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Robert Oster 1980 - Opal Green



namrehsnoom

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Robert Oster 1980 – Opal Green



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Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. With this mini-series he gives us a conglomeration of colours inspired by the anything goes world of the 1980s. The inks include muted pastel-type colours along with some eye-popping disco-style hues. Definitely an interesting series.



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In this review I take a closer look at Opal Green - a blue-leaning mint-green. To be honest, not my type of colour. But this won't stop me from doing an objective review. The ink feels a bit dry in my Lamy Safari test pens, which is not unusual for a Robert Oster ink. Nevertheless, it still works well with all nib sizes - even the finer ones - providing good contrast with the paper. Opal Green shows excellent shading, which becomes more prominent with broader nib sizes.



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To show you the impact of saturation on the ink's look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles on Tomoe River where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. As you can see, Opal Green moves from a pastel-like mint-green to a much darker bluish green. The contrast range is rather broad, but there is no harsh contrast between the light and darker parts. This translates to soft shading, which I find aesthetically pleasing.



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Like most Robert Oster inks, Opal Green has zero water resistance. Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text, leaving next to nothing on the page. This is also apparent from the lower part of the chromatography. The chroma clearly shows the dominating presence of blue in this ink. It's definitely a green though and never a teal, but the blue presence is really very prominent.



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I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:


  • An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip

  • 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation

  • An ink scribble made with an M-nib Lamy Safari fountain pen

  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib Lamy Safari

  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib Lamy Safari

  • Origin of the quote, written with a wet Pelikan M101N with F-nib

  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Lamy)


Opal Green behaves well on most paper types. You get a tiny bit of feathering on the lower quality papers (Moleskine and the copier paper). With the lower quality paper you also get some bleed-through, but never excessively so. The ink dries quickly around the 5 second mark (with the M-nib Lamy Safari). The ink shows truly elegant shading, even with finer nibs. White paper seems to work best for Opal Green - it doesn't look nearly as good on the yellowish papers in my test set.



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Writing with different nib sizes

The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. All samples were written with a Lamy Safari, which is typically a dry pen. I also added a visiting pen: a wet-writing Pelikan M101N Grey Blue with F-nib. As you can see, Opal Green can handle all nib sizes without a problem. With the wet pen, the ink shows a saturated bluish green, moving away from the mint-green you get with the drier pens.



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Related inks

To compare Opal Green with related inks, I use my nine-grid format with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test - all in a very compact format. I specifically added Pelikan Edelstein Jade to the grid. This is another ink I don't like at all - more of a blue leaning to the green, with Opal Green being a green leaning to the blue. Neither ink colour works for me - if you want to be a teal, you should boldly go all the way, not this "I’m not sure what I am" type of colour.


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Inkxperiment - isolation

With every review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I'm working on. Limiting myself to one ink allows me to showcase its colour-range nuances. For me, this is the fun part of every ink review. Inspiration comes from the current COVID19 crisis, which forces us to be extra careful, practice social distancing, interact online instead of in person. A side effect is a feeling of remoteness... each person an isolated bubble in the sea of humanity.


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For this drawing I reached once again for my favourite medium: HP photo paper. I started by drawing the bubble, and adding some texture to it (using a plastic sheet with holes, and a kitchen sponge). I then added the isolated person, and used different water/ink ratios to draw in the radial spikes outside the bubble. The resulting drawing gives a good indication of what can be achieved with this Opal Green ink. In my opinion, this Robert Oster works really well as a drawing ink. I quite like the end result.


Conclusion

Robert Oster 1980 Opal Green is a strongly blue-leaning green ink (definitely not a teal, more of a mint-green). The ink works well with all nib sizes, and shows really elegant shading. It has some minor feathering problems with lower quality paper, but nothing really worrisome. I really liked this ink for drawing, but as a writing ink it's definitely not my type of colour.


Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib


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Back-side of writing samples on different paper types


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  • namrehsnoom

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Thanks too, but I also have to say that this isn't my cup o' tea. What I like most here is your collection o' comparisons :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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What a perfectly terrible ink, shudder ;P Thank you so much for your comprehensive reviews! The amount of work you put into them is admirable and inspirational, and intimidating.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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What a perfectly terrible ink, shudder ;P

 

That sums it up perfectly :D I think I’m going to use my bottle as a mixing ink. I am quite sure that I can build an ink I like much much better. A challenge for another InkShift.

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inkstainedruth

Definitely NOT a green for me (and I thought vintage Quink Green was a nasty color). But thanks as usual for the comprehensive review. Because I'm sure there's someone out there going "OMG -- I've been looking for a green like that! It's PERFECT!"

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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Great review as usual.... Your inkexpirment is so apropos. The colour reminds of R & K Sketchink Klara.... It's so funny that how the visiting pen changes the colour of Opal so drastically....

I'm sure the colour much nicer in person than scanned.... I like it :)

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I actually have a watery green Carter ink of that very hue decanted from a huge glass Carter bottle. Probably at least 70-80 years old or more. I keep it because of its historical value, but never envision using it. This Robert Oster ink is a good imitation of the vintage Carter "Deep" Green.

 

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Edited by Intensity

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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Thanks for the review!

 

The colour reminds me of the bottle of Rubinato Verde Inchiostro I sent on its way in the Aussie FPN giveaway box. Way too pale for legible writing using a Fine or Extra Fine nib, and with no water resistance of which to speak.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Great review as usual.... Your inkexpirment is so apropos. The colour reminds of R & K Sketchink Klara.... It's so funny that how the visiting pen changes the colour of Opal so drastically....

I'm sure the colour much nicer in person than scanned.... I like it :)

 

A few photos to show another view on the ink (the scans exaggerated the contrast between light and dark parts). This gives you a better impression of the ink. Might be a good idea to add a few photos to future reviews to complement the scans of the writing samples.

 

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Thanks for the photos... That's what I guessed. It's actually quite a nice colour...In the range of light blue greens. I use Klara mostly for annotating. It's bright and waterproof and happily in a Pilot Varsity.... :)

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