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Ranga Model 8 In Blue, Orange, And Green Ebonite


bobje
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fpn_1467483228__hero-900px.jpg

 

 

Ebonite. We keep using that word. I do not think it means what we think it means.

 

We love pens made with ebonite, but ebonite was originally a brand name for hard rubber. Now it’s the name of a company that makes bowling balls, mostly from polyester, polyurethane, or reactive resin. Bowling balls haven’t been made from hard rubber since the 1970s.

 

But the blue, orange, and green hard rubber of the Ranga Model 8 is so evocative of time and place that it reminds me of going to the Fireside Lanes in Wichita, Kansas, with my Cub Scout den in the late 1960s, lacing on soft leather shoes with red, ivory, and green panels and a great big number on the heel, and picking out a swirly Brunswick bowling ball. Beyond the fact that the Ranga Model 8 writes smoothly and well, and that it displays charming hand craftsmanship, for me, the defining characteristic of this pen is the material. If I stick my nose close to the pen and sniff hard enough, I can smell burnt rubber, like the tires on my older brother’s 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. (On a curmudgeonly note, why are the tires on performance cars now so low-profile and skinny? They look like the wheels on Conestoga wagons. Why is that fashionable? But I digress.)

 

One other thing about hard rubber pens -- as FPN contributor Sandburger so eloquently put it, they are gloriously inconsistent. Like ceramics, like wooden boats, like anything made by human hands, they are imperfect and completely unlike each other, and that is what makes them spectacular.

 

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Writing Performance

 

This pen uses an eyedropper filling system, a black hard rubber feed (now that I think about it, writing ‘hard rubber’ is kind of tedious, so I’m just going to stick with ‘ebonite’), and a Bock broad nib. The imprint says ‘Conklin.’ I assume that means Bock manufactured a whole lot of nibs that didn’t get used by some iteration of the Conklin company and Ranga picked them up for clearance sale prices.

 

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fpn_1467483270__nib-foreground-and-rolls

 

The nib on this pen is so broad and so well lubricated that I might as well be writing with a really slick bowling ball, and I mean that in a positive way. I bought the nib partly to learn more about Bock and partly to have enough tipping material to be ground into an italic, and succeeded on both counts.

 

The Model 8 also taught me something about ebonite feeds and eyedroppers. Initially, this pen’s nib and feed were seated in the section in such a way that the nib was a little ‘spongy,’ pushing back from the feed under pressure. That really screwed up the ink flow. But after pulling the feed, playing with it, adjusting its position with the nib, re-inserting it, and heat-setting it, this German Bock nib now slides across paper like white-soled shoes on waxed maple, baby. The eyedropper version is not a pen for beginners. They’re better off with the Model 8 versions equipped with Jowo or Schmidt nib units.

 

I inked this pen with Rohrer & Klingner Königsblau, thinking that a somewhat dry ink might help counteract the wetness of an eyedropper, and I was right.

 

Design

 

The Model 8 is not a large pen. It’s about the size of a Pilot Metropolitan, in the Goldilocks category of not too large and not too small. Posted or unposted, it’s well-balanced in the hand. The aesthetics of the feed are a little chubby. In profile, the feed is all chin, like, I don’t know, John Goodman in ‘The Big Lebowski.’ It’s so chubby that I keep expecting it to drag on the paper, like one of those sweepers with brooms on Canadian curling teams. It doesn’t – drag on the paper, that is -- but the feed certainly makes its presence visible. Maybe the ebonite feed should go on a diet, or maybe, like John Goodman, it just doesn’t care.

 

 

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This pen came without a clip, because I usually carry pens in a case, not in a pocket, and I like the way roll-stoppers personalize a pen. In this case, an inexpensive silver-plated dolphin protects this swirly, ocean-like pen from the depths of gravity. Or maybe the pen’s true habitat is a bowling alley in Miami.

 

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Size comparison with the Pilot Metropolitan and the Airmail Wality 69eb. One centimeter longer than the Pilot Metropolitan, but barrel is about the same diameter.

 

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Service Experience

 

I bought the Ranga Model 8 in a group buy organized by FPN contributor Vaibhav Mehandiratta, as well as MP Kandan of the Ranga company in Chennai, and I consider group buys to be the most special of limited editions. The pens are not numbered, and group buys are not technically limited or even special editions. But they’re made to order in a specific edition created only for Fountain Pen Network members. Basically, that means a hundred or two hundred obsessive-compulsive pen people, each of whom probably know each others’ tastes and preferences, and all of whom really like the same pen. Everybody can converse with each other and with the people who make the pens, talk about the product, improving both the pen and the experience. This is amazing! Imagine creating a group buy for a Plymouth Barracuda in 1970!

 

Ranga shipped the pen within a few weeks, and it arrived with some of the most unusual packaging. The box was sewn inside a white fabric sleeve, the shipping information written directly on the fabric, and the fabric seams were sealed with wax. It felt like being on the receiving end of a package shipped 150 years ago.

 

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My assumption is that this tamper-proof packaging discourages overzealous postal employees from opening it up and obliterating the shipping information. It also reminds me that it’s been 20 years since I received brown paper packages tied up with string. A guy at the post office told me that packages just don’t come that way any more, except sometimes from Europe. Probably Austria. A bowling alley near Salzburg. Or maybe Chennai.

 

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Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers

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Nice!

It's a small world......but I'd hate to paint it. -Stephen Wright

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Great review Bobje, I've really liked all of the reviews you've done but this is particularly good. May I ask where you buy your rollstops from? I used to be able to buy them locally but the wonderful artist who crafted them for me sadly passed away a few months ago.

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Lovely review and pen. I really enjoy your photos and narrative. The patterns in the swirled premium ebonite are fantastic, hence the maybe slightly unimaginative close-up photo I used for my avatar. Thanks for sharing.

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Robert, Orbiter, Leeuwenhook, thank you. Ebonite has its own special qualities, doesn't it?

 

Orbiter, there's now a link in the review to an eBay vendor for this particular dolphin wrap-ring. I've also bought bronze roll-stopper wrap rings from a vendor on Etsy, and that link is listed in the review of the ASA Nauka in Dartmoor.

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers

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Thank you for writing another interesting review. The pen and your handwriting are both excellent. The discussion regarding ebonite is also thought provoking. In smoking pipe manufacture, pipe stems are made from the same material. In that application it is called, "Vulcanite."

Edited by Scribblesoften
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amazing review..now thats one colour i have to get..

There's no such thing as perfect writing, just like there's no such thing as perfect despair : Haruki Murakami

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Bob..your sense of humor :lol: is immense..a feed looks like John Goodman..ohhh.. :lticaptd: amazing photography, so unorthodox..and your handwriting..Julianne Moore..

Sagar Bhowmick

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Excellent review and great handwriting....personally I don't feel much passionate about this particular colour, but still the pen looks great....

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Nice review Bob! Thanks for enlightening us about the difference between ebonite and hard rubber. I wasn't aware of this as ebonite sounds so much like lucite and other generic names of materials that I thought it was a generic name for hard rubber. I guess it just stuck as a generic name just like Saran Wrap and Kleenex.

 

Can you post a size comparison photo of this pen along side the Nauka, 69eb and the metropolitan. I'm curious about how small this pen is. I thought this pen would be as big as the Nauka.

Edited by s_t_e_v_e
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I must agree with you about the packaging, I do love Ranga's method and the whole process of opening up one of their parcels.

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Scribble, AK, Flummoxed, thank you!

 

Sagar, your own photography and handwriting are both innovative and spontaneous, and I always look forward to your posts and reviews on FPN. Thank you.

 

Steve, I attached this comparison photo to the review. The Ranga Model 8 is 150 millimeters, capped, or about 10 mm longer than the Metropolitan. Barrel is the same diameter as the Metropolitan. About 3 millimeters longer than the Airmail Wality 69eb, but Wality diameter is about 1 mm girthier.

 

fpn_1467637670__ranga-model-8-comparison

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers

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Great picture Bobje! I had these all out at the same time so thought I would offer a comparison. Left to right, Lamy 2000, Conid Minimalistica, Nakaya Portable Writer, Asa Nauka, Ranga 8 in Blue/Orange, Ranga 8 in Matte Black, Omas Ogiva Vision Blue Royal Gold Limited Edition.

 

It may be a little hard to see in the picture but the Ranga 8's aren't the same length. The black one is shorter in length by about 2-3 mm. Also, the caps are different lengths as you can see.

 

http://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/m572/robertjwarren/IMG_0464_zpsf9blgqut.jpghttp://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/m572/robertjwarren/IMG_0465_zpsplo7onxd.jpg

Edited by RobertJWarren

It's a small world......but I'd hate to paint it. -Stephen Wright

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Robert, you're displaying some beautiful world-class pens in that photograph. Thank you. I had no idea that the Ranga Model 8 varies in length. Is it related to the clip / clipless difference?

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers

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Beats me! These are both from the recent group buy, so I would assume they were made at the same time. Other than that I have no idea..

 

RJW

Edited by RobertJWarren

It's a small world......but I'd hate to paint it. -Stephen Wright

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Thanks for the pics, Bob and Robert. The model 8 is quite small compared to the Nauka especially in girth. The model 3C I have is quite a bit more like the Nauka in size. That orange-green-blue ebonite is quite wild! I wish the Nauka was offered in those crazy ebonite that Ranga offers.

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Fabulous review... fabulous handwriting...

I must tell you I love your photography...

 

I agree with you that eyedropper is for advanced users and new users should stay away from that.. sometimes!es it might require tuning of ink flow...

 

I think design of pen is very ergonomic.. and that premium "hard rubber " is amazing...

 

And yes the packaging is very robust and nostalgic

 

Thank you for review once again

vaibhav mehandiratta

architect & fountain pen connoisseur

 

blog | instagram | twitter

 

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I agree with you that eyedropper is for advanced users and new users should stay away from that.. sometimes!es it might require tuning of ink flow...

 

 

Very true, but as a kid who was still learning to write with a pen, my first pen was an eyedropper filled pen and that too not of the best quality (similar to the one that Ranga often includes for free with their ebonite pens). More often than not, I had ink leak while writing, carrying etc. I wish my Mom bought me a Hero 330 instead. That's a decent starter pen for a school kid IMO.

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Thanks a lot, Mr. Bobje Sir for your great review. Glad that you are happy with our colour choice.

The rollstop adhorns the pen very well.

 

Regards,

Kandan.M.P

Ranga Pen Company

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