First, I just wanted to say these two pens that I recently received went well above and beyond my already high expectations of Ranga Pen Company. I had never purchased a pen from India before, yet had lusted after one after seeing @Bobje's beautiful Model 8 review here: http://www.fountainp...-green-ebonite/
From which (and a year later), I took the plunge- oh my should I have done so sooner!
Keep in mind this is not a nib review - the focus of this write-up is upon the pens, nib threading, construction, finish, quality etc. This is for several reasons. Firstly, because I ordered JoWo nib threading and Ranga is not a nib manufacturer, although they have various nib types from which one can choose. I already had several Edison, Pablo stubs (fpnibs.com) and Goulet nibs around, so there was no need for me to order any, and better to make use of the lonely ones I had. Seeing this mans' 149 nib which The Ranga Pen Company included in a similar order has convinced me my next project with Ranga will be either a discontinued 14k Visconti nib, or Pelikan M1000 nib. Likely within a Model 4. http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/243220-ranga-pen-with-montblanc-149-vintage-nib/
Let's look at some photos ^.^ (The camera phone does not do justice to the beautiful hard rubber pens or their flawless construction)
Ordering Process, Communication and Timeframe 10/10
I contacted Mr Kandan about making a bit of a custom order in that I wanted no clips on either pen; the Model 8 to be 'upsized' so that it would be similar to the Model 3, be heavily polished, take 2 rotations to uncap (if possible), and be threaded for JoWo #6 nibs/international converters and/or eyedropper. Thankfully, my requests were obliged and I was offered a range of ebonite colours to choose from. My first preference for the Model 8 was the same beautiful ebonite as Bobje's, but that was not available at the time and I went ahead with a beautiful mottled brown tan for the 8 and red ripple with black section and cap on the other. Mr Kandan was very thorough, professional and detailed. But most impressive is the turn around time, absolutely amazing I did not think it possible! Only 30 days after deciding my order with Mr Kandan they were already at my door in Australia!!
Quality, Construction and Cost 10/10
I cannot overstate how well made these pens are, they are suitable for any collector. Those whom collect celluloid montblancs would appreciate a Ranga, those who are just entering the fp world and have a safari or metro. And especially those yet to have a hard rubber pen - these are amongst the best you can have of pens under 500 USD IMO. My thoughts upon watching the Ranga video that these pens are made entirely by hand - right down to the threads being 'hand chased',(an almost extinct technique), I was curious of how the threads would turn out. They are smoother and more precise than modern Montblancs and Pelikans. I kid not. Even if one were to hold there fingers over the threads with quite some force, one may not be aware of their presence. Another telltale of the quality of the threading is capping and uncapping takes less than two rotations, but even after one rotation the precision of the thread is obvious because I 'held' the body of the pen at one rotation and tried jiggling the cap up and down, and voila, almost no movement (try doing that with some of the best threaded pens in the world - you will be surprised what pens perform best). Once more I was very impressed.
The nib threading is as magnificent as the capping. The nib unit fits almost exactly flush with the bottom of the pen section, very sleek.
Both my pens are from the 'regular' ebonite range. There is also a 'premium' range, which is a few dollars more expensive. But, there is nothing 'regular' about these pens or the ebonite... Some have mentioned that there may be 1 or 2 'micro-pits' in the ebonite. But this is certainly not the case in mine. Others have said they are not 100% the same polishing all over the pen. Once more I could not notice this... Until, I spent 10 minutes under bright light literally inspecting the body looking for any imperfection, alas perhaps the smallest tool polishing mark, which I would never have noticed under normal use. Finding such a tiny indiscretion is for review purposes. If one spent this much time actively looking for a fault within an object, the fault is more likely in oneself and not the object, but I digress, back to the pen. Knowing the pen is not entirely flawless absolutely increases my appreciation for the pen. I think of it like I do the lacquer on my 'neostandard' Nakaya step and threads, the Nakaya lacquer is not exactly uniform around the edges there, but this is not a fault it is something to appreciate and treasure. So too, are my Rangas.
As far as cost goes - Ranga are literally underpriced for the quality and materials that you receive. My 'duofold' was $59, whilst model 8 was $64 [USD] (no nibs, but threaded for JoWo). Considering each pen takes several hours to craft by hand as well as the cost of materials... What can I say - I would be as happy if I paid 2x as much? Because you bet I would. The pens are turned from solid hard rubber rods, some other 'hand made pens' are not necessarily this handmade, I will post a video of their construction below.
Utility/Comfort/Mass/Size (subjective for everyone but for myself 10/10)
Both these pens are large. Similar to a Visconti HS Maxi, slightly larger than a TWSBI vac700/r, yet a touch smaller than an Edison Huron or Herald Grande.
They are both light weight and exceptionally well balanced, my comparative hand scales tell me approx. 20grams with converter, add a potential 7mL of ink in the ol' eyedropper and you have 27g . Although, I will not be doing that. In recent years I have grown more and more fond of the simplicity and ease of cleaning that a simple converter pen offers. The wide, long section, the gentle and smooth threads, and almost no 'step' make this pen a true writer. A long, novel writer. Which section shape you prefer is totally up to you, but I enjoy both these equally The pens do post and there has clearly been quite a lot of work and thought about the structural integrity of the post mechanism. This is because if one shines a light into the cap it is clear that the inner diameter of the rear of the cap is explicitly designed for being posted and to prevent the cap threads from being in contact with the barrel when posted, thus pressure cracks should never develop. But would one want to post these pens in practice? I do not really ever see the need. The pens become too unreasonably long for me, you will see in this comparison (not that anyone would post a vac700 cap) be assured the posted Ranga is much better balanced than the TWSBI.
Lastly, some comparative side by side pics with other pens I had in nearby acess
Overall, Ranga get a 100% recommendation from me! Thanks for reading if you got this far - this was actually my first FPN review
Thanks Ranga Pen Company for the great experience! This is a link to the video of Mr Pandurangan making the pens which I found very impressive.
Edited by Sham69, 30 October 2017 - 11:33.