Mont Blanc - Web Grey (Heritage Spider Metamorphosis)
When Mont Blanc brings out a new pen, you can be sure that there is an LE ink to accompany it. With the MB Heritage Spider pen release comes the accompanying Limited Edition ink "Web Grey". The grey colour of the ink is inspired by the silvery grey of a spider's web.
The ink's packaging looks lovely, with a stylized spider on the box. A light grey band at the bottom reflects the colour of the ink within. Looks promising... let’s find out whether the ink matches the aesthetics of the box...
Web Grey is a rather cool neutral grey with a hint of purple-green undertones. This is especially noticeable when your writing is still wet, the ink then quickly dries to a nice neutral grey. I appreciate the colour, which has a pencil-like quality. The ink is very light though, and feels undersaturated in finer nibs. This makes it a bit difficult to comfortably read your words. You need a broad and wet pen to bring out the real character in this ink. The ink shades nicely when using M-nibs and above. With fine nibs, this lovely shading is mostly absent though.
The ink lacks a bit of lubrication, especially in drier pens like my Lamy Safari. I also tested the ink with my wet Lamy Dialog 3, which mostly solved this. The colour span of this grey is wonderfully broad: it ranges from a whispy faint light-grey, to a very dark almost black grey. To illustrate this, I did a swab on Tomoe River paper where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This beautifully illustrates the ink's dynamic range, which is quite impressive.
On the smudge test - rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab - the ink behaved perfectly. Water resistance is amazing - the ink effortlessly survived even longer exposures to water. Kudos! This is also apparent from the lower part of the chromatography, which shows that the darker components of the ink remain on the paper. If you need a water-resistant ink, Web Grey certainly fits the bill. The chromatography also shows that this is a wonderfully complex ink, with purple & green undertones. This bodes well for my inkxperiment later on in this review.
Web Grey is a fast-drying ink - with typical drying times in the 5-10 second range with my Lamy Safari (M-nib). Also: fast drying times and water resistance make the ink well suited for the workplace, although it may be too light for business correspondence. This can be remediated by using a wet pen with a broad nib.
I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On each scrap of paper I show you:
- An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
- 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
- An ink scribble made with a Lamy Safari M-nib fountain pen
- The name of the paper used, written with a Lamy Safari B-nib
- A small text sample, written with an M-nib
- Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)
Web Grey looks really nice on white papers, but personally I feel this grey ink is not a good match for more yellowish paper, like e.g. Life Noble notebook paper. For me, this is an ink that deserves pure white paper, where it looks real classy. With the exception of the horrific Moleskine paper, I didn't notice any feathering or bleed-through. Web Grey is a well-behaving ink.
Writing with different nib sizes
The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. All samples were written with a Lamy Safari, which is typically a dry pen. I also added a visiting pen - my wet Lamy Dialog 3 with a golden M-nib. With this pen, the ink leaves a much more saturated line.
I have recently changed my format for presenting related inks. My earlier presentations of related inks lacked enough information to be really useful. I therefore changed to a nine-grid format, with the currently reviewed ink at the center. The new format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test – all in a very compact format. I hope that you'll find this way of presenting related inks more useful. It's a bit more work, but in my opinion worth the effort for the extra information you gain.
Inkxperiment – Rolling Hills
As a personal experiment, I try to produce interesting drawings using only the ink I'm reviewing, keeping things simple and more-or-less abstract. I find this to be a fun extension of the hobby, and have found such single-ink drawings a nice challenge. It also gives you an idea of what the ink is capable of in a more artistic setting. For this drawing I used 300 gsm rough watercolour paper. I started off with the rolling hill background, applying Web Grey after I wetted the paper with water. This lets the ink bleed out a bit, showing its beautiful purple-green undertones. I then painted in the darker accents with pure ink, and - once the paper was dry - penned in the trees with my Lamy Dialog 3 with M-nib. Web Grey is beautifully complex, and you can bring out quite nice effects when using this ink for drawing.
Mont Blanc's Web Grey is a cool neutral grey ink, that looks really nice on pure white paper (but as a personal note: the ink doesn't work for me with more yellowish paper). Web Grey is a bit light when used with finer nibs, but with wet pens and broader nibs you get a beautiful ink with nice shading, that is also very water resistant. This makes it a great ink for the workplace. The real strength of this ink comes into play when you use it for more artistic purposes. The ink has a fabulous composition, with purple & green undertones that easily surface when drawing.
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Backside of writing samples on different paper types