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Visconti Van Gogh Maxi - old style


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10 replies to this topic

#1 southpaw

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 21:15

Visconti Van Gogh Maxi in Musk
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A Little Background
I ordered this pen from Susanna at www.pens.it (no affiliation, just a happy customer) after looking at Van Goghs for quite some time. The price was right and it was the older version with the three-cam locking system. And while the color was not my first pick, the musk color scheme falls in an area in which my collection is lacking. Susanna was kind enough to permit me to describe my preferences regarding the variations within the musk color scheme. I preferred not to have any dominant streaks of any one color and the overall color to be more in the brown tones. After ordering the pen with a fine nib on September 5, it arrived from Italy on the 14th!

Initial Impressions (5/5)
The pen arrived in a thick, padded envelope. I opened it up, removed the outer cardboard box, and opened up the synthetic (?) leather hard case, and there it was! My first thought was, ďItís a demonstrator? Itís translucent / transparent? Somethingís wrong!Ē
Somehow in all of my pre-purchase previewing, I had missed that detail. I then checked on several websites and, sure enough, when I looked closely, I could see that the material was indeed translucent / transparent. Itís all about camera angles, lighting, and the background. Even in person, itís easy to miss. At this point Iím feeling like a real Einstein, as you may or may not be able to image.
After that initial shock, I began to take in the pen itself. Wow! Susanna picked out exactly what I had requested ó I doubt I would have done any different had I been there myself. I immediately noticed the wonderfully varied finish, the elegant capband, and the exquisite nib! The pen is simply gorgeous and certainly aptly named. And while I prefer resin sections, the metal section on the Van Gogh works well, both aesthetically and ergonomically. As a side note, Van Goghís Starry Night is the pattern on our chair, ottoman, love seat and sofa cushions, and a few accent pillows in our den, albeit not in the original colors. I used one of the sofa cushions as a backdrop for some of the photos.
Rating: 5/5 for ďWow!Ē factor.
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Size & Weight (5/5)
This is not a small pen, but then that is expected of the Van Gogh Maxi. Unposted the pen actually has somewhat of a light feel to it, with the center of mass located close to the nib thanks to the metal section. Personally, I post nearly all of my pens, and the Van Gogh is no exception (personal preference: like the added size, weight, and not having to fool with the cap).
The cap is fairly substantial due to its cap band (9.8 mm wide) and the spring-loaded clip. However, I donít believe itís as heavy as the newer model as the new clip is considerably thicker. Nonetheless, when capped, the barrel remains elevated due to the weight of the metal section, cap ring, and clip.
Posted the pen has excellent balance. Writing with the pen in this condition is a pure joy. In my opinion, this is the way it was designed to be written with.
Rating: 5/5 for good weight and size, but mainly for fantastic balance.

Dimensions on the Van Gogh Maxi are:
Pen length capped = 145.7 mm, uncapped = 127.5 mm, posted = 170 mm, nib = 24.2 mm, section = 18.2 mm.
Pen barrel diameter max = 13.1 mm, section = tapered 11.5 - 10.5 mm
Clip opens a generous 4.8 mm without being maxed out.
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For size comparision purposes, left to right are: Pelikan M200, Namiki VP, Van Gogh Maxi, Pelikan M805, & Bexley Sheherazade.

Nib (4.5/5)
This is what a FP is all about. This is what you really want to know, the all-important detail, the business end of the pen. ďHow does the two-toned, elegantly engraved 14k-585 fine nib perform?,Ē you ask. Mine is a wet fine that is really a medium-fine. Itís actually a little bit wetter than I prefer, but I like it. Oh, and did I mention smooth with just a hint of tooth. Itís just a tad bit toothier than my Bexley Sheherazade medium, and very much like my Pelikan M805 fine. Bottom line, itís wonderful!
Rating: 4.5/5 for being just a tad too wet.
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Filling Mechanism (4/5)
The pen is a cartridge / converter filler. My preferred filling system is the piston-fill. That notwithstanding, this pen has a very robust converter and has thus far performed flawlessly. It holds a good quantity of ink. Combine the converter with the transparent / translucent barrel material, place it against the right background, and voila! The ink level is visible. This is a big plus.
Rating: 4/5, which is as high as Iím likely to rate a c/c.

Closing Mechanism (4/5)
Normally this is not worthy of a separate category, but in this case, an exception is called for. As previously mentioned, this is the older style three-cam closure system. It requires a mere third of a turn to fully close. While I have heard concerns with thermal expansion causing the closure mechanism to disengage, I donít think it will be a problem given the way I use pens. Regardless, I though it was a risk worth taking and time will ultimately tell.
For now, it works very well and gives a thread-free barrel. This is a bonus as that is precisely where I grip this pen. The three-cam system closes the pen very quick and easy. In my new and limited experience, it is quite securely.
Rating: 4/5 only because of the thermal expansion concerns.

Fit & Finish (5/5)
Attention to detail is one of the first things that comes to mind on the Van Gogh. The cap band is beautifully engraved with the Visconti name, logo, and the model name, Van Gogh. The cap covers the end of the cap, alleviating concerns over chipping or breaking in that area ó a nice touch. The pen has no noticed imperfections on the resin or metal.
The finish on the pen, due to the press mold manufacturing process, if unique to each pen. The musk color scheme contains brown, green, and yellow. In this particular example, the colors are beautifully combined in a manner worthy of the penís namesake.
Rating: 5/5
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Value (5/5)
I got my pen from Susanna at www.pens.it, and it was one of her clearance specials. I got the pen as NOS for 97.50 euros including international shipping! This is a very good price for this pen, and would be better were it not for the weak dollar (mais cíest la vie!). I canít in fairness close this section without mentioning her excellent service. Susanna, if you read this, ďMany thanks again!Ē
Rating: 5/5
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Summary (5/5)
If you canít tell, Iím thrilled with my Van Gogh! This is a fantastic pen and an excellent example of Italian design, quality, and design flair. It is a very enjoyable pen to use, and one that demands to be used.
Mine is already on itís second tank of Noodlerís Red-Black, which is a record for me. Iíve never gone through a tank of ink that quickly in a pen. I attribute it to: 1) the wet nib, 2) opportunities to write quite a bit recently, but mostly 3) wanting to write with it more than anything else since it arrived.
I highly recommend it, and I personally like the now somewhat unusual three-cam closure system, which just adds a rather unusual but nice touch to a great pen.
Rating: 5/5, because thatís as high as the points go!
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Edited by southpaw, 18 September 2005 - 03:19.

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

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#2 Roger

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 00:22

Great review, SP! :D In the style of The Noble Savage and that's a compliment. How are you with the gripping area of the section that appears to be polished metal? I have often found that my grip on such surfaces is a bit slippery. Boy, if they had the barrel resin extended right through the section or even a black plastic section, I'd be all over it.

I will also ask if you are allowing your camera to determine the exposure for your pictures? Your pics are adequately sharp, but uniformly dark to me. You are exposing perfectly the fabric background, but the pen is an f stop or more underexposed. Common fault with close ups when auto exposure is allowed to govern. This has littlle to do with your review, so I'll take it off here and, if you feel so inclined, give me a shout via rbeamon1@cox.net. Photography has been one of my main interests since I was a wee pup.

Bottom line: ya done good! Your layout and wording brings the same sense of excitement to the review as Savage's. The proportion here is, TNS:Pen Reviews = Wim:Ink Reviews. And you sir, are just a small step off Savage's class.

A word of caution, though. Don't get too close to my girl, Susanna. She fancys me, ya know! :lol:
Roger
Southern Arizona, USA

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#3 southpaw

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 00:45

I will also ask if you are allowing your camera to determine the exposure for your pictures? Your pics are adequately sharp, but uniformly dark to me. You are exposing perfectly the fabric background, but the pen is an f stop or more underexposed. Common fault with close ups when auto exposure is allowed to govern. This has littlle to do with your review, so I'll take it off here and, if you feel so inclined, give me a shout via rbeamon1@cox.net. Photography has been one of my main interests since I was a wee pup.

Bottom line: ya done good! Your layout and wording brings the same sense of excitement to the review as Savage's. The proportion here is, TNS:Pen Reviews = Wim:Ink Reviews. And you sir, are just a small step off Savage's class.

A word of caution, though. Don't get too close to my girl, Susanna. She fancys me, ya know! :lol:

Regarding the pics - equip limitation. I'm using a rather inexpensive factory refurb Kodak DX3600 2.2 MP digital and auto focus is the only option. I'd like to have a better one, but it'll have to wait awhile unfortunately.

Regarding TNS' pen reviews, I agree. They are excellent. I'm not sure my name and his belong in the same sentence regarding the quality of pen reviews, but thanks for the compliment. I am honored and humbled :blush: .

Regarding Susanna, not a problem. My wife is THE ONE AND ONLY woman for me. I have to admit, though, I'd love to hear her thoughts on your comment :P ! Susanna????
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#4 Roger

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 03:59

I'm using a rather inexpensive factory refurb Kodak DX3600 2.2 MP digital and auto focus is the only option.

Ok, but your problem is NOT focus. As said, they're acceptably sharp, but the autoexposure is messing you up. I suspect that you can overide the autoexposure and set your own aperture settings, but I don't know that camera.

Lots of other things you can do (lighting schemes etc.), even with an old camera, but exposure is your single most pressing problem.
Roger
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#5 Maja

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 07:18

Great review, southpaw! :)

I love reading the pen reviews of The Noble Savage (and everyone else who posts a review---thanks everyone!) but have y'all forgotten that it was none other than our own KendallJ who first started the 5-star rating system for the "Overall Design", "Size/Weight", "Nib", "Filling Mechanism" and "Fit and Finish" categories here on FPN? :lol:
Yep, check it out here: KendallJ's first FPN review

Kendall, hope I didn't embarass you by linking to your first review, but I enjoyed it a lot and hope you do more reviews in the near future :)
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)

#6 southpaw

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 12:57

Great review, southpaw! :)

I love reading the pen reviews of The Noble Savage (and everyone else who posts a review---thanks everyone!) but have y'all forgotten that it was none other than our own KendallJ who first started the 5-star rating system for the "Overall Design", "Size/Weight", "Nib", "Filling Mechanism" and "Fit and Finish" categories here on FPN? :lol:
Yep, check it out here: KendallJ's first FPN review

Thanks Maja. Forgotten? Of course not! IMHO, KendallJ and TNS are neck and neck. Couldn't pick between them.

It's been quite a while since I did my first review (this is the second), but in the Rotring Initial review I credited KendallJ as the source for the rating system and categories I shamelessly borrowed.

And like you, I too enjoy reading all of the reviews. They are all interesting, informative, and I enjoy the variety of styles. KendallJ and TNS just seem to do a particularly nice job - as mentioned earlier, much like Wim and ink reviews.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#7 Louis R

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 04:01

Great review!

The photos give an impression of great colour variability in that pen. like looking at a different pen depending on the angle. It look great! Is that just a photo effect, or is it reality? :rolleyes:

I hope you will be reporting on the closing mechanism in a year or so. I am very interested in the long term reliability of pen closing mechanisms as well as the solidity of their posting.
Louis

#8 Maja

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 04:10

Great review, southpaw! :)

I love reading the pen reviews of The Noble Savage (and everyone else who posts a review---thanks everyone!) but have y'all forgotten that it was none other than our own KendallJ who first started the 5-star rating system for the "Overall Design", "Size/Weight", "Nib", "Filling Mechanism" and  "Fit and Finish" categories here on FPN? :lol:
Yep, check it out here:  KendallJ's first FPN review

Thanks Maja. Forgotten? Of course not! IMHO, KendallJ and TNS are neck and neck. Couldn't pick between them.

It's been quite a while since I did my first review (this is the second), but in the Rotring Initial review I credited KendallJ as the source for the rating system and categories I shamelessly borrowed.

And like you, I too enjoy reading all of the reviews. They are all interesting, informative, and I enjoy the variety of styles. KendallJ and TNS just seem to do a particularly nice job - as mentioned earlier, much like Wim and ink reviews.

Hi Southpaw,
I loved your first review and you did indeed gave a tip of the hat to Kendall for the elegant formatting of his reviews. Im my post above, I was actually playfully taking the Mickey out of Roger's comment ("In the style of The Noble Savage and that's a compliment.....). Hope I didn't offend anyone!

I truly appreciate the efforts of anyone who takes the time to post and review and/or photos of a pen/ink/accessory...and whatever style anyone chooses to use is OK with me :)
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)

#9 southpaw

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 16:13

Great review!

The photos give an impression of great colour variability in that pen. like looking at a different pen depending on the angle. It look great! Is that just a photo effect, or is it reality? :rolleyes:

I hope you will be reporting on the closing mechanism in a year or so. I am very interested in the long term reliability of pen closing mechanisms as well as the solidity of their posting.

Thanks.

The pen has a great blend of colors, so it is very interesting to look at. Angle does make a bit of a difference, largely in the depth of color / translucency aspects.

It posts wonderfully. The mechanism is great - thus far.

Maja - certainly no offense taken here. I agree - all reviews are fascinating and entertaining reading (so y'all post more! :P ).
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#10 Gerry

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 00:11

I'm using a rather inexpensive factory refurb Kodak DX3600 2.2 MP digital and auto focus is the only option.

Ok, but your problem is NOT focus. As said, they're acceptably sharp, but the autoexposure is messing you up. I suspect that you can overide the autoexposure and set your own aperture settings, but I don't know that camera.

Lots of other things you can do (lighting schemes etc.), even with an old camera, but exposure is your single most pressing problem.

Not to over discuss a particular aspect of the pictures, but I think it would be useful to mention that only two pictures appear to be on the dark side. The first one, and the other one with the 5 or so pens in it. The rest of the pictures have decent exposure. I should add that my experience has also been that pictures that appear to be good on one's camera sometimes appear different when posted. Even different browsers etc. give different results.

One possible solution is to use Photoshop to lighten pictures that appear to have the wrong xposure. Even MS Paint offers brightness correction, as well as contrast.

Just a thought.

Gerry

#11 Celticshaman

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 05:11

I have been slowly picking my way through all of the many sections of this web site!!!Slowly but surely i will get to them all!
This was a great review and one that i wholeheartedly agre with.I have three Van Gogh Visconti's and adore them.Here is a pic of my pens:



The red and green pens write very smooyhly and are a dream to use.The blue came with the 14k gold nib in a fine.It tends to be a wee bit scratchy and harder to write with.But other than that,it is a fine pen.The only other Van Gogh i would like is the tortoise demonstrator.Thats about it.

Thanks for a fine review southpaw!!

JD






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