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  1. kitojmanny

    Gama Forever Reviewed

    The Gama Forever is an ebonite, eye-dropper filled, Indian fountain pen. It features a flat ended shape, a girthy profile, a ball-pointed clip, and twin rings around the bottom of the cap: design cues that overtly gesture to the Parker Duofold and Sheaffer Flat Top and to their aesthetic offspring from the Pilot Lucina to the Newton Orville. This one came to me from Asa Pens and cost about $25. I should mention I found Asa’s service and delivery time quite reasonable. Included at no extra cost was a small red gift bag for the pen and an eye-dropper. The styling of the pen is simple all around, not elevating over its basic design language in materials or ornamentation. The ebonite is plain black (though ripple patterns are available), the cap and body are devoid of any text or logos, and the metal furniture (while gold in tone) lack luster. The nib is large and writes with a line I’d call Western medium-fine — mileage varying by ink, paper, and nib/feed fit. On my pen, I’ve brought the nib and feed further out of the section by about 4mm to better match (to my eye) the proportions of the pen. The engraving on the nib is fairly shallow and sparse. It features two diagonal layers of light scrawling, arching over a circle and the inscription “iridium point.” The nib won’t win any beauty contests, but the whole pen was pretty inexpensive. The clip is a bit disproportionate to the pen, I feel. I’d prefer it to be 3-4mm longer, but that only ever occurs to me when I’ve been looking at it for a long time with a critical attitude. In day to day life it never crosses my mind. Despite all the luke-warm things I’ve said here, I’m happy with the styling of the pen, largely on account of its throwback design and its minimal decoration (which feels right for the pen). Fit is commendable, and finish acceptable. The pen feels quite solid and all its functional bits are fitted with great precision. The cap unscrews smoothly with several turns (4.5, by my count). The section unscrews rather stiffly (I’d say, securely) from the body with many turns (the pen is very full right now and I’m not risking the count) and came pre-greased from Asa. I’ve had no burping or leaks since I received the pen about two weeks ago. The nib and feed need to be knocked out to be removed, as they are quite firmly set within the section. Two quibbles with the finish deserve mention. First, the metal furniture on the cap is off center — very slightly in the case of the double rings, and a bit more noticeably in the case of the setting for the clip. Second, the small space beneath the final threat on the pen body doesn’t appear to have been polished, so it’s grayish and rough compared to the rest of the pen. The pen works perfectly, and most of the time, as I noted about the clip length, these things never cross my mind. While Asa lists this pen as regular sized, I don’t believe that’s the case outside of the Indian fountain pen world. This pen is Safari-like in length and thick enough that the section diameter comes in around 14mm. Let’s call it oversized. That’s what I wanted when I bought the pen, and I’m happy with it. Having finally used a pen this size I’ve found my preference to be south of the 14mm (more likely about 11mm). When I write with the pen for extended periods it begins to feel cumbersome, but for short letters or notes it’s great. Others have found the pen to be their perfect size, and I don’t doubt that I’ll better adapt to it myself over time. The nib is listed on Asa as a number 10. At times the nib feels a bit toothy, though through a 10x loop I can’t clearly see the reason for that. I plan on trying to smooth it a bit soon, but I believe that a good amount of the feedback is a result of the nib’s design and materials. Two western fines, Nemosine and Goulet (JoWo), from my collection, smoothed in the same manner with the same materials, have never produced even approximately the same feel. While they are both smooth, the Nemosine has always transmitted more of the texture of the paper. The Gama seems further along that continuum. The nib provides no notable line variation. It lays down a nice wet line of ink that’s beautiful to watch settle onto the paper. In my overarching opinion the Gama Forever is a decent fountain pen, but not a daily driver, nothing to lust after, but something worth owning if you’re curious about oversized pens or enjoy the aesthetic. When I pick up this pen, I do so because I want to pay a special kind of attention to what I’m doing. I want to feel the paper and watch the ink pool. It’s the kind of pen I plan on leaving on the desk to sign cards and address letters and hardly ever need a refill. I’ll grab it for the fun of using the big pen. It's a novelty: fun, palate cleansing and, because it’s relatively cheap, guilt free.

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