Sunday, June 10, 2018

INK REVIEW: SAILOR KOBE #15 MAIKO GREEN

Ink review: Sailor Kobe #15 Maiko Green fountain pen ink.
Woohoo! I finally get to try out a Kobe ink! Based on how hard to get these inks are in Europe, that's unfortunately kind of a big deal.

Made by Sailor, this ink is part of a ridiculously large selection of store-exclusive inks (more than 60 colors!) made for the Kobe-Nagasawa store in Japan. Over the years they have become more widely available through some US-based retailers, but so far I haven't come across them in Europe. 
Ink review: Sailor Kobe #15 Maiko Green fountain pen ink.
Australian-based webshop Desk Bandit offered me the chance to try out one of the Kobe inks, so I obviously didn't hesitate! My thanks to them for providing this bottle of Kobe #15 Maiko Green ink to check out! 
Ink review: Sailor Kobe #15 Maiko Green fountain pen ink.
Surprise, surprise, just like a long line of Sailor inks I tried before this, Kobe #15 turns out to be another one I really enjoy!

Maiko Green is a relatively dark, mossy green color. It has an ever-so-slight yellowish undertone to it, leaning it towards an olive color. I'd say it's a medium saturated green, which makes it an appropriate color for various contexts of use. Shading is very decent. The base color is a nice pastel green, and it shades as a dark green that in some places can appear -almost- black. 
Ink review: Sailor Kobe #15 Maiko Green fountain pen ink.
Lamy F nib
Ink review: Sailor Kobe #15 Maiko Green fountain pen ink.
Lamy B nib
Ink review: Sailor Kobe #15 Maiko Green fountain pen ink.
Lamy 1.5 nib
Like most Sailor inks, properties are quite good -if not excellent. It's a smooth ink with a good, lubricated flow. It doesn't bleed or feather as far as I can tell. Kobe #15 is not waterproof in any way.
Ink review: Sailor Kobe #15 Maiko Green fountain pen ink.
Ink review: Sailor Kobe #15 Maiko Green fountain pen ink.
The only downside with store-exclusive products, especially ones that have to be imported all the way from Japan, is that the price can get quite high. Kobe inks retail for 35 AUD via Desk Bandit, which is slightly cheaper than the US, where they go for about 30$ for a 50ml bottle. This puts them in the higher-end category as far as inks go. 

On a side note: Interestingly, Sailor Bungubox ink -another Japanese store exclusive-tend to be even more expensive, even though they are technically identical as they both come from the same manufacturer. 

One additional downside -as Joe from The Gentleman Stationer quite  elegantly put it in one of his posts- is the sheer number of colors you can choose from. If you're a completionist like I am, you might find yourself on an impossible mission to catch 'em all once you tried one! 

This product was sent to me by Desk Bandit, 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.
Ink review: Sailor Kobe #15 Maiko Green fountain pen ink.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE STAINLESS STEEL PEN

Review: Baron Fig Squire Stainless Steel pen
Baron Fig is on fire at the moment! They have been releasing new product after new product non-stop for the past couple months. While I stand in awe and drool at everything they put out, I struggle to catch up with reviews on some of their latest and greatest.

One of the newest releases is this: the Baron Fig Squire in solid stainless steel. My thanks to Baron Fig for sending one over for me to have a look at!
Review: Baron Fig Squire Stainless Steel pen
A new rectangular box design for the stainless steel Squire, is this the end of the cool tubes?
Remember the Lock & Key special edition? I jumped on that faster than fast, and I have been totally in love with the brass Squire ever since. The Squire is a great design on itself, but the hefty brass construction puts it at the top of my list. It has developed a subtle but beautiful patina over time, which is one of the many things I love about brass.
Review: Baron Fig Squire Stainless Steel pen
Top to bottom: Squire Al charcoal, Squire stainless steel, Squire "key" brass
I also like how it makes your hands smell like pennies. But I'm weird, and I know a lot of people don't share my love for smelly metal pens. Stainless steel is a valid alternative if you don't like brass for its smell. It has a similar solid weight to it, but it obviously lacks the smell. It also lacks the patina. Instead of the warm gold color of brass, it has a cold, industrial-looking silvery color. It's a different version altogether, but it has its charm.
Review: Baron Fig Squire Stainless Steel pen
The design of the squire has of course remained the same. It's still that subtle teardrop-shaped pen, that I very much enjoy. It's a seriously good-looking minimal pen. Since the stainless steel is a standard edition, it features the same sword logo engraved on the barrel as the aluminium version, compared to the key on the special edition brass 'Key'.

The surface of the stainless steel is polished, but if you look close you can still see a slight brushed finish. It's worth noting that, just like the brass Squire, this polished metal finish doesn't really offer the best grip. If you're worried about that, the anodized aluminium pens provide a bit of texture that offers slightly more grip.
Review: Baron Fig Squire Stainless Steel pen
Putting the three squires side to side, I noticed that Baron Fig seems to have dealt with the gap issue between the barrel and the twist mechanism (check out my original review where I discussed this issue). I fixed it on the aluminium squire, but both the brass and stainless steel pens didn't have this issue out of the box. With this problem seemingly fixed, they got rid of the only real gripe I had with the squire when it originally launched. So attention to detail and the overall fit and finish is definitely on point.
Review: Baron Fig Squire Stainless Steel pen
Review: Baron Fig Squire Stainless Steel pen
L to R: Riind Pen, Karas Pen Co. Retrakt, Baron Fig Squire SS, BNworks Twiist, Lamy vista, Lamy 2000
The Squire is a relatively compact clipless pen, yet in the hand it's perfectly sized. With a length of 12.5 cm (5"), and a girth of 1 cm (0.4"), it perfectly hits that sweet spot for me. The shape makes it a very comfortable pen to hold. 

Weight is of course the biggest differentiator between the different metals. At 48g (1.7oz), it's effectively twice as heavy as the aluminium Squire. The difference between the brass 'Key' is  just 3g heavier than the stainless steel, which is a negligible difference. For such a small pen, you'll be surprised by how hefty it is when you first pick it up, yet I personally think it's not too heavy (your mileage may of course vary if you are used to light pens).

Maybe you'll notice that there is no written review at the bottom of this post. That's because the Squire Stainless Steel comes with a rollerball refill that I reviewed plenty of times before: The Schmidt P8126 (you can read about it in my original review of the Squire). It's a smooth refill that lays down a nice consistentl, deep black line. If one thing, I wish it wouldn't have the tendency to bleed on cheaper paper. But all in all I think it's an enjoyable refill to use.
Review: Baron Fig Squire Stainless Steel pen
The Baron Fig Squire stainless steel retails for 85$, which is a considerable step up from the aluminium version (55$). But it's in line with comparable pens from other brands, and I think it's a  rather fair price for what you get. If you like a more substantial pen, it's definitely worth considering.

I'm having a hard time finding something I don't like about Baron Fig and their products. They just know what they are doing. And they run their business with an impeccable sense for style and minimal design. The pace with which they crank out new products is impressive to say the least. But if they can continue that productivity without sacrificing quality or originality, I'll be looking forward to what they come up with next! Maybe a copper Squire?...

This product was sent to me by Baron Fig, 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.
Review: Baron Fig Squire Stainless Steel pen

Sunday, June 3, 2018

STORE VISIT: FONTOPLUMO IN DELFT!

Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Unfortunately the roadworks made it difficult to take a proper picture of the beautiful historically protected building.
Early February, I went to visit Delft in the Netherlands. Of course I didn't just go for the city itself (which is very cute), or the world-famous Delft's Blue pottery. There's another attraction that makes Delft worth a visit: Fontoplumo's brick&mortar store! 
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
I've known Frank for a while now, he's a great guy and I always enjoy meeting up with him and talking about pens! His store, Fontoplumo has been around online since 2012, but in 2016 he opened a physical location in the pittoresque heart of Delft. I -shamefully- never visited until now, but I'm glad I finally got the chance to go have a look!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
The store itself is a historically protected building, which means the original exterior and part of the interior remained untouched. The furniture is a great combination of modern and vintage, and Frank even had a grafitti artist decorate one of the walls to create a fun clash between old and new. 

It's a rather spacious store that isn't overfilled with display cabinets, and there is a lot of natural light so you can comfortably peruse all the beautiful products!

But enough blabbering, enjoy the photos I made:
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Grafitti? In a pen store?
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Not normally a fan of figurines, but damn this thing is cool!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Ink!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft!
artsy
Big thanks to Frank for having me! We had a great time chatting about pens and other stuff, and of course I also got the chance to look at some really cool pens! If you haven't already, go check out his webstore. And get your ass over to his shop when you're in the area!

Store Visit: Fontoplumo in Delft
The beard game is strong, although I am no match for Frank's superior beardedness!