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Asa Sniper Review


Prithwijit
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Introduction

The sniper is a pen with very interesting history and one that has very close ties with FPN. The pen was launched as a group buy back in February 2015 by as a collaboration between ASApens and Vaibhav (@Mehandiratta) as just a concept without any drawing or prototype. Many enthusiastic FPNers rallied behind the concept of a hooded nib hand-made pen and the momentum was formed. We got to see the initial prototypes and the evolution of the design till the final shape took place and the pen was launched as a product. So in many ways this is a pen that has been conceived in, laboured within and delivered from the womb of FPN.

Because of a variety of reasons the principal of which being my ignorance, I had not got the pen at the time. I had been meaning to remedy this for quite some time and when the opportunity arose earlier this year, I decided to go for it and get one sniper for myself.

Design

Much has already been written about the Sniper’s Lamy 2000 inspired design already. The key USP of this pen is a semi hooded/covered nib that looks strikingly similar to the way Lamy 2000’s nib is covered. Beyond this superficial similarity however, the pens are very different. It doesn’t use a proprietary and model specific nib like the Lamy and instead is designed to accommodate any Jowo/Win #5 open nib. This gives us a range of nib tips to choose from (EF, F, M, B, 1.1 and 1.4 italics) as well an option to have gold nibs instead of steel ones should your wallet so allow.

For my personal pen, I opted to use a pair of purple twist blanks obtained from theturnersworkshop.co.uk to add a touch of exclusivity to my pen. Besides, I already had most of the standard ebonite colours in my other pens and wanted something different.

 

 

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Size and Balance

At 152.5mm capped, this is clearly a full-sized / oversized pen. Normally such pens tend to be heavy and are meant for signing or occasional brief use for their heft. Thankfully the Sniper is not a heavy pen that imposes such restrictions on regular usage. Part of this lightness bonanza comes from it’s miserly usage of metal in it’s construction. It is a completely kitless pen with no metal other than in the nib and the clip. The pen overall is nicely balanced and the section design is sublime which adds to the comfort factor. The pen can be written both posted and unposted, but I prefer to use the pen unposted since posting does add a small element of rearward weight bias. To summarize this is a nicely balanced and light writing instrument designed to provide comfortable writing for extended periods.

 

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Nib

The pen is designed to accept Jowo/Win #5 nib units. I believe the right SKU number is either 5-42 or 5-11. Since I have already have a small collection of Jowo nib units including everything from EF to 1.5mm italic nibs, I opted to get the one nib which I didn’t have, which is the 1.4mm italic nib. It’s a polished steel nib which is largely hidden from view by the hood of the section, except for the tines and the tip which obviously need to be exposed.

Filling Mechanism

It’s a cartridge converter pen that accepts standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. In my opinion, this is the best possible filling system and gives the best proposition around value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility.

Build Quality

Being the current flagship model from ASApens, the pen obvious exudes the finest in quality that the marque has to offer. The general fit and finish and the tolerances are impeccable for a handmade pen and the joints are seamless. Attention has evidently been put into polishing and buffing to ensure a very high quality of the finish. Keep in mind however that this is an entirely hand-made pen and there is likely to be some fine trace marks under minute inspections. There was one small finishing issue on my pen however and that is the alignment of the nib with the hood. For whatever reasons, the alignment is just off by a couple of degrees and the result irritates my obsessive compulsive nature. I fully intend to reach out to ASA and request them to rectify this.

 

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Writing Experience

By design, Italic nibs are supposed to have sharp edges and tricky to use unless you have the absolute right grip and hold the pen at the exact angle. Thankfully, this nib isn’t one of those cursive italic nibs and despite having no tipping, it is quite smooth. More than any technical aspect, what I would like stress upon is the fun aspect of writing with it. It gives your penmanship (or in my case lack of it) a flair that just begs to be experienced. You would smile after writing with this nib and it will encourage you to write more as you keep getting surprised how your own handwriting looks like.

Beyond such simple pleasures, this is a highly competent calligraphic pen that helps in a host of writing styles such as Italic and Gothic. I am however not competent in any form of calligraphy and I would leave it to the experts to weigh in with their thoughts and opinions.

Price and Value

The Sniper is the current flagship of ASApens’ stellar collection. I find this entire series priced very attractively since the entire ASA line is such an affordable manner. The price is fully justified given the effort that goes into making each pen and that no compromises were made in using components within the constraints of what’s available in Chennai especially the nib which is the most important component. To summarize, the pen represents great value at an affordable price point.

Specifications

My usual disclaimer applies. The measurements in this section have not been taken with any precision instrument or laboratory techniques but should suffice to give you a fair idea of the size of the instrument.

Length (capped) – 152.5 mm
Length (uncapped) – 134.5 mm
Length (cap) – 66 mm
Length (section) – 37 mm
Maximum width – 13 mm
Minimum width – 8.5 mm
Maximum section width – 5.5 mm (at the root of the exposed part of the feed)
Minimum section width – 8.25 mm

Conclusion

The sniper is a beautiful looking handmade pen that exhibits a unique design. It is very light, comfortable and comes with a fabulous nib with a wide choice of tipping options. There is very little not to like in this pen and the price is just right. No wonder then that I strongly recommend this model to other connoisseurs of handmade fountain pens.

Useful Links

Purple Twist blanks from www.theturnersworkshop.co.uk
Pen made by www.asapens.in


Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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Posted Images

Congratulations on a very handsome pen, and, dare I say it, an improvement on the design, in my book. All other pictures I've seen of the Sniper, the hood opening, probably because of the ebonite material it's made of, seems a bit clunky. Yours, however, looks more streamlined and as a result, your pen is more elegant in my eyes. And the material you had it made from is exquisite. Enjoy!

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

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A very nice pen! I do like the hooded min design. May I ask is shipping the custom blanks to ASA pens expensive and does it take a long time?

Thank-you for the review

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A very Nice pen, great looking blank and good nib as well. Congratulations on another successful pen . A very well written honest review would appreciate a written sample as well if possible to see the performance of the well described nib. Thanks

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Prithwijit,

Detailed and interesting review of the project and the pen. This Sniper is a handsome 1960s looking pen with a bit of a lava lamp vibe. Groovy!

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A very Nice pen, great looking blank and good nib as well. Congratulations on another successful pen . A very well written honest review would appreciate a written sample as well if possible to see the performance of the well described nib. Thanks

 

 

Hi Sanjay, Thanks for the complements. Its great to see you comment on my reviews once again.

 

 

Prithwijit,

Detailed and interesting review of the project and the pen. This Sniper is a handsome 1960s looking pen with a bit of a lava lamp vibe. Groovy!

 

Hi Bob, The sniper is a fallback to the time when pens ruled as primary office document composition equipment (apart from typewriter of course). Pen's of the era such as the Parker 51, Lamy 2000, Aurora 88 are not only elegant and streamlined, they had fantastic quality and were relatively more affordable too.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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Congratulations on a very handsome pen, and, dare I say it, an improvement on the design, in my book. All other pictures I've seen of the Sniper, the hood opening, probably because of the ebonite material it's made of, seems a bit clunky. Yours, however, looks more streamlined and as a result, your pen is more elegant in my eyes. And the material you had it made from is exquisite. Enjoy!

 

Hi Mhguda,

 

Thank you for your complements. I am personally biased towards acrylic snipers because the wide choice of materials make them look prettier / more attractive in my eyes. Its a bonus that the material allows for a sleeker hooded section design :)

 

Of all the ebonite versions, I love the matte (bakul) black version the best.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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A very nice pen! I do like the hooded min design. May I ask is shipping the custom blanks to ASA pens expensive and does it take a long time?

Thank-you for the review

 

Hi Leeuwenhoek,

 

To the best of my knowledge, there are five different major sources of acrylic pen blanks -

www.ebay.com

www.amazon.com

www.theturnersworkshop.co.uk

www.exoticblanks.com

www.beartoothwoods.com

 

Unfortunately shipping to India costs more than the blanks themselves in almost all these sites, the steepest being www.exoticblanks.com

 

What I usually do is to buy 4-5 pairs of blanks (for 4-5 pens) from Vince Coates (www.theturnersworkshop.co.uk) and have them shipped together to ASA pens for around GBP10-GBP15. That way I amortize the steep shipping cost over multiple pens. Hope this tip helps.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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Really awesome pen. Is it possible to do such pens in a bit more numbers ? Like a limited edition sorts. I will be interested to buy such beauties.

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Good, informative review. Thank you.

 

 

Oh..What a beauty.. !!! :) :)

 

 

very nice review. Pen material is shiny and beautiful

 

Thank you for the encouraging comments Visvamitra, Sagar and Pankaj.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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Really awesome pen. Is it possible to do such pens in a bit more numbers ? Like a limited edition sorts. I will be interested to buy such beauties.

 

Hi Dinuraj,

 

Unlike the subjects of some of my other reviews, the Sniper is a standard model from ASA. You can get it in any ebonite colour available with ASA pens. You can also get it done in any of the acrylic colours available with them by contacting them directly.

 

There are thousands of different acrylic blanks available and it is not possible for any pen maker to stock all of them or do special editions that cover a reasonable gamut of materials and colours. That is why ASA allows you to order existing designs with custom blanks wherein you just get the blanks shipped to them and specify the design.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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  • 1 month later...

This is probably in the wrong area, but...

I have a shiny black ebonite Sniper and I had it cleaned and stored for a while but have just brought it back into my rotation. I have a converter installed and the pen is inked with Noodler's Heart of Darkness. I will say that I don't have occasion to write every day or for great amounts, but Since I re inked the pen, it writes well for about a page and a half in my A5 size Rhodia webnotebook and then it just fades away. Some times I open the pen and twist the converter to refll the feed, sometimes I just shake the pen to force ink into the feed and it writes for about three or four lines up to say about a half a page before it just fades away again. Can someone give me any insight as to how I might remedy the situation? Can I pull the nib and feed and really clean them out or are they meant to stay installed in the section? Thanks in advance!

"know thyself?" If I knew myself, I'd run away.

Goethe

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^sounds like a problem with the converter probably retaining ink at the top. I'd give the converter a really good clean first and see if that gets the ink flowing. If that doesn't work then try another converter.

 

If that still doesn't work there are then modifications to the feed to increase flow you can do... Hope that helps.

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This is probably in the wrong area, but...

I have a shiny black ebonite Sniper and I had it cleaned and stored for a while but have just brought it back into my rotation. I have a converter installed and the pen is inked with Noodler's Heart of Darkness. I will say that I don't have occasion to write every day or for great amounts, but Since I re inked the pen, it writes well for about a page and a half in my A5 size Rhodia webnotebook and then it just fades away. Some times I open the pen and twist the converter to refll the feed, sometimes I just shake the pen to force ink into the feed and it writes for about three or four lines up to say about a half a page before it just fades away again. Can someone give me any insight as to how I might remedy the situation? Can I pull the nib and feed and really clean them out or are they meant to stay installed in the section? Thanks in advance!

 

Hi twduffy,

 

Take half a cup of water and add a few drops of liquid detergent in it. Then flush the pen a few times using this liquid. Even better if you can soak it for a short while before flushing. Afterwards flush the pen a few times using plain water and then let it dry. This should hopefully fix your problem.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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