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My Modern Brown Tortoise Mini Collection



legume

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Warning! This is a long, picture-heavy rant about my Pelikan journey.

 

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My Souveran M400 and M800 Brown Tortoises under morning light. As I've posted here before, my ultimate goal from the beginning of my fountain pen days was to acquire these two pens. Or at least it was once I discovered the existence of these two pens. Of course back then, the new M800 Brown Tortoise didn't actually exist nor was there any indication that it ever would. What I liked was the old style M800 BT, but that is such a rare pen and is way too expensive for me to even want to buy. What I wanted more in general was an M800. Either the blue M805 or the green M800. But I just couldn't commit to either pen and it wasn't until the new M800 BT was announced that owning a Pelikan was a realistic consideration. The Brown Tortoise duo was really more of a fantasy. If it was ever to happen it was going to be over a decade into the future, and I certainly didn't expect to acquire both pens in a short period of time.

 

It took me over a year after saving up for the new M800 BT to finally commit to buying it. I had handled an M800 before but couldn't remember what it had been like, so I had reservations about its size and balance. In February, while I was on Regina Martini's site to bid on it, I came across the M400 and jumped on it. I most likely overpaid. I really should have thought it through but I psyched myself out wondering how long it would be until I came across an old style M400 BT again, if ever. I was much more enamored with the idea of owning the set than the practicality of it. But I'd had this fantasy of a Brown Tortoise fp set for so many years that I was set on the idea. Being so suddenly faced with the possibility of making my fantasy a reality, I didn't stop myself to think.

 

If you read some of my previous posts, you know that I was extremely excited for this pen to arrive and once it actually did, was shocked by its lightness. I then whined about it to you guys and even posted the pen on the Classifieds to immediately get rid of it. My beef in particular was with the cap. On one hand it's a testament to Pelikan's quality that they can work with such a material to make such a durable, thin, and light cap, but on the other it initially felt cheap and fragile. I got over it and can now appreciate its ergonomics and suitability to posting, but it made me really hate the pen at first.

 

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M800 on top, M400 on bottom.

 

While I was considering what to do with the M400, I was given some money and took the opportunity to splurge on what had been my goal in the first place, the M800 Brown Tortoise. And this pen did not disappoint in any capacity. That's a first. With every pen I've ever gotten I was initially disappointed with, but the M800 exceeded my expectations. If I had the benefit of visiting B&M stores beforehand to see and handle the pens I'm sure this would be the norm but unfortunately that's not the case.

 

The M800 is definitely a hefty pen. I've been constantly handling it ever since it arrived and I can still feel that it has weight. Thankfully, I hold my pen at a fairly low angle so it rests on the web where my index and thumb fingers meet and doesn't cause me fatigue. Posting the pen makes it too long for my liking but surprisingly doesn't change the balance by much, whereas the M400 becomes a much more back-heavy pen posted. The M800 is back-heavy in the first place.

 

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There is a noticeable difference between the BT finishes of the two pens. The M800 BT has more vibrant orange tones and metallic silver sheen. Its stripes are more consistent and longer than those of the M400 BT. However, it is actually a darker pen overall. Both pens have areas in which several stripes in a row are muted and the color seems to be under the surface. I absolutely hated this at first, but it's grown on me.

 

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According to Regina Martini, the BT finish of the M400 is actually the same as that of the old style M800 BT, and that was one of the big draws of the M400 for me. I wanted to be able to own examples of both the old and new BT finish.

 

The stripes of the M400 are a bit more fragmented and less likely to reach from the top to the bottom of the barrel. Instead of being metallic, the M400 BT has more of a pearl-like (not swirly) golden sheen. It has a lighter golden honey color and is slightly less conspicuous than the M800 BT. The overall effect is that the M800 BT colors are shinier and flashier, but the M400 BT colors are richer and classier.

 

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New style M800 Brown Tortoise, M nib.

 

The M800 I'm keeping for the rest of my life, no question. I haven't completely decided what to do with the M400. It's grown on me and I'm not so sure I want to sell it anymore. It's so pretty and it's part of a set! But I don't feel so good about keeping it. Buying both pens was a rash decision and while I don't have an acute need for funds, fountain pens are relatively frivolous things to own and I'm not comfortable with owning such expensive pens. Buying the M400 was a flight of fancy and owning it may be little more than a hassle and a poor use of money.

 

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Old style M400 Brown Tortoise, BB nib.

 

There's also the fact that these are extremely similar pens. Kind of the point of the Souveran range is that it's the same pen in different sizes, and I have pretty much the same finish on both. Wouldn't it be redundant to keep the M400?

 

I happen to be a person who prefers to keep a very limited number of pens. I can't see the point in ever having more than three pens inked at the same time or owning more than six or so good ones. I don't know whether I'd get enough use out to both to justify their stay.

 

I also want a broader nib to have ground down to a cursive italic on the M800, and that can't be done without the funds that would come out of selling the M400. Sell M to get BB to grind? Or keep M and have it ground? But that's a whole other can of beans.

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Congratulations on getting the two beauties! I must say that the M400 new style aka Galeria Kauhof is not easy to find. Both really are indeed matching to one another.

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Beautiful pics of both pens. I got a M800 BT several weeks ago. I agree wholeheartedly that it is a keeper and a writer. I love the "heft" although I generally write non-posted.

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Nice pens, Beautiful pictures.
Would like to get a M400 with and M Nib.

http://img244.imageshack.us/img244/5642/postcardde9.png

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Pelikan Vera

Congratulations on those beauties. :D Congratulations.

So an appeal to Pelikan to make the M1000 in this finish please!

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Joe in Seattle

Nice comparison photos, thanks.

"how do I know what I think until I write it down?"

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Hi,

 

Just been using FPs a year now, so I obviously will not be as knowledgeable as most of you. I started with an M400 which I had three months before inking! I'd never used a nice pen and was so afraid I'd do something wrong. Finally wrote with it, bought other German made FPs. Then a Pelikan m200. That is when I espied the M800 BT. I just felt I had to have it. I couldn't justify the expense, even though I had the money. That was the time my best friend asked me why do you have to justify it? I took a while to think about it. I'd told me friend what nib I had envisioned having on the M800. Three weeks later "Brown " knocked on my door, it was a delivery for me. Inside was my dream pen.... an M800 w/ a Mottishaw stub nib!!! Yes, that friend had done it.

 

I had helped this friend when a parent had passed away and it was a ' Thank you '. I'll never get rid of my FP no matter how many I might get for myself. If I should get down to one pen it WILL be my beautiful M800 Souveran Tourtoiseshell John Mottishaw custom stub! Just an experience I wanted to share.

 

 

aggie

If your out-go is more than your income,

 

Then your up-keep.

 

May be your Down-falll!!!

 

 

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Thanks everyone! I think the pictures actually represent the colors of the pens very well.

 

Hi,

Just been using FPs a year now, so I obviously will not be as knowledgeable as most of you. I started with an M400 which I had three months before inking! I'd never used a nice pen and was so afraid I'd do something wrong. Finally wrote with it, bought other German made FPs. Then a Pelikan m200. That is when I espied the M800 BT. I just felt I had to have it. I couldn't justify the expense, even though I had the money. That was the time my best friend asked me why do you have to justify it? I took a while to think about it. I'd told me friend what nib I had envisioned having on the M800. Three weeks later "Brown " knocked on my door, it was a delivery for me. Inside was my dream pen.... an M800 w/ a Mottishaw stub nib!!! Yes, that friend had done it.

I had helped this friend when a parent had passed away and it was a ' Thank you '. I'll never get rid of my FP no matter how many I might get for myself. If I should get down to one pen it WILL be my beautiful M800 Souveran Tourtoiseshell John Mottishaw custom stub! Just an experience I wanted to share.


aggie

 

That was such a lovely thing for your friend to do! Is your friend a fellow hobbyist or do that out of the blue?

 

The M800 Brown Tortoise is my absolute favorite as well.

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Great pens! Thanks for sharing. That M400 looks great side by side with the M800.

PELIKAN - Too many birds in the flock to count. My pen chest has proven to be a most fertile breeding ground.

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THE PELIKAN'S PERCH - A growing reference site for all things Pelikan

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  • 1 year later...

Well, now that version of the M400 is my grail too. I had a tortoise M800 but it was too big for me, the 400 would be puuuurfect.

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Well, now that version of the M400 is my grail too. I had a tortoise M800 but it was too big for me, the 400 would be puuuurfect.

 

You might want an M600 too.. 😁
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Hopefully there will be a reissue of the M600 BT some day soon! As far as I know it was produced for Spain only and for a very short time. And there was a M600 BT Old Style way back before 1997.

 

Mimi,

whose very first Pelikan was the Old Style M400 BT with a wonderful B nib back in 1986... still in love with this pen! :)

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inkstainedruth

You might want an M600 too..

Interestingly enough, I have an older M400 (from the 1990s) and the color of the tortoise looks a lot more like on your M800.

It was my first bird (but sadly for my wallet not the last... ;)) and is a juicy F. There's just enough spring in the nib to give some line variation, so I like it for drawing. An M800 would be way too big for my hand, but the M400 is perfect.

Right now I've got Noodler's Walnut in it. That's a dry ink, so the wet pen is slightly tamed, but still gives the ink good flow (in a dry pen the ink is scratchy).

Always thought I wanted one of the striated blue ones, but the BT came along first and was definitely not a mistake to buy. :wub: Nearly 2 years later, I still don't have a striated blue M400....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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So, all these posts and no one answers or advises on his dilemma.

keep both pens. I'm back and forth about Pelikan pen sizes - in the end, none of them seems exactly right. I find that in the end, more than with any other pen, the nib matters. On an old style M600 I have a 1980s F nib which runs just a bit broad - and somehow that compensates for the pen's small size.

 

On the other hand, I bought a Stresemann and had some nib work done by Mike to make it like a Japanese F. I put it back in the drawer until two days ago, when I was saddened by the lack of interesting pens to buy, and took it out again. And suddenly the slight feedback and elasticity that Mike put into the nib compensated for the heaviness of the pen in the hand.

 

What I'm saying is that Pelikan pens are keepers. If you're undecided now, you maybe will return to the M400 in a few months or years, and it will be good as new, and you'll see it in another light. The nice thing about Pels is that we change, but they stay the same - which amounts to having a completely different experience of the very same pen.

 

I also regret selling a celluloid Montblanc that I originally paid a lot of money for and later felt like I shouldn't have. Now I think I would like to have it back but it's gone.

 

Cheers!

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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I would keep both pens. The M400 you have is very hard to find and you may regret selling it later. Also, even though the binde is similar, the M400 and M800 provide entirely different writing experiences and I think that is very enjoyable and, thus, not redundant. In addition, since there is the rumor that Pelikan may release a M400 BT in 2016, I suspect that at this moment the price of these pens is not as good as a few months ago.

 

I, in fact, have the latest M800 BT (similar to yours) and a 1990's M400 BT, the one with very simple trim and monotone nib, and there is no way I'll sell any of them, unless I fall on hard times. In fact, if Pelikan indeed releases a new M400 BT it is my intention to buy one of those too - like many in here, I'm a sucker for BT :D.

 

As for the nib, that is a hard one! The BB's are very expensive nowadays, since they are discontinued (there are some places in UK that have a batch of them, but very expensive). So, you may be better off either having work done on that M or seeing if somebody would be willing to give you a B in exchange for the M, and then customizing the B.

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