Saturday, October 18, 2014

Delta 'The Journal' (Fusion Stub Nib!)

Remember the times where I mentioned I absolutely dislike brightly coloured pens? Yeah... I apparently say that a lot!...However, things have changed recently! There's been a few non-black pens recently that just caught my attention right away. One of these pens is the Delta 'The Journal' in Pearl red. The moment I saw it in real life (Which was also the first time I heard of the 'journal' collection from Delta!), it was just desitined to become mine!

I got mine at a pretty good price from Fontoplumo while I was at the Tilburg pen show. Surprisingly enough, Fontoplumo is -for now at least- the only european retailer I know that sells these.

This is the first Delta in my collection, and I'm thoroughly impressed with the design, the performance, the packaging... everything really! 

Some pretty fancy packaging, easily the best I've seen in a while! 
The rather large dimensions (long, but especially wide. Something that can be seen more often with Deltas offerings!) Are also part of the WOW-factor with this pen. It's not ridiculous, but it starts to lean towards oversized. A bit like the E-motion from Faber-Castell, it's big, and it feels big, but it doesn't bother me the least! The grip section too is fairly wide, though perfectly shaped (You guessed it: concave-shaped!) I can't help but think concave-shaped grip sections are the best! I can't be the only one who thinks that, right?!  

The build quality is -almost- spot on, with two imperfections that slightly bothered me. First of all, the decorative ring at the top of the section, just above the threads, rotates. It's strange though, it rotates, but it doesn't move up or down at all! Now I can live with that, because it really isn't noticeably when using the pen. The second issue is a bit more frustrating: the gold part of the nib (the 'fusion' part if you will.) is scuffed quite badly. And the fact that the metal part (the nib itself) is perfectly polished makes it even more obvious to the eye! If i had to put a score on build quality, these two small flaws would make me rate it 6 or 7 out of 10, which is a shame because I'm one-hundred percent sure Delta can do better!

The rest of the pen is pretty much flawless. Fit and finish is spot on, except for the ever so slightly noticeable 'bump' where the blind cap meets the barrel - no big deal though. All parts are perfectly polished, and seem to be quite scratch-resistant!

As I mentioned, I absolutely love the color scheme! The red is vibrant, though not over the top, and the pearlescent silver flecks give the material a lot of depth. Together with the subtle ruthenium-plated hardware, this is one very good looking pen!

The Journal has a very satisfying and well-balanced weight. It's by no means heavy, it just feels right (I'm sorry if that's the most vague description you ever heard!). The cap doesn't hold much weight on its own, so posting is actually surprisingly comfortable as well.

A small and almost not noticeable detail I really like about it, is the subtly engraved Delta logo and pen number on the back of the cap (It's a numbered edition, not limited!). It's the only branding on the outside of the pen, and it looks just right! 

As I mentioned, this pen comes with a cartridge converter, though it's a semi-integrated one. This basically means the pen can be filled like a traditional piston-filler by unscrewing the blind cap, which reveals the piston knob. It comes packaged with a small bottle of Delta blue ink, so everything is included to get started!

Now for the 'magic and unicorns' part of the review. Or as most people would call it: the nib! The Fusion nib is often mocked for being wasted money and a load of nonsense! And I can't but agree with those opinions! Yes, it's an expensive nib, especially because you're still writing with steel, the gold addition doesn't physcally do anything, except for making the nib stiff as a nail! The fact that they put a piece of gold on top of a piece of steel is nothing more than a Fashion statement at most! 

But you won't hear me complain about it, because nonsense or not, this nib is GOOD! It's a broad 1.5mm stub, and it's the best I have (compared to a lamy 1.5 and a pretty solid second: the TWSBI 1.5 stub!). It's very smooth, the flow is spot on, wet and consistent enough to deal with every situation (I encountered absolutely NO skipping at all!) and the amount of shading that can be achieved is awesome! I too was, or rather, am skeptical about the actual use of the gold layer, but man! This nib is pretty darn awesome! Easily one of the best steel nibs I've ever used! 

Who cares about physics if it writes and looks as good as it does!?
The great performance shouldn't be a surprise, because for a steel-nibbed pen, it's pretty expensive! It can be bought with a normal steel nib for around 150 EUR/ 200 USD, while the Fusion version goes for a quite hefty 250 EUR/ 350 USD! 
It doesn't feel overpriced though, I absolutely love the way it looks, and apart from some small particular issues, it's very well-made. If you're really not keen on the red pearl finish, there are other beautiful acrylics available as well as different trim options!

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