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  1. My first attempt at a pen review. Comments and suggestions for improvement gratefully received. ----- Noodler’s 'Charlie' is a free eyedropper pen that comes with the 4.5 oz size of Noodler’s Heart of Darkness - and now also with FPN Voltaire Candide Vermilion. These are my impressions after using them together for about a month. BACKGROUND The free pen with Heart of Darkness used to be an eyedropper-converted Platinum Preppy. As Nathan Tardif of Noodler’s Ink explains, the Charlie pen is a response to the events in Paris in January 2015 - his way of saying ‘Je suis Charlie’, or at least ‘Ce stylo est Charlie’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-FpVSf8udI I missed out on the first batch of 140 Charlies, which sold out quickly. In some ways, being neither a satirical writer nor a cartoonist, I felt unqualified to take up that torch. But as soon as Goulet Pens (no affiliation, happy customer) got a second batch in stock around mid-May, I put in an order. FIRST IMPRESSIONS Charlie is a light, slim pen, similar in size, shape and materials to a Noodler’s Creaper. It feels comfortable and solid. The screw cap (mine is black with muted red-brown streaks that are hard to photograph) is interchangeable with a Creaper cap. Creaper above, Charlie below. The clear barrel, which is perhaps a touch softer than a Creaper’s, has NOODLERS INK CO stamped into one side and CHARLIE on the other. I think the absence of the ‘CHARLIE’ imprint on the barrel identifies a pen from the first production run. Uncapping the pen reveals a black section and a friction-fit steel nib with an ebonite feed and a classic profile. It looks like it might be possible to swap a Creaper nib and feed into the Charlie. Nib and section: Creaper above, Charlie below. Approximate dimensions (ruler and kitchen scale) Length: capped 132 mm, uncapped 118 mm, posted 138 mm Section diameter: 9 mm Inked weight: capped 12 g, uncapped 9 g Size comparison: (top to bottom) Ahab, Creaper, Charlie WRITING EXPERIENCE Before filling I pulled and cleaned the nib and feed to remove any manufacturing residues, as recommended for Noodler’s pens. The internal threads of the barrel are pre-greased. When filled to just below the threads, the barrel holds about 2.5 ml of ink. After filling, the pen wrote on the first touch - no hesitation or skipping. Inked with Heart of Darkness, the smooth non-flex nib produces a fine, wettish, and very black line. Reverse writing yields a finer, drier, but no less black line. It was briefly a hard starter after a couple of days nib-up in a pen cup. Loosening the section a half turn and then tightening it again primed the feed and restored normal flow. Writing sample on Nock index card. CLOSING OBSERVATIONS After a month using Charlie, I have only a few minor issues: - The ink reservoir seems to run down faster than I use it. The same is true of all my Noodler’s pens. Something about the permeability to air of vegetal resin compared to other plastics? - Because the cap posts deeply, any ink in the cap gets on the barrel and then on my hands. (I don't usually post but discovered this when measuring the posted length.) - The cap threads bind slightly, as on other Noodler’s pens. Quibbles aside, I like Charlie very much. I like its looks, the way it writes, and what it stands for. There is something attractive about a straightforward pen with a huge supply of indelible ink. Only the thought of all that ink getting loose in a bag or pocket stops me using it, or any eyedropper, as a carry pen. But that could change. As for Heart of Darkness, I don’t yet know if it will become my standard black. I like it well enough that I shall be using it a lot in Charlie (and other pens) - and not just because I have a lot of it. With many pens, aesthetics, fine materials, heritage - even price - inform the writing experience. Because it is functional, unadorned and free, Noodler’s Charlie removes these from consideration. There is almost nothing to distract from the essential function of putting ink on paper to fix your thoughts for posterity, or until you get to the supermarket. (I say ‘almost nothing’ because any transparent container of ink is quite distracting to me.) Whether you write and draw to advance free speech and great ideas, or for less exalted reasons, Charlie is an enjoyable little pen. Noodler’s Charlie Design: classic, open nib Options: random cap swirls, otherwise none Filling system: eyedropper only Nib: steel Feed: ebonite Body material: vegetal resin Pros free (with 4.5 oz bottle of Heart of Darkness or FPN Voltaire Candide Vermilion) smooth writer large capacity small and light posts securely feels sturdy Cons smells a bit (doesn’t bother me) too small and light for some Hommage à Tardif.
  2. Nathan Tardif recently released a Youtube video where he described a new fountain pen, the Noodler's Charlie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-FpVSf8udI He gives a great explanation about the importance of free speech and how the pen is meant to be in homage to Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine that was recently attacked by terrorists in Paris. He doesn't want to charge for this pen, so he decided to replace the Platinum Preppy fountain pen that used to come with Heart of Darkness with this pen. Here are some images of the pen in the box (it comes wrapped in a plastic sleeve). This is a limited release of Heart of Darkness, so you will have to specifically ask for this set: On removing the pen and ink from the bottle, you can see its a very skinny pen. It's my thinnest pen by measuring barrel width, just below the Waterman Hemisphere: Its a simple design, but I find it elegant. It's definitely a step up from the Preppy. The pen feels much better in my hands than the platinum preppy, and I think it also looks nicer. CLIP: The Charlie's metal clip is springy and allows me to easily slide the pen in my jeans pocket without the fear that it might slide out. CAP: The cap is screwed on to the barrel, and with tightening feels like there's no chance the cap will accidentally disengage from the section while I'm on the move. The cap posts to the pen securely, and adds very little weight to the pen. I feel comfortable writing with this pen posted and unposted. The cap is made of a multi-color resin that is supposed to be unique for each pen. I don't think it's particularly beautiful looking, but the mix of colors does look interesting. FILLING: The pen is a simple eyedropper fountain pen. It comes pre-lubed with silicon grease. After filling the pen with ink, I recommend using a paper towel to remove any ink drops from the threads covered in silicon grease before screwing the barrel onto the section. BARREL: The barrel is made of the same biodegradable material the Ahab is made of. Yes, that means it also smells the same (for those that think its weird to sniff fountain pens... you don't own a noodle's pen yet ) The smell doesn't bother me, and I've gotten used to it. The barrel is also completely translucent; I like this because I like to watch the ink slosh around in my pen. The only marking on the barrel is a small imprint that says "NOODLERS INK CO". NIB: The nib of the fountain pen is much smaller than the Ahab's. This is made clear by comparing the pen to several other pens with relatively small nibs. From left to right are laid out: Kaweco Al-Star (stone washed) with broad nib, Noodler's Charlie, Lamy Vista, Noodler's Ahab. WRITING SAMPLE: Finally, after filling the pen with a few eyedroppers of Heart of Darkness, I took her out for a spin. She's a pretty smooth writer. The nib is as hard as a nail, but I wouldn't really take points off for that. I attempted to apply pressure to the nib, but there was no flex to be had. The nib is smooth and writes well. Comparing it to several other pens, I've concluded that its approximately the same size as a Faber Castell Medium. CONCLUSION: The Noodler's Charlie is a good writer. It's a simple eye dropper filling fountain pen with a pleasing design, and it writes well out of the box. If you're looking for a flex pen, head over to the Ahab, Konrad, Nibcreeper, etc. If you're looking for a solid no-frills writer, the Charlie may fit your bill. I haven't had much experience with Heart of Darkness yet, but based on my initial testing its a saturated black with no smearing on Rhodia paper. It's also waterproof and inexpensive. I like the pen, I like the ink. I think its a good deal.
  3. I recently purchased my first black ink, Noodler's Black, and while I love the colour saturation and permanence of the ink, the long dry time and smearing are inconvenient. I am a left handed side writer so fast dry time and smear resistance is a key aspect when it comes to inks. I've read a few reviews about HoD (Heart of Darkness), and my question is: how fast does this dry on cheaper loose leaf paper (I'm a student) and does it feather/spread significantly? Thanks!
  4. rhymingisfun

    Are Gray Inks Worth Buying?

    I recently used a sample of Iroshizuku kiri same and I loved it, but I have to wonder, before I buy a bottle, if gray ink is worth it. Isn't it just watered down black ink? I put two drops of Noodler's Heart of Darkness and mixed it with almost 1ml of water and I got something quite similar in color, although it is missing the warmth of kiri same. Just looking for any other thoughts on this, if anyone is able to justify gray inks. Kiri same is a really nice ink, so I may buy it anyway, but I can't get that nagging feeling out of the back of my mind that I could be much more frugal and just water down my black inks. Has anyone tried watering down take sumi?
  5. Here is my comparison of 4 Noodler's Inks: Bulletproof Black, Heart of Darkness, Borealis Black, and X-Feather. I used 2 pens, a Parker 21 and a Pilot Metropolitan. The comparison was done on 3 different papers. Enjoy and let me know what you think! Album in link below. http://imgur.com/a/jcnWa
  6. As Noodlers just announced on Facebook, they hope to send out the new H.O.D bottles with Charlie pens by the end of May to the dealers. I am signed up on Gouletpens.com to receive notification when it comes in, just wondering who else is reallllly excited to try out this limited number pens (140 were made).
  7. PrestoTenebroso

    Soviet Perseverance

    This homemade ink is the result of me wanting a darker red than Noodler's Nikita could provide and me having too much time on my hands. I looked up recipes on FPN that included inks I had on hand, and I came across Black Swan in North African Violets. I thought it was a great ink so I experimented with adding Heart of Darkness to it until I could get a shading, dark, dark red. After great toil, this was the best I could come up with. It works nicely in a flex pen, but it also looks pretty good in the F Noodler's pen the Nikita came with.
  8. This evening I was mixing up the faux-waterproof Noodler's Turquoise recipe I found in the ink mixing forum and I decided to do a second mix while I was at it. Taking 2 ml of Turquoise I slowly started adding Noodler's Heart of Darkness to it, testing it with a dipped pen as I went. When I got to a half-ml of HoD added, I got a lovely dark green-black color that looked a lot like Noodler's Aircorp Blue-Black after I had diluted it lots. I had to stop experimenting then due to time, but I intend to add a bit more HoD and see if it keeps getting closer to undiluted ABB in color. I'm hoping it does, because I liked that ink and if I can mix something similar to it from two inks I already have I won't have have another bottle starting at me reproachfully. ("Why aren't you using me? WRITE MORE!")
  9. PrestoTenebroso

    Words For **my Girlfriend** To Live By

    This is a poem I wrote for my girlfriend who was having trouble with an unpleasant work colleague. Inks are all Noodler's: Black Swan in Australian Roses, Lexington Gray, and a diluted combination of Nikita and Heart of Darkness I call "Soviet Perseverance".





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