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Robert Oster 1980 - Bass Straight

robert oster 1980 blue bass straight medium blue

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#1 namrehsnoom



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Posted 11 July 2020 - 13:37

Robert Oster 1980 - Bass Straight
Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. With this mini-series he gives us a conglomeration of colours inspired by the anything goes world of the 1980s. The inks include muted pastel-type colours along with some eye-popping disco-style hues. Definitely an interesting series.
In this review I take a closer look at Bass Straight - a heavy-shading medium soft blue that is a bit green-leaning without becoming a teal. The colour is comfortable to the eye for both reading & writing, and it deviates enough from a standard blue to become interesting. I quite like the looks of it. For a Robert Oster ink, this one feels well-lubricated, and it lays down a wet and well-saturated line even with my dry Safari pens. The ink also works well with finer nibs - although you lose some of its nice shading. Overall, a good writing ink that I enjoyed using.
To show you the impact of saturation on the ink's look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I really saturated portions of the Tomoe River paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. Bass Straight has a medium tonal range, ranging from a light blue to a dark medium blue. Nevertheless, there is quite some contrast between both ends of the spectrum, making this ink a fairly heavy shader. When writing with broader nibs, shading is very present, but remains pleasing to the eye. You definitely notice that you're writing with a fountain pen!
Like most Robert Oster inks, Bass Straight has zero water resistance.  Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text, leaving next to nothing on the page. This is also apparent from the lower part of the chromatography. The chroma shows an intriguingly complex mixture of dyes, and you can also clearly see the underlying green that moves this ink slightly towards teal terrain. All this translates to an interesting medium blue writing ink that I find quite appealing. 
I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band 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 an M-nib Lamy Safari fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib Lamy Safari
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib Lamy Safari
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Lamy)
Bass Straight behaves perfectly on most paper types, with no visible feathering. It even worked surprisingly well with the notoriously bad Moleskine paper, which is quite a feat. With the Moleskine paper I got a tiny amount of bleed-through, but nothing too bad. Saturation and contrast are really good across all paper types in my test set. The ink also shows some nice shading, even with finer nibs. All in all a very pleasing writing experience. Personally I prefer the ink on pure white paper. With more yellowish paper, I feel the ink starts moving a bit too much towards teal territory. I guess the yellow colour of the paper shines through the blue ink, resulting in a bit too much green for my liking. 
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: a wet-writing Parker Sonnet with F-nib. As you can see, Bass Straight can handle all nib sizes, and even shows a bit of shading with the EF-nib. Saturation & contrast are very good across the complete nib-range, making it a fine writing ink. 
Related inks
To compare this Bass Straight with related inks, I use my nine-grid format with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This 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. When seen next to a real teal like iroshizuku ku-jaku it is totally clear that Bass Straight is a blue ink. But it's still a bit more green-leaning when compared with e.g. Callifolio Omi Osun.
Inkxperiment – thunderstorm
With every review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I'm working on. Limiting myself to one ink allows me to showcase its colour-range nuances. It's often quite a challenge, but always great fun. For this drawing inspiration comes from a thunderstorm that recently passed over town, filling the air with lightning and a feeling of static electricity.
I started with a piece of cardboard paper (a Fellowes binding cover), that I wetted with water-diluted ink applied with a brush through a piece of paper kitchen towel. I then painted in the little cottages on the still wet paper, and drew in the lightning & static electricity patterns in the sky with my medium-nibbed Safari. The rain-spatters in the foreground were drawn in with a Q-tip dipped in Bass Straight. When the painting was almost dry, I added the final details like doors&windows, outline of the houses, the paveway in the foreground and the trees. The resulting little picture gives you a good idea of what can be obtained when using Bass Straight as a drawing ink. 
Robert Oster 1980 Bass Straight has a nice medium-blue soft colour with enough complexity in its dye composition to make it interesting. It really excels as a writing ink, capable of handling all paper types and nib sizes. I especially liked the fairly heavy shading, that never gets too harsh but remains pleasing to the eye. The ink is also a fine one for use in a more artistic setting. 
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types

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#2 LizEF



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Posted 11 July 2020 - 14:24

:notworthy1:  Amazing as always, namrehsnoom!  I have a sample of this waiting to get up-voted. :)

#3 yazeh


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Posted 11 July 2020 - 14:41

So detailed.... This looks like a beautiful calming blue.... It brings a sense of serenity.... 

Thanks for such lovely review  :)

#4 TheDutchGuy


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Posted 11 July 2020 - 15:51

Wonderful review, thanks! For this particular kind of blue, I am bounded to Diamine Misty Blue, so I’ll pass on Bass Straight, but it’s always nice to see Robert Oster ink reviews - they make good stuff down there.

#5 amberleadavis


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Posted 11 July 2020 - 22:24

Another great review.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).


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