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Namiki Raden Vanishing Point


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32 replies to this topic

#1 French

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 02:09

First Impressions (5/5)
The first time I saw the Raden VP was in the Mont Blanc store at the Pittsburgh International Airport. I had some time before a flight and went into the shop. There was a “glittery” VP, and I was hooked. The clerk asked if I wanted to test a VP and I said ‘yes’. The clip worked for me and I asked the price. The clerk gave an answer and I told her I would take the one with the sparkles. She informed me it actually cost 3x as much as the others because it was raden. I thanked her for her time and went on my way, unsure if she was honest or thought she had a live one on the line. Well, she was honest, but I still couldn’t bring myself to pay full retail for this pen. Time passed, I bought and sold pens, and kept coming back to wanting a Raden VP. Enter Pam Braun. I emailed Pam and asked about cost. She quoted me the best price I had seen, so I sold a bunch to finance it and placed my order.

Appearance (5/5)
The Raden is amazing. There is such depth to the abalone shell, and the lacquer is flawless. I often find myself pausing while journaling just to watch the different layers of abalone shell catch the light. While I think the finish is amazing, it doesn’t scream “look at me, I’m expensive” to a non pen person. I have gotten more comments about the “fancy” Wing Sung 237 in brown celluloid than about the raden VP. All the better, it would be much easier to replace a $15 Wing Sung, than the Raden VP.

whole pen, camera flash used


center band showing the abalone shells


Design/Size/Weight (5/5)
The Vanishing Point pens are a bit hefty, and this is no exception. In my hand this is not a big issue, but I can imagine it not being comfortable for extended sessions for someone with small hands or for someone who prefers a lighter pen. Before I held my first VP, I had the mental image of a small pen (probably to go along with the small nib); I could not have been more wrong. Closed the pen is about 142mm, and open it is about 140mm. (for those who dislike the metric system, or just think better in inches that is about 5.6 inches), which is good sized.

Nib (5/5)
The nib is the soul of a fountain pen. So many people have written it, but it is so true. My pen has both a fine nib. The fine nib really has reset my standard for how smooth a fine nib can feel, not to mention this actually lays down more of an extra fine line. Namiki really seems to have rock solid quality control on their nibs.
I also enjoy the nib set up because for $20-$55 you can have one pen that writes in different ways. Swapping the nibs is simple, open the pen, take out the assembly and replace it with something else. When you factor in the nibs are 14k Gold, it is almost as if Namiki is giving them away.

writing sample on Rhodia 5x5 pad


Filling System (4/5)
Cartridge or Converter, nothing exciting, both work, the cartridge seems to hold more ink than the converter, but neither have what I would consider a large ink capacity. I’ve only used the cartridges so far (the Namiki Blue that came with the pen). I’ve ordered a box of blue-black and am looking forward to trying this color. I’ve noticed the Namiki ink has no nib creep, so I’ve decided to stay with the colors that have shown some water resistance.

Cost and Value (5/5)
Purchased from Pam at Oscar Braun Pens. Pam has a great price, and great selection. I would have to say at MSRP, the pen is probably a fair value, maybe a good value. However, at below MSRP, the pen is, in my opinion, a great value. Incredible workmanship and engineering, as well as artistic skill go into these pens.

Conclusion (29 .5/30)
Even at reduced price this is, by far, my most expensive pen. I believe it scores well, and writes like I would expect an expensive pen to write. When you factor in the ability to change nib size, this really is an excellent pen. Sure the pen has issues, the ink capacity is small, the clip is in a funky place (apparently it either works for you or it doesn’t), but this is a pen I enjoy taking from the pen case and using.

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#2 Shelley

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 02:45

Pam does wonders to the price and the VP is a great pen to use, but the Raden just does not do it for me, maybe I am a bit boring or conservative but I like my kasuri!
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#3 Taki

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:10

Ooooo! What a beauty! Thanks for the review and congratulations.

#4 Hennypenny

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 10:23

Excellent choice, French!! And from a great seller!

I have pens that I buy,sell & trade, and others that I will own forever -- the Raden is one I will own forever! It's just the most BEAUTIFUL pen in the world! I've put a Deb Kinney 1.0 cursive italic nib in it and, when loaded with PR Tanzanite, it's the perfect writing experience. I got mine from Pam Braun as well.

Thanks for a good review of a wonderful pen! HP
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#5 Deirdre

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 10:33

QUOTE(Shelley @ Jan 29 2008, 06:45 PM) View Post
Pam does wonders to the price and the VP is a great pen to use, but the Raden just does not do it for me, maybe I am a bit boring or conservative but I like my kasuri!

Funny, that's how I feel too. The raden is sparkly, but it's still surrounded by a black pen. rolleyes.gif
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#6 greencobra

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 14:18

The Raden VP is pretty and the VP, it goes without saying, is a super pen. But...although I own 4 VPs, I can't pull the trigger on this one. I'm glad you're enjoying it. And you're right, the VP does make a complete writing system for short money by changing nib units. I've often wondered why a kit was never offered with maybe 3 different units included.
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#7 French

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 02:19

QUOTE(Deirdre @ Jan 31 2008, 05:33 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Shelley @ Jan 29 2008, 06:45 PM) View Post
Pam does wonders to the price and the VP is a great pen to use, but the Raden just does not do it for me, maybe I am a bit boring or conservative but I like my kasuri!

Funny, that's how I feel too. The raden is sparkly, but it's still surrounded by a black pen. rolleyes.gif


Those are both great points, and I completely understand them, however, I happen to like black pens rolleyes.gif

Now, when I have a black pen with some sparkly bits... cloud9.gif



#8 French

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 02:23

QUOTE(greencobra @ Jan 31 2008, 09:18 AM) View Post
The Raden VP is pretty and the VP, it goes without saying, is a super pen. But...although I own 4 VPs, I can't pull the trigger on this one. I'm glad you're enjoying it. And you're right, the VP does make a complete writing system for short money by changing nib units. I've often wondered why a kit was never offered with maybe 3 different units included.



I think the reason I only have one VP is because I bought the Raden version. Originally I purchased a black carbonesque (to check if the nib placement worked for me, before shelling out the money for the Raden), and realized I could easily make an entire collection of VPs. In order to save space in my pen case, I decided to sell the carbonesque and buy the model I really wanted. That being said, if the appearance doesn't do it for you, the pen is in no way worth the cost. I like it, but then again, I also used to like the Windows 3.1 starfield screen saver roflmho.gif

french

#9 southpaw

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 03:27

Hi French,

Great review of a beautiful pen! The inexpensive availability of nib units is a huge plus, I'm sure!

Good to see you around again, my friend.

Take care,
Michael
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#10 Hennypenny

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 11:11

It's a bee-uuu-tiii, and that's that! No more raining on our pa-RADEN !!! HP
The sky IS falling. C. Little

#11 French

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 17:03

QUOTE(Hennypenny @ Feb 1 2008, 06:11 AM) View Post
It's a bee-uuu-tiii, and that's that! No more raining on our pa-RADEN !!! HP


that was clever. Thank you HP.

french

ps. I appreciate all the divergent opinions, as long as we don't start debating what a currently controversial ink may or may not do to the urushi lacquer lticaptd.gif

#12 jkerouac59

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 21:56

Nice review. I have this pen, love it and could not agree more! thumbup.gif

#13 chibimie

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 22:11

Add one more to the salivating with longing column. I've always looked at the raden admiringly, and one rainy day when my spirits need lifting, I am going get one. And thanks for the nice review.

#14 Hennypenny

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 02:04

Here's a nice picture -- don't tell me this isn't good-looking!


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#15 Atlas

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:51

QUOTE(Deirdre @ Jan 31 2008, 03:33 AM) View Post
Funny, that's how I feel too. The raden is sparkly, but it's still surrounded by a black pen. rolleyes.gif


I think that's the point. There is little value in arguing over a matter of taste, but the reason why it is so attractive to many people is because the bits of shell, which are dense and bright in the center, disappear into the blackness as one moves toward the edges. It is reminiscent of looking at a star cluster through a telescope. The effect would be lost entirely if it had a bright background color. I don't have any particular interest in black pens in general, but to say that "it's still surrounded by a black pen" is to miss the point entirely.

#16 Deirdre

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:58

QUOTE(Atlas @ Jun 19 2008, 09:51 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Deirdre @ Jan 31 2008, 03:33 AM) View Post
Funny, that's how I feel too. The raden is sparkly, but it's still surrounded by a black pen. rolleyes.gif


I think that's the point. There is little value in arguing over a matter of taste, but the reason why it is so attractive to many people is because the bits of shell, which are dense and bright in the center, disappear into the blackness as one moves toward the edges. It is reminiscent of looking at a star cluster through a telescope. The effect would be lost entirely if it had a bright background color.

See, if it had a dark blue background, I'd buy it. But black? No.
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#17 MYU

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 14:09

QUOTE(Deirdre @ Jun 20 2008, 12:58 AM) View Post
See, if it had a dark blue background, I'd buy it. But black? No.
Really? The black turns you off that much? Have you seen it first hand yet, Deirdre?



I find the black to be a nice choice, because it doesn't compete with any of the abalone shell fragment colors. Also, to me it gives the illusion of a cosmic scene, star fragments spread across the dark cosmos.

One key benefit is that Namiki is providing an urushi pen with raden treatment in a more affordable price range--to get an urushi pen with raden treatment elsewhere, you'd be faced with a fully hand made urushi pen for a much higher cost (you have to head towards $300-$500 territory at least).

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#18 Breck

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 16:27

Those are some beautiful photos, that's for sure. Is the raden-barrel version otherwise identical to other Namiki VPs? Same mechanics, materials, etc.?

#19 MYU

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 16:55

QUOTE(Murderface @ Jun 20 2008, 12:27 PM) View Post
Those are some beautiful photos, that's for sure. Is the raden-barrel version otherwise identical to other Namiki VPs? Same mechanics, materials, etc.?

It's branded Namiki, but it is the same as the Pilot Vanishing Point model that started in 1999. The only difference is the raden treatment--everything else is the same. See Carmen Rivera's VP pen history.

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#20 Deirdre

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 19:04

QUOTE(MYU @ Jun 20 2008, 07:09 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Deirdre @ Jun 20 2008, 12:58 AM) View Post
See, if it had a dark blue background, I'd buy it. But black? No.
Really? The black turns you off that much? Have you seen it first hand yet, Deirdre?

Yes and yes. Despite my collecting marine-themed pens, and this being one, it's not one I would buy.
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