My first thought when opening the box for this pen was that it looked like what I would call a working pen. It doesn't have a mirror quality super polished finish on any of the surfaces, but at the same time there are no blemishes or manufacturing marks that I can find anywhere. Essentially it looks really nice, however, I am not going to worry at all about scratches or signs of wear showing up through use.
All of the parts fit together perfectly and nothing is loose or wobbly feeling. The piston movement is buttery smooth which was a pleasant surprise after some problems encountered with my noodler's flex pens. The cap threads are snug and secure feeling; I would have no concerns of it coming uncapped in my pocket or bag. The clip is different from other noodler's pens. It is flatter, shorter, has a faster taper, more springy (softer with more movement), and features a nice round ball at the end making it much easier to clip in your pocket without catches and snags. Also, noodlers ink is imprinted in smaller letters making the clip look cleaner. The attachment ring for the clip makes a nice silver accent to balance out the silver ring on the piston nob. Finally, the cap band has noodlers ink stamped on it as well. A small detail that adds to the overall package. (ugh, this seems like a wordy review, but it gets better, look down there's smileys, see it must get better)
On the barrel the grip has a nice large diameter (approx. 0.4in or 10.1mm) which is close to the largest diameter of the barrel (0.475in or 12.0mm). I found this makes the pen vary comfortable to hold in my larger hands as my middle and first finger rest on the grip and my thumb rests on the barrel above the cap threads. The clear ink window is a vary nice feature found just up the barrel from the cap threads. On the black model the window has a vary slight yellow tinge to it caused by the black resin. I have heard that the burgundy colored version has a perfectly clear ink window. I have also experienced this on the noodler's piston fill fountain pens, my black one has yellowed windows while my grey one is perfectly clear. The ink window on this pen is covered up when capped making it so you have to uncap the pen to check the level. Not much of a problem but it could be an inconvenience for some. When the cap is posted on the barrel there is a vary gratifying click feeling much like the buttons that Audi is known for putting in their cars. I think this is from the cap "clicking" onto the silver ring on the piston nob. It is vary clear when the cap is posted and it is not coming off, a nice feeling after crushing one of my noodler's fountain pen caps with my desk chair after it slipped off in use .
Disassembly and cleaning:
I found this pen extremely easy to maintain having changed inks 5 times in the few days that I have had it with absolutely no issues. The piston is removed by fully extending it and then you keep turning the piston nob. This will cause the piston to spin in the barrel which can be seen in the ink window. Note: if the piston is not spinning you will get a clicking sound, this is the piston rod being extended out of its threads and then dropping back in as you unscrew the piston nob. I was concerned this may cause damage and found a simple solution. If you look in the ink window you can see the end of the feed sticking up into the barrel, simply unscrew the feed part way or remove it completely. Once the feed is out of the way the piston will spin freely in my experience. Once the feed is unscrewed and the piston is removed you can simply wash the piston and run water through the barrel. To clean the tip pull it out the end of the feed and the pull the wick out of the tip. Wash the wick WHILE THE INK IS STILL WET to avoid any staining problems. With the smallest solid stream you can get with your faucet (or ink syringe etc.) fill the hole in the back of the tip with water and the write with it on a paper towel, continue this process until it is just clear water coming out in the paper towel. Finally, rinse off the feed inside and out then let the whole pen dry.
Reassembly is vary easy as well. Slide the wick into the tip and then the tip into the feed. The feed is screwed into the barrel until you can just see it appearing in the ink window. Apply 100% silicone grease to the piston and piston mechanism. When I first disassembled this pen I found a vary generous amount of silicone grease on the piston threads which was probably the reason for the buttery smooth piston movement, so I continued this liberal application of silicone and still have a buttery smooth piston if it aint' broke don't fix it. Of course I didn't quite follow that logic and did the piston restoration with an o-ring that Nathan showed in his video here. What can I say, I like to tinker with my pens . Anyway the restoration is vary easy to perform if you feel like doing it or if you are a normal person and have to do it once your piston fails .
Use and performance:
I have found that this pen writes surprisingly well, don't get me wrong it ain't no fountain pen, but it actually is rather pleasant to use. The line is finer than my Kaweco fine and my namiki falcon soft fine. I can't compare it to a Japanese fine as I won't own one until the postman is kind enough to bring me Mr. Binder's delivery sometime this week, but if there are people that would like a comparison I could do some writing samples once my nib arrives. Performance wise this pen writes smoother than any ceramic or non-ceramic rollerball that I have tried. It may be the noodler's ink that I have been using or I may have gotten lucky and received a good tip with my pen. I also purchased the tip replacement pack containing 4 new rollerball tips with their wicks but have not yet needed any of them. The flow is perfect. I have been unable to make the pen skip and trust me I have tried... vary vary hard... alright I admit it, the paper tore and I scribbled on my wooden desk with heart of darkness and it is still staring up at me while I write this because I have tried everything and it won't come off ! Back to the flow, it won't skip (check) but it also doesn't feather or bleed on the crappiest paper I can find with all the inks I tried with the exception of noodler's Blue Nose Bear but that is to be expected (c'mon have you read the Blue Nose Bear thread, what did you expect). Bottom line it writes amazingly well for a rollerball and if you get one and it doesn't, keep replacing the tip until it does. They are vary cheep and you won't be sorry.
Dimensions: for those number minded people out there
Weight: 15g or 0.53oz (thank you going out to goulet pens, I don't have a scale anywhere near that sensitive)
Capped: 4.973in or 126.3mm (precision measuring I can handle, weighing not so much)
Uncapped: 4.732in or 120.2mm (I'm sure metric would be better in cm but it's late so you're stuck with mm)
Posted: 5.469in or 138.9mm (personally I can only use it posted, but I have jumbo hands)
Grip distance from tip (start, stop): 0.630in, 1.217in or 16.0mm, 30.9mm (now I've just taken this too far, or you could think of it as a substitute for nib size )
I think that hits the highlights for the numbers. If your number craving is still not satisfied head over to Goulet Pens to get even more, it's the least I could do after stealing their weights. No affiliation blah blah blah and so on.
Comparative pictures: for those visually minded people out there
From left to right. Noodler's large rollerball, Noodler's flex pen, Kaweco sport, Lamy safari, Namiki falcon, Pilot vanishing point or capless. There is also a Rhodia number 16 dot pad in a pad holder and the grid in the background is two lines to an inch for a sense of scale.
All pens capped.
All pens uncapped and posted. (see how it lines up perfect with the vp? yeah, I think that's why I like the size)
And finally a writing sample to cap this review off. Get it, cap the review, like a pen, awe screw it here's the pic.
see the mark between namiki and flacon ^ I sneezed that is why I use waterproof inks, allergy season is coming
Anything you want to know or I didn't cover just ask and I'll do my best.
Thanks for reading,
Edited by mcg1355, 08 August 2011 - 07:27.