INTRODUCTION: The Stipula Etruria Rainbow Yellow LE is a beautiful pen and it is my second Stipula pen after the Bon Voyage. I really like Stipula pens because they are functional and eye-catching, and the yellow coloured Etruria Rainbow is no exception.
The Etruria Rainbow LE range contains a variety of colours. Only 351 pieces of each colour are made. The yellow one has just the right amount of transparency and that’s one of the reasons why I chose the colour. I also opted for a T-flex nib which is quite springy to write with.
I’m no expert when it comes to Stipula pens but I do have great respect for Italian craftsmanship and design. What stood out to me about the Etruria Rainbow was how solid the pen is. It has a nice weight and is made of a rather thick acrylic block.
The pen comes in minimal packaging for a LE. A red cardboard box opens to reveal the pen secured on a velvety white surface. Beneath it lies a warranty booklet which also tells the story of Stipula fountain pens and how to operate them, as well as a certificate of authenticity with the hand written serial number.
Appearance & Design (8/10) –
In terms of appearance, I’d call the yellow Etruria Rainbow a modern pen. That’s somewhat ironic because the Etruria pays homage to the ancient Etruscan civilisation which existed in what is now Italy.
Demos are without mention rather futuristic and utilitarian while yellow is a bright and attractive colour. These are things I look for in the design of a demo. In fact, I like the design so much that I’ve stored it as part of my collection. I’m also awaiting a clear Crystal Etruria at the moment.
The shape of the Etruria is accented by the characteristic leaves on the ring and clip. The ring is made of 925 Sterling Silver, which is a very nice thing to have. Looking carefully, I can see the 925 Sterling Silver hallmark on the clip and ring. The clip and ring also provide a nice contrast to the high-tech look of the pen body.
Construction & Quality (7/10) –
The Stipula Etruria Rainbow is built to last. It is one of the most solid demo pens I’ve ever come across and has quite a bit of weight. Therefore, it will certainly hold up to years and years of use without a problem.
Like other Stipula pens, this one had the Stipula brand and serial number etched onto the barrel, a nice touch. Nobody wants the brand name and limited edition serial number to fade over time.
The only gripe I had with the pen was the slightly unrefined appearance that the Etruria had inside. You can see a bit of grease in the barrel and the substances used to hold the piston mechanism together. I could also see some black specks in the cap. I don’t think they are in the acrylic, but you wouldn’t see this kind of thing in a Japanese demo or a Pelikan demo. Nevertheless the design grew on me and its now one of my favourite pens.
One really nice feature of the Etruria is how it was constructed from a solid block of acrylic. You can tell that the cap is one piece and it was hollowed out. The top of the cap is seamlessly joined together unlike other pens where the clip was screwed on.
Weight & Dimensions (8/10) –
The Etruria is rather large, wide and heavy for a demo, and thus I find it unnecessary to post the cap. The weight is great because the main criticism I often hear about demos is that they look cheap and a light weight pen doesn’t do anything to help that.
The curvature of the barrel is perfect when holding it in the hand, and is comfortable to hold. I would imagine that people with larger hands would love a pen this size. It appears just right and is well balanced, providing hours of great writing.
Here are some of the technical specifications:
Weight : 40 grammes
Length with cap closed : 15 cm
Length with cap posted : 17.4 cm
Diameter : 1.5 cm
Nib & Performance (9/10) –
The Stipula Etruria Rainbow Yellow comes with a T-flex Titanio nib. Appearance wise, the nib is very beautiful. It’s matte and has very pleasing etchings. The T-flex nib is made of Titanium as the name suggests.
It comes in only one size, and provides great flex when writing. It does not provide very extreme variation but is more resilient than my FA nib is. I can see the tines spring back into place after being pushed, so I am confident the nib will not be sprung easily.
Using cheap copier paper, I could tell that the nib was smooth and the flow pretty wet, making it a pleasure to write with. I would prefer a slightly finer nib for better variation and to control bleed-through, but I am very satisfied with it that way it is now.
I am not sure how the nib is fit, but I think it is friction fit just like other Stipula pens. I’m not intending to take the pen apart just yet because there is no need to.
Filling System & Maintenance (7-10) -
The Stipula Etruria Rainbow comes with a piston filling system integrated into the barrel of the pen. The piston is definitely not the smoothest out there, but it does the job pretty well and I find it very efficient, holding almost 2 ml of ink. The single-lip design also works flawlessly.
Almost half the pen body is filled with ink when filled properly – a testament to the effectiveness of the Stipula Self Cleaning System (SCS) piston design. This piston design doesn’t extend from the body of the pen during the filling process.
The piston mechanism is not easy to take apart. Considering that the pen was machined from a single piece of acrylic, I think that it would be helpful if the piston can be disassembled. I have not found a way to do so as of yet. There is no space to insert a spanner or tool. I suspect that it requires special tools or a proprietary technique.
One interesting observation is which direction the piston turns – the Etruria’s piston turns anti-clockwise to fill, rather than the other way around. The piston is also unique because it does not extend away from the pen to fill.
Cost & Value (9-10) –
The Stipula Etruria Rainbow is a very nice pen. The version with a T-flex nib is more expensive than the normal version, but the money is well worth it. I got my pen new from a reliable retailer in Singapore.
The Etruria is now one of my favourite pens. It is because I love demos, piston fillers and a flexy titanium nib. I think that this is one of the best value-for-money demos out there because it is also a Limited Edition production.
Conclusion (Final score, 8/10) -
Overall, the Stipula Etruria Rainbow has exceeded my expectations. I was very excited to have it and I happily passed over the rose gold plated blue version for the yellow one simply because it is so attractive. Since I’m crazy over celluloid pens right now, I am now looking at the Etruria Ambrosia pen in a nice celluloid finish!
I’m not intending to use this pen as a daily writer because it is so beautiful and unique. One thing is for sure – I am intending to buy another one in a clear finish to add to my collection.
I highly recommend the Stipula Eturia Rainbow Yellow LE to anyone who loves italian design and a solidly constructed piston filler. The pen is even more awesome with a T-flex nib, which provides some variation. Get yours before stock runs out!
This is my eighth review on FPN. You may have read my reviews of the Sailor Professional Gear here, Pilot Custom Heritage 92 here, Namiki Origami Crane here, Sailor Chizusugi Cedar Wood Sapporo here, Omas 360 Vintage Turquoise LE here, Pelikan Souveran M800 Tortoiseshell Brown here, Sailor 1911 Profit Hakone Yosegi-Zaiku here, and most recently the new Sailor Precious Wood of the World Sapporo pens here.
If you'd like to know more about my pens and collection you can find out more about me here at my profile.
Edited by nicholasyeo, 31 March 2013 - 13:32.