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Visconti Hs Lava Steel Midi F (Expanding Long Term Review)

visconti homo sapiens lava steel midi

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49 replies to this topic

#21 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 07:08

Flushing is harmless. Just make a mild detergent solution (put a tiny (!) drop of dishwashing soap in 250 mL of body temperature water, stir, don't shake, no foam). Empty your pen, rinse the nib and feed under the tap, then repeatedly fill and empty the pen with the detergent solution you just made. Do this slowly and carefully (don't rush) until what comes out of the pen is ink-free. Then repeat it a couple of times with tap water to get the detergent out of the pen. Dry the nib and feed with absorbent tissue paper, re-fill the pen with ink and start writing. If this solves it, then you won't have to send in your pen for repair.

Flushing is a necessary periodic maintenaice for fountain pens. How often it is needed depens on the ink used and the type of pen. I have pens that need it every three weeks or so, while other pens can go years with the same ink witout any problem.

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#22 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 15:14

Going back to the original topic: after trying Waterman Mysterious Blue (good, but not great) and Sailor Jentle Blue-Black (fantastic but very wet and with a broad line) my Midi is now on its third ink: Sailor Kiwa-Guro black. This ink always blows my mind and I don't even like black. The F nib on my Midi is actually on the medium side of fine, approaching western medium with a wet ink. I prefer a thinner line but I appreciate the wetness of the nib. The solution is Kiwa-Guro; it reduces the line width by about 40% yet never gives the impression of dryness. And the feel of this ink is unlike any other.

Another pleasant discovery: reverse writing with this pen is very smooth and pleasant, straight out of the box. It's like having two pens in one. Amazing.

After many hours of using the pen, it's now clear to me why so many people are going ballistic over the Homo Sapiens. Of all my pens, new or vintage, only my '59 PFM-III suits me better than the Midi. Didn't see that coming.

#23 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 07:12

Thanks for the kind words and the friendly offer, much appreciated. But I'd rather stick with FPN.

#24 NDInk

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:34

I’m glad I found this post. When I was looking to buy my Visconti, I found it difficult to find a good review on the HS Midi. I just knew that I liked the way the pen looked, and the size of the Midi was more my style than the Oversized model. I’ve read plenty of negative comments about QC issues with the Visconti nibs, but I chose to take a chance with the hope I’d be the lucky one and not have any issues.

I was able to purchase a brand new HS Dark Ages Midi - EF. I waited about a couple of weeks before I decided to ink it, not knowing if I would keep it or return it. Anyway, I started using it on Monday, and I like the pen and I’m glad I decided to hang on to it.

I haven’t experienced any ssues with the piston fill. It writes beautifully, leaving an accurately sharp and crisp wet line. My only issue is periodic skipping and the occasional hardstart at times. I’m not sure if this will work itself out in time or if I may have an issue with the nib or feed. I’ll watch it over time and leave a comment later.

Hopefully, my insights can add something to this thread rather than starting my own.

Edited by NDInk, 10 January 2019 - 04:36.


#25 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:41

Congrats on your purchase! I hope you'll love yours just as much as I love mine  :).

 

My only issue is periodic skipping and the occasional hardstart at times. I’m not sure if this will work itself out in time or if I may have an issue with the nib or feed.

 

There's a certain break-in period. Use a wet ink, give it some time, try different papers and vary your downward pressure and your writing speed.

 

If the pen writes well after dipping nib + feed into a bottle, then it's not the nib. In that case the feed may not receive enough ink from the barrel. Usually if this is the case and you gently tap the lower barrel with a wooden pencil, ink will start to flow again. This is a sign of surface tension issues in the barrel. My Midi had a little bit of this, but it sorted itself out within a week. I use Sailor Jentle Blue, which is a nicely wet ink that dries swiftly and offers good shading and even some sheen in this pen. Also Sailor inks have less surface tension issues, or so I find.

 

If it _is_ the nib, then perhaps this might help: the nib on my Midi is very very bouncy and the Homo Sapiens is not a light pen - it's quite heavy. So if I put the nib on paper to start a new word, the tines spread a little bit and they also move a little bit away from the feed. The small gap between the tines and the gap between the nib and feed both need to be filled with ink. That takes an extremely short but measurable amount of time. I've discovered that this is why I often had trouble writing with very bouncy nibs: I write _very_ fast, especially on that first downstroke. But if I put the nib down and then wait a microsecond, a barely perceivable pause that an onlooker wouldn't be able to observe, then there are no issues whatsoever.



#26 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 08:01

fpn_1547883317__f6555f53-ec01-4541-8f93-

First month update. Had this pen for a month now. It was a planned purchase around Christmas. In early January, by coincidence I discovered Leonardo pens. That wasn't planned. Objectively, my two Leonardos are the best writing instruments that I've ever had the pleasure of using. Emotionally, both Leonardos are in my top-3 and there to stay, but the top spot goes to this Visconti. I love this pen (for as much as it is possible to love a material object). I feel a little bit incomplete when it's not with me.

+ Absolutely amazing design.
+ Fits my hand like a glove.
+ The material is just wonderful, it's _so_ nice to the touch.
+ Love the cap mechanism, it feels great and looks great (even though I wouldn't trust it in a suit- or shirt-pocket, it might come off...).
+ A wet writer, but I found just the right ink for it, so I have wetness, shading, lots of sheen yet a short drying time all at once. The ultimate fountain pen experience!
+ Despite the wetness and intensive use, the pen never ran out at an inconvenient moment. It't got endurance.
+ The nib on my pen is incredibly soft and bouncy, leading to subtle line variation even when writing without any pressure at all (as I tend to do).
+ It always writes, immediately, without hesitation, never skips, never hard-starts.
+ Feedback is such that it allows me to write neatly, regardless of writing style - it can handle minimalistic modern scribbling, old-school cursive-italic, large writing, small writing, fast writing, signatures, good paper, bad paper... it can handle anything I throw at it.
+ Amazing combination of a beautiful Italian design and a totally trustworthy work-horse ADED pen.

/ The section is not easy to clean after filling from a bottle.
/ The feel of the nib on paper is just a little bit... what shall I say... well, it's an F nib that writes a Western F line, but it _feels_ like putting a big, fat B nib on paper. It's as if the contact area is much larger than it actually is. There's a lot of tipping material there and I can feel that.
/ I wouldn't trust this pen in a shirt-, trouser- or suit pocket. The cap just might come off.

A colleague of mine is a life-long FP user, a real expert, and he got me into this hobby. He's owns a huge amount of pens to choose from, but every week he shows up at work with just one pen (a Conid FPN model) and one back-up (a Conid demonstrator). I never understood why, because I like to rotate. But I can see the moment coming when my Visconti and my Leonardos will play that role for me. All my pens are real good friends, these three are becoming more than friends.

Edited by TheDutchGuy, 19 January 2019 - 08:03.


#27 Driften

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 17:25

I trust the cap setup on the HS more then I trust screw on caps that have vibrated loose on me. Something to note is you can use hand cream to clean the pores of the lava material. At least that is what Dante said while he was at Visconti. My HS  is the Elite with the resin body so don't know if it works but I have read here that works.



#28 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 17:47

Something to note is you can use hand cream to clean the pores of the lava material. At least that is what Dante said while he was at Visconti. My HS  is the Elite with the resin body so don't know if it works but I have read here that works.

 

 

Interesting. Will look into that. Thanks!



#29 beboy

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 22:13

An endearing trait of this pen: in itself the nib is _not_ ground to provide any line variation, i.e. it is not stubbish or architect-ish. But the nib is so bouncy that that minimal pressure differences one exerts when writing still lead to subtle line variations. It may be subtle, but it makes a page of text look way more interesting. Awesome.

 

I got the same pen with a broad nib (my only Visconti) and I personally find it a bit stubbish it provide an interesting line variation, which I like. I've read somewhere that it is a common trait of Visconti's broad nibs, but I don't know if it is always the case or not.



#30 beboy

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 22:21

One worry I have with this pen is that it has a trapped converter and, from my experience, all pistons or converters need to be serviced or replaced at some point.  Has someone ever try to disassemble this pen without breaking it?  Can we just continu to unscrew the knob past the blocking of the free movement? Or pull it?  I really have no clue with this one.



#31 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 15:35

One worry I have with this pen is that it has a trapped converter and, from my experience, all pistons or converters need to be serviced or replaced at some point.  Has someone ever try to disassemble this pen without breaking it?  Can we just continu to unscrew the knob past the blocking of the free movement? Or pull it?  I really have no clue with this one.

 

 

Me neither. And there seems to be no info from Visconti whatsoever. I'd really like to know how to safely take this pen apart. Apparently the nib/feed can be unscrewed, and if that is indeed the case, then I should be able to grease the piston from that end. As long as the piston doesn't leak, the pen should be OK.



#32 Says

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 19:04

 

 

Interesting. Will look into that. Thanks!

It works... I tried it a few times... takes out those white spots and anything that might get into the pores... Just something cheap like Vaseline..

I usually try to be careful when I ink up, and quickly wipe it down with wet tissues, so that I don't get stains on my sections... so far so good



#33 sansenri

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 21:57

I own a Bronze and a steel, both maxi.

Both of them are astounding.

Besides all the other characteristics, about the material:

Visconti really did invent something unique. And it's not just a gimmick. Anyone who has held one of these pens in the hand has experience that "not like any other material" feeling regarding the lava resin.

It's tough but soft...it's warm, and tactile, not slippery, slightly porous.

About the colour, you might want to know that it's not supposed to be black. If you have ever seen a piece of real lava, you know it's grey, and it has white specks in it. The material is made of real ground lava and resin, so it will not surprise me if not all batches are exactly the same shade of grey.

I just love it.

One thing though: it's terribly difficult to photograph correctly. I keep getting a black pen in my photos, but it's not.
I admit my lighting was totally inadequate for such contrasted subject, I will be making further attempts...

fpn_1548194034__p1080915-3.jpg


Edited by sansenri, 22 January 2019 - 22:15.


#34 Andrea_R

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 17:18

Mr Dutch, any chance you tried the broad on the midi, they seems quite stubbish?

 

I prefer EFs but the finish I like it's only available with a F, I wouldn't mind going for a Broad if it isn't blobbly.



#35 5Cavaliers

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 18:09

Regarding your Leonardos, which ones did you purchase?  I am wondering if the steel nibs are as good as the gold nibs. 

 

I am a huge fan of Italian pens.  I have several Deltas.  So I was excited to see Leonardo come out. 

 

But the HS Midi has been on my "radar" for some time as well.


"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours.  When it is gone, it is gone.  Be wise, but enjoy!  - anonymous today

 

 

 


#36 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 18:50

Mr Dutch, any chance you tried the broad on the midi, they seems quite stubbish?

Sorry, no, haven't tried the B. I prefer F with occasional forays into EF or stub. I can't find my way with B's.

Regarding your Leonardos, which ones did you purchase?  I am wondering if the steel nibs are as good as the gold nibs. I am a huge fan of Italian pens.  I have several Deltas.  So I was excited to see Leonardo come out.

I got the Momento Zero with F nib and the Furore with stub nib, but I later changed the stub to an F.

#37 Driften

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 04:15

Mr Dutch, any chance you tried the broad on the midi, they seems quite stubbish?

 

I prefer EFs but the finish I like it's only available with a F, I wouldn't mind going for a Broad if it isn't blobbly.

 

 

I have the Visconti Maxi HS Elegance with dream touch B nib and it's not stubbish. It's a smooth standard round nib. I really like it. Unlike what many say mine does not write wide for their marking. Mine put's down a 0.75mm line of rhodia paper.



#38 Karmachanic

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 06:43

This particular model is hard to find. Is it still in production?


"Simplicate and add Lightness."


#39 jameswatts

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 04:04

fpn_1545485073__7aeaa7c2-fb03-4738-a8e3-

Why now?
I'm several years late to the party, because until now I did not dare to join the party. I've been in love with the design of the HS Lava pens since I first laid eyes on them, but there were too many horror stories about overpolished nibs, overly wet pens, ink seeping through the pen, parts coming off of pens and a plethora of other faults. And the ones that I tried thus far were too smooth, too wet and too devoid of control for me.

Based on helpful comments in this discussion, I felt like giving them another shot so I walked over to Appelboom today and tried three pens: a Midi F, a full-size bronze F and a full-size bronze EF (M and B are not my cup of tea). I bought the Midi, for reasons explained below.

Evolving long-term review
I'll try to turn this into an evolving review, from first impressions to long-haul user experiences. In most cases, my initial feelings towards a pen changed over time. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. We'll see how the HS fares.

Choosing the size and the nib
My eyes lusted after the full-size bronze pens. The HS Lava Bronze is the most beautiful fountain pen I've seen thus far, by far, ever. My hands told a different story. Surprisingly, the significantly smaller nib of the Midi was _way_ softer and bouncier than the full-size nibs. The difference wasn't subtle, it was really really noticeable. The full-size EF really was an EF: narrow. It was also feedbacky to the point of being somewhat scratchy and it didn't feel bouncy at all. The full-size F seemed excellent, until I changed to the Midi F. In comparison, the full-sized F was much more rigid and less refined than the Midi F. To their credit, all three nibs wrote problem-free: no skipping, no hard starting, no baby's bottom, and no rivers of ink. In terms of size, the Midi fits my hand a little better than the full-sized pens. The Midi is one of the few pens that allow me to write with a totally relaxed hand and wrist. I have many pens that I adore in terms of feedback and writing sensation, but very often my hand and wrist get tired after a while. Not so with the HS Midi. It's a perfect pen for me in terms of ergonomics. Last but not least, I got a really good deal on this pen, so I took the plunge.

Construction
My pen seems to be well built, no flaws, no issues, first impression after careful inspection is that the pen is immaculately built. Its colour is much more grey-ish than most Lava pens. This put me off initially, but it's growing on me fast. It's a unique colour and a pleasant deviation from all-black.

Filling and writing
No instructions whatsoever come with the pen. None. You're on your own with this one. As expected, the filial unscrews and it does so in a confident and well-engineerd way. The rising filial hints at a plunger filler and even though own all the common filling systems to be found in fountain pens, I was fooled for a minute in trying to pull out the plunger. I silently wonder if somewhere, someone damaged his pen this way for lack of instructions. The pen contains about 1.0 mL of ink, which is comparable with most converters found in C/C pens. As first ink, I chose Waterman Mysterious Blue, a well-behaved, medium-wet ink that can show nice shading in the right pen. After a couple of lines of writing, the feed emptied of excess ink and the pen reached equilibrium. Its wetness is, well, ideal. It's certainly not the gusher that so many reviews warn of. There is nice shading and drying time is manageable for most writing purposes.

fpn_1545485267__1550997f-45d3-4bd7-9658-

The nib is fantastic. It's soft and bouncy and responsive. And it's _not_ overly smooth. There is feedback, very subtle, the right kind in the right amount. The only other pen that I have that rivals the feel of this Visconti is an old 1957 Montblanc 342 with semi-flex nib. As many before me have said: if you get a good one, the HS is perfection. Very true.

Let's see how I feel about it after a solid week of writing!


Have an original Bronze Visconti HS. one of my favorite pens, and not only because it was a 25th anniversary gift. It is, what my distant acquaintance Neil Gaiman would describe as, "a novel writing pen," a pen that writes so effortlessly that it does not get in the way of the flow of words and ideas. Mine hasn't been used for such endeavors of late -- my life has become that of caretaker for my invalid wife -- but when I am able to write, this is one of the pens for which I routinely reach.

#40 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 17:47

Two month update. Literally not a day has gone by that I haven't used this pen. Of all my 20-odd pens, this one sees most of the action. I take it everywhere I go. It stands up to the rigours of daily use. I gave the nib a very slight smoothing, to diminish the somewhat "clunky" feel on paper. It still has a hint of pleasant feedback, or perhaps tooth is a better word, which gives me control over my writing. Practical points:

> While the ink capacity of the Midi is less than that of the full-sized HS, thus far I have never managed to finish my Midi. Despite being a wet writer, it has surprising stamina.

> The pen has performed perfectly in widely varying conditions. I've had it in a bag at freezing temperatures when cycling to work in winter: upon arrival, it worked. I've had it in my breast pocket for hours while on long walks and bicycle trips, when I was sweating like a pig and the pen heated up to at least body temperature. Upon arrival, it worked flawlessly.

> There has never been an ink spill in the cap. It has never burped or leaked.

> A niggle: the ridges of the cap-lock mechanism can touch the base of the nail on my ring finger in an unpleasant way. These ridges are slightly sharp.

> The pen has been in bags, shirt pockets, trouser pockets, it has been on picknick tables... not a scratch. The material is very very durable.

> The design doesn't "fade", I'm still in awe of it. Same with how it writes: I am appreciating it more every day, I'm not getting used to it.

I have to be honest and say that my (much cheaper) Leonardo Momento Zero F is the best pen I've ever had the pleasure to use, yet emotionally I'm more attached to the Homo Sapiens. I'm still very glad that I bought it.

Edited by TheDutchGuy, 02 March 2019 - 17:48.






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