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  1. I love the Pentel EnerGel rollerballs. But is there a fine pen that takes this refill without having to adapt it? Needs to be a pen that has weight and elegance. I would prefer a twist or push button pen (capless) but would also consider a capped rollerball. Thanks!
  2. Hi FPN'ers, I wondered if any of you may know if a converter exists that will work with a Burberrys fountain pen? The pen is approximately 20 years old and came with 2 Pentel FK15N ink cartridges but no converter. I know I can refill the cartridges with a needle but was hoping for a converter that works. Any help from someone that has already gone through this would be appreciated. Thank you, -Rob
  3. It just occurred to me that Pentel counts 70 years in business this year. Is anyone aware of any plans for any special edition anniversary products, reintroduction of older models or anything like that? I did a quick web search and wasn´t able to find any relevant information, so I thought I should ask FPN fellows for some help, especially those who are not restricted by the language barrier. Thanks in advance!
  4. Geordielass

    Pentel Tradio (Metal Nib)

    This is my first review, so I'd appreciate any constructive criticism, please. Sorry it's so long, but I thought that since no-one else has reviewed this pen, I'd try to be comprehensive. Bought: September 2013, amazon.co.uk (marketplace) for £4.99 inc. p&p (I'm not plugging amazon, it's just for reference) – that's about $8, at time of writing. If you have an amazon account, you'll probably know that, when you log in, it gives you recommendations. That's how I found this pen – usually I just ignore them, but this came up and it seemed like a smart-looking pen for £4.99, so I thought I'd just have a look, not to buy it, of course, just have a quick look... honest... Anyway, one of my “every day” pens is on it's last legs, so I thought this might be an interesting cheap one to try. (Funny, I went on to see if they did a specific book for kindle and came away with a pen – bad habit that). In the picture, it looked like metal, but the site was clear that it was only plastic, so I wasn't too disappointed when it arrived and discovered it was very plasticky indeed. OK, I was, because you can get decent quality plastics fairly cheaply, and this isn't made of those, but I consoled myself that when you pay about the same for a pen as you would for a McDonald's meal (personally, I'd rather eat the pen, but that's beside the point) you shouldn't get sniffy about the looks, as long as it does the job. Which it does, it definitely does. I was very pleasantly surprised by the nib once I started writing with it. Anyway, I'll move onto a “proper” structured review format to give more details. Appearance/Design: First off here's a link which shows all the colours you can get it in – http://www.cultpens.com/acatalog/Pentel-Tradio-Fountain-Pen.html#a17758. As you can see, it isn't £4.99 everywhere! Here's some pictures of mine: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3672/9896858264_a374e7c22d_b.jpg Tradio by Geordielass78, on Flickr It has a “cigar” shape, with a “step” towards the end of the barrel. I assumed the step must be to do with posting the cap securely and but I've given it a damned good push to try to get it to click on and it definitely doesn't. The clip is just moulded as part of the top, so it really doesn't have a lot of give – you should be able to clip it onto a shirt pocket, but I haven't tried anything much thicker as I doubt it could cope. The “hole” in the cap is a window made of clear plastic, through which you can see the nib, that's no problem, but it looks slightly dusty (it's actually a touch of condensation, I think). The nib itself is two-tone – it wouldn't even occur to me to question this if I hadn't seen the picture of the other pens which don't have two-tone nibs. Since everything else on the pen is silver-coloured, why stick some gold paint on the nib? Very minor gripe, that one, though. OK, the plastic... It's not the nicest looking stuff. The inside of the barrel is plain white plastic, so the outside is some sort of coating/paint and is supposed to look like chrome I guess... and if were looking at it from right at the other end of the room, I suppose it would. Basically it looks like what it is, a cheap pen. The section again looks fine at first glance, but again is a bit too shiny and, for want of a better word, too plasticky as well. The problem with all this shininess is, of course that unless you polish it (I gave it a quick rub with a cloth before I took the photos) it tends to look all smeared with finger prints. It can't be helped, but it's why I always prefer metal (or, in this case, faux-metal) pens with a matt finish. I also worry that in a year or so, unless I'm very very careful, that coating will be all chipped (and the whole point of an “every day” pen, for me, is to have one that I can just push it into the pocket of my handbag, right next to my keys, and not be bothered about it). I've only had it for three weeks and so far so good, but I've mostly had it in a pencil case. I suspect part of the problem is the finish on this. I'm only going by that Cult Pens picture, but I think I'd like it better without the shiny coating, in a different finish, this section of the review might well have had a lot less complaining and more about the cheerful, fun colourfulness, great for kids, that sort of thing. (Actually, the only other colour on amazon is green, and it is a couple of quid more, so I doubt I would have bought it, it was that attractive “under a fiver” that spurred me to impulse buy). How would I score it? If I'd payed full RRP (£16.50 or £18.84, depending on where you look), I'd be giving this about 3/10, it looks cheap, but for £4.99, I'll add a point – you can't get too upset when something that was very cheap looks it. Also, I like the design, I just think the materials don't do it justice, so perhaps another point is in order. So 5/10. Construction/Quality: As cheap as it looks, once you get past that, it seems far from badly-made for the money. Again, whether the outer coating chips away in the next few months may mean a score that gets revised downwards in the quality stakes, but aside from that it is made of smooth plastic, with no rough edges, and while you can see a fine seam running up the cap it is very fine and doesn't really bother me. There aren't any seams on other parts, by the way. The two rings at the “join” between the barrel and section are the only metal on the pen (apart from the nib). They are very smooth and are polished to try to look like the outer coating (they are a shade or two greyer, so on close inspection they don't, but they aren't a bad try. The barrel's all plastic which would make it a great eyedropper candidate, except that it has tiny breather holes in the bottom, so maybe not. Then again, the holes are inside a small “indent” so that should allow you to plug the holes from the outside as well as the inside for extra security, so perhaps you could still use it that way. The section is very smooth, and if I'd got the pen a couple of weeks earlier I'd have been able to tell you if it was too smooth for sweaty hands in hot weather (we've had an unusually hot and humid summer in the UK, but it's cooler now). I'd rather have something slightly less smooth, but it's no worse than many inexpensive pens and once I'm writing I tend to forget that because of the nib. Ah the nib – this is the saving grace of this pen. I have to admit I wasn't expecting too much but, boy, was I surprised! I'll save the details for the “Nib Performance” section but even if this is a cheap and cheerful nib, it's very cheerful, and writes like a high quality one. I'll make this a 6/10, since the nib is really scored elsewhere. Size and Weight: It's a light pen and what I would call “average” sized. I'll put a couple of pictures here that show it with a Platinum Preppy and my Parker Vector, (I think most people will have some idea of the size of at least one of those pens), for comparison: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5333/9896817425_ae047a71c3_b.jpg Tradio Comparison by Geordielass78, on Flickr It isn't heavy, though a little heavier than the Preppy, it's roughly the same weight as the Vector (and my Parker Reflex, for that matter), if that's any help. The section is broad enough to make it a comfortable pen to hold, so I could imagine someone taking notes in an hour-long lecture without much cramping, for instance. It's light enough to write either posted or unposted without feeling much difference, but it is more than long enough to hold comfortably without posting (bear in mind that I have very big hands for a woman, larger than some men I know). It's a great size, not too big to be cumbersome and not too slim to be difficult to hold for prolonged periods. It's also a light pen, which is much easier in many circumstances (I quite like a heavy pen, but even so, this weight is great for longer writing sessions). No pen can please everyone, so I can only give a subjective 9/10 from me. Nib Performance: Very very good for the money. It's a medium – well it actually doesn't say, which sent me to pentel.co.uk to try to check it, they don't list the pen, so I went back to amazon, and they say that it's a medium, then two bullet points later they say it's medium-fine. Pentel are Japanese, so that probably means that it's a Japanese medium, which seems about right - definitely a lot closer to fine than broad. I feel I need to make that clear, because I always assume that a finer nib means a higher chance of scratchiness (maybe I'm wrong, but that has been my experience) and this isn't scratchy at all! This isn't like my Faber-Castell, which is unbelievably smooth for a steel nib, but it come closer than I could have expected. The Vector in the pictures is 12 or 14 years old - lots of time to work out the kinks and adapt to my idiosyncrasies – and it's smooth with good flow, but the Tradio is just as good, straight out of the box. It isn't a wet nib, but it certainly isn't too dry either, basically just has good, unremarkable ink-flow, without ever skipping etc. Definitely 10/10 for this money! Filling System/Maintenance: It came with a long international standard cartridge of blue ink, which I decided to use to see what the Pentel ink was like (or whatever it is they use) – it's a nice bright cheerful blue. Since it can take a long cartridge, it can, then, also take a converter (though I'm still on the cartridge, I'd forgotten how much a long one holds!). I've only had it three weeks and I've had no reason to take it apart so I can't comment on how easy it is to disassemble the feed/nib etc. I'll try to add that later as/when it becomes necessary. It's only 8/10, as I can't comment on all the basic maintenance aspects, but it does have the advantage of the easiest to find/cheapest cartridges and can happily take a converter. Value for Money: Since I was on amazon checking the nib size, I double checked the price, and it's risen in price – it's now £5.00 instead of £4.99. Inflation's terrible! So, I can still evaluate this as a fountain pen for a fiver. If the quality of the plastics was even slightly better, I think I could give this 10/10 at this money, especially since it has a brilliant nib, but good as it is, the rest of the pen must count for something, so I'll give it 9/10 instead. Final Conclusion/Score: I don't think Pentel are offering it any more (I checked both pentel.co.uk and pentel.com, neither has it listed) so if you fancy giving it a whirl you'll need to get it fairly soon. If you do like the look of it, do try it out, it really is a shame that there's no indication that Pentel will be using that nib again in an inexpensive fountain pen in the future. Can I recommend it? Absolutely, as long as you don't pay anywhere near the RRP. I think it would be especially good for students and high-school pupils in the bright colours, but anyone could be happy with that nib, it just depends on whether you are looking for utility or a status symbol, really. The overall score reflects that at 8/10. NB I also have a Pentel Tradio “Stylo”, the delta nib “fountain pen” (the one that is actually a fibre tip - and seems like the offspring of an illicit liason between a felt-tip and this pen) that I could also review if anyone would like me to, let me know if you would. I promise I'd try to keep it a bit shorter!

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