib and feed assemblies look a little different, which makes me suspect the various brands might be built to different standards, though the eBay prices don't really reflect that...

Most of the Jinhao, Crocodile, and Leonardo models look to be in the 9-12 USD range, once you include shipping. Not as cheap as the Cartelo versions... but some of them are a lot prettier. :D Not that I care about looks that much, obviously...






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