Tuesday, June 20, 2017

KAWECO ICE SPORT BLACK FOUNTAIN PEN REVIEW

Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen review
During the past year, the release of the ├╝ber-cool Kaweco Supra (reviewed here) clearly dominated their product lineup when it comes to media attention and reviews. But they haven't exactly been sitting still when it comes to their other product, especially the 'Sport' line of pocket pens. A couple new colorways were released, spread across some of the different finishes (Ice sport, Al sport, AC sport,...), further diversifying the already immense variety of finishes and colors you can choose from.
Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen review
The one I was most excited about is the new black Ice Sport. The brightly colored Ice Sport pens are nice, but I had been hoping for a more subtle version for quite a while. With the smokey transparent black colorway, they added a stylish, modern and subtle version to the Ice Sport collection, it's definitely one of my favourite colours within their offerings at the moment!
Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen review
The cool thing about the Ice sport is that the barrel of the pen is made out of clear plastic, and the rest of the pen is translucent. There are no metal parts, which means it can be converted into an eyedropper quite easily.
Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen review
Eyedropper pens used to be a thing from the past, but they have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Some brands even explicitly focus on this filling mechanism and market their pens accordingly (of course I'm talking about Franklin-Christoph, who make pens like the P40 Ice that I reviewed HERE). The plastic Sport pens can be quite easily converted into eyedroppers with a bit of silicon grease around the threads. I filled mine up with Diamine Asa Blue and I think it looks great combined with the smokey black cap and section.
Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen review
L to R: Kaweco Ice Sport, TWSBI Eco, Faber-Castell Loom, Lamy Safari/vista, Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy 2000
Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen review
The Ice sport is of course still the same pocketable pen as we're used to. It measures in at 10.7 cm (4.2in) closed, and transforms into a full-sized 13.4cm (5.27'') long pen when posted. The all-plastic construction makes for an extremely light pen, just 10 grams in total. Yet still if you hold one, it actually feels quite solid (as a testimony to that, I haven't had a single Kaweco break in all the years that I have been using them!).
Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen review
It's no secret that Kaweco nibs can occasionally be a bit finnicky. Across the board, Kaweco nibs usually run slightly on the dry side, but occasionally you'll encounter a dry writer, or one that skips/has hard start issues. A good rinse before use (the nibs are friction-fit so they can be pulled out to clean them thoroughly), and choosing relatively wet and lubricated inks such as Sailor, Iroshizuku, KWZ, has always solved things for me. It's a matter of experimenting with different inks, to see what works best for you.

Once you get the ink choice figured out, Kaweco nibs are actually very enjoyable to write with. They are relatively smooth, but not overly so, and you can choose from a wide variety of nib sizes. Another benefit is that the nib units can be bought separately for under 10 dollars, and the nibs are friction fit (either directly into the section, or in a screw-fit housing) so you can swap nibs between almost any Kaweco pen!
Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen review
The Kaweco Ice Sport is a pretty cool pen. Kaweco's continuous effort to bring novelties on the market makes sure that there's plenty of choice in finishes and colors. The black Ice sport has quickly become one of my personal favourites because of its' clean and simple appearance, and the attractive price. At just hese are ideal pens for a first venture into fountain pens. At a retail price of 25 USD (18 EUR), the many varieties of the Kaweco Sport, including the Ice Sport, is a heck of a deal, It'd be crazy not to give them a chance! 

Note: this pen was sent to me by Kaweco, free of charge, so I could write this review.  I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affilate links.
Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen review

Monday, June 12, 2017

INKTASTIC: KWZ BROWN-PINK INK REVIEW

Inktastic KWZ brown-pink ink review
Admittedly, at first I was mostly curious about this ink because of the name: Brown-Pink... Doesn't sound like an awfully good combination, does it? 
Inktastic KWZ brown-pink ink review
But in reality, KWZ Brown-Pink is neither brown nor pink, it's a deep, dark eggplant purple. Maybe with some imagination I can more or less grasp that the combination of brown and pink would end up looking something like this. 
Inktastic KWZ brown-pink ink review
Well it doesn't matter anyway, a name is just a name. What matters is that this is a really pretty ink and one that's very nice to use as well! The color is a bit flat, without too much shading, and I couldn't find hardly anu sheen either. This is one of very few inks that I find interesting just purely for the color itself!...
Inktastic KWZ brown-pink ink review
Inktastic KWZ brown-pink ink review
Inktastic KWZ brown-pink ink review
And maybe also a bit for how it behaves. All KWZ inks I've tried so far, including this one, have a beautiful rich, smooth flow, and make writing with pretty much any pen feel even more effortless, which is something I can really appreciate in an ink. 
Inktastic KWZ brown-pink ink review
KWZ inks are fairly affordable, so combined with the interesting colors they produce, that's a recipe for success! Bottles of their regular ink (excluding the Iron-gall inks) retail for 10 EUR (13 USD) for 60ml of ink, which is a competitive price point.
Inktastic KWZ brown-pink ink review

Monday, June 5, 2017

BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL PEN REVIEW

Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review
"THE PEN IS A MIGHTY SWORD" - Baron Fig
Baron Fig's Squire (aptly named for the above quote), was the product with which they showed 'look world, we can do much more than notebooks!'. And indeed, just a year (maybe two) later, they've expanded their minimalist, modern product line up to what is now an impressive collection of products to write with, to write on, and the paraphernalia associated with those two things. 

But of course an immense product line wouldn't mean a thing if the products are no good, so let's find out if the Squire rollerball can live up to their reputation....
Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review
First of all, let me express my fondness for minimal design. I'm probably repeating myself, but I can't stress this enough because of course my opinions reflect my own opinion and preferences, as I explained in THIS POST. So now that that is out of the way: Baron Fig really did create a brilliant minimalist pen. I won't say it's perfect, but the shape, the size, the details (or the lack thereof),... I'm impressed.
Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review
First of all, the looks. What can I say? Baron Fig knows their stuff when it comes to making sexy, sleek-looking products! All the way from the simple cardboard tube packaging, down to the little sword logo that represents the Squire product line, every detail in the design is pretty close to perfection. The design, that tapers down from the section towards the rounded-off twist knob is easy on the eyes, and has an almost organic feel to it. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it just looks  and feels balanced.
Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review
L to R: Kaweco Skyline Sport pen, Karaskustoms EDK, Karaskustoms Retrakt, Baron Fig Squire, Lamy Safari, Lamy 2000
I'd call the Squire small, but that's not entirely correct. Indeed, when placed next to a fountain pen (as you can see above), it does look rather small. Even next to some other ballpoint/rollerball alternatives, such as the KarasKustoms Retrakt, it's on the smaller side of things. But especially the comparison with a capped fountain pen is quite deceptive because the Squire, with the refill extended, stands just a little taller than the Lamy Safari or Lamy 2000 uncapped!

With a length of 12.8 cm (5", tip retracted), and a width of 1 cm (0.4") at the widest part around where you grip it, this is not a particularly small pen in the hand, but it's also not too big if you want to carry it around in your pocket.
Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review
It's a pretty comfortable pen in the hand. As I said sizewise, it's not too small nor too big, the section has a comfortable girth near the tip where I hold it (there's no dedicated grip section so you don't necessarily have to hold it a certain way), and there are no sharp edges or threads that can get in the way. The lack of a dedicated grip section does mean that it can be a bit slippery at times. However I found that the texture of the anodized aluminium surface provides just enough texture to hold on to. I never felt like I was death-gripping the pen. In fact, I've put quite some use in this pen over the last couple weeks, and writing with it always felt balanced and comfortable.
Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review
People often say designing a minimal pen is the easy way of doing things, but I actually think it's the opposite way around. What you see is what you get. There aren't that many details, so naturally even the tiniest imperfection will stand out so much more. Machining is flawless, you can barely notice the lines from the CNC lathe, and the anodized finish (shown here is the Charcoal grey version) is smooth and even. 
Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review
Mind the gap
So far so good. I really like the Squire, but that doesn't mean it's entirely perfect. The one flaw I could find was a small gap between the barrel and twist knob. It seems like a small detail, but as I said even small details stands out on a minimalist pen like this. I assume the twist knob is press-fit to the mechanism, because I could actually get it to fit a little better with a firm push, but it still has a tiny bit of lateral play to it. 

Another detail that I would've liked to see differently -not necessarily a flaw but more a matter of personal opinion- is the engraving on the barrel. It says 'BARON FIG' on one side, and has the minimal sword logo on the opposite side. It looks clean, but in true minimal style I would've left one of the two off. Maybe just the sword logo would've looked even cleaner than it already does, but it's definitely not a deal breaker.
Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review
It seems that the Schmidt P8126 cap-less rollerball refill has pretty much become the industry standard for many pen manufacturers. And with good reason, Schmidt sure knows how to make a great refill! The fine (0.6mm) point is smooth and free-flowing, and it lays down a clean, consistent black line without stuttering. The P8126 is the same size as a Parker G2 refill (not to be confused with Pilot's G2 refills), so it can be interchanged with a wide variety of other refills.
Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review
The Baron Fig Squire retails for 55 USD, and is only available through the Baron Fig website. 55 seems to be around the average for luxury rollerball pens these days, it's not exactly cheap but you get a quality pen for the price and the minimal design is top notch. Worth mentioning are the seasonal limited editions that Baron Fig also offers. There have been two limited editions so far, and they both sold out in no time, definitely worth looking into!

Note: This product was sent to me by Baron Fig, free of charge, so I could write this review.  I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affiliate links.
Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen review