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  1. This wasn't my first Pilot Falcon. Years ago I had another, one with a metal body and a soft medium nib. It wasn't a success. I couldn't manage the flexibility of the nib and even less the ink flow. In the end, I gave up and passed it on. It wasn't my first or last failure with fountain pens but in this case I was left with the niggling suspicion that the main issue was the rather too generous flow, not the flex. So, when a few weeks ago a Pilot Falcon was advertised for sale at the local digital marketplace, I jumped at the opportunity and bought a nice, practically new Falcon with a soft fine nib from a hobbyist with an impressive collection. The new Falcon was made of resin, so it felt much lighter than the metal one but not uncomfortably so. Being large enough and well balanced, it rested safely and stably in my hand (always unposted), while the rather toothy nib sled effortlessly on paper. Unlike the medium nib of the old pen, the new fine nib remained under control without surprising me with gushes of ink, even with Rohrer and Klingner's Blau Permanent, a wet ink with the tendency to feather on 80 gr copy paper. From the very first day I knew this Falcon was a keeper. I believe that the main reason for that was that in the intervening years between my first and second Falcon I had more exposure to various kinds of flex. With the experience gained, I had become more patient and controlled with semiflex nibs like the one on the new Falcon. Above all, however, my hunch was proved right: even though I preferred broader nibs, the soft medium on the Falcon was too much for my writing habits. The soft fine worked much better, similarly to most of my vintage flexy nibs, which seldom go above medium. Finally, how about comparing the soft fine Falcon nib to modern and vintage flex? Having no modern flexy nib inked at the moment, I compared it to a Nakaya Portable with a non-elastic medium nib. The Falcon was clearly softer and more responsive with a bit more line variation. A vintage semiflex, the Aikin Lambert Mercantile, was not much softer than the Falcon but more responsive. Flexible nibs, such as those on a Waterman's Ripple and a Conway Stewart Duro 2A were much softer and allowed for more line variation. The biggest difference, however, was that the vintage nibs were quit immune to railroading. By contrast, a fast or poorly controlled stroke with the Falcon resulted into railroading, which can be seen in the photograph. The conclusion is a happy one: the soft medium nib made all the difference and the new Falcon became one of the frequently used pens at my desk, especially as it brought out more shading in Blau Permanent than the two Sailors in which the ink has been used previously.
  2. This is less of a review (and much less of a competition), and more of a comparison / demonstration of my two newest pens using two of my newest inks. The paper is Rhodia #16 pad. I've been more interested in line variation lately, as well as broader nibs. I started out my fountain pen journey, quite briefly, with Japanese fine nibs. I soon came to the conclusion there was little reason to use a fountain pen if you're using a nib that fine. Not trying to convince or argue with anyone, but that's what my eyes and hands told me. I quickly moved up to medium, and just recently began exploring some broad nibs, primarily for correspondence. I still use my Pilot 823 medium for work primarily, and my Franklin-Christoph #19 for journaling. Everything else varies, but I've also found I really only love using 3-5 pens of my ~ 3 dozen. (I don't use the word "collection" because I'm not a collector, i.e. if a pen isn't a good writer, it isn't a good pen and I have no use for it.) I researched both these pens before I bought them and had high hopes for both, but also some anxiety as I've read negative comments of both, especially the Ahab. Those high hopes were valid; they are both very good pens. My expectations were well exceeded for one of them, and met by the other. I've always had a strong suspicion I buy Noodler's products from some "other" Noodler's that is quite different from the one some quite vocal critics do. My evidence for this strange conclusion is I cannot for the life of me find a bottle of Bay State Blue that eats my pens or becomes a permanent stain on any object whatsoever it touches, nor Black or Heart of Darkness that smudges after 14 days in the Sahara dry heat, or a Noodler's pen that just won't write out of the box, or even ever, no matter what I do. It could, I suppose, have something to do with not giving one fig about the personal opinions of the owner and sole employee of Noodler's (or Pilot for that matter), but since that would be ridiculous to form a pen or ink opinion or review on, I can only come up with the idea that I'm actually doing business with a different company with the name "Noodler's". But, the pen and documentation say "Noodler's Ahab" so, I'll go with that. The Pilot Falcon was a different story for me. It is only the second pen I've ever gone into a bricks and mortar store and bought, and the very first pen EVER I've tried before I bought it. Probably not so strange in this internet commerce age, but it still sounds weird to say out loud. I visited my friend Alan at Crazy Alan's Emporium nearby in Chapel Hill. Many in the pen world know Alan from pen shows. I know him, and the folks at Franklin-Christoph, because they're my home folks. There's more than one advantage to living in the Triangle of North Carolina. I walked in to Alan's store with the goal of walking out with a few pads of paper for jotting quick notes, and left a little while later with a new Falcon. We've all been there. The Pilot is a smooth writer, as I'd be shocked to find any different performance from a Pilot. My 823 is an absolute phenom and if the skinny thing would put on some weight and especially girth, say grow to the size of a Bexley Prometheus, I'd probably be a one man, one pen guy. It's got everything but that. Pilot doesn't advertise the Falcon as a flex nib / pen, and I always thought that was a cop-out. Now I don't. They're right, it isn't. It's a "standard" pen with a quality nib that isn't a nail. It "flexes" some, vs. none at all, and it will give you some line variation, but not a lot. I noticed the most variation when I did the little squiggly lines many people seem to do to test a pen, much more than when actually writing real stuff with it. It's like the folks at PIlot know how you're going to test it! Or maybe not. I have heard the line variation is more pronounced in the fine or medium nibs from Pilot, so I'm not making a statement about all the nibs available for the Falcon. I've only tried the Soft Broad. (hope my wife doesn't read that sentence out of context). The Ahab is amazing. Maybe I'm amazed easily, but for all the pens I've seen that people claim to be "modern flex" or something equivalent, this one is head and shoulders above the rest. I have never once had problems with the feed keeping up or railroading. I've experienced both, especially railroading, with my Falcon. When I bought the Ahab, I thought it would be a gimmick, use once-in-a-blue-moon kind of thing. I had no expectations of it being a truly very good everyday writer, even when applying no "extra" pressure for flex writing. But it is. This is also the first time I've seen Bay State Grape used in post, to my memory, which I really like. But, this post is about the pens, not the inks. I like both pens and am happy with my purchase. The Ahab far exceeded my expectations, and the Falcon fully met them, though, if I hadn't used the Falcon in the store before I'd bought it, I probably would have expected more line variation from it based on most reviews I've read vs. what it actually does. Enjoy! - MG
  3. Hello all, I'll start this post - or thought excersize - with a question: - Do you feel that current fountain pen industry is slowly moving toward re-introduction of proper flexible nibs? It occurred to me, while watching fp reviews online, reading etc - that in each one of them there is at least one segment dedicated to "line variation" (ex. Stephen Brown, Matt ...etc) or "Flexibility". Also, a lot of excitement is raised around any pen/nib claimed to have "that vintage flex feel". As my comment on one Aurora 88 review by sbrebrown on YouTube states: "Maybe I am an idealist with unrealistically positive (maybe hopeful) expectations of future days, maybe I'm noticing some "shifts" or "ripples" in fountain pen manufacturing trends or maybe I'm just imagining and lying to myself - but... it seems to me that more (and more) flexible nibs are on offer. Whether they are quasi-flexible, sort-of-flexible, vintage-wannabe-flexible, or really flexible with "modern" or "vintage" feel - there's new Wahl Eversharp, Franklin Cristophs, Pilot, Platinum, even this Aurora 88... perhaps I can include Romillo (?) and Visconti... maybe even modern M1000 by Pelikan (?? it is soft, F or EF feel flexy)... in any case, it seems like industry is (very) slowly moving in the right direction. Fountain pen sales are up year-on-year, and with more fp users - demand for semi-flex or flex nibs is growing. Aurora is maybe playing on that card, testing the market - whatever they are trying to do - they are doing us (fountain pen users) a favor. And your (Stephen) reviews, with few others here on YouTube or there on the web - are helping this as well. Having that "what about line variation" question drives some people to think about that, want to have that... One of these days (my dream says) I will click on Pelikan's web page and find Pelikan M805 special edition... flexible or Montblanc... Parker... Lamy )))) " What are you thoughts on this? Are there any insider-information or rumors that more flexible nibs are coming? Or I'm not seeing it right.





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