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Pineider Avatar Ur Review: A “Pen-Eider” Recommend? Let’S See...

pineider avatar ur ultraresin magnet bronze bock

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#1 RoSpectre

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 14:41

Pineider Avatar UR Review - Riace Bronze – Fine Nib
Full Disclosure: I bought this pen because it is the same colour as my cat. She can use it to work on her meowmoirs.
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Raison d’acheter:
I've been trying to reduce/narrow my collection to pens I know I will use on a regular basis at the office, and this one fit the bill. The bronze colour caught my eye and I pounced. I’ve justified purchases with worse reasons than fur colour, trust me. I found a discount code, ordered the pen from Pen Boutique, and got a free bottle of ink, a free vial of ink, and a free leather pen pouch thrown in. They shipped USPS to Canada, which didn't hit me with import or handling fees, where as DHL or FedEx always do. Nice. Pen came in a box with converter, manuals, nothing special.
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First Impression: Pow! The resin is lovely. This is the Riace Bronze version, and mine lands more in the blue-grey spectrum, with some tan and orange streaks and patches. There is a bit of shine, a bit of depth/translucency, and a lot of swirl. Nothing too distracting though. There are very fine tiny sparkles in the material… maybe this is the mother of pearl?
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The resin feels thick, solid and sturdy… probably 2mm thick in the body, and 1.5mm in the cap, so I am confident it could take an above average beating. The finish does have some tiny tiny indentations/finishing marks, but it feels like a well-engineered material, and it’s probably worth the hype.

The Cap (and here my troubles began…): The cap is loose…up and down, side to side, spins easily, and rattles like a maraca when I shake the pen even slightly. The magnet holds well, so the cap won’t fall off, but the issue is that the cap magnet is loose in its place in the cap. Pen Boutique confirmed that a wiggle of some degree is present on all their pens, and they contacted the distributor Yafa, who said, “a little bit of play on that cap should be considered normal, but if the customer feels it’s excessive please have them send it to me and I’ll take care of it.” I do feel it’s excessive, but I’m not sure if the problem is with my pen or the design itself. Propagations to Pen Boutique customer service on this matter, as they were quick to respond and solution-oriented.
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GlueLess and ClueLess: So why the wiggle? You can see above they’ve secured the magnet in a ridiculous way… a thin, stamped metal lock ring, that A. can clearly allow too much wiggle, and B. has sharp edges that will scratch anything it touches! I am already seeing small scratches on the section, and scuffs on the body from posting. So the tragedy is they have created this problem in the name of going glueless. They should have used a strong friction fit for the magnet, maybe a rubber coating on the magnet would do it, or else just used some glue! Ironically, I may just tear out the metal lock ring, and glue the bloody magnet in myself. (Edit Spoiler: I did this shortly after writing this review… see following post.)

Moving on... The cap band’s imprint isn’t the crispest, and while the metal band feels strong enough, it’s thin, and you can see in the photo above some of the chrome has already chipped off to reveal a copper colour underneath. The band is fit and aligned well on the cap, though (no gaps, no looseness).
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The Clip: near perfection. Love the design, tension’s good, it’s fit well with almost no wobble, it has the perfect upturn at the end that allows is to slide smoothly onto your pocket, pen pouch, notebook, etc.  Notice there are two seams near the top of the cap, running to the clip pin holes. First I thought these were cracks, but they are symmetrical and can be seen in other photos online, so I am thinking they are molding seams of some kind.
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Overall Fitness: Things are tight, yo! No unsightly gaps, joins between materials are smooth, nothing loose besides the magnet, section threads hold great and tighten very well.
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Let’s Get Inked: The pen fills with a good quality, snug-fitting, branded, standard international (likely Schmidt) converter. The tip fits perfectly into a generic blunt needle that I use as a snorkel!

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The ink started flowing after a few taps, and has maintained perfect flow since. I've had a few faint horizontal strokes like on the "t" in the writing sample... could be me rolling my pen though. The fine nib draws a fine line leaning towards western XF, with medium wetness. I don’t have much experience with other Bock nibs, but I would say I prefer this nib’s flow and feel over Jowo fine nibs I’ve used. There is what I would call medium-level feedback (pencil-like), but it is consistent on all strokes and letters, so it never feels scratchy or toothy—impressive for a finer nib tip.
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The tip appears to be mostly spherical, with a slightly flared out and flattened writing surface. This shape looks and writes like ST Dupont fine nibs I have, and this is a very good thing. I dislike hearing that a nib is excellent or very smooth “for a steel nib,” so without qualifying I can say this nib has a touch of spring, and is an overall fantastic writer by any measure.
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I like the nib design – it has no breather hole, and an imprint that is deep, crisp and visually unique. It may not be for everyone, but I feel the geometric pattern and mirrored “Pineider” lettering gives the nib a postmodern look that helps keep the overall pen from looking too dainty or outdated. Also, I left this pen uncapped for 15 minutes, and it only missed one stroke (the top of a capital ‘T’) before it picked up writing perfectly again. This is a valuable benefit for note-taking in lectures or meetings.
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Grip Gripes: Yes it’s metal, yes it’s a bit slippery, but the curved shape helps your fingers lock in a bit. If anything, it’s TOO curvy though, and narrows too much, so my fingers get a bit crowded and feel like they’re gripping a pretty steep angle. If the slipperiness starts to bother me, I may coat this section in ProtectaClear, a semi-permanent brush-on resin coating that improves grip and could help prevent scratches and fingerprints. I wish companies would start to knurl, brush, etch, engrave, or clear coat their metal sections… slippery sections are a deal breaker for many, and a pain to all. If the Avatar’s section were engraved with the same diagonal lines the cap band has, it would be a work of art. I’d even settle for an inexpensive laser job. Dream on, I guess.

The balance of this pen is excellent, posted and non. When posted, the balancing point is right below the cap band, where the pen rests on my hand when writing. It’s right on the line of being back-heavy though, so if you have smaller hands you might not like it posted.
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You can see the Avatar compares to the Safari and Michelangelo in size. Just personal preference, but I would go Avatar over Rembrandt, and call it a draw between Avatar and Michelangelo. Avatar is way cheaper and has a finer nib, but Michelangelo has a sturdier magnet and cap band, and a slight edge in the finishing. Of course, if you’re comparing to Visconti’s newer edition pens with the weak #4 nibs, then it’s Avatar all the way.

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Wrap-up!

 

Cons:
--Loose cap magnet from bad lock ring design
--Metal grip section: hourglass shape helps prevent some slipping, but can be awkward to grip.
--Cap band could be stepped up in quality

 

Pros:
--Fantastic writer
--Magnetic cap (despite the loose magnet, it holds well and posts well)
--Neat-looking size 6 nib in fine, and overall design that combines classic aesthetics with modern touches
--Versatile size, with a good, balanced weight
--Reasonable price, costing less than comparable pens and even the previous Avatar
--“Unbreakable” resin: If you’ve watched Goulet’s video closely, Dante actually cracks the pen when he hits it with the hammer, but they cut away quickly. So this is not a miracle material, but I am convinced it will have added chip and crack resistance from impacts or time. I also like that Dante is at least paying attention to engineering and trying to advance the craft of pen making by simplifying and strengthening, not just adding frills.

 

Who should buy this?

If you’re looking for a mid-priced pen with a superb nib and some stand-out features (great clip design, coolvenient magnetic closure, stylized nib) or a pen that looks classy but can still take some abuse (UltraResin body, simple design, few parts, no glue), then this is the “Pen-eider” buy, if I were you.

 

Final Word: If you're prepared to live with a potentially wobbly cap, or you are game to fix the wobble yourself (very easy to do...see my post below), then I would highly recommend this pen.

 

 

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#2 1nkulus

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 14:53

Nice review.

 

OTOH, if it matches Kitty then what's not to like.  biggrin.png  Now, onto those meowmoirs...


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#3 RoSpectre

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 15:07

OK, so rather than adjust the whole review I figured I'd add this addendum covering what I did about the wobbly magnet post-review drafting. I heard from one other owner that their cap does not rattle, (but still spins I think) so I'm guessing my magnet and ring were unusually loose. I had the offer from Yafa to fix it, but this would involve shipping across the continent, without knowing how much better it would be upon return, plus my issue with a sharp metal ring in the cap would remain.

 

So I took a small screwdriver, popped out the ring without much trouble, and then checked how the magnet fit in the cap. It just pops in there, without too much extra room, but doesn't stay on its own. So I cut a very thin strip of packaging tape, applied it with tweezers to the inside of the cap where the magnet sits, one piece on each side of the cap band's interior, and then put the magnet back in by slowly capping the pen as normal with the magnet attached to the pen, and pressing a bit.

 

Worked perfectly... the magnet now stays in place on its own, and I didn't even have to resort to glue.

 

fpn_1553957535__ring_removed_small.jpg

 

Just look at that ring... it looks like a bleedin sawblade. Good riddance. The only reason I can think of for Pineider to use this method is to avoid the step of gluing and cure time, and to make it easily removable for replacement if needed. Good enough reasons I guess, but the trade off of a loose retention and possible scratching is unacceptable.

 

Using a thicker or rubberized coating on the magnet (which is already coated to prevent rusting) would have been a better idea, or using some kind of tape on the edge during manufacturing would have worked also. There are other non-removable, friction-fit pieces in the pen so I don't know why they didn't do that for this crucial piece. You do three things with a pen: uncap it, write, recap. If the cap is bad, it's a bad experience.

 

Anyway, after securing the magnet, I am amazed at how much better the cap holds. The rattle is gone, it barely moves or spins on its own or if I try to wiggle it. (For comparison it holds as well as my Visconti Michelangelo cap which also has no issues and no rattle.) My impression of the Avatar 's quality once I fixed this issue is so much higher; it makes the whole pen feel much more solid, and if the pen came like this from the factory I would be recommending it unequivocally.

 

Ich bin raus.



#4 Driften

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 17:31

Thanks for the review! It does seem like the design could have been better. It's funny when he did the assembly in the Goulet video he didn't have use a lock washer. I wonder if it was an after thought when magnets didn't friction fit well enough. With this being the second version of the Avatar you would have thought they would have worked out the kinks. I think your cap modification was the right thing to do in this case. If it doesn't hold you can always move on to glue. Bad chrome on a pen of this price is also not right. I think with your observations, this pens is not for me. At first it was just the metal section but the rest puts it off the list for now.

 

My tortie cat also approves of the color, but isn't into pens ;)



#5 Uncial

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 23:36

Pretty pen.
Prefer the cat though.

#6 penwash

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 01:18

I like your reviewing style, it's littered with humor. :)

 

And also good job on figuring out a better way to fasten the magnet in the cap, I've seen those tin circles in some of the caps I've encountered, but never that sharp and exposed.


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#7 RoSpectre

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 15:50

I like your reviewing style, it's littered with humor. :)
 
And also good job on figuring out a better way to fasten the magnet in the cap, I've seen those tin circles in some of the caps I've encountered, but never that sharp and exposed.


Thanks! I don't buy many new pens so this was a good chance to try a review. My main concern now is the lock ring serves some purpose I am missing... like it protects the magnet from impact or prevents suction when uncapping.

The pen is out of commission for a few days since I resin coated the section and it takes a few days to cure, but I'll see if everything works when I put it back together.

#8 Honeybadgers

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 00:31

I wish they would stop making every pen with that disgusting polished section. It's gaudy, slippery, and uncomfortable.


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#9 RoSpectre

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 13:04

I wish they would stop making every pen with that disgusting polished section. It's gaudy, slippery, and uncomfortable.

 

Agreed -- sometimes it looks right, but a polished section is still usually an immediate strike one against any pen. Not sure whether it would have been more or less expensive to make, but I feel like a matching or plain black Ultra Resin section on the Avatar would have been a great use case for the material... either a solid resin piece or a resin tube over metal.  It's supposed to have strength comparable to metal, and it feels great on the fingers too -- the UltraResin feels denser but also slightly softer/waxier than something like Montblanc precious resin.



#10 Honeybadgers

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Posted 03 April 2019 - 01:41

If they used the same material as the body in the section, I'd already own one or two pineiders. But until they get rid of the polished section, I'm not going to buy one.

 

The quill nib looks pretty sick too. It really bums me out that I can't buy one solely because of the section.


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#11 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 03 April 2019 - 05:37

If they used the same material as the body in the section, I'd already own one or two pineiders. But until they get rid of the polished section, I'm not going to buy one.

 

 

That was exactly my feeling, until I tried two of these pens. I struggle with the straight section of my Visconti van Gogh sometimes and I vowed never to buy a polished steel section pen again. However with the concave shape of the new Avatar, I have no problems. It suits me. Minor changes in shape or texture can make all the difference. I ordered one and am eagerly anticipating its arrival.



#12 RoSpectre

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Posted 03 April 2019 - 13:11

Good to hear! Despite having to fix my magnet, I think there is tremendous value in the Avatar and they've priced it very smartly. I can feel my appreciation for the execution increasing as I use it, as opposed to some pens that have an initial novelty that fades over time (if not immediately).

 

I also took the step of coating my Avatar and Michelangelo sections with ProtectaClear, and it's working quite well so far. The coating is invisible and now the surface of the section feels exactly the same as the resin body on both pens. So the grip is improved, my fingertips don't sweat, the sections don't get grimy, and they don't get fingerprinted as easily.

 

I'm expecting the coating to flake off or get scraped by the caps eventually, but if it holds up for a reasonable amount of time I'll be quite pleased as it's made the pens way more user-friendly.

 

Or, if you want a $300 solution for the Viscontis, shop around for one of the Rembrandt calligraphy sets, as they came with a Rembrandt pen and three nib units with plastic sections instead of metal ones. If Visconti made the plastic sections available as a spare part they could sell a million of them!



#13 ErrantSmudge

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 15:57

I was very interested in the revamped Avatar before reading this review.  I passed on the first-generation Avatar, despite the pretty design and colors, because [A] the steel nib did not look polished or refined in any of the product shots I saw and [B] I saw reports in YouTube reviews that the cap scratched the section. (The polished section isn't a huge issue for me).

 

Now I read that the second-gen Avatar has a cap that scratches the pen even more, and requires user hacks to function properly.  I don't like the hack suggested here to re-set the magnet with a strip of packing tape.  From time to time I clean out the caps on my pens with water, and I don't think packing tape in the cap will hold up long-term.

 

I'd love to own a Pineider pen, I'd just like them to make one without a deal-breaking design/construction flaw.


Edited by ErrantSmudge, 04 April 2019 - 15:58.


#14 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:15

I'd love to own a Pineider pen, I'd just like them to make one without a deal-breaking design/construction flaw.

Can't blame you. It's why I tended to ignore Italian pens and focused on brands like Sailor, vintage MB, vintage Sheaffer and others. However... I have to admit that Italian pens got into my blood somehow. I have an emotional bond with them that few of my other pens can match. My Leonardo pens are absolutely flawless and exude old-school class and the steel nibs of those pens make me forget about gold nibs. I tried two new Avatars in the store and was deeply impressed by the writing experience. Pineider and Leonardo have really raised the bar for "mass-produced $15 steel nibs". I love that.

To add (edit): a friend has several Conid pens. Most awesome in terms of construction, fit and finish. You could derail a train with those pens. Never saw a better pen in terms of quality. Yet they leave me stone-cold. I'd never buy one.

Edited by TheDutchGuy, 05 April 2019 - 15:17.


#15 RoSpectre

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 17:59

Yes, tough to see anyone turned off completely by the flaws, as much of the Avatar including the writing experience is impeccable. I know it all depends what you're willing to overlook in a pen, but if anyone has a chance to handle the Avatar in person, I would highly recommend it, even just to check out the new material. The thickness and mass of the UltraResin will make your Montblanc feel like a Fisher Price (a bit of an exaggeration).

 

If they start making transparent UltraResin piston fillers they could really sweep the market.



#16 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 06 April 2019 - 11:25

fpn_1554549250__03564dbd-2322-42c8-8d5b-

My Avatar arrived today, so I went to my local store to pick it up. The cap doesn't wobble at all and feels exactly the same as on my Visconti van Gogh. The magnet ring doesn't touch the section. That's good news for me, but not all new arrivals in the store were like mine: quite a few had wobbling caps.

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Construction seems to be top-notch and the pen feels really solid. With the exception of the cap band, which looks and feels a bit cheap, the pen exudes a sense of quality far beyond its 98 euro price tag. Compared to Leonardo's Momento Zero and Furore models, the Avatar does not radiate that old-school, small-firm, high-end vibe. But then again, the Leonardo's retail for 150 euros and upwards.

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Writing-wise, the nib is exceptionally good. Smooth yet tactile and with quite a fine line. The nib is adjusted for proper wetness, but the run-of-the-mill converter (included with the pen) can't keep up and is the cause of relative dryness. The pen melts into my hand and the concave section, though polished steel, allows me to grip it securely. It's a case of set-it-and-forget-it: I pick it up and write and I forget the pen is even there.

Time will tell how well the pen holds up. I'll report back on that periodically. First impression of my pen is extremely positive. How they can make a pen this lovely and this good for 98 euros retail... well done. (However, as said, quite a few of the pens in stock in my local store had wobbling caps.)

#17 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 14:30

After about 5 hours of use at home and in the office, on various kinds of paper, I must say that this is one helluva pen. After I replaced the so-so converter with a refilled long Waterman cartridge, the ink flow became generous, verging on wet. The pen brings out great shading in KWZ Turquoise and is extremely comfortable during longer sessions. It's quite a long pen, and nicely balanced, so no posting necessary. The nib is marvelous. Priced at 98 euros, I'd say it blows several contenders out of the water, including the Van Gogh (retailing at twice as much), the Supra Brass and the Dia2.



#18 RoSpectre

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 17:02

Thanks for adding your experience! I too am very pleased with the pen and the initial joy hasn't faded... it's the kind of pen that makes me want to write just for the feeling.

I mostly buy used pens so my sense of value is very discerning, but the Avatar feels well worth full retail price.

I put a clear resin coating on the section and it makes the pen even more comfortable to hold. Maybe I'll try a Waterman cartridge too, as I'm draining the converter like mad.

#19 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 13:12

First week update. One week in. Many many hours of writing. Sensational pen. No drawbacks whatsoever.

Here's a tip, for those unwilling or unable to return a pen with a wobbling cap. Some of these pens make rattling sounds when you shake the cap. Some have wobbly caps. Same cause: the ring that keeps the magnet in place isn't always flush against the magnet around the full circumference of the magnet. This allows the magnet to move somewhat and/or it makes the cap wobble. Put one drop of wood glue on a piece of trash plastic (the white stuff, wood glue, nothing else!) and add one drop of lukewarm water. Mix. Use a toothpick to put _some_ of the glue on the ring; a little goes a long way, you'll only use a fraction of the glue! It will sink through the pores on the ring's outer edge. With the broader rear end of the toothpick, apply pressure all around the ring. Keep doing this for about 10 minutes. When the glue dries, it becomes totally translucent - you won't see it. Allow the glue to dry fully. Problem solved. But note: the goal is to fix the ring in place against the magnet, not to immerse it in glue! If you use too much, then the excess glue itself will make the cap wobble. When in doubt, don't.

#20 TheLostOne

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 11:26

First week update. One week in. Many many hours of writing. Sensational pen. No drawbacks whatsoever.

Here's a tip, for those unwilling or unable to return a pen with a wobbling cap. Some of these pens make rattling sounds when you shake the cap. Some have wobbly caps. Same cause: the ring that keeps the magnet in place isn't always flush against the magnet around the full circumference of the magnet. This allows the magnet to move somewhat and/or it makes the cap wobble. Put one drop of wood glue on a piece of trash plastic (the white stuff, wood glue, nothing else!) and add one drop of lukewarm water. Mix. Use a toothpick to put _some_ of the glue on the ring; a little goes a long way, you'll only use a fraction of the glue! It will sink through the pores on the ring's outer edge. With the broader rear end of the toothpick, apply pressure all around the ring. Keep doing this for about 10 minutes. When the glue dries, it becomes totally translucent - you won't see it. Allow the glue to dry fully. Problem solved. But note: the goal is to fix the ring in place against the magnet, not to immerse it in glue! If you use too much, then the excess glue itself will make the cap wobble. When in doubt, don't.

 

 

So how is the pen holding up almost two months later? [Premium Italian looks? Nib performance? Grip?]

I am considering a black one for work.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: pineider, avatar, ur, ultraresin, magnet, bronze, bock



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