TL,DR: It blurps. Edit: No, it doesn't, Liz just didn't shove the nib and feed back in far enough - see subsequent posts between me and Anthony. Am now very happy with this pen.
At arm's length, it looks like above photo. Up close, it needs polishing. Given the price, and that it's not from someone turning out massive numbers of them (i.e. not like Pilot making the Metropolitan), this is to be expected.
It's thinner than I expected (though my expectation was imaginary): The barrel is 11mm diameter. The grip ranges from 9.5mm at the metal ring to 10mm just before the cap threads. Uncapped, it's 124mm long; capped, it's 133mm; posted, it's 150mm (but the inner cap prevents it from posting securely - the turning knob hits the inner cap before posting is very secure). The pen weights 14.6g, 8.9g for the body, and 5.7g for the cap.
This is where the pen is fabulous - it fills with almost no air bubble at all - on the first fill! Don't ask me how they did that when most piston turners require you to empty and refill to reach their max, and even then have quite a large amount of air still in the barrel, but this thing just sucks the ink right up immediately. I find the piston easy to operate. The cap seems air tight - no air escapes when I blow into it, but I can operate the piston when the pen is capped without any apparent resistance (unlike my TWSBI Eco), so the inner cap may not be sealing as well as it ought. The pen can be completely disassembled, which is nice if you need to deep-clean or grease it.
Nib / Writing:
The nib appears to be a 5.5 per the FPR website. It and the feed are friction fit. There's no breather hole, but it has a very long nib slit like the Noodler's flex nibs. It's 2-tone with some scroll work on the silver part, and on the gold part, it has "FPR" and "Flex" running from near the grip toward the tip on either side of the slit.
I'd say it writes between a western F and EF, closer to the EF side, slightly fatter than a Japanese fine. It's also wet. I decided to fill it with Diamine Misty Blue, because I have oodles of the stuff (mistake - I like the ink, but 80mL is a lot of ink). The nib is quite smooth "out of the box", more so up and down and even on curves than cross-wise, which feels a little rough. But I feel no need to smooth it further (something I've done with quite a few nibs), at least, not right now.
I find it fairly easy to flex. I've never written with a vintage wet noodle (or any other variety), but I have a Visconti Homo Sapiens palladium nib in EF and a Pilot Falcon SEF. Ranking them in order of pressure required, from least to most: Visconti, Pilot, FPR. So it does take more pressure, but I don't find it difficult at all.
The Problem: No Problem:
I like this pen. I'd love to keep it and use it a lot as I love the flexy action, therefore, I'm gonna keep it and love it's flexy action, cuz all that blurping stuff was my fault, not the pen's!
I thought I had the nib and feed well-seated after cleaning (they're a very, very tight fit), but they weren't quite in all the way. At Anthony's suggestion, I tried again and got them to go in a hair farther. After 7 minutes of writing, no sign of blups, and the ink color is more normal, the flow not as wet.
Important lesson: the nib and feed on this guy are really tight, so if you take them out for cleaning, make extra certain you've got them back in all the way!
but it blurps after about a sentence or two, and while it takes longer, it even blurps if I'm always flexing. Ink starts accumulating under the nib and drips down off the bottom of the feed. I can usually see the drop in time to tip the pen up and prevent it, which is why there's only one drop on the writing sample below. Others were narrowly averted, or got on my fingers.
My other pens that fill directly don't do this: TWSBI Eco, Visconti London Fog (though my brother's Charlie pen never stopped and I gave up on it). My cartridge / converter pens don't do this (with the exception of 3 Nemosine Singularities, which I can "fix" by using a different converter and filling it directly rather than through the feed; I think if I wrote long enough, however, the feed would become saturated and blurp, not sure).
I've heard altitude and being in the desert (both me) can make this problem worse, so maybe that's got something to do with it, don't know, but I'm disappointed. Sigh. I wonder if the material it's made of doesn't also make the problem worse (e.g. as compared to the TWSBI and Visconti).
Here's a sample of my writing with it - sorry, it's a bit of a mess. Big version here, if you want to zoom in. The picture doesn't show the shading on the flexing very well, but it's quite nice, until it gets too wet.
It would be a great deal for the price, and lots of fun to get all flexy with, if it didn't blurp. Am bummed about that.
It's a great deal for the price, and lots of fun to get all flexy with! Am very happy. I'm gonna go play now.
Hope this is useful to anyone considering this pen.
Edited by LizEF, 10 November 2017 - 21:28.