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Rotring Art Pen


Diver
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Hi There!

 

Following on from my (very) recent review of the CS Belliver Bracket Brown, I thought I would have a little fun and have a go at reviewing a much cheaper and much older pen from my collection pen, one that I have had in my possession for just a touch over 25 years now.

 

Please please please do not take this review TOO seriously, I don't intend to try and get hordes of people going out to buy the pen, but I feel that after all these years, it needed a little review. I have found doing reviews are quite fun if not taken too seriously.

 

Introducing the.... Rotring Art-Pen with 1.1 nib.

 

Oh, where has everyone gone? :-)

 

Purchase Experience 7/10

Trying to remember 25 years back IS a pain, but I remember the stationary shop, not the name. It had two assistants, both indifferent, possibly bored, who knows. I have marked the experience as 7 as I was not put off and nobody stopped me or moaned when I asked to open the box to look inside. Money changed hands, a whole £5 at the time. The extravagance eh?

 

Opening the box 7/10

Having gone from the process of going to school, using any pen one can lay their hands on, pens in blister packs, cheap ballpoint pens and the one parker 25 that was saved slavishly for, as an adult, this came as a nice surprise. A tin box lined with card. Please note that this is NOT the original box, it is from a newer example of the pen (1.5 nib) but have snapped it for show and tell. Inside was a matt black, but very long almost attractive instrument along with a couple of unmarked cartridges. Anyhow, if it is in a box that is worth keeping, 7 is a good start.

 

post-86436-0-82844800-1396202224_thumb.jpg

 

post-86436-0-35934300-1396202231_thumb.jpg

 

The pen itself (looks) 7/10

I wasn't too fussy about looks, I did think it was a little bland, but quite attractive in a quirky way compared to fountain pens of the time, but what upped the score was the fact it was quite slender, sleek and old fashioned (I thought it looked like an old fashioned dip pen).

 

Black with a red ring and shiny stainless cap, matt black finish, white end cap. Yep. Not bad at all.

 

The pen in the hand 6/10

Urgh. Too thin on the section, just that bit too thin for my liking. At the time, it was sort of “ok” but not being too experienced in these matters, trying to look back, there was not a lot better at that price point. The length, its light and being so is not off balance, but it just isn't really lighting any fires. The grip section has a series of ribs the section being quite lengthy so the finger position can move up and down for a more comfy writing position. Not perfect but it does the job. It does post, but it looks all wrong, I mean just silly. It also kills the balance dead. Don't do it.

 

Taking the cap off: 7/10

As mentioned above, the grip section has an aha! Factor, but the nib is bland looking. Stamped steel plate, no breather, but shiny and I presumed made of stainless steel. It isn't ugly, it isn't stunning it is quite functional in appearance and it did look as if it would work. A £50 Parker of the time just was not anywhere in my sights, neither was £50 available to spend on a pen!

 

post-86436-0-71946600-1396202241_thumb.jpg

 

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Size: 7/10

Too thin for big fingers, too long to be taken seriously, there really is no need, even for an art pen to be so long. Consider this. If the fingers are huge, then the section is too small in diameter. Which means the length will not help any way shape or form. Or one can just ignore all of that, and do like I did at the time, rushed home, inked it and started writing and didn't give the appearance another thought. I had a new pen and I wanted to write a letter.

 

post-86436-0-51313300-1396202255_thumb.jpg

 

Fill the pen! 10/10

Cartridge converter, small international cartridges, one in the business end, with one reversed and stored in the body. Brilliant idea, so simple. Never used the converter with it, despite getting one to try it, it just worked perfectly so left it alone. Totally fuss free and hasn't leaked in 25 years.

 

Current ink in use: 10/10

Rotring black cartridges. Have tried others, all are fine, as a pen should be, fuss free. It doesn't seem bothered what diet of ink it is fed, it just lays down ink reliably, never remember it either skipping or flooding. Have only ever cleaned it or flushed it when changing inks and then only with water, other than that it just gets to stay inked.

 

Paper compatibility: 10/10

Now we are getting interesting. This old, basic and inexpensive pen will write on anything except the shiny side of brown paper (did it just to try it). Copier paper, Moleskine, Rhodia, Oxford paper, it lays a line down on all of them.

 

Overall writing experience: 8/10

During it's lifetime, I have always considered this to be a 10/10. However, in the last few years I have been totally spoilt by the introduction of new, higher end pens with various gorgeous nibs etc, so armed with this knowledge, I have to (probably quite unfairly) knock a couple of points off. Had I never had my first ever “posh pen” which was the MB Starwalker Mystery Black, it would have to have been a 10.

 

post-86436-0-56162900-1396202270_thumb.jpg

 

If we were to then consider again the price point here and lined it up against what one can get for the same money now (writing experience nothing else) then it would better than anything currently out there. Forget the quirky looks, it writes a damned good line and writes on anything.

 

Impressions after use: 10/10

With nostalgia, with reliability, with the fact it has never let me down, despite there being pens out there worth hundreds of pounds with gold nibs etc etc etc, this for me, and has been for a large number of years my go-to pen.

 

It is no longer matte black, it has gone shiny with use. The nib is crying out for its first ever strip down and clean, but it is still shiny! The cap still click into place, the clutch still works, although a lot lighter these days.

 

The nib has no sharpness associated with 1.1 italics, it is literally worn smooth on the corners. It has a nice sweet spot and is forgiving.

 

The pen gets thrown into my work bag or dropped into my top drawer, not abused just laid wherever it may be needed. It is in my regular rotation alongside my new Conway Stewarts, my Lamy Safari etc etc.

 

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Epilogue (before I get lots of comments and questions)

I bought my partner a new Rotring 1.1 and tried it out. The nib seemed to be of thinner material but it isn't to the naked eye. It seems scratchy at the corners which I never remember on mine. The plastic feels cheaper, the mouldings have a little edge to them, but they are not worn down after 25 years use. Overall it does feel a little cheaper but the price is still in the £15 - £20 region. Not cheap anymore but it is aimed at artists (I think). However. Opening my journal and starting slowly so as not to scare the poor thing. It laid down a line. A black, sharp line. On all the paper I tried. No stalling, no skipping...

 

Welcome to the family “Junior”.

Never try and teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig

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  • RMN

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Thanks, Nice to read after the Belliver.

 

The shape of this pen, with the tail, makes it a deskpen. Probably at the time it could be bought with a little stand with a trumpet to put the pen in.

 

And I have a similar in white which came with a deskset (no trumpet, alas) with space for an inkwell.

 

Have not used it in a very long time, must try it again. Downside is it can be only used on a desk. Those nibs remind me of the Lamys. I don't know if they are interchangeable. Lamy has a calligraphy pen, the Lamy Joy, that has "some" resemblance (and a lot of differences)

 

 

D.ick

~

KEEP SAFE, WEAR A MASK, KEEP A DISTANCE.

Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.

~

 

 

 

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This review: 11/10

 

Mine looks different, but is as nice as well.

Edited by mirosc

Greetings,

Michael

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The grip section has a series of ribs the section being quite lengthy so the finger position can move up and down for a more comfy writing position. Not perfect but it does the job.

 

This is a very nice review! And since you asked so desperately for serious comments, I'll post one RIGHT HERE:

 

The ribs on the section are what really annoyed me in this pen, because these ribs cut very unpleasantly into my fingers. They did this so much so, that I bought some fancy stuff at the architects' model-building-supply-store: a sort of soft silicone stuff which one can work into or around basically anything, and then it hardens. I used this to fill the ribs, so that I could hold this pen at all. This doesn't look nice, of course, given my handicrafting talents, but I had bought the pen for 1.50 € on Ebay, so this was okay. And it wasn't a pretty pen to begin with, because the section is a very light purple; that must have been some special edition, and surely a later production than yours. (The silicone stuff, by the way, cost 6 €, but it served for more than one pen: the next one was a Sheaffer Prelude, because it has a much too thin grip section.)

 

In the end, I gave up on this pen; but I don't remember why. Might try it once more now...

Edited by Strombomboli

Iris

My avatar is a painting by Ilya Mashkov (1881-1944): Self-Portrait; 1911, which I photographed in the New Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

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Lamy has a calligraphy pen, the Lamy Joy, that has "some" resemblance (and a lot of differences)

 

Pelikan has a calligraphy pen, too, the Pelikan Script, and it looks quite similar as well. I like it better than the Lamy one.

Iris

My avatar is a painting by Ilya Mashkov (1881-1944): Self-Portrait; 1911, which I photographed in the New Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

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Ahhh, the Lamy Joy.

 

I know this one very well. I will pass on doing a review on this one for now, I think the Lamy series have had so many reviews by so many people who are very experienced I cannot see if there is anything I could add that hasn't been covered.

 

However, I can add a quick snapshot of the "twins". Black with 1.1 nib, white with 1.5 nib. Both using standard Lamy cartridges till I have used them up then its on with the converters and bottled ink. I plan to try out some noodlers inks and in need of pens to try it with these pens have been earmarked for "sacrifice". Plus I got them very cheap off that very famous auction site.

 

 

Best Regards.

 

Dave. ( Or should I use Diver or the cute simple D?)

 

post-86436-0-35470700-1396205887.jpg

Never try and teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig

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Not tried the Pelikan Script yet. I have actually blown my pen budget for the year, and possibly next year as well.

 

In December:

 

"Dear Santa..."

Never try and teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig

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I have two of these pens which came from an art supply store. I do a lot of ink drawings which I'm certain this is what the pen is designed for. The design is more functional than aesthetic, and the nibs don't have sufficient flex for calligraphy work.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick

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Dave, since you have the Joy as well: are the nibs identical or just similar???

 

I would not know where my Lamys are now so I can't check it myself.

 

D.ick

~

KEEP SAFE, WEAR A MASK, KEEP A DISTANCE.

Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.

~

 

 

 

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Have just taken a couple of snaps of both Rotring and Lamy nibs, both 1.1 side by side. They are both similar, the physical sizes are different though. You can see the age of the Rotring nib by the surface scratches.

 

I think the nibs on the Rotring come complete with the section a bit similar to the TWSBI idea, I haven't pulled that apart, ever, so I cannot tell you if it is possible. I am sure there is a thread on FPN where someone has stripped the nib down. I think I saw it last year.

 

Dave.

 

post-86436-0-73790000-1396209662.jpgpost-86436-0-29429200-1396209669.jpg

Never try and teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig

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Thanks Dave :thumbup:

 

No sharing nibs between them... alas...

 

I love a pen that has been well used... not battered, but well used.

 

D.ick

Edited by RMN

~

KEEP SAFE, WEAR A MASK, KEEP A DISTANCE.

Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.

~

 

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

I have two Rotring Art Pens. One a 1.5 mm italic, the other a Medium. Both quite new.

The 1.5 mm is utterly useless, leaving huge blobs of ink on the paper. The Medium writes an overly, MUCH too overly wide and generously wet line with lots of bleed-through, practically useless.

Both of them are hidden away, kept secret, forgotten (almost), banished, vanished. I am VERY dissatisfied. The Lamys and Schneiders - even the cheapest Chinese - are so very much better there's simply no comparison.

Edited by Steffen Larsen
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I think my Artpen 1.1mm, too, has been around for 25 years. I didn't destroy it yet, so I guess it's indestructible. Mine is green.

I am quite comfortable with the ribbed section.

http://vladsandrini.com/i/mysig.png

  vladsandrini.com

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I found a set of these on close out at the local art store a couple of years ago. Dragged them out to see how they do for cursive italic. Pleasantly surprised!

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  • 2 months later...

Encouraged by this review, I got a 0.6mm italic Art Pen yesterday. To be honest, I quite like the design of the pen, it reminds me to those old desk pens (that I also like :) ). The only thing left to do is getting a converter for it - my Online converter doesn't fit, and neither does a Parker converter. I'll be okay with the cartridges until I find a suitable one.

 

About the 0.6mm italic nib: it's a pleasure to use. It's surprisingly smooth (which is for me - beight a leftie - is a very good thing) and it's nicely wet.

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Try a Pelikan converter. Or take a look here.

Iris

My avatar is a painting by Ilya Mashkov (1881-1944): Self-Portrait; 1911, which I photographed in the New Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

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Try a Pelikan converter. Or take a look here.

 

Thanks for the link. It should be compatible with universal converters... and the Online converter is supposed to be one. So I got a little more courage, and it seems that the Online converter does fit, I just had to press it harder :)

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@ Venemo, I hope you enjoy the pen. Mine has the 1.1 nib and still going strong. I visited a local bricks-and-mortar art shop a while ago and picked up a rotring convertor for a couple of £, but I have still got a decent stock of rotring cartridges which I am slowly working through. I keep one loaded with one (reversed) in the pen body as a back up.

 

I have found that the ink that plays best with the rotring is their own brand ink. Other inks perform ok in the pen, but its the rotring black that seems to work best. It performed very well with Waterman South Seas Blue (now called inspired blue) but rotring black just has the edge, especially when writing on off-white paper such as vellum.....

 

Another surprising point is the cap seal/clutch is still going strong. It is not as strong a "click" as when it was new, but it is still positive.

 

Have fun!

 

D.

Never try and teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig

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@Diver That sounds awesome! Yeah, there were some black cartridges included and I really liked the "trueness" of that black, however that ink dried too slowly and I smudged it all the time. (I'm left-handed.) So that's why it was urgent to make the converter work. Now I'm using Pelikan's Brilliant Black and although it's not as vibrant as Rotring's own ink, it still isn't bad.

 

Yeah, the "click" of the cap is pretty strong. The one thing I wonder about is the clip - why on earth does the thing even have a clip, I can't imagine where it can be useful with this size.

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Stops the pen rolling off the desk or just cosmetic I guess? Just remembered, Mont Blanc black also plays nice in the rotring as well. :-)

Never try and teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig

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