Brand: Ranga - Model 9B in red/black swirl premium ebonite (design P6 as per their catlog)
Ranga pens is an Indian maker of hand turned fountain pens of great quality. As many regulars are aware, the brand was founded by the eponymous Mr. Pandurangan, who has been making fountain pens for half a century and the business is now managed by his son, Mr. Kandan. They are pretty well known for their ebonite and acrylic hand-made models, both in India and the international market.
Appearance & Design (1-10) - 9.5 I already knew I will like the looks of this pen when I ordered it. But even with such high expectation, the actual item was a very pleasant surprise. The pen is really a looker - simple timeless cigar design - smooth uninterrupted curves, and the subtle lustre of premium ebonite. The cap and barrel have a seamless continuity when capped. Uncapped,there is a step into the long and much slimmer section but it looks very aesthetic (and is very comfortable despite the step down as discussed later). the swirly red patterns continue from the barrel seamless into the section. Surprisingly, when the cap is posted most of the swirly patterns seem to continue into the cap as well. I do not know how that is possible, so hats off to them for this (they warned me over email that this continuity is not guaranteed as ebonite behavior is not perfectly predictable when turned, but pulled it off anyway!) This way, the pens look homogenous and seamless when both uncapped and capped. I may have preferred a more substantial clip than the one provided but that is a very minor nitpick.
Construction & Quality (1-10) - 9 Nothing to fault. At all. if being very difficult, then I would say only that I wish it uncapped faster than the 3 whole turns it takes. Otherwise the ebonite has been finsihed beautifully. There is no blemish of the pen body and everything just feels solidly and thoughtfully executed. the soft-polish finishing of the ebonite surface is expertly done. When capped, the line between cap and barrel is well nigh invisible as the design intended. This is a luxury item at a non-luxury. A perfect item to gift oneself or someone else who loves well made things in general or pens in particular.
Weight & Dimensions (1-10) - 10
Length - 155-156mm capped and 136mm uncapped (about)
Weight - 31 gms capped; 20 gms uncapped
This is LARGE pen. Currently the largest pen I won (given the wow factor of this one, I wonder how massive the giant variant would look! - a proper 'power pen'). Below is a picture with some of the other pens I won. It is slightly taller and much beefier in girth than other larger sized pens in the ~ 150mm length like the pilot Justus and the penBBS 380/ 456.
But, for its size, its incredible light, on account of being made of ebonite and having no metal parts except that small clip. At 31 gms (20 gms uncapped) the weight is very comfortable and would cause no fatigue for long writing sessions. I am been using it continuously since receipt and it has never caused me discomfort. In fact, the girth of the barrel makes it rest very comfortably on the web between my thumb and forefinger (for the same reason, I never found very slender pens too comfortable).
10/10 - I wanted a large impressive pen without the off-putting weight and that's what I got.
Nib & Performance (1-10) - 9.5\
The supplied nib was, as per my request, a chrome coloured JoWo #6 steel nib. This nib wrote brilliantly out opf the box - like a typical Jowo M, it was a stiff nib, about a 0.7 mm line and very juicy. No problems there. Then I realized I have a spare 21K Sailor rhodium plated Broad (H- nib from an old Pro-Gear pen whose barrel had cracked at the threads a few years back. This nib had been converted to use in Fountain pens accepting Jowo #6 housing by means of a converter-housing from flexiblenibs.com. So I thought I will make my own Ebonite KOP variant! Out went the supplied JoWo nib and housing and in went the Sailor nib in Jowo-compatible housing.
My goodness, how smooth this is. I remember this nib was a mighty fine one, but I don't remember if it wrote SO wet and SO smooth in the old sailor pen. It was the smoothest writing experience I ever had - not smooth in the off-putting glassy sense - but in the sense that you fell that you gliding on roller skates over the paper. Maybe the line is a bit too broad and bit too wet for some uses (fast writing, annotations etc.) but I have many mediums and fines and only this and another Japanese broad - so I don't mind. Though I have a feeling part of the extra wetness is basically I had rinsed the nib and feed in photo-flo solution before using (to be investigated further).
Filling System & Maintenance (1-10) - 8.5
Nothing fancy here - it came with a cartridge converter and is ebonite with ebonite section threads, hence eyedroppable.
I tried the converter. It worked. end of. However, because the Sailor -JoWo compatible adapter housing does not accept CC, I have to use it solely as an eyedroppable pen. There was no o-ring but I had one handy that fit over the section threads and applied some TWSBI silicon grease to the threads as well. It works well with no leak.
Cost & Value (1-10) - 10
It is easily worth its asking price and then some. As I remarked earlier - this piece screams bespoke luxury at a very affordable (for a hand made item) price.
Conclusion (Final score : 9.4) -An unmitigated masterpiece. This pen can be appreciated both by fountain pen afficianados and even others who just appreciate something made well with care. This was a hit among my colleagues most of whom couldn't care about writing instruments beyond getting the job done. I am already plotting my next order from Ranga!
Edited by TheVintagelife, 24 January 2020 - 20:56.