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Laban Mento Electric Yellow
Posted 19 March 2011 - 15:50
Intro: The Laban Mento (whose name literally translates, from Old Latin: Massive Pen) stormed through my browser one day, when I was casually browsing ‘le ebay’. Striking a chord in my heart, and a hole in my wallet, thus liberating me from 80 USD.
The Box: A big leather affair. Looks like a lozenge made out of left over suitcase material. Fake Leather, but underdone, and plain, which thus made the “aargh my retina” effect all the more blinding upon opening it up and beholding the writing instrument within .The designers should have included the business card of a cataract surgeon in the box.
First Impressions: I thought originally, as I had on order a number of pens from le ebay, that this pen was my Pelikan M400. So the surprise when I opened the box is ten-fold more intense than anything I can here relate. Unfortunately you’ll definitely miss out on the eye-wrenching impossibility (like when trying to understand a magicians trick you have just witnessed) as my eyes tried to convince my brain that they weren’t seeing a pelikan M400, but a red-yellow macaroni/bloodbath monstrosity. Laban Mento Macaroni Bloodbath, wonder why they didn’t call it that…
The pen is very big. I advise you not to open the box in front of your room-mates as I did, or they may inform you of a number of alternative uses for the writing instrument, infinitely more colourful than the pen itself.
Colour: This is the reason I purchase most of my pens. I bought the electric yellow pen. There were not batteries included, nor does it need charging at the end of every day. It doesn’t electrocute the user, nor propel itself along the page. Haven’t yet worked out where the ‘electric’ component fits in. It is a fairly bright yellow, not fluorescently bright (like the name ‘electric’ suggests), and with an awful amount of swirly redness for a ‘yellow’ pen. Still, it catches the eye like a well swung fishing hook. This is the kind of pen that, were you to take it out in public, you would without a doubt hear a bystander bellow “WOW IS THAT A FOUNTAIN PEN CAN I USE IT!” promptly snatch it from your fingers and bust the nib upside down, straight into a page, etc. The red is blood red, and from a distance drains the yellow. Unless you have really long arms, you won’t see the pen from a distance when you use it, so that won’t be a problem. 4/5
Weight+ Shape (not the name of an ambitious fitness class, but part of the review): This pen weighs as much as a Pelikan M400 (when both are empty). Filled it is unchanged. I would have liked it to be much heavier, but save filling the pen with lead, or sticking a metal section in it, it won’t be. Filling the barrel with ink could work, but I’m not going to convert the pen to an ED, as I couldn’t shoulder/pocket/accept the nasty feeling that would haunt me, every moment of every day, that the ink may slither down the internal threads, and creep out of the pen, giving me Pants of Darkness (Noodler’s TM). Posted, it feels a little top-heavy, but not by much. My main problem is there is no inner part to the cap (the appropriate name for this bit of a pen escapes me for the moment, as did the construction of it elude the pen designers), so you just stick plastic onto plastic, and there is nothing that gives slightly (i.e like in a Lamy 2000 cap) and lets the cap sit snugly. Mine falls off all the time, as does the cap of my pen.
The Shape is cigar shaped, and the pen is also cigar shaped.
Section: I very much like the section. Being made of plastic and the same colour as the barrel lends continuity to the pen, (which would be great if the swirls lined up, making the barrel look whole). Instead, the swirls don’t line up at all. They don’t swirl up either. This is however a subtle disjunction, and I digress.
Clip: Very, very standard. Thin and unhinged. Doesn’t feel like it would enjoy running up and down the fabric of my shirt pocket for too long before it got loose. Doesn’t really fit with the body of the pen (aesthetically that is, physically it fits fine. The hole for the clip allows air in/out, therefore I have had some trouble with the pen drying out (as have most other people whose reviews I’ve read). I plugged mine with blue tack. So the clip does the job, but definitely not sturdy. 2/5
Threads: Excellent for this kind of pen 5/5
Nib: Steel, two tone, M
I had some trouble with the nib. It clicked like a cicada when I first used it, and even after two weeks writing, it hadn’t settled. It actually got worse, and somehow managed to click when I screwed the cap on the pen. Tired of the nib showing me what it could do, and not what is was supposed to, I returned it. The current nib is okay.
It writes smoother than a Lamy M steel nib, and the steel feels softer. If you have a Lamy (what are you doing here if you don’t?, go get one, and then come back and resume this review), and want to experience what I mean, you can’t. Go buy a Laban Mento.
The line it lays, when filled with Noodlers HoD, or even when I get tired of HoD and put Heart of Darkness in it, is so thick it looks like black paint. And nearly as broad as a woman from a 1920’s pulp film.Therefore I’d call this an M-B nib. (not a Mont Blanc, just on the larger side of M) It would get a 3/5 (but I did have to send it back, so I should probably deduct a mark)
Finish (not the conclusion): The plastic is smooth and shiny, in most places. There are a few imperceptible blemishes in the plastic, where something has contacted the plastic when it was still solidifying, but only an obsessive pen collector/owner would pick up on something like that. So 4/5
The converter is not worth mentioning. So in no way whatsoever am I going to mention the stock-standard C/C converter in the review. It’s not worth it.
Conclusion (the finish):
This pen cost 80 USD. That’s a lot for a light plastic pen with a standard nib. In retrospect, and in looking back, I would probably be more happy with a baudy coloured heavy Ebonite ED pen (with a converter). When you can get one of those for only 45 USD, and could probably toss it out of a two storey building onto cement without really hurting it, it’s a little hard to justify this pen. I like this pen, but eh. Next time I get overwhelmed with the need for bright colours, I might just spill some noodlers after a storm at the end of a rainbow and eat M+M’s.
Posted 19 March 2011 - 17:18
What a great review. I love all your descriptions of the good and bad aspects. Shame about the nib being so lame, and the clip being useless, and the filling system not worthy of mention...
Love it. Keep em coming. Can't wait to see what you think of the Pelikan M400 you've got coming.
Posted 19 March 2011 - 17:24
Posted 19 March 2011 - 17:27
As to that colour - not my cuppa, but it certainly is striking!
Edited by Aysedasi, 19 March 2011 - 17:28.
Posted 20 March 2011 - 09:38
Posted 03 November 2011 - 19:55
I still think the Mento is a great looking pen - the very pen that stared off my addiction to FPs some 3 years or more ago now. I still have one - although I can't remember what the colour is called. I bought a broad nib to replace the medium but then had it ground to CI by Oxonian. It's a dry starter and skips occasionally and I don't use it as often now as I used to, but I'm not inclined to part with it. Too nice - and a far better looking pen than some (like Visconti's) that cost many times more. Great review.
As to that colour - not my cuppa, but it certainly is striking!
Strange I found this post, as I've just been trying to sell the pen that I wasn't inclined to part with! Darned thing attracted absolutely no interest whatsoever - even with the tuned nib......
Posted 03 November 2011 - 20:07
Posted 03 November 2011 - 20:23