Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Retro 51 Lincoln EXT fountain pen

Look at this coppery goodness! The fine folks over at Retro 51 where kind enough to send me a Retro 51 Tornado Lincoln EXT (extended) fountain pen (That's a mouthfull!)

Just like any other Retro 51, the pen comes packaged in a nice cardboard tube with a vintage design on the outside. It's only a detail, and I normally wouldn't care about the box a pen comes in, but Retro 51 does such a great job on packaging, it's impossible not to like it! The bottom part of the tube holds the pen in place, this actually makes for a nice desk stand if you'd like!

But enough about the packaging, after all it's still about what's inside, isn't it?
The retro 51 Lincoln fountain pen could be considered the fountain pen counterpart of the Lincoln roller, which is part of the Vintage Metalsmith series. The Lincoln pens are made out of some kind of metal or brass, coated with a layer of 'aged' copper, which has a brushed finish that looks great! My guess is, that the copper parts are coated with a layer of black paint before they give it that brushed finish, resulting in a much darker, 'aged' colour. Some parts of the pen are less 'brushed', so these parts are still a bit glossy and darker (like the top of the cap), I really like how this contrasts with the lighter parts of the pen, even though it is the same material.

The Lincoln fountain pen only comes in an 'extended' version. Basically what this means is that it is a bit taller than the normal model. I like the size of the extended version, it's definitely long enough for me to write with it unposted!

Another advantage of the Extended barrel, is that this model comes with a cartridge converter. I'm not completely sure, but I think the barrel of the normal version would be a bit too short to contain a converter like this!

The pen dissasembled, with an included cartridge converter.

When I read that this pen is made out of copper, I couldn't help but thinking that it would be waaaaaay too heavy. But this is definitely not the case, as it turned out that it is copper plated, not solid copper! It has a solid weight, but it's still much lighter than I had expected. The cap is -as always- by far the heaviest part of the pen, so unposted, this pen remains fairly light!

Something I didn't like about the aesthetics of this pen, is the plastic grip section. It has some texture to it, so it does a decent job at providing grip when holding the pen. But it just doesn't look right in combination with the lovely copper cap and barrel. In my opinion, a metal grip section would definitely make it look a bit better!

On the writing end, this pen packs an impressive steel #6-size nib, made by Schmidt. It has some nice schasing on it, along with a Schmidt logo. It's a huge nib, and one might think that it doesn't suit a pen like this. But keep in mind that it is the extended version, it's quite a long pen really, it just doesn't feel that big because it isn't extremely wide like the Visconti Van Gogh or a Lamy Nexx (it's approximately the same width as a Tornado rollerball)!

The Schmidt nib is ideal for me, I don't like buttery smooth nibs that glide accross the paper. I prefer a nib that gives a bit of feedback when I write, and that's exactly what this pen does! It's an incredibly wet writer, I wrote the review with Montblanc Toffee brown, but when it had dried, you couldn't tell wether I used brown or black ink! This is both good and bad, it makes the nib a bit smoother, but it also gets rid of most shading and colour difference of the ink you're using. Another advantage of a nib that writes this wet, is that it never, but really, never skips! No hard starts, no skipping when writing fast, just a whole lot of ink on the paper!

As I said before, this isn't a super-smooth nib, and you should consider this when you want to buy one, because it gives some serious feedback when writing. But for those who are a bit like me: this is just the pen you need!

The Tornado Lincoln is a unique, good looking pen, especially for under 50 USDollars (which would translate to 35-40 Euros when shipped from the US)!