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