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Delivered: M215 (M) And Vp (B)


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Hohn

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 17:22

So yesterday I took delivery of my first "nice" fountain pens from Pam @ Oscar Braun (no affiliation). I got an M215 in Medium (the one with the rings) and a VP with the broad nib. Opinions follow:
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The M215 is a revelation. It has two things I love in particular: great flow, and a some spring to the nib. I was pleasantly surprised just how much give there is to the nib. Coming only from cheaper Lamys, this was a very different experience. In an experienced hand, it could be used to give some flex-based variation. In my clumsy hands, it's a pleasant novelty.

I was surprised just how small is the M215. It's downright petite-- almost cute. But it's big enough for my hands (I'm over 6ft tall, with medium hand size). The web of my hand (when held that way) contacts the pen at the twist portion for the piston fill. So I wouldn't want it smaller, but it is big enough. As added bonus for being the perfect "Goldilocks" size, it fits in a front pocket very easily.

Balance is perfect, as is weight (which matter less than balance, imo). The pen is light, but has just enough mass to feel substantial.

I can see why someone might like a bigger pen or different stylings and such. But I'm convinced that you can't really get much *better* a Pelikan in the higher series-- just *different*-- a little more nib spring, a larger body, a little more panache. Could a ~$400 M800 be four times better than this M215? Not a chance, imo.

I think the M215 (and the M2xx in general) are probably safe choices for the daily-carry role. The perform superbly, transport easily, and aren't so expensive that you'd have a cardiac event if something should happen to it.

This is my favorite pen, and probably always will be. I don't see myself buying anything more expensive-- if I buy more pens at all. (surely, those are famous last words, lol!)
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The VP was very different.

For one, the VP is even smoother than the M215. With both Perle Noir and the included blue Pilot ink cart, it makes a REALLY annoying squeaking sound. The more I used it, the less this seems to be occurring though.

I love the retractability of the VP. And I hate it. Why? Because the nib has no immediate connection to the the pen body that you grasp, the nib ends up "floating" inside the pen body. This isolation KILLS all feedback from the tip. Aside from losing the feeling, the results in lost motion as well. Also, the act of retracting the nib seems to fling ink all over the pen's innards, perhaps flying up from the feed. Nothing major, but seems like a preventable oversight.

Anyway, I realized why I was fighting the VP so much. I was pushing it too hard, using it like a ball point pen almost. Once I learned to just very lightly grasp it, it no longer had the feeling of fighting the pen- it just soared across the page. It's sooooo smooth. It glides along so smoothly that it makes my writing sloppy, in that I can't seem to control it very well.

I do like the VP. While I prefer the M215, the VP is definitely a keeper.

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The M215 and VP have a lot in common. The both are very popular, enough to where replacement nibs are easy to source, and customizations from someone like Richard Binder are easily obtained. They also both carry VERY well in a front pocket or shirt pocket.


I had surmised that choosing two such very popular FPs as my first "real" FPs was a safe bet, and that tack appears to have been valid.


Justin

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#2 nm4

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 17:27

As the owner of two M200s and a former M215 owner I must agree that the Pelikans are great pens. The 200 series is very small - that's my only complaint about them.

I have two VPs as well and adore them. I have no issues with loss of feedback...I just appreciate their unbeatable convenience!

NM
Cross ATX XF nib and Sheaffer 444X F nib for sale in the classifieds!

#3 Tennessee Dave

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 17:29

Congratulations. Thanks for the review and I wish you much enjoyment.
Dave

Thankful for being blessed with a genteel life and wonderful wife

#4 Hohn

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 17:36

Something I forgot to mention about the VP-- the CON-50 cart converter.

It's terrible-- absolutely just terribly designed.

Firstly, the end is WIDE OPEN. See this pic from Brian Goulet:
Posted Image

This means that it flows freely which is good. You aren't going to have the dreaded "bubble" phenomenon in this converter, as the OD is large enough to prevent that capillary action with all but the most viscous inks.

But there is no positive seal to the converter where it nests into the feed that I can tell. A "proper" design IMO would have a radial seal O-ring around the outside base of the CON-50, creating a positive seal here. You can tell that this leaks because as you twist the piston upward, you can hear air rushing in around the seal where it SHOULD be sucking ink up into the reservoir. :doh:

Another beef with the design: the piston comes only down to the "stop" in the middle of the converter. That means you will ALWAYS have a substantial air pocket in the converter, and this wastes ink capacity and reduces feed regularity (more pressure variation).

Related to this is that there is NO visual indication of how well you have filled the pen. With the converter nested into the pen, you will ALWAYS see an "empty" converter. :doh:


So to sum up, the CON-50 gives you a converter that fills poorly, feeds freely (but inconsistently), and frustrates almost every important element of the ink-filling process.

Other than that, not bad. :bonk: :bonk:

#5 Koyote

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 19:36

Many people have reported greater satisfaction with the CON-20 converter, so perhaps you should try it.

#6 Hohn

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 20:49

Perhaps. I think that's the button-filler, right? Not sure how that works, but I trust pistons-- at least ones that are "proper."

JMO

#7 watch_art

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 21:04

the con 20 is the squeeze converter. i think it will get more ink in it. and if you push the 50 in far enough, it won't leak at all.

the 70 is the button converter, and doesn't fit in the vp.

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#8 DAYoung

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 21:43

Hohn, the M215 often evokes this reaction. It's an elegant, sturdy, well-designed little pen - which sits nicely in the hand, because of its extra weight.

It's my daily writer, and I can't envisage a better one coming along soon.
Damon Young
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OUT NOW: The Art of Reading

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#9 Bookman

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 21:57

My M215 is my favorite pen and daily writer. You'll love yours even more over time, Hohn. Excellent choice.

I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

 

 

 


#10 troglokev

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 21:58

But there is no positive seal to the converter where it nests into the feed that I can tell. A "proper" design IMO would have a radial seal O-ring around the outside base of the CON-50, creating a positive seal here. You can tell that this leaks because as you twist the piston upward, you can hear air rushing in around the seal where it SHOULD be sucking ink up into the reservoir. :doh:


Push harder. My experience with Pilot converters is that they are usually a very tight fit. It sounds to me like you haven't seated the converter properly.






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