I was actually hoping to post my first review a week or so ago on my GvF-C guilloche but after procrastinating on taking some pics for it and recommending the Frontier in a couple of threads recently I thought I should write a short roundup of this in the meantime.
Like I said, I've had cause to recommend the Frontier in a couple threads asking for ideas on cheaper and/or starter pens. Since nobody else has mentioned them at all I thought instead of writing a new mini review in each thread I could write a proper one and link to it and in the meantime it might be useful for someone looking specifically for Frontier info.
The review proper:
I've only been using fountain pens for a few months now and I first took the jump by buying a near complete range of cheaper Parker FPs: F chrome Jotter flighter; M Jotter, M Profile IM, M Reflex and the M Frontier now being reviewed. The reason I'm reviewing the Frontier though is that it really is the pick of the bunch and I have yet to hear anyone else recommend it to anyone.
To be fair, of all the Parkers I mentioned it's almost the most expensive at £12 sterling plus postage to Australia, after only the chromed Jotter flighter which cost $35AUD (roughly £20sterling or $35USD).
The Frontier I chose was in dawn gold trim which looked quite good online, and although in person the barrel looks a bit more plasticy than it did online, I think it still looks quite nice for a cheap pen. The cap however is real metal, feels and looks quite nice, the only drawback being that without it the rest of the pen is quite light. This means that when writing with the cap posted as I tend to do (big gorilla hands) it throws the balance of the pen off a bit.
Now for the real reason for all this: how it writes...very well. The feel of the nib on paper is buttery smooth, just slightly on the wet side of average ink flow, which I like. The pen will write with very little pressure and although there isn't a lot of line variation the nib is springy and doesn't mind having plenty of pressure applied, so it will survive a beginner's ham fisted first transition from a ballpoint. Indeed the nib feels a lot more like the few other gold nibbed pens I have than my steel nibbed Parkers or Safaris. It's even gold toned though I'm sure it's just cleverly constructed steel composition. I suppose if I had to find a criticism it would be just that there isn't a whole lot of feedback to be had which is something steel nibs usually do well.
I'm a big Safari / Al-star fan (not as big as some though - I only own three) and although I prefer the feel of the grip and the look of the much lauded Safari to the Frontier, I think the Frontier's actually a smoother, nicer writer and at half the price of the Safari...I wouldn't put one above the other, but that's the beauty of the price of these pens, why not have both!? For comparative purposes the line width of the frontier M is much wider than Safari M (though much narrower than the 1.5mm BI nib Al-star I own, I know that's a big range but I don't have a regular B Safari to compare it to).
It's been super reliable, running non-stop with a standard Parker converter since the day I got it, never scratchy, skipping or needing any sort of upkeep beyond a good cleaning when I switch to a new ink. In short, I couldn't be happier with it and if I were going to try to entice my friends to make the change to FPs with a cheapie or suggest a starter this would be the pen I would and have recommended.
Overall score: 7/10
Price adjusted score: 9/10
Edited by phrenzy, 04 January 2012 - 10:20.