Lately my pen obsession has diverged into two distinct main strands or, more accurately, countries of origin: Japan and Italy. Of the latter, my unhealthiest preoccupation has centered on Stipula. I love the Etrurias, but limited finance means I've needed to be choosy - can't have 'em all (sigh), shouldn't really be buying any! But when has that ever stopped me? Note to self: must stop these FPN confessionals, it's becoming embarrassing.
So here's the thing, I like the piston fillers but find the current Stipulas rather heavy. A black c/c filler was a revelation - light, well-balanced, amazingly comfortable - so good I just couldn't put it down, but it isn't a piston filler and all that pretty celluloid beckoned me to buy more - and how could I refuse - but which one? After a bit more reading I discovered that the earlier Etruria piston fill pens are lighter than than the current models, and the amber celluloid is, in my opinion, more beautiful than the current variety, so I lurked on the FPN classifieds and eventually managed to pick one up. It's a terrific pen, but for me the relatively straight section isn't quite so ergonomic as the more recent, rather concave design so I carried on looking.
And here's where I've ended up, a Stipula Brunelleschi Terra Siena. Okay, it's not an Etruria, but it's pretty similar and it ticks all the right boxes: piston filler, concave section, lovely celluloid, sterling silver accents, same great nib all present and correct. I'm not a Stipula expert but the Brunelleschi Terra Siena doesn't seem to be a current model and my pen is a prototype; it's marked P03/351. I don't know how it varies from the rest of the edition, if at all.
Compared to the Etruria it's somewhat slimmer and a little less curvy, rather as though it's been on a diet or working out at the gym. The cap is shorter and more pointed, the grip fractionally narrower and the clip is of a different design. Perhaps most noticeably, the cap threads are at the nib end of the section, rather like the Model T and very unobtrusive, enhancing the clean lines and shapeliness of the pen (though I wonder how well they'll wear with regular use). It also lacks the cap band that sets the Etruria pens apart, but looks very handsome nonetheless.
Weight and balance are perfect for me. Capped it's about 30g, the pen upcapped is about 20g which is how I use it. Balance is excellent; in spite of the piston it isn't particularly tail heavy. In terms of size it's a tad longer than a Pelikan M800 and about the same width at its widest point. The celluloid is the same as used on the Etruria Volterra, a rich reddish orange, the colour of terracotta tiles or bricks baked in the warmth of the Italian sun, but with subtle green accents. The only detail I was initially dubious about is a little green 'jewel' on the clip. It matches the green accents in the celluloid quite nicely and it's unobtrusive, which is fine by me.
The nib is typical Stipula. Mine is an 18K bold. It's smooth and quite juicy, firm with just a little spring to it. Stipula nibs are among my favourites and this one is no exception. I usually re-grind my nibs to cursive italic but will probably live with this one as it is for a while.
Overall it's a wonderful pen, arguably as close to perfect as any I own. I can see it getting a lot of use. There's not much more to add - I think I've satisfied my Stipula craving... for now!
Pictured below is the Brunelleschi with the current Alter Ego and my small (but perfectly formed) Stipula collection. I'll try to add a writing sample and some images that really do it justice in a week or two.
10.5.11 edited a typo.
Edited by Painterspal, 10 May 2011 - 15:50.