The Herald is a large pen, somewhat similar in design to the Sailor King of Pens. For those of you who do not know the KOP, imagine a MB 149 that is a little thinner and a little longer. Or imagine a modern Balance made a bit bigger and longer. There is a definite "long" rather than "stubby" look and feel to the pen.
The pen, when capped, is a full six inches long, so it may well be a shade long for that slot in your pen case. Personally, I find this shape very pleasing. Uncapped, the pen is 5 and 1/8 inches long from nib tip to end of the barrel. I do not have a scale, but hefting the pen with ink in its converter I found it to be perhaps a shade heavier than an unfilled MB 149 but if so not by much. I found the pen very comfortable to write with. The cap does not post on the back, which is fine by me, but may be an issue for some people.
As for the general look of the pen, I rate it highly. The ebonite is nicely polished. The clip is a long thin gold clip. I never use clips so I am hard pressed to rate it. It is not one of those spring loaded deals.
One feature a person may or may not like is the fact that the barrel and cap themselves are not threaded. Rather there is a black insert into the barrel that has a gold colored ring and then some black threads sticking up. When the section is screwed into the pen, the threads just look like they are part of the section.
The cap is not threaded either. Instead, there is a black plastic part that is inserted snuggly into the cap. When you look at the cap, you can see a black cap band and if you look inside the cap you can see where the threading is on the part of the black plastic that inserts into the cap. When the pen is closed, all you see is the thin black cap, which is a nice touch between the barrel and the cap. I like the look. If you wanted ebonite on ebonite without any cap band, you may not like this.
The pen turns about one full turn to close the cap on the barrel. Closed, it seems snug and unlikely to open up.
Some people may wonder about this threading. It is very clearly secure, and I like the idea in that there is no risk at all of the cap or barrel cracking. If you cranked the cap down too hard, the worst that would probably happen is that the plastic part would snap and you would replace it. I like this idea. My wife has cracked two very nice roller ball pens from cranking down the cap, and if those pens had been made this way I think they would not be sitting useless on the shelf right now..
As for the nib, you can order the standard generic steel nib, a Taccia steel nib, a Bock made gold nib, or a Bexley nib. Price varies depending on the nib. I went for the cheap, standard steel nib. I figured I could always replace it, and I wanted to see what it would be like. I have to say it is very nice. It reminds me of a Laban steel nib. It was nicely smoothed and setup with an average flow. The nib certainly does not have the character of a soft Omas nib, but it is almost as nice as the steel nib on my Phileas.
I find it hard to imagine anyone would write with this nib and be disappointed. But given the beauty of the pen, I think when I order my next one I will get the Taccia nib. I have a Taccia steel nib in a Staccato and it is a little smoother than this nib. However, the basic steel nib is nicely prepared and ready to roll when you get this pen, so if getting the pen with the steel nib makes it affordable to you, get the steel nib. The steel nib can easily be pulled out and you can replace it if you wish.
The pen is a cartridge/convert pen and a nice converter comes with the pen. If you are a box and packaging nut, you may be disappointed that there is no huge box and bottle of ink. That was no big deal to me. In fact, I prefer things basic and do not want to pay extra for a box. So I am good with it.
I am not sure what else I can say. For $160 dollars, I am satisfied. Brian Gray also comes across as a very nice guy who is interested in making sure you are happy. He wrote me a letter with the pen and told me if anything happened to it he would buff out the mark. He also offered to reset the nib if I found it too wet or dry. As I said, the pen was a nice medium with good flow and I would bet you ten dollars he smoothed the nib before he sent it out. As I said, I got the basic steel nib and it is nice, not one of those scratchy cheapo jobs you sometimes get on a pen.
What else can I say? I paid with PayPal and the pen went out the next day!
I am a computer dinosaur with three legs stuck in the tar pit of the past and so I will try to add on a picture stolen from Brian Gray's website but can't promise anything and can't really say I care to spend any time fiddling with such things.
If you really dig ebonite, I think this pen is very nice and worth looking into. I plan to get another one in the blue and black ebonite. I also notice that Brian Gray works with other materials, such as wood, acrylic and something called Trustone. If you check out his site, check out these materials. I would like a lapis Trustone flattop of some sort. The material looks pretty cool.
In case anyone wonders, I do not know Brian Gray and I do not play Brian Gray on a television show. I just like the pen and found him very easy to work with. I would recommend taking a spin through his website.
Conclusion: beautiful pen and nice writer even with the most basic nib.
Edited by MYU, 13 October 2008 - 14:17.