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Parker 45 Flighter


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18 replies to this topic

#1 GRJP

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 19:17

Parker 45 “Flighter”

The 45 has been one of my workhorses for a long time now – and before that one of my father’s. I have one with a 14k fine nib and it has a solid place in my rotation: It is a very reliable pen, looks good and has a great balance, even if somewhat light.

The problem is I’m working out of the country and was afraid of losing the one my father gave me, so I decided to get a “flighter” on ebay (it’s as good excuse as any to feed the monster, I am aware of that, but let me stay in denial a bit longer) and I had my eyes on one of these for such a long time it was just too good to pass up.

The first impression is a good one: a dotted box, with satin insides, the original instructions and the pen was new, as advertised. I felt like I was opening a time capsule meant for me. The first glimpse of that brushed steel beauty made me grin. It looked even better than on the photos. The ebay seller was very good and I must say for a first buy on the ‘bay I was very satisfied.
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As I pick it up I love the smooth feel and light weight. I felt the urge to ink it right away and put it through its paces. It makes me wonder if my dad felt the same way when he got his 45. The end cap still has the sharp edge and the whole thing sparkles with the steel and silver finishes. To be honest, I fell in love with it the moment I set eyes on her, so I’ll have a hard time being unbiased, but I’ll try my best. Also, this is my first pen review, so be harsh! Anything I miss let me know so I can work that in.

Appearance & Design (1-10) – 8 – An understated looker.
It’s a 45, so I don’t expect to bring anything new to the table.

It’s a timeless design, with the perfect curve along the belly and that flat top. It is slightly shorter and slimmer than my dad’s 45 and the brush steel gives it a muted appearance. Gleaming silver arrow clip and top, black plastic end cap. I would like it better if it was all metal, but I can live with that piece of black shiny plastic at the bottom and on the grip. The hooded nib always looks nice. The “45 Parker 45 – arrow – Made in the U.S.A.” engraving is crisp and perfectly defined. While it is a visually attractive pen I find the design very sober and understated. It won’t get any more attention than it needs to. I still wonder why Parker doesn’t make these anymore... I bet people would still buy them.
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Construction & Quality (1-10) – 7 – Solid as a rock.
The build quality is good. The cap slides in and the connection feels rock solid, better than the one on my other 45 – of course this one is new so it will probably get looser with time, but I don’t think it will ever be a problem.

The brushed steel looks like it can take a beating. The plastic end feels a bit on the cheap side, unfortunately and that detracts from what I feel could be a better pen. There is a small difference in diameter between the metal and plastic and you notice it when you run your fingers over it: it’s not terrible, but it spoils the overall feeling of quality which, again, explains why it only gets an above average 7.
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The threading in the barrel is great and it is a tight fit and I have a feeling it will still be good in a few decades.

The clip feels solid and doesn’t shake or budge.

Weight & Dimensions (1-10) – 7 – Average length, slender, and lightweight.
The size is about average: shorter that the Brahms, longer than the 334 1/2. At 13,5 cm it’s a good size to carry around. It is slightly longer than I find comfortable for a jeans pocket, but I don’t intend to carry it that way and it fits my pen pouch perfectly with room to spare (I can actually slip it in the space between the pen compartments, meaning I get to make it a 3 pen pouch).

It’s a slender pen by any standard. It will probably work very well for anyone with small hands.

As for weight it is slightly heavier than the normal version, but still very light. It is well balanced and I use it unposted (I don’t like posting my pens so I can’t really tell you if it feels right posted). It is just about the right weight to write while still feeling like you are holding something in your hand, not just a feather. The problem is with that weight and slenderness it tends to roll a bit in your hand and that messes with the sweet spot (more on that below).

The reason this gets a 7 is simply because I prefer heavier and stubbier pens, but there is nothing wrong with the size or weight of it. It would probably score higher if I was able to turn off that part of me, which likes a larger diameter and a few more grams, but this is a 45 and it is just perfect on that account and all that I ever expected it would be.
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Nib & Performance (1-10) – 6 – Smooth, yet with a narrow sweet spot.
The nib on this is a 14k Medium. This is where I gripe a bit: it is a buttery smooth nib, with no skips or false starts… when you get that sweet spot. The thing is it is quite a narrow one, meaning sometimes, when the pen rotates in your hand, you find yourself with a skip. It’s not hard to find it – I had it going in a minute tops, although cursing all the way thinking I was stuck with a bad pen. This breaks the spell she got me under a bit.

Once you get it rolling though, the nib is smooth and puts down a nice line, with the right width and a very consistent ink delivery. It is springy enough to give you feedback, although it is firmly on the nail side of the spectrum.
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Filling System & Maintenance (1-10) - 7 - Converter
The pen comes with a squeeze converter, the original one. It works fine, gives you the option of using carts or the piston converter and makes cleaning the pen a breeze.

As you can imagine this is an easy pen to maintain and I foresee an easy future with it.

Again, it scores a 7, because I like piston pens better, but granted, this is not designed as such and I don’t know if it could have been any other way while retaining its charm.
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Cost & Value (1-10) – 9 – roughly 50 USD
We are looking at about 50 USD for a new flighter. I’m guessing it’s about average and looking at the options for modern pens I think it’s a good buy. It’s a looker, easy to maintain and a proven design. Sure, I could have got another pen for that money, but I don’t think I could get something like this on this price range. Granted, this is the part where I know I have a bias: I really wanted another 45, so read this with a grain of salt.

Conclusion (Final score: 7,3) – Above average pen
The conclusion… This is a bit harder. I’ve been using it for a few days now and I’ll update this review if anything changes, but it’s a nice pen, with a nice nib if you can get over the whole sweet spot rub. If you can get a good price for a 45 I can’t say anything against it.

I love it, but I’ll readily admit there are probably pens as good if not better for the same price. It looks good, feels right and performs well. The steel barrel makes a difference in feel: it definitely feels superior to the normal model and while looks can be deceptive (45s last a long time) the tactile experience of brushed steel is great: the satiny touch is really enjoyable. The sweet spot is a pain and I wasn’t ready for it, because the other 45 I have doesn’t have such an issue despite having a 14k fine nib.

I don’t see any reason not to recommend a 45 to anyone who is looking for an everyday pen and - personal bias warning – I think everyone should have one. Then again… Don’t get any before I get myself a few others! I may still need a OB and an italic nib… (down, Mr. Hyde, DOWN!) :)
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill

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#2 SallyLyn

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 20:29

Nice review.

If the nib bothers you too much for your time overseas you can always swap it with your other 45, they screw out. Use to be you could sometimes buy nibs alone. Check eBay or FPN classified.

Always worth trying some gentle circles and S's on a paper sack to smooth the nib. I have several used 45s and regardless of size 95% of nibs very smooth so think it's just new. Ink makes a difference too, so would initially stick with a Parker Cartridge or best a fill with Waterman's Florida Blue. I use Noodler's ink in some 45s and most inks are free flowing, but when I want to do checking of a pen/nib performance will turn to a universal standard ink like the Waterman.

#3 GRJP

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 20:53

Nice review.

If the nib bothers you too much for your time overseas you can always swap it with your other 45, they screw out. Use to be you could sometimes buy nibs alone. Check eBay or FPN classified.

Always worth trying some gentle circles and S's on a paper sack to smooth the nib. I have several used 45s and regardless of size 95% of nibs very smooth so think it's just new. Ink makes a difference too, so would initially stick with a Parker Cartridge or best a fill with Waterman's Florida Blue. I use Noodler's ink in some 45s and most inks are free flowing, but when I want to do checking of a pen/nib performance will turn to a universal standard ink like the Waterman.


Will do!
Sidenote... Don't tell anyone I can get the nibs alone! :roflmho: The beast demands to be fed with new pens...
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill

#4 gary

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 04:32

Always loved my 45s, though I never had a Flighter.

Very well done review of a solid performing pen.

gary

#5 impossiblebird

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 17:42

Excellent review!

I've handled a lot of Parker 45s, new and secondhand, and I've consistently found them to have a small sweet spot. That said, I love them; as you say, every home should have one!

The gold plated nibs, though, are not very user-friendly; I've consistently found the plating to cover the 'iridium' tip. The solid gold and plain steel ones are better. I've always replaced nibs by buying another pen, for about the same outlay; the spare hoods and sections come in handy ...

Edited by impossiblebird, 22 January 2013 - 17:44.


#6 Montblanc owner and lover

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 18:08

great classy pen....yes they should do it again as the 51 as the....there is a lot of pen we would like to see coming back...there is the duofold it's not that bad ;)
A people can be great withouth a great pen but a people who love great pens is surely a great people too... Pens owned actually: MB 146 EF;Pelikan M200 SE Clear Demonstrator 2012 B;Parker 17 EF;Parker 51 EF;Waterman Expert II M,Waterman Hemisphere M;Waterman Carene F and Stub;Pilot Justus 95 F. Nearly owned: MB 149 B(Circa 2002);Conway Stewart Belliver LE bracket Brown IB.

#7 GRJP

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 18:22

great classy pen....yes they should do it again as the 51 as the....there is a lot of pen we would like to see coming back...there is the duofold it's not that bad ;)


51, yes please!
I'm hunting for parts to repair the one I found at my parent's. Now I know why my dad was grinning... the 51 I brought has an hairline crack on the grip! Other than that it works fine. and the ink seeps through that crack slow enough for me to be grinning before getting a severe case of the black fingers.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill

#8 akustyk

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 18:45

What a beauty! Thanks for the great review. I also just bought a 45 (NOS from a reputable seller), but haven't received it yet. I have an old, beat-up 45 with a Medium nib, and it writes so very well, just the line is too broad for me, so this new on is a fine, 14k nib.

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#9 akustyk

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:24

Your review has made me thing of something. Like you, I have found the 45 to be an awesome all-round pen, at a decent price. I would rank it definitely a step above Lamy Safari in terms of writing performance and overall appeal. In fact I like it better than I ever liked the Sonnet. Why did these giants (Parker, Waterman, Sheaffer) get rid of some of the all-time favorite pens, like the 51, 45, PFM, etc. I understand the cost of making a Snorkel, but, surely, a 51 cannot be that expensive to make? The current line-up of Parker or Waterman, especially the under $100 pens is not very impressive. What a shame.

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#10 GRJP

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:47

Your review has made me thing of something. Like you, I have found the 45 to be an awesome all-round pen, at a decent price. I would rank it definitely a step above Lamy Safari in terms of writing performance and overall appeal. In fact I like it better than I ever liked the Sonnet. Why did these giants (Parker, Waterman, Sheaffer) get rid of some of the all-time favorite pens, like the 51, 45, PFM, etc. I understand the cost of making a Snorkel, but, surely, a 51 cannot be that expensive to make? The current line-up of Parker or Waterman, especially the under $100 pens is not very impressive. What a shame.


They still make the jotter, so I do wonder, why not keep the 45 and 51 (or the 21 at least). I mean when you compare the 45 to the Urban, for instance, the price of making the basic 45 shouldn't be that far off... Just design choices I think... which is a pity. Parker nowadays starts getting interesting from the sonnet up. When I was growing up parker meant "fountain pen" in my dad's eyes.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill

#11 harlequin-RIH

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 09:07

Is there something that makes a 45 a Flighter, aside from it being all chrome? Maybe a different nib, or filling system etc? I know some 45s are called Harlequins b/c of their design, but is it the same for a Flighter? Is it functionally any different from a regular 45 or a Harlequin?

#12 GRJP

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 13:09

Is there something that makes a 45 a Flighter, aside from it being all chrome? Maybe a different nib, or filling system etc? I know some 45s are called Harlequins b/c of their design, but is it the same for a Flighter? Is it functionally any different from a regular 45 or a Harlequin?

It's exactly the same as the 45, except for the brushed steel body, I think. Nib apparently the same (the 45 I have is a F not an M, but they look the same), same squeeze converter, same plastic grip. I went with this because I thing it can take a beating (and I love the steel finish. Now bidding for a 45 with a stub nib... Mr. Hyde is outof control! LOL
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill

#13 PAKMAN

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 17:27

Good review, thanks! I love my 45 flighter, in fact, it is the only pen I have inked right now! Hope you really enjoy yours!

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#14 harlequin-RIH

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 20:11

OK, good. I personally am not attracted the the Flighter moreso than any other 45, but I can definitely appreciate that they would be more interesting than the regular 45s. Of course, the Harlequins are much more my cup o' tea ^_~, lol!

#15 Gilberto Castaneda

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:32

My first fountain pen was exactly as this one. I bought it in 1973, I did not notice the black plastic end of the barrel, or I did not care, I was just so exited to have a FP, I was 14 years old at the time.
The pen is still active, with a M nib, Itali-Fine by Richard Binder and has always and only used Skrip Brown ink.

Congratulations for such a great pen, enjoy it.

Cheers,

Gilberto
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#16 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:48

This is certainly something I would LOVE to get. I had a 45 ballpoint. It is still my favorite ballpoint ever - and I lost it several years ago. :crybaby:
If the 45 Flighter FP is anything like the ballpoint was I will be in heaven.

Brad
 
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#17 fernobre

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 19:07

The Parker 45 was one of the 2 school pen I had. Later on, when I started colecting pens, I got two additional ones. Now I own:
- a dark blue one (XF nib steel)
- a black one (B gold nib)
- a Flighter one (M gold nib) - this one has no plastic end, body and cap are made of steel (onle the section is made of black plastic)

I completely agree with you, the pen is a writing workhorse, reliable and elegant.

#18 M@rtin

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 16:07

Great review!.I hope you enjoy this pen.

Thanks for share.

#19 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 03:32

This is certainly something I would LOVE to get. I had a 45 ballpoint. It is still my favorite ballpoint ever - and I lost it several years ago. :crybaby:
If the 45 Flighter FP is anything like the ballpoint was I will be in heaven.

Finally got me a 45 Flighter FP and with a14K gold nib to boot for an amazing price on ebay. The seller didn't know it was a 14K-thought it was a plated steel nib. Now I have a BP/MP set on its way from a fellow FPN member to go with it. All with gold trim. I expect those to arrive this week sometime.


Brad
 
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"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain
 







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