After a long line of buying, using, and selling my Parker Vacs (and keeping one good one), I've decided to go somewhere a little less pricey. Esties fit that bill (and the prospect of the nibs) and drew me in. I bought my first Estie on Etsy, a Grey Icicle (I prefer these semi-transparent ones to the marbled plastics). I loved the looks and the ergonomics. It was very light, and fit my average-sized hands well. The only complaint I have is that the Icicle plastic seems to stain badly around the threads, and I thought Waterman Blue-Black was the safest ink a pen could use. Oh well, some things are worth getting used to. The 1554 nib it came with was subpar (the folded tipping was all worn off) and I ground off the little burr remaining and made it an italic. The seller had also included a 1550 nib, which was NOS but quite scratchy. I smoothed it out, to make a nice, smooth, and wet medium writer. I purchased a 9550 posting nib off eBay, but that particular listing was selling nibs of questionable origin, in 9550 boxes. The seller has 30-day free returns, so I'll test it out first.
The pen is very light, looks handsome, and posts very securely. I like the lever filler, its usage is simple and repairs are easy. The ability to quickly swap nib units is awesome, I find myself switching nibs to write with when I refill inks.
What I must praise is the looks, though. It is unassuming, durable (scratches don't show up), and very interesting to use. The Icicle series, as far as I can tell, have stripes running vertically along the pen that are made of translucent plastic. When you hold up the pen to a light, you can see the whole pen glow like a fiber optic wire, although not excessively. Very interesting. Also, PERFECT for day-to-day school use, which is apparently what these pens were marketed to. I like it very much. Just waiting for a new nib to complete the experience now.
And here we go down another money-sucking hole... I'll have to shovel a lot more driveways this year...