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Asa Pens: "galactic" - A Review



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alexhondsmerk

So today, a little package from India arrived on my doormat; slightly unexpectedly, but only because it was nearly two weeks earlier than anticipated!

 

The packaging was very secure, with a thick outer envelope, double layers of bubble wrap, a plush velvet pen sleeve and finally cellophane over the pen itself; I'm pleased to say it survived the trip from India to the UK entirely unscathed, and as a bonus fit neatly through the letterbox! Mr. Subramanian of ASA Pens was very communicative and helpful, with emails on receipt of the order, processing, and on dispatch. No faults at all with the postage and dispatch!

 

First impressions: this is a Big Pen. Capital B Big. As in, if you thought the Noodler's Neponset was large, this is bigger. Despite this, the pen is pleasantly lightweight for the size and, when filled, balances at nearly the exact midpoint of the length making for a comfortable writer without undue fatigue.

 

Construction: the pen is made of clear acrylic resin throughout. ASA Pens' website states that the pen is entirely hand-turned with no CNC involved, and I have no reason to doubt them; the contouring is smooth throughout and the pen sits very nicely in the hand. The section, cap jewel and end of the barrel are crystal clear, and the barrel and cap are sanded with micromesh to give a pleasantly textured, misty, fogged finish that feels surprisingly warm to the touch for some reason! This is, of course, where the pen gets its name; the nebulous fogged finish gradating into the crystal acrylic like the a galaxy into the vastness of space.

 

The threads are solid throughout, with the section taking over 11 full turns to unscrew from the barrel! Not coming loose any time soon :P The cap smoothly and firmly screws on in a little over 2/3 of a full rotation. The nib and feed are friction fit, and took a little tinkering to rearrange for optimum writing, but are easily removable for cleaning etc.

 

The trim is chrome throughout, with a very stiff clip: not that this is a pen one would be likely to carry around in a pocket!

 

Stamped (lasered? engraved? heat-embossed?) on the side of the barrel is "ASA Stellar Galactic / India 2015" - this branding is next to invisible when the pen is empty, but shows up once the barrel is filled with ink.

 

Weight:

- Capped: 31.0g empty

- Uncapped: 20.5g empty

- Cap: 11.0g

 

Dimensions:

- Length capped: 15.3cm

- Length uncapped: 14.0cm

- Length posted: don't even bother :P

- Barrel diameter: 16mm at the widest point

- Section diameter: 13.5mm in the middle of the taper

 

Nib and feed: my pen came with a standard unbranded IPG nib, with a fairly fine point. There is an option to upgrade to a JoWo nib at checkout for a small extra cost, but I didn't feel this was necessary and indeed the standard nib is smooth with a little more springiness than my other steel-nibbed pens. I believe the feed is ebonite (?), and it easily keeps up with even the fastest of my writing without flinging ink everywhere! On the subject of ink, I measured the volume of the barrel to 1mm below the section threads as 4.1ml, over double the ink capacity of any of my other pens! You could write for days on end with just one fill of this pen.

 

Writing: the pen is a pleasant writer, especially for those with larger hands (like myself!). It's nicely balanced and easily long enough to use comfortably without posting, and frankly the length gets a little absurd if you were to try! The nib is smooth enough to be unnoticeable during writing, and is fairly forgiving of changes in angle.

 

Thoughts and opinions: for a handmade pen that cost me a hair over £20 (Rs ₹ 1,050), including free shipping halfway across the world, I'd say the ASA Galactic is exceptional value for money. If you like demonstrators, big pens, or just fancy something a little unusual, then this could be a worthy addition to your collection. It's great fun to be able to see the huge ink reservoir sloshing around, and the clear section gives a good insight into the capillary action that feeds the nib! However, for people who prefer a smaller or lighter writing instrument, this isn't the one for you I'm afraid.

 

Picture time!

 

http://i.imgur.com/V8pMb70.jpg?2

 

Showing the texturning of the barrel and cap, with a little glimpse of the logo.

 

http://i.imgur.com/y4G9146.jpg?1

 

Another view of the unfilled pen showing the engraving.

 

http://i.imgur.com/9Oro9cM.jpg?1

 

Nib on show! Note the clear section.

 

http://i.imgur.com/2JyPFFZ.jpg?1

 

All filled up woth Röhrer & Klingner Alt GoldGrün

 

http://i.imgur.com/29X1TeE.jpg?1

 

Look at how that crystal acrylic blends into the fogged barrel!

 

http://i.imgur.com/7r4Q0ZB.jpg?1

 

And all filled up. There's a little breather hole in the cap in case you didn't notice earlier.

 

http://i.imgur.com/vXETcPr.jpg?1

 

A capped size comparison with (left to right) the Noodler's Neponset, Jinhao 159, TWSBI Vac 700, LAMY Safari, Platinum Century, Noodler's Ahab, Pelikan M600 and Kaweco Sport

 

http://i.imgur.com/FDeOXET.jpg?1

 

And the same, but posted! See what I mean about the length getting a bit ridiculous?

 

http://i.imgur.com/mTclr7c.jpg?2

 

Finally, a little writing sample.

 

I hope this little review has been of interest; ask away of you've got any more questions about this lovely pen!

 

Cheers all,

 

Alex

 

Edited by alexhondsmerk
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A thorough, excellent review. The pictures are beautiful. I have 2 ASA Galactic pens, one with the stock nib the other with Jowo M. Both excellent writers!!

 

Best Regards

Rakshit.

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alexhondsmerk

you have done an amazing job....

 

Thank you Vaibhav! It was your review that inspired me to get the pen! :D

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Good review. I like this pen!

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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Fuellerfuehrerschein

Nice review. The feed is made of ebonite/hard rubber and has a diameter of 6.35 mm (¼ inch). The OEM Indian F nib is a № 10 Iridium Point Germany that is size wise practically a German #6 nib equivalent. The German #6 nibs are curved for 6 mm diameter feeds however. I have this OEM Indian № 10 F nib on another even larger Indian ebonite pen. To get rid of vexatious scratchiness on the inverted side I had to remove tipping metal and do some polishing on my OEM Indian № 10 F nib.

 

Ebonite feeds can be heat set to perfectly fit a particular nib within limits. Since you wrote the pen can be ordered with a German #6 JoWo nib, you can assume German #6 nibs will fit this pen after heat setting such a nib and feed.

Edited by Fuellerfuehrerschein
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alexhondsmerk

The feed is made of ebonite/hard rubber and has a diameter of 6.35 mm (¼ inch). The OEM Indian F nib is a № 10 Iridium Point Germany that is size wise practically a German #6 nib equivalent. The German #6 nibs are curved for 6 mm diameter feeds however. I have this OEM Indian № 10 F nib on another Indian ebonite pen. To get rid of vexatious scratchiness on the inverted side I had to remove tipping metal and do some polishing on my OEM Indian № 10 F nib.

 

Ebonite feeds can be heat set to perfectly fit a particular nib within limits. Since you wrote the pen can be ordered with a German #6 JoWo nib, you can assume German #6 nibs will fit this pen after heat setting such a nib and feed.

 

Thank you for the advice! I may one day replace the stock nib with something a little more exotic, such as the Franklin Christoph music nib; nice to know it will fit!

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Excellent review. This pen is frequently in my daily writer rotation - I receive many more comments on is vs. much more expensive pens.

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Great review and very enjoyable to read (and view)!! Thanks. Every time I've gone to the ASA website, the pen(s) I've wanted has been out-of-stock. I wish they would work on the logistics of this, but it is probably a small operation. I'll keep checking.

Edited by Forsooth
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This is an awesome looking pen. The only thing that I would prefer to be different is to ditch the frosted look. Probably a side effect of machine marks, and some time polishing the inner barrel would make it totally clear.

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alexhondsmerk

This is an awesome looking pen. The only thing that I would prefer to be different is to ditch the frosted look. Probably a side effect of machine marks, and some time polishing the inner barrel would make it totally clear.

Hellmark, I agree; perhaps a clear edition and a frosted edition? You're right in that it would be a little more work to polish it smooth (the inside of the barrel is also "frosted" from machining) but it would make for a stunning crystal clear pen!

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Great review and very enjoyable to read (and view)!! Thanks. Every time I've gone to the ASA website, the pen(s) I've wanted has been out-of-stock. I wish they would work on the logistics of this, but it is probably a small operation. I'll keep checking.

 

Just contact L. Subramaniam by email. Sometimes he might have extra in his inventory which might not be put up in his website

Vi veri veniversum vivus vici

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The Gama Jumbo on which I think this is modeled is clear throughout. The frosting is due to the unpolished inner barrel. I have both pens, and ran into a problem of visible machine marks on the Gama Jumbo - it in fact became kind of frosted after having been filled with ink. I got a number of tips on how to polish the inside but was never able to capture the completely clear look - until I applied, as per mr Subramaniam's tip, a thin layer of silicone grease.

Not sure which I like more... they're both wonderful pens.

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

fpn_1425200643__fpn_1425160066__super_pi

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alexhondsmerk

Since it has a breather hole in the cap, what happens if you leave it inked for 2 days without writing with it?

 

Give it two days and I'll tell you! :P Started up fine this morning after sitting nib-up in the rack all night.

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