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Laban Mento


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29 replies to this topic

#1 jandrese

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 23:42

This is a review of the Laban Mento in yellow electric resin with a 14 ct. medium nib. The first thing to notice about the Mento is the wild color scheme; it is like electrified molten fire on amphetamines. The Mento attracts attention and solicits comments more than any other pen in my collection, including pens more than five times its cost. Indeed, within an hour of using the pen for the first time no less than three strangers at a coffee shop expressed interest in the pen. The second thing about the Mento is its enormous size. Fat and long, it is big enough to match its vibrant coloration. Regarding the wild looks, I’ve seen the same Italian resin (plastic) implemented by several manufacturers including Conway Stewart and Taccia. They all carry it off differently though. For example, the Conway Stewart version is glossier, better shaped, and more finely polished. The Taccia is more like the Laban, cruder perhaps and not as shiny. Not that the Mento looks cheap or poorly made, it just costs a lot less than anything Conway Stewart offers; the extra money must go somewhere after all.





The nib is available in steel, 14 ct. or 18 ct. gold and appears to be made by Schmidt. All are nice and the steel nib is a real bargain and does not sacrifice performance. The two-toned nib is attractive but appears a little small. A pen this big should have a massive nib but that would cost much more of course. Although it is not nail hard like a Parker Duofold nib, the Laban nib is not flexible in any sense of the word. Basically smooth and a little wet, the Mento’s medium nib is an easy and reliable writer. Nothing flashy or interesting, it just works. Writing with Private Reserve Tanzanite produced a dark, uniform line that was on the generous side of just right. On some paper, drying times could be a little too long for a lefty like me. Despite the size of the pen the ink capacity is more or less standard fare due to use of a cartridge/converter. Curiously, the converter is a tab bit too long to fit inside the pen body. Screwing on the nib section without the converter in place is smooth, whereas doing so with the converter in place reveals some resistance in the last turn or couple of turns. No big deal, it’s not a Conway Stewart after all.

IMG_0641.jpg

Overall, the Laban Mento is a fantastic bargain. A good writer that is balanced and comfortable to use, the Mento also has shocking good looks. It even feels good posted, which is somewhat unusual for a pen this big. I’d buy another with little thought and I suggest you pick one up too before Laban wises up and doubles the price!


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#2 Doug C

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 00:30

I love this color. I just sold off a Mento, but it was one of the earlier versions. I feel a little pang of regret in doing so, but it would have been much worse had it been in this crazy color.

Very neat.
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#3 bdngrd

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 00:50

Doug C,
I feel the same way, I sold mine off a while ago, but it sure was fun. And that wild color! I also like that the section is now in the same color, not just black.
Jandrese,
Nice photos and a great review. These pens do not get the credit that they deserve at their pricepoint!
Enjoy your pen!
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#4 donwinn

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 02:18

From the photos, it appears that the Meno has a screw-on cap. Is that correct? The pen looks intriguing in the Tiger Tornado pattern. Very tempted to pull the trigger on this one.

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#5 FrankB

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 02:32

I have a lovely Mento FP in tortoise shell and a RB in celebration blue. The pens are both big, comfortable and well balanced. And they are fun to write with. The problem - again - is that the FP's nib dries out in a few minutes and refuses to write. Yes, I know the pen lacks an inner cap and that I must seal the clip area (where it joins the cap) with silicone glue. I just have not gotten to it yet.

#6 Brian

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 22:39

What an interesting pen and review. From your photos the pen looks well shaped and it certainly no shrinking violet. I wonder if they come in black for a more discrete look?

#7 Deirdre

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 22:48

QUOTE(donwinn @ Jun 15 2008, 07:18 PM) View Post
From the photos, it appears that the Meno has a screw-on cap. Is that correct?

It is a screw-on cap. I have a bright pink and yellow one. Great fun, though I still need to fill the cap hole to prevent drying.
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#8 jandrese

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 01:18

I don't think the Mento comes in basic black but it does come in a subdued ivory color.

Unlike some other people I have no trouble with the nib drying while capped.



QUOTE(Brian @ Jun 16 2008, 05:39 PM) View Post
What an interesting pen and review. From your photos the pen looks well shaped and it certainly no shrinking violet. I wonder if they come in black for a more discrete look?



#9 ht1

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 01:49

QUOTE(Brian @ Jun 16 2008, 06:39 PM) View Post
What an interesting pen and review. From your photos the pen looks well shaped and it certainly no shrinking violet. I wonder if they come in black for a more discrete look?



The "Coal Flake" probably comes the closest to black. I have only seen pictures, and it's described as having dark grays. There are several others that I consider to be more discreet. Amazon Forest and Autumn Flake are two that I have.

ht

#10 ht1

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 01:56

I really appreciate this review. I have the Taccia Staccato Jasper Red, and I have been trying to find out for months how similar the yellow electric is. I like the feel of the Laban Mento better than the Taccia Staccato. I have the Amazon Forest, Autumn Flake, Celebration Red, and the Tiger Pearl. All of mine are the steel fine point.

ht

I also don't have problems with the nib drying, but I have widened the gap to increase the flow.

Edited by ht1, 17 June 2008 - 01:58.


#11 Deirdre

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:02

Here's my Mento:

Sorry about the bad lighting, I didn't want to drag the light tent out that day.

Edited by Deirdre, 17 June 2008 - 02:03.

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#12 ht1

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:08

QUOTE(Deirdre @ Jun 16 2008, 10:02 PM) View Post
Here's my Mento:

Sorry about the bad lighting, I didn't want to drag the light tent out that day.



Is your Mento a lighter red, or is it the lighting? The original Celebration Red I received had a flaw, and I returned it. I was disappointed in the color, too, because it was more of a pink. The replacement was definitely Red. Your Mento has a "pink" look to it on my screen. I'm just curious if there are variations in the shade of red on the yellow electric.

ht

#13 Deirdre

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:10

Mine's not red at all, it's pink. It's the "golden lavender electric" color:


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#14 ht1

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:20

QUOTE(Deirdre @ Jun 16 2008, 10:10 PM) View Post
Mine's not red at all, it's pink. It's the "golden lavender electric" color:




Thank you.

ht

#15 MYU

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 15:01

Nice photos and interesting pen. If you can, provide a photo with a comparison to a small common object (like a quarter) so we get a sense of the size.

Btw, they ought to call it "The Fresh Maker!" laugh.gif



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#16 wvbeetlebug

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 16:35

Ha! That's what I think of when I hear Mento. Thanks for the review!

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#17 JayLo

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 16:39

Thanks for the input from everyone.
I have 2 Mentos. One writes and the other is in the shop. The Celebration Blue with a 14k nib is a dry writer. Seems to do OK with Noodlers but hates PR. And the nib does dry quickly.
My Tornado Blue with a 18k nib was just sent back to Laban. Upon first fill, using Noodlers Blue I left it on a writing tablet. I came back to find a puddle of ink had poured from the nib through the cap. Checked the converter and fittings, everything was tight so back to Laban it went. It's been a couple weeks and I haven't heard from Laban.

#18 ht1

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:26

I've passed on buying the Laban Mento Yellow Electric because the pictures I've seen just haven't shown the colors well. I decided to take a chance after reading this thread and seeing these pictures. I wanted the red to be darker than the red in the Taccia Staccato Red Jasper that I have, but I decided I could live with it being the same shade. It arrived tonight, and I'm very pleased. It is a darker red than the Taccia, and it is the shade of red that I was hoping it would be. There are similarities in the Laban Yellow Electric and the Taccia Jasper Red, but they are distinctively different.

ht

#19 ArPharazon

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 04:11

Not to highjack, but . . .

HT1 . . . can you possibly post a pic or give description of the Amazon Forest color? I'm thinking of getting a Mento, and it's one of my top choices (along with Coal Flake and Terrazzo Marble).

Dierdre . . . is that a Laban large abalone pen? Or perhaps a Taccia abalone? Nice . . .


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#20 ht1

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 12:07

QUOTE(ArPharazon @ Jul 2 2008, 12:11 AM) View Post
Not to highjack, but . . .

HT1 . . . can you possibly post a pic or give description of the Amazon Forest color? I'm thinking of getting a Mento, and it's one of my top choices (along with Coal Flake and Terrazzo Marble).



The picture of the Amazon Forest on isellpens is pretty accurate on the patern, but on my monitor it looks like it has blue in the pen. My Amazon Forest has no blues or teal. It's strictly greens, browns, and either dark green or black lines. Leaf green and pecan brown would be my description of the greens and browns, but it ranges from light leaf green/pecan brown to dark leaf green/pecan brown. The overall look of my pen is medium to dark in color. My wife doesn't give me a hard time about my pens, but usually she doesn't care anything about them. She says a pen is a pen, and never uses the pens that I have given her. When she saw this pen she told me it was her pen to use whenever she wants to use it, and it's not because green is her favorite color. Red is her favorite color. My friends who pay attention to my pens think this is one of my best looking pens.

If green were my favorite color, I would use the Amazon Forest almost exclusively. Red is my favorite color, and I tend to use the Celebration Red most of the time. That may change now that I have the Yellow Electric. Hope this helps.

ht






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