Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 45 (Fine Cursive Italic)

20160710_HOTP F-C Model 45_011

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Pamela: The Model 45 is a sexy panther of a pen.  The lines of the pen are soft, curvy and sleek. The shape and the size reminds me a lot of the Pilot Prera, which is one of my favorite pens to use.

Katherine: It’s a clean, sleek pen. It’s not too flashy, but it looks like someone put some thought into designing it. I know a lot of people wanted to wait and see what others colors came out post-IPO, but of the prototypes I saw, the only one I liked more than the black was the Bronze. So, I got the black. (And at $110, it’s a pretty good deal!) One nit (which is hopefully uncommon) is that my pen showed up with a pretty scuffed nib. There’s an obvious scuff between the slit and the logo, and about half the gold-coloring on the nib is gone. I’m guessing this is a remnant of the nib being hand-ground, but it was a little disappointing anyway. Thankfully, it doesn’t affect writing quality at all — just gives me pen a little more “character”.

Franz: The Franklin-Christoph Model 45 XLV may be a simple looking pen but it has some elegance and the term aerodynamics come to mind. There are a number of different color acrylic prototypes of this pen floating around from the past few pen shows, but similar to Katherine, the black features the shape well.

In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (posted)
In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (posted)
In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (unposted)
In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (unposted)

The Business End

Pamela: It’s a Mike Masuyama nib.  Need I say more?

The nib alone is well worth the price of the pen.  Not only are cursive italic nibs typically only available after a custom grind from a nibmeister, this is a cursive italic grind completed by one of the best nibmeisters available.  The CI nib is smooth and crisp.  I have read that CI is usually less forgiving when it comes to finding and maintain a “sweet spot” but I don’t find that to be case with this particular nib.

Katherine: As Pam mentioned, it’s a crisp and smooth nib. But, magically, its very forgiving and I’ve never caught paper with it. It does run a little drier than I’d prefer — but that makes it great on cheap paper.

Franz: The Model 45 sports a No. 5 size nib which for me seems small, but it works out in the design and for the pen’s small size. Similar to the ladies above, I found the fine cursive italic nib quite smooth and seemed to have a wider sweet spot than I expected. The supplied blue ink cartridge may have been the issue but I found that the flow was too dry for my liking. I think that if I used a better flowing ink, I would have been happier with it.

Pam writes like a font. 
Pam writes like a font.
img_7277.jpg
A writing sample in Katherine’s messy handwriting. (Pilot VP fine for comparison)
The 45 hanging out on a coffee table in Katherine's office. Notice the scuffs on the nib.
The 45 hanging out on a coffee table in Katherine’s office. Notice the scuffs on the nib.

Write It Up (20-minute writing experience)

Pamela:  Posted, the pen is well balanced and rests perfectly in my pixie size hands.  The girth of the pen is just wide enough for the traditional tripod grip to be comfortable for a relatively long writing session.  I am not used to the traditional grip so my hand tends to cramp up with any pen with a stub or CI nib.  I experience fatigue with this pen, but taking a quick break to shake it off is easy enough.

Due to the nature of the grip (the traditional tripod grip) and the nib, my writing speed is decreased to ensure that the CI nib really shines through with it’s crisp, clean lines and edges.

The results from the pen is well worth the extra time and effort.

Franz: I had to write with this pen posted the whole time and it was fairly comfortable. Journaling with it’s cursive italic nib was very nice and pleasing but after an A5 size page of writing, the pen’s size made my hand tired. The longer I wrote with it, my hand seemed to squeeze on the pen tighter.

Katherine: For longer writing sessions, I tend to prefer this pen posted. It stays comfortable in the hand and I like to think the cursive italic helps me keep my hand writing even and (marginally) nice looking. Additionally, putting the threads on the end of pen is an awesome touch — even if I move my grip around (my lazy hand cramps sometimes) I don’t worry about holding threads.

In my small hands, this pen is totally usable unposted, but it feels pretty light. (I have eczema, pls ignore. :<)
It’s a better balanced pen when posted.

EDC-ness

Pamela: I don’t use the model 45 at work since I have other pens that are better suited for the quick deployment like the Pilot VP. I also don’t feel comfortable carrying this in my white coat without a clip or using it on the patient units without a roll stop.  On the flip side, it’s a great opportunity to get creative and customize this pen.

I reserve the Model 45 for the reflective/contemplative writing sessions.  Using this pen is almost meditative for me as I slow my pace and be more intentional with my writing.  Watching this pen in action brings me a sense of joy and ease as I practice a little slice of mindfulness.

Katherine: The 45 uncaps quickly, which is nice for jotting down quick notes. And the dry nib makes taking notes on mediocre work paper a possibility. Perhaps because of the dryness of the pen, it doesn’t seem to spit into its cap as I drop it and throw it in my backpack or pocket. The only downside is the lack of a cap or rollstop — so if I’m not careful with where I put it, the 45 can easily roll away.

Franz: I brought this pen to work for one day and it was actually very good for writing quick notes. Just like Katherine, I appreciated the quick uncapping capability. However, being a clipless pen made it difficult to store in my jacket pocket, or even in my shirt pocket. I found that I was having to “fish” it out of the pocket each time I needed it. So, it just stayed on my desk and only used it when I got to sit down.

Grip-ping Impressions

Pamela: I was initially apprehensive about the Model 45 given how small it is that it would feel too insubstantial and well, plastic-y.  I am pleasantly surprised that the material is sturdy and has great acoustics.  Yes, acoustics.  The sound of the cap separating and meeting the body of the pen is satisfying and even enjoyable for me.  (It’s really the little things in life right?)  It takes less than a full turn for me to get the cap off the pen for fast and easy deployment when needed.

Posted, the pen is the perfect length for comfort and is well balanced. Despite the small size of the pen, it’s really comfortable for me to hold in the traditional tripod position for the optimal use of the wonderful CI nib. Writing a couple sentences with it is easy, breezy and beautiful.

I can’t think of a better way to express my appreciation for a pen than with a purchase! The review is was a very convenient rationale.  I know, the sacrifices we have to make…

Just be aware that between both our pens, our fine CI nibs were on the dry side out of the box.  My writing pressure is significantly heavier than Katherine so a small tweak was all it took for me.

Katherine:  I tried Dan’s (hello Dan! Do you have a website?) 45 before purchasing my own — I was wow’d by how comfortable it was to hold, posted or unposted, and by how smooth the F CI nib is. So I got my own, and it hasn’t disappointed. I tend to use it unposted (I’m that lazy), but it’s equally comfortable either way for me.

Overall, I think this pen is great value for $110 (we’ll see what the post-IPO price looks like!). It’s a small pen (it easily fits in my skinny jeans’ pockets) that is comfortable to write with even for long durations. It’s a solidly built writer with an interesting nib that transitions well from my workday to my before-bedtime journaling.

Franz: I feel that the Model 45 is a very good pen for people with small to average sized hands. With my larger hands, I can say that the 45 is not for me. I was only able to use the pen posted unlike Pam and Katherine. This is coming from a person who owns and enjoys writing with a Franklin-Christoph Model 66. But that’s probably reserved for another review.

Since pens are a very personal and tactile experience, I do recommend everyone interested to try out and hold this pen to see if it’s right for them.

Large hands notwithstanding, I do like the pen’s appearance, build quality, and nib variety. I also feel that it’s a very good value for the money. Thanks for letting me use your pen Katherine!

 

20160710_HOTP F-C Model 45_004

20160710_HOTP F-C Model 45_006

20160710_HOTP F-C Model 45_007

20160710_HOTP F-C Model 45_009

20160710_HOTP F-C Model 45_010

 

20160710_HOTP F-C Model 45_001
Closed pens from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari

 

Posted cap from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari
Posted cap from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari

 

Unposted from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari
Unposted from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari
6 Comments

Review: Platinum 3776 Century (Bourgogne, SF nib)


Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The pen is made of some sort of dark red translucent plastic with gold trim, and I really like it. It’s translucent enough to have depth, but solid enough to have some mystery. Overall I’m not a big fan of gold trim, but the trim makes the red look really rich and warm. I’m a fan!

Franz: I have always admired the Platinum 3776 Century Bourgogne, and Chartres Blue’s translucent material. With the right lighting, the pen just seems to glow. The cigar shape is quite nice and gives it a balanced look that I find very pleasing.

Pamela:  I was unimpressed when I saw the picture of this pen on the internet since the color and the shape of the pen doesn’t appeal to me. However, upon handling the pen, the material feels substantial.  Although I am not a fan of the yellow gold, the red is deep and rich in color. As Katherine says, the yellow gold is the best compliment to the red.

The cigar shape and the gold trim provides the pen a classic and traditional aesthetic, which is not my cup of tea, but is worthy of consideration for anyone who enjoys the aesthetic.

Hands-On

Katherine: I’ve seen a couple reviews of this pen saying it’s a little small unposted — I think it’s perfect. I prefer it unposted, but do post it when I’m worried about losing the cap. It’s a solid and well-balanced pen.

Franz: Sorry Katherine, but in my hand, this pen needs to be posted to be comfortable for I grip it far back near the threads. The pen is still usable when unposted but I need to place my fingers closer to the nib and I have to be conscious in doing so.

The resin material is well made and sturdy. It’s probably just me, but the pen warms up in my hand almost like how an ebonite pen feels. I believe it takes one and a quarter turn to cap/uncap the pen. As you cap the pen, the final quarter turn gives a secure feeling as the inner cap actuates the Slip and Seal mechanism.

Pamela: I prefer my pens to be posted when I write with them.  Unposted, the length is perfect and is noticeably lighter. However, given my preference, the cap provides slightly additional heft to the pen that I typically prefer in the hand feel.  Please note, I am also the type of person who enjoys the heftier VP over the slimmer and lighter Decimo model.

Franz’s hands make this pen look tiny!

 

The Business End

Katherine: I love this nib. It writes with a touch of feedback and quite a bit of springiness (since this is a Soft Fine). Writing with this pen makes me feel alive. However, if I want to keep writing with visible line variation, this pen isn’t by any means semi-flex and it can get pretty tiring.

Franz: Yep, the nib on this pen means business. It just… writes. For a Japanese Fine nib, it is smooth but lets me know that it is writing. I generally prefer to write with western medium/broad nibs but with this nib, I don’t mind it at all. As Katherine mentioned, there is just a little bit of spring to the nib and it feels nice.

And let’s not forget the nib’s awesome heart-shaped breather hole!

Pamela: This nib is out of this world and seems to defy the law of physics.  I can’t believe that this is a “stock nib” from Platinum.  It provides some bite when writing, particularly with my heavy hand, but nib still provides an acceptable fine line with regular writing.  If desired, the “softness” of the nib can be used to add a flourish with the added line variation.  The softness is best used with moderation since it actually takes quite a bit of concerted effort make a large line variation.

How did Platinum make a gold nib that is stiff enough to produce a wonderfully fine line yet perfectly springy enough to provide a great line variation?  Some nibs just have it all.

Write It Up

(20-minute writing experience)

Katherine: This pen is comfortable and I have no qualms writing with it for long periods of time. (I quite enjoy it, actually!)

Franz: For the first fifteen minutes of writing I posted the 3776 and it was fantastic! The pen seemed to meld into my hand and made my journaling an enjoyable experience. I was gripping the pen high up and the threads were resting on my middle finger. It did not bother me at all.

For the last five minutes of my journaling, I wrote with it unposted. My fingers slid down closer to the lip of the section. I felt a tighter grip and gave me a tense feeling. A total 180-degree experience from earlier. So, I will only use the pen unposted when I need to write a word or two.

Pamela: Writing with this pen is a joy. I find that the small amount of “bite” to be so satisfying because you can feel the words be put into the paper whether it is from a strong punctuation at the end of a sentence or the smooth sweep of cursive. If I am not mindful, I can start gripping the pen on the threads and tight enough to feel the step down bite into my hand.  Otherwise, I have little complaints to size of the pen.

EDC-ness

Katherine: I jot down a lot of notes at work — unscrewing the cap every time is okay, but not optimal. Additionally, this pen seems to like spitting ink into its cap while it’s in my backpack. The nib is huge and pretty — but almost always has a glob or two of ink on it. Not my favorite bring-to-work-pen.

Franz: I found this pen to be acceptable for use at my work setting. For signatures and quick notes, the screw cap did not bother me at all. I signed my name about 14 times in one day and I liked it (posted, of course!). Fortunately, I have not experienced any nib/feed issues unlike both of my colleagues.

Pamela: Ditto on all of Katherine’s points.  As much as I enjoy the nib, I didn’t find it particularly work friendly with the screw on cap. I, too, noticed spurts of ink after this pen was in my backpack.  And at one point, the flow of the ink seemed to be pretty inconsistent.  The pen would start writing just fine for about 3-5 words then it would appear that the feed was running out of ink despite an almost full converter.

Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: I think this is one of my favorite pens for the value ($83 dollars?! That’s a steal!)– I love the way it writes and it doesn’t look bad. Actually, I like this pen so much I have two, the other being a limited edition Sai with a Fine nib. I really love the way it writes and it’s a very comfortable size unposted.

Franz: The Platinum 3776 Century is a great pen to have and I would recommend it for anyone looking for a medium sized pen. I most probably will own a Chartres Blue with rhodium trim in the near future. (Thanks Katherine!)

Pamela: Due to the aesthetics of the pen, I wouldn’t buy it for the listed price.  However, I am willing to pay for this pen just for the nib alone. Luckily, Nakaya uses Platinum nibs.  If (or when) I am fortunate enough to be able to afford my own Nakaya, I will definitely be choosing the soft fine nib.  It’s a unique and wonderful nib, worthy of a dream/grail pen.

Hand size comparison, left to right: Katherine, Pam and Franz. The version shown here is a 3776 “Sai” with a Fine nib. 
15 Comments

Hello & Welcome!

Hello world!

This is our first post — the only people who will likely read it at first are Pam & Franz as they see their WordPress invites and go “what the heck is Katherine doing?!”

The goal of this blog is for us to review and share our opinions on fountain pens & associated things. I’ve found that my hands are MUCH smaller than average and many pen reviews call pens I think are totally normal “small” and pens that I can’t use comfortably “perfectly sized”. So here we are, I figure I can’t be the only one — and I’ve dragged two friends into it!

So welcome to my (our, because everything is better with friends) corner of the internet. And, bring on any & all feedback!

2 Comments