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The Attila Classic & Indigo Murano


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#1 Phthalo

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 06:14

Jean Pierre Lépine - Attila Classic and Indigo Murano


Introduction

It's been a few years now since these Lepine pens were launched onto the market, but I thought a small review was in order because interest in them does continue to arise from time to time.

When I discovered these pens, I was instantly attracted by their diminutive size and bright coloring. At the time, I had difficulty choosing between the Indigo and Attila models, so I ended up buying one of each. I was in the early stages of my fountain pen interest, and looking over my collection, I believe that day was the first time I had ever spent more than $100 on a pen. (And since I bought two pens that day, never say I am one to do things by halves.)

Each pen came in a neat little presentation box with a couple of cartridges / refills, along with a handy little leather pouch.

This review discusses both the Attila Classic and the Indigo Murano:


Attila Classic "Champagne" and Indigo Murano "Orange-Gray".


Appearance / Design / Finish (4*)

The Attila and the Indigo are compact, sturdy, and quietly funky. They are also truly small pens, make no mistake - the Indigo is actually the smallest modern fountain pen that I own, and when capped, both pens are smaller than a Pelikan M300!


Pelikan M300, Attila Classic, Indigo Murano.



While these pens are weighty for their size, they aren't weighty compared to other pens in general. Posting the cap on the Attila makes it very comfortable - the balance is improved considerably, but the cap is not top-heavy. As much as I enjoy small pens, posting the cap on the tiny Indigo is a must for longer periods of writing!

These pens are crafted from Cellulose Acetate (or Rhodoid) - a high-quality and tough cotton-based resin. Each pen is available in half a dozen colours. I believe the trim is hard-wearing Stainless Steel, which is an excellent compliment to the sturdy CA body.



The caps unscrew in one turn or so, and then screw securely onto the barrel-end with one turn. I love pens with threaded barrel-ends!

The clip on each pen is quite stiff, but I guess their small size doesn't really lend itself to shirt pockets. The Attila cap band is neatly engraved with "JPL Paris ®","Made in Jura France" and "Attila © 2003". The Indigo cap band is engraved in a similar manner, with "JPL Paris ®" and "Made in France © 2000".

The main thing that impresses me about these pens is the finish and attention to detail. I have two Attila's (FP and RB) and one Indigo, and all three pens are nicely finished. Everything is fitted flush, and mounted straight and secure. As a nice touch, the barrel-to-section threads are fitted with an o-ring seal.


Nib / Section / Performance (3*)

Both these pens are fitted with large, flared and prettily engraved steel nibs. The nib and plastic feed are specifically matched to the pen size. The Attila has a nib / feed unit which appears to be about two sizes larger than the nib / feed on the Indigo.

Sketch of the floral nib.
(© 2005 Pen World International)
Attila floral nib.

Comfort-wise, a few people may find these pens uncomfortable to hold for extended periods, due to the small size of the grip section. I hold my pens quite close to the nib, so this isn't an issue for me personally.

The Attila and Indigo fountain pens appear to be available in only one point size - Medium. From the start, each pen wrote unhesitatingly with a smooth, wet line (the Attila was particularly wet).

Because a Medium nib is far too large for my handwriting, I had each nib reground by Richard Binder. Now the Attila has a 0.3 / XXF Stub and the Indigo a 0.2 / XXXF Needlepoint. The tiny Indigo with its tiny nib has become a real favourite of mine.


Filling System (3*)

These pens take a standard short international cartridge - hardly surprising considering their small size! A 'bantam' squeeze-type converter would fit these pens, but I find those types of converters inefficient, as they are difficult to fill to capacity. I just use a syringe and refill my Montegrappa cartridges, as they have a neat plastic pellet inside the cartridge which aids ink flow.

While JPL refills are available for the Attila RB, I have found that the 3" Schmidt Mini Roller Ball Refills can also be used.


Cost / Value (4*)

Today pricing of the Attila Classic is around ~$90, while the Indigo is slightly lower... perhaps ~$70. Many variants of the Attila and Indigo exist - there is the Nature series in which the pens are turned from boxwood, briarwood and cocobolo, the eccentric Cactus series which features shiny metal studding, and the Leather / Suede series. (Some of these variants are slightly higher priced.)

For the quality and workmanship, these pens are worth their money. Two of mine are three or so years old now, they look no worse for wear, and I have not experienced any problems with them.


Final Thoughts

These are not an everyday business pen, but rather one I tend to have always inked and ready at my desk for notes and correspondence. I wouldn't mind getting a couple more colours, but I doubt I will - the cost of needing to have the nib reground being the only deterrent.



To summarize, if you are very comfortable using small pens, and want something a little unusual, look to the Attila or Indigo. No matter what finish you choose, you'll have a well made and unique little writing instrument.

Further Information:I saw a request for a review of one of these so thought I would contribute... enjoy! smile.gif

Edited by Phthalo, 21 July 2008 - 11:38.

Laura / Phthalo
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#2 Shelley

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 06:57

I don't know how you can write with anything so small, but nice photos.
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#3 Maja

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 15:00

QUOTE(Shelley @ Jul 31 2007, 11:57 PM) View Post
I don't know how you can write with anything so small, but nice photos.

Well, I have a green & red swirly-patterned Indigo, and when posted is longer than my Waterman Phileas' barrel. The cap is definitely meant for posting as it would be too small to use unposted. As Laura says, the cap screws onto the barrel end, nicely extending the pen....
(I agree with you on the photos, though wink.gif )

I love my Indigo; I think it was the second modern pen I bought after I got back into fountain pens about 6 or so years ago. I read a review of it in "Pen World" magazine and I sought it out at local pen shops. Amazingly enough, a local chain sold them, so I got to try it out before buying. I have a blue & red swirly-patterned Indigo ballpoint that I like to use for quick notes. Lovely pens, both of them!

Laura, thank you for your reviews of these two lovely smaller pens. Lepine pens may not be to everyone's taste, but personally, I applaud Monsieur Lepine's bold designs smile.gif

Edited by Maja, 01 August 2007 - 15:01.

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#4 jlepens

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 15:13

Thanks for the review on Lepines.
I have some interest in the Winston but have not seen then at the local shops.
I was worried about the size. These may be too small for me.
Do you know what the dimensions are of the Winston compared to these two?


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#5 playpen

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 17:02

Laura, thank you for the review of these adorable pens. I love small pens and have been searching the internet attempting to find a distributor since the Lepine site is not of much help in this area. Were did you buy your pens and do you know who sells them now? smile.gif

#6 Phthalo

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 22:29

jlepens: I believe the Winston is a 'full-size' pen. I like the design of it myself, and the resin choices it is available in - I personally would choose the Yellow-Gray finish. The gold plated trim is a nice touch too... most all other Lepine pens are trimmed with white furniture.

No idea if these stores still have inventory, but they are showing many Lepine products and are both in the US:

http://www.btcfrenchgifts.com/
http://airline.store...eanpierlep.html
Laura / Phthalo
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#7 jlepens

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 00:44

QUOTE(Phthalo @ Aug 1 2007, 03:29 PM) View Post
jlepens: I believe the Winston is a 'full-size' pen. I like the design of it myself, and the resin choices it is available in - I personally would choose the Yellow-Gray finish. The gold plated trim is a nice touch too... most all other Lepine pens are trimmed with white furniture.

No idea if these stores still have inventory, but they are showing many Lepine products and are both in the US:

http://www.btcfrenchgifts.com/
http://airline.store...eanpierlep.html


Thanks for the info> I found the Airline Intl website. Well at least I cna't get in trouble right away.

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#8 Taki

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 03:53

Thanks Laura, for a great review of very nice little pens. I'm interested in small pens since I got a Sapporo Mini. I wish they came with EF nibs!

#9 jmkeuning

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 04:54

Those nibs are perfect... the matte steel, the floral pattern, the script. Perfection.
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#10 playpen

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 06:15

Based on Laura's review, I bought the Indigo Murano in Washington at the pen show. I bought the turquoise one with red squiggly lines in it. It is pretty and writes smoothly.
What a great little pen! Thanks Laura! smile.gif

#11 Phthalo

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 07:40

I've seen the color you bought - nice! Do you agree that it feels like quite a durable little thing?

(Off to respond to your letter... might use the Murano Needlepoint!)
Laura / Phthalo
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#12 meanwhile

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 12:34

These are exceptionally pretty little pens, and as always Phthalo has produced an excellent, balanced review. But why is such a pretty, civilized little pen named after one of history's most successful and ruthless barbarian warlords???
- Jonathan

#13 playpen

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 21:10

Yes, it is very durable! It goes everywhere with me and I really enjoy using it. I can't refill it in school. Can you imagine...there I am sitting at my desk...I whip out a syringe and start to refill the pen....how long do you think my job would last? headsmack.gif

#14 playpen

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 21:10

Posted twice in error. ADMINS please remove! smile.gif

Edited by playpen, 15 August 2007 - 21:18.


#15 alvarez57

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 04:38

Small like this?!? ohmy.gif





As usual, I enjoy your reviews and I learn from them (as well as from TNS). Thank you!

Edited by alvarez57, 16 August 2007 - 04:39.

sonia alvarez

 

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#16 Phthalo

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 07:22

Haha - that's a great picture! The Lepine looks soooo tiny! I love it. smile.gif
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#17 chibimie

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 22:52

I never would have given these pens a second look, but now. . . .
That's the power of your reviews, which are always remarkable. smile.gif

#18 Phthalo

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 08:53

I'm always quite positive in my reviews because I buy my pens after careful and thorough research. I'm a satisfied customer who hasn't yet owned a modern fountain pen which would be considered a lemon.

My enjoyment is clearly evident, but I am also an extremely detail oriented person. I take great care when writing my reviews and I'm very glad that my efforts are appreciated - because I do like writing them! smile.gif
Laura / Phthalo
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#19 alvarez57

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 20:50

QUOTE(Phthalo @ Aug 17 2007, 08:53 AM) View Post
I'm always quite positive in my reviews because I buy my pens after careful and thorough research. I'm a satisfied customer who hasn't yet owned a modern fountain pen which would be considered a lemon.

My enjoyment is clearly evident, but I am also an extremely detail oriented person. I take great care when writing my reviews and I'm very glad that my efforts are appreciated - because I do like writing them! smile.gif



I feel the same. I basically like all my pens (some more than others, of course) because I don't just jump on buying them (unless the under $200 at ebay). If I'm going to pay A LOT for a pen, I take my time studying it. Then, if I am not to thrilled with it, I send it to be reground ($45!!) to my taste, and the pen acquires a new "personality".
I've also found out I love writing reviews and that is why I enjoy reading yours among others. Anyways, isn't technical writing what you do for a living? wink.gif
Keep it up, Laura!

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#20 eal

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 02:28

Thanks for the review - have been looking at Lepine pens for awhile, and am especially hankering for the Indigo Murano in the color you have - you call it Orange Gray - but I can't find it anywhere.

If anyone knows where I might be able to get one, would appreciate a heads up!

Thanks!






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