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Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Ice W/1.9Mm Music Nib



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I first saw this pen after a reddit user linked to it in kenshiro's masterpiece demonstrator collection thread a few months back. I love clear demonstrators and fat nibs; when I learned that Franklin-Christoph made the 66 Ice with a 1.9mm, three-tined music nib, it got put on the list. Then, some Christmas cash made it happen. And it arrived Saturday.


Impressions


http://i.imgur.com/tCj31Bx.jpg


One of the first things that intrigued me about this pen was the cap threads being on the nib-end of the section. FC does this with their Models 02, 03, and 65/66. These front threads mean that the back of your thumb doesn't rest on sharp-ish threads but you still get the security of a screw-on cap. There isn't a lot of thread; it takes about a 3/4 rotation to remove the cap from the pen. It still feels securely attached, but I wonder if the cap is sealed well enough to counter evaporation.


Even so, I really like this aspect of the design; if I grip the pen a little farther back (common for me), I don't have any sharp threads to stop me. If I slide down the section a bit, the threads serve as a nice detent, but even grasping them directly isn't uncomfortable due to their width. And uncapping/capping is much faster than on most threaded caps.


The barrel has a flat side to rest the pen on a desk without it rolling away. It works if you rest it with the flat side down, but if the pen is capped and you set it down on an incline, the flat isn't wide enough to stop even a little bit of rotational momentum. "Franklin-Christoph Model 66" is engraved on the flat.


The cap is engraved with their stylized "F" and four diamonds logo:

http://i.imgur.com/FuPHUa7.jpg


The "frosted" barrel and top of the cap are actually a fairly rough texture; I made the mistake of trying to dry out the barrel section with a q-tip and some cotton fibers got stuck and wouldn't come out until I busted out the tweezers. Though it's frosted, its transparent enough that you can easily see the nib inside the cap. The section and bottom half of the cap are smooth but still somewhat opaque unless they're wet. The unfrosted end of the barrel looks like glass; smooth, glossy, and perfectly clear.



Packaging


http://i.imgur.com/D94fUNk.jpg


Pretty meh, really. FC obviously has a bunch of these boxes, and didn't let the fact that the 66 doesn't fit in the ribbon holder deter them from using it anyway. Or, maybe the person doing my packing just forgot to get it under there? No matter; I didn't see any noticeable scratches or abrasions.


Came with a converter and two short international standard cartridges. With the wet 1.9mm music nib, I bet the .75ml cartridges would last about a page and a half before running dry :) But, it's nice to have some spares for my Liliput.


And though I planned from the outset to run this primarily as an eyedropper, I'm glad it came with the converter, just in case I want to put one of my mica experiments through the music nib.



Size


This pen is truly a "desk pen"; at 6.5" when capped, it's not gonna be your EDC unless you're still rockin' cargo shorts. It's longer than any other pen I have:

http://i.imgur.com/zl6mzcd.jpg


The distinction is even greater when compared uncapped.

http://i.imgur.com/Ik3ln8M.jpg


Despite it's length, it's not a wide pen; the section at its grip point is the same width as the Vac, and smaller than the Jinhao.


And that length doesn't mean it's unbalanced or unwieldy; the acrylic is light enough that it never feels cumbersome or unbalanced in the hand, even when completely filled with ink. On the contrary, the length somehow encourages me to write more legibly (though that is likely also due to the massive


Nib


This isn't my first wide stub; I have (and regularly use) a Lamy 1.9mm nib on my Vista for letter writing or even note taking (when I'm feeling fancy). But while 1.9mm on the narrow and stubby Lamy feels a little forced, the 66 with the same width nib feels perfectly paired.


FC and Lamy, tip to tip:

http://i.imgur.com/Txdeyti.jpg


My Lamy 1.9 nib definitely needed some micromesh TLC when I got it; it was pretty scratchy and incredibly sensitive to off-axis writing. Comparatively, the FC music nib isn't nearly as scratchy or finicky. Out of the box, it's much wetter than the Lamy was, and I think I'd describe it as "significant feedback" instead of "scratchy." I'm still not completely sold on it, though. I like that it's nice and wet, but I'd hoped a pen in this price range would have been a bit smoother. I'm not sure how much of that roughness is due to the three tines--but they all look well aligned through my 10x loupe. I'll give it a bit of thought before I do anything to void my warranty :)


Here's the writing compared to the other pens I had inked.

http://i.imgur.com/Dpa3pCD.jpg


Capacity


Measuring with my marked syringe, it's 4ml from the end of the barrel to the bottom of the threads. However, once you fill the barrel, the feed will suck up about 1/2-1ml; which means that if you really want it full, you can do a two-fill process and put a little over 5ml in the pen.


I put a few bulb syringes of tap water through the feed/section (as is my habit with any new pen), then greased up the threads on the nib unit and section/barrel with some silicone grease. I started with 2.5ml of Bungbox Fuji Blue (my favorite shading ink) in the barrel:

http://i.imgur.com/iIZ3dtt.jpg


After writing with that for a bit, I cleaned it out and put in 4ml of Noodler's Habanero (another great shader).

http://i.imgur.com/9mUTszJ.jpg


Then let the feed saturate to the point of writing, and then added another ml.

http://i.imgur.com/azOWnlg.jpg


Completely full with a fairly translucent ink looks gorgeous.

http://i.imgur.com/f8pj7yi.jpg


Overall


Another reviewer (Stephen Brown, maybe?) compared the Model 66 to a paintbrush, and I think that's a very apt comparison. Especially with the music nib; something about the length/shape of the pen combined with the width/wetness of that nib just feels like I'm painting with ink. I love the look of the pen filled with ink. It was seeing the ink slosh around in the Vac700 that got me in to fountain pens; this massive reservoir in Ice acrylic really accentuates that effect.


It is really light; I'm used to the heft of the Vac700 as my daily driver; the 66 not having a filling mechanism or any metal parts other than the nib seems almost too light for my hand. As impossible as it would be, I would love a *glass* version of this pen.


The length of the pen and size of the nib mean that this one is going to stay home most of its life; it'll be my letter writer and envelope addresser, but not my most used pen. But that's fine with me; I just leave it sitting in it's open box on the desk, and let its looks distract me from whatever else I should be doing.

Edited by klundtasaur
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Nice write-up. I purchased the model 19 not long ago. The medium stub that came with it is super smooth. The extra fine, is very nice as well. I've been thinking about getting the 66 but I'm looking at the 03 as well.

Kent

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Thanks kent! I might be ordering a separate nib unit from them just to try out Mr. Matsuyama's offerings. Glad to hear their other ones are nice and smooth.

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Great review! I've had my eye on the Model 66 for a while. Might be coming home from the Baltimore Pen Show next month with one!

 

Thanks! I wish there were pen shows near me (UT) so I could test out some other FC nibs. I have only ever used my pens, so I feel like my "Smoothness" calibration may be off...

 

Ooo . . . :)

Right? That's the thought that I first had when I saw this pen. :)

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Thanks for this great review. Gorgeous pen.

Did you have any issues with staining when you used the Noodler's Habanero? It's a favorite of mine and I have a new FC ice pen to fill.

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klundtasaur

Thanks for this great review. Gorgeous pen.

Did you have any issues with staining when you used the Noodler's Habanero? It's a favorite of mine and I have a new FC ice pen to fill.

 

No staining, but I used some silicone grease to seal the pen as an eyedropper, and cleaning the orange-stained grease out of the threads was a PITA. But the ink didn't permanently stain the pen plastic in any way that I could see. I had Habanero in the pen for probably 6 months before I cleaned it out.

Edited by klundtasaur
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