Colorverse Season 4: Able & Miss Baker + Hayabusa Ink Review

Before anything else, a big shout out of appreciation to Pen Chalet, for sending us inks to review! Pen Chalet was generous and sent us the inks at no charge, but we promise the review below is unbiased and our own uninfluenced* opinions.

* Except maybe by the food coma that followed our dinner gathering

For those unfamiliar with the Colorverse brand, each set contains two bottles, a big one (65ml)and a small (15ml) one. For this review we’re taking a look at two sets: Able + Miss Baker, and Hayabusa + Hayabusa Glistening. Able + Miss Baker is part of Colorverse’s Season 4 offering, Trailblazer in Space. Hayabusa is a Tokyo 2018 Special Edition.

Packaging

Inky Dispositions

Franz: Here goes our first ink review! =) For a period of time now, I’ve been intrigued with the ink bottles of Colorverse. Their bottle shape is very unique as well as their decision to ship two different size bottles and different ink colors. I also really love their outer space themes.

In this review, I only got to test the Able and the Hayabusa (non Glistening). Oh by the way, I kept referring to it as Habuyasa. Good thing I spelled it right in my sample below. Anyway, back to the ink review please.

Able: Color- mossy green; Saturation- low; Shading- high; Wetness- dry; Dry time- fast; Overall thoughts- The green color is very nice to look at however it is too light. The italic writing is from a wet, medium size Pelikan M800 nib but it doesn’t look like it below.

Hayabusa: Color- violet (more of in between violet and purple); Saturation- high; Shading- low; Wetness- medium to high; Dry time- medium; Overall thoughts- I’m loving this color! I don’t have too many purple inks but this definitely hits it for me. The difference in Hayabusa’s lubrication is noticeably different against the Able.

Ms. Baker: As I stated earlier, I was not able to test this ink but I was able to compare ink swatches and the two ladies’ writing samples. I would describe the color a light hot pink. I only own 3 pink inks (Monteverde Kindness Pink, Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji, and Kosumosu) but they don’t match Ms. Baker at all.

I’m happy to have been able to try out inks from the Colorverse brand. I will look into getting more samples of their growing ink line up.

Colorverse Able on 52gsm Tomoe River paper in a Musubi diary notebook
Colorverse Hayabusa on 52gsm Tomoe River paper in a Musubi diary notebook

Katherine: First off, I think the Colorverse bottles and packaging are adorable. There are even little stickers! But, that Able label is misleading. It looks solidly grey, but as you can see in our swatches, is solidly green. Perhaps a muddy green, but definitely green.

Packaging aside, the inks are well behaved — flow well and wash out easily (I did splatter Able and Miss Baker on some clothing and my face before dinner over the weekend. It washed off easily and no one looked at me funny as I ate my fancy multicourse meal). My one gripe is that Able is really, really light in most nibs — even wetter ones like Pelikan nibs. The highlight of trying the three for me is that Hayabusa Glistening both sheens and shimmers — a purple ink with green sheen and gold shimmer, so much fun!

Overall, I really like Hayabusa (I’m a sucker for purple ink) and Miss Baker. I like the overall color of Able, but found it too light except when in a narrow wet nib (the FCI in my writing samples).

Paper: 52gsm Tomoe River in a Seven Seas Crossfield journal notebook

Pam:  My favorite color of the three is Colorverse Hayabusa. It’s a fantastic purple color.  It reminds me of the Montblanc Psychedelic Purple.  There are subtle differences between the two; Hayabusa is a cooler purple (more blue undertones) where as Psychedelic Purple is a warmer purple (with more red undertones.) Both have a subtle gold sheen, although, the sheen on Hayabusa can appear more green in certain lights.  I find Hayabusa to be a great purple ink that has great readability that behaves very well in pens.  Hayabusa was easily the most saturated of the inks and performed extremely well in F and EF nibs.  My architect nib is particularly dry so this saturated ink has more shading without losing it’s vibrancy.

Miss Baker was a pleasant surprise for me.  As someone who passed on Sailor Peche and sakura-inspired pink hues for ink, Miss Baker was surprisingly pleasant to behold.  I particularly liked it with the Sailor 21k F nib, which is the wettest of my three nibs.  My bias towards saturation is obvious, but I can’t deny that Miss Baker is capable of some great shading.  Unfortunately, I don’t see myself using Miss Baker often due to the softness of the color.  I am not sure if I would find a page of Miss Baker to be highly readable, or if it’s a color that would capture my attention in the margins in a sea of black print.

I will admit that I was expecting Able to be a gray ink, so my disappointment on this particular color may overshadow any positive qualities that this ink may have.  Able is NOT gray.  It’s a dull green-gray (more green).  It lacks vibrancy of a green like Montblanc Irish Green or even Bungubox Norwegian Wood or the interest of a green-variant like Ku-jaku or Bungbox Dandyism.  Able is just a blah-green.  If there is any gray in the ink, it just took away the vibrancy and readability of the ink.  It’s the least saturated ink of the three and is a pale ghost of it’s already zombied-green self in my EF and dry architect nibs.  If anything, I feel mislead by the packaging and disappointed by the color.

Overall, I found all the Colorverse inks to be wet in flow and really easy to clean out.  I will definitely be adding some Colorverse inks to my collection in the near future. Thank you again Pen Chalet!  My order will be in your queue soon!

Paper: Filofax notebook.
Paper: (insert here, wait for Pam)
Paper: (insert here). A comparison of different purples side by side. Lavender Purple is much redder.

Ink Circles and Comparisons

Paper: Rhodia 80g Dot Pad. Able is definitely not grey, but is a pretty unique light muddy green. Able is a bright pink, but not similar to anything we had on hand. Katherine suspects it might be close to J Herbin’s Bouquet D’ Antan.

Paper: Rhodia 80g Dot Pad. Hayabusa’s closest match is Waterman Tender Purple, they even have the same greenish sheen.

And for the shimmer fiends, here’s a close up of Hayabusa Glistening. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the sheen and shimmer to show in any writing samples.

We received these inks free of charge for the purposes of this review. We were not compensated monetarily for our review. Everything you’ve read here is our own opinions.

1 Comment

Benu Chameleon (Charming Chameleon, Medium Nib)

We want to thank Lisa and Mike Vanness of Vanness Incorporated for lending us this Benu Pen Chameleon fountain pen for review. And sorry it has taken a while Lisa! The Vanness family has had a pen shop in Little Rock, Arkansas since 1938 and is celebrating 80 years of being in business. Check their store out if you can. They also travel to pen shows in the United States and one of the shows that we will see them at is the upcoming San Francisco Pen Show in August.

The opinions in this review are always our own and we were not compensated (monetarily or otherwise) for this review.

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: This pen is… very purple. The unique shape of many of the Benu pens has intrigued me since I started to see them on Instagram. Many thanks to Vanness for lending us one so I could finally try one! And such a cool purple material too. Off the bat, I suspect the looks of this pen will be very polarizing — you either love it or you don’t. Personally, I like the galaxy-ish purple material and the unique shape. However, I couldn’t get the triangular sides to line up, which bugged me (I could also just be incompetent EDIT: Franz confirmed — I’m incompetent and it lines up for him).

Pam:  It’s a very unique pen in terms of aesthetics.  The material is “loud” to me but the shape is intriguing.  It’s not often that we get to see a triangular shape in the world of fountain pens.  I will admit that I am not particularly fond of the material as I find it very distracting and detracts from the cool shape of the pen.

Franz: Yep, this Benu Chameleon pen definitely has a distinctive design. It reminds me of the crystal that Superman used to create his Fortress of Solitude except that it’s blue and purple (blurple) and not a glowing green. Hmm… I hope that wasn’t too geeky of a reference. Hehehe… =P

 

In the Hand: Benu Chameleon (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Benu Chameleon (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

 

Details

Benu’s packaging is pretty nice and simple. The white box seems perfect for the colorful pens they make. An instruction booklet also comes with the package.
A close up of the Charming Chameleon’s finish.

 

The Business End

Katherine: It contains a Schmidt nib, which is perfectly usable, but not particularly memorable. It’s on the smaller side though — so I bet you might be able to swap a vintage nib into it (though I didn’t try, so proceed at your own risk!).

Pam:  I do find the Schmidt nib to be small relative to the rest of the pen.  It’s not ideal for my angle of writing with this particular set up.  It puts my hand closer to the paper than I would like it.  The Schmidt nib is a reliable nib, writing smoothly and well right out of the box.

Franz: This Chameleon has a medium steel nib and is smooth out of the box. The smaller #5 nib complements the taper of the barrel and section nicely. This nib wrote nicely as it should and I liked it. I believe Benu pens currently have F, M, and B as nib size choices.

As Katherine alluded to, you can “gently” pull out the nib and feed to swap a similarly sized nib. Please remember that any modification you make to any pen may void any warranty there may be.

 

Write It Up 

Katherine: When I uncapped it, I was initially worried about the size of the step from section to barrel, but the section is long enough and I hold my pen far enough forward that it wasn’t an issue at all. The section is on the narrower side, and the pen is on the heavier side, which generally isn’t a combination I love. This pen was no different — usable, but not a pen that feels perfect in hand.

Pam:  The triangular shape surprisingly doesn’t detract from the comfort during the writing experience, however, the step does for me.  It’s not very sharp, but that does depend on how heavily you grip the pen.  I was left with some indentations on my hands based on my typical grip.  I do think Benu created this pen for those with a traditional grip in mind.

The cap does post rather deeply and the material is light enough that it doesn’t add too significant of a weight to the back end of the pen.  Posting the pen may be beneficial for those with the larger hands.  I found it did upset my balance, especially since the nib is relatively small and it threw off my typical writing angle slightly.

Franz: I comfortably wrote with this pen unposted for a long time and it’s due to the longer than usual section. My grip ends up on the threads and they are not sharp at all. Posted, the Chameleon definitely becomes longer. And I really love the notches on the barrel to keep the cap in place. I surprisingly prefer writing with the Chameleon unposted.

Unposted, one can see the notch on the barrel for the cap to latch on to. The longer section allows for the step to be further back.
Posted, the cap covers about an inch of the barrel and is very secure.

 

EDC-ness

Katherine: Upside: it doesn’t roll. Downside: it doesn’t have a clip. It takes two turns to uncap, but they’re two wonderfully smooth turns.

Pam:  The pen did well in my Nock Sinclair case for EDC-ness, however, it wasn’t user friendly for me at work being clipless.  On the flip side, it was quick to uncap and the nib performed admirably well on crappy office paper. The cap does post relatively securely for those quick notes.  My biggest hesitation with this being my EDC is that the material is also quite loud which made me hesitate bringing it out in the hospital setting.

Franz: In the workplace, I used the Chameleon either on the go stored in my shirt pocket or on my desk. I found that this pen is the sit-down-and-write kind due to the number of cap turns (2 and a quarter), as well as the facets that made sure the pen did not roll away. The medium nib wrote nicely on the copier paper and was all around nice.

This pen is also fun-ny because my coworkers thought I was holding a mascara tube or something. Technically, it applies color to a surface, right? ;-P

Chameleon sitting on one of its facets ready to pounce… er… write!

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: The unique shapes and materials are the big draw with this pen. If it’s not your thing, this isn’t the pen for you. But, if you’re like me and you’ve been curious about them for a while, it’s a bit of a relief to find out that while it isn’t the most comfortable and perfect pen for my hand, it’s definitely a usable and reliable writer. My one peeve is that the facets/sides don’t line up.

Pam:  Benu is willing to break tradition with unique materials and shapes.  This pen is best suited for those with a traditional tripod grip.  So if you are looking for a pen with a unique aesthetic and reliable nib, this might be the pen for you.  Based on the material and how it works out with my grip, this pen just isn’t for me.

Franz: Hey Katherine!!! The cap and barrel’s facets do line up. You just gotta give it a gentle twist. 😉 Overall, the Chameleon pen is a good size pen and the shape definitely stands out against other pen designs. What also captivates me is the “Charming” finish on this pen. Blue and purple are my two favorite colors and this is a great example of a blurple pen. I do like this pen a lot and if it is up your aesthetical alley, try it out!

Another shout out of appreciation to Lisa and Mike Vanness for the opportunity to review this Benu pen! The Chameleon pen in this finish and others can be found over at their site, www.vanness1938.com.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: TWSBI Eco, Platinum 3776, Pilot Vanishing Point, Franklin-Christoph Model 31, *Benu Chameleon*, Edison Beaumont, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: TWSBI Eco, Platinum 3776, Pilot Vanishing Point, Franklin-Christoph Model 31, *Benu Chameleon*, Edison Beaumont, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: TWSBI Eco, Platinum 3776, Pilot Vanishing Point, Franklin-Christoph Model 31, *Benu Chameleon*, Edison Beaumont, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

2 Comments

Review: Classic Pens LB5 (Tairiku in Amethyst Mauve, Broad Nib)

HOTP Editorial: Please note that the Classic Pens LB5 were limited edition releases from 2012 and since then has been unavailable for sale from their authorized retailers. The LB5 pen can occasionally be found for sale in the secondary market, or at a pen show. Granted that because this is a limited edition pen, this may only happen a few times and far in between.

This review, and our pen blog is primarily focused on providing a point-of-view (or is it a grip-of-view?) from different hand sizes as well as compare the LB5’s size against other more common pens. Thank you for reading our thoughts and reviews!

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: This is a very sizable pen made out of a very unique and interesting material. The something or another fancy acrylic has a lot of depth, in a way that is totally unique from celluloid or other acrylics. I really like how this pen looks — I just wish it were smaller.

Pam: Holy nightstick Batman! That’s how big this pen is (at least to me). It’s one of the most notable features of the pen. The second thing that I noticed of this massive beauty is the material.  The material has a lot of surface area to show off it’s depth and iridescence.  Pictures can’t do this pen justice. One of my favorite materials of the LB 5 is the purple.   The overall aesthetic of the pen is very much a classic shape with the traditional gold trim.  However, maybe it’s the size or the material, but I wouldn’t consider the aesthetic of the pen to be “vintage” looking.

Franz: CHATOYANCE! Pardon my French. An over-sized pen with a beautiful acrylic material? Please tell me more!

The Classic Pens LB5 is an impressive pen to behold. Their unique material lures you in and the Sailor King of Pen nib performance keeps you coming back for more. As the blog photographer for HOTP, I tried my very best to show the beauty of the LB5’s material but nothing beats seeing it in person.

In the Hand: Classic Pens LB5 (posted) – from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Classic Pens LB5 (unposted) – from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

Background Info: Classic Pens was established in 1987 and has been known for collaborating with other pen brands, and artists to introduce stunning limited edition art pens. The pen in review is part of the LB Collection wherein LB is an acronym for Lambrou and Brown. Andreas Lambrou and Keith Brown are the two founders of Classic Pens. The LB5 series was introduced in 2012 and 2013 to commemorate the company’s 25th year anniversary and was aptly named, Classic Pens LB5 25th Anniversary Shizen (Nature) Pens.

The unique acrylic was made by two companies. First, Sintetica from Italy cast the sheets of pearlized acrylic and then Carville from the United Kingdom used an exclusive diffusion bonding technique to bond multiple sheets together and made the material more stable. The acrylic was then sent to Sailor Pen Japan to each be turned into a King Profit (King of Pen) pen. A difference to be noted is that the LB5 was made 5mm longer than the King Profit pen. And the pen was fitted with a 21-karat King Profit nib. The nib sizes offered were either a medium, or broad. There were a few Nagahara Cross Point nibs available at a premium price.

The LB5 was manufactured in six different colors: Tensui (raindrops) in Space Blue, Kaen (violent flames) in Flame Red, Midorigi (new green trees) in Forest Green, Tairiku (continent) in Marble White, Kouseki (metal ore) in Diamond Brown, and Tairiku (continent) in Amethyst Mauve which is the pen we are reviewing. This limited edition was issued only with 50 pens in each color. with a listed price of $1,600 in 2013. Important to note that in recent years, Classic Pens changed their name into Lambrou Pens.

close up of the cap’s acrylic

 

The Business End

Katherine: I’ve tried LB5s with both an unmodified Medium and a Broad Cursive Italic, both were lovely. The first time I tried it, I was surprised by how soft and bouncy the nib was. I loved writing with it, though it is a monster of a nib. I tend to hold my pens pretty far forward, and the size of this nib means I hold it at the very lip sometimes. Not a problem, but an observation.

Pam: This nib is a Sailor nib, so it’s perfect. Actually, it’s not the typical size of the Sailor nibs that we know and adore so well. Like the pen, it’s bigger!  With the extra size and material of the nib, comes with more bounce. Perhaps, it’s my natural bias to love all things Sailor but I really enjoyed the “oversized” nib with the “oversized” pen.  (Oversized is in quotes because I know it’s the perfect size for bear paws.) Oddly enough, I felt that this nib was proportional to the pen and performed extremely well. It was a smoother nib than I expected and I didn’t feel the pencil-like feedback that Sailor nibs are known for.

Franz: The LB5 is made by Sailor so naturally, the nib used was their King of Pen line. As Pam mentioned, the size of the KoP nib was balanced against the larger size of the LB5.

Most Sailor nibs write perfectly out-of-the-box and this was no exception. The unmodified broad nib wrote smoothly and had a bit of bounce to it. The 21-karat KoP nibs are not meant to be used for flex writing but its springiness provided a little flair to my writing. As shown in the second photo below, the LB5 section is comparable to other over-sized pens and was comfortable for my grip.

Sailor King of Pen Broad Nib
Over-sized nibs from left to right: Classic Pens LB5, Wahl-Eversharp Decoband, Pelikan M1000, and Montblanc 149
Franz’ writing sample on a Nanami Crossfield Journal

Write It Up

Katherine: This pen is a littttle too large for me. It’s usable, but if I grip it tightly, my hand ends up pretty tired. If I grip it loosely though, it’s great! A fun nib in a pen that’s beautiful. Unfortunately, though, I tend to be a not-loose gripper by default, so I don’t think this pen will ever be a favorite for journaling.

Pam: The pen is easier to write with the tripod grip. My “iron fist” grip had the larger pen feel unbalanced.  The tripod grip being a “secondary grip” for me did tire out my hand, however the width of the pen was still very comfortable in either grip.  The threads were not sharp so I wasn’t so worried about my “iron fist” grip getting too uncomfortable.  If only my hands were larger, this pen would be much more comfortable.  This pen would be great for the “normal” or medium hand size.  (Just not pixie hands.)

Franz: The bear paw… I mean, my hand wrote with the LB5 effortlessly in both posted or unposted modes. As mentioned earlier, the LB5 is 5mm longer than the “standard” Sailor King of Pen. This is because Classic Pens requested Sailor to lengthen the barrel to make the pen more comfortable to write with when unposted. I truly appreciate the extra length of the barrel and was sufficient for my larger hands. I do post the cap sometimes when i feel that I’d like the pen to be a little heavier and it was still a pleasant journaling session.

 

EDC-ness

Katherine: This pen is too large for me to EDC comfortably. I tend to stick my pens in notebooks sandwiches, or occasionally in my jacket pockets… and this is just too big. It’s like having a hot dog in your pocket. But, if you have larger pockets than I do, it seems up to the task. Solidly made, and takes about 2.25 twists to uncap, so solid but not too tedious.

Pam:  This pen is a bit too large for my pockets, whitecoat or jeans.  I would also not recommend being rough with this pen given that the material is so beautiful and may be scratched by keys.  This beast will need a home in a case.

Franz: Is the LB5 a good pen for Every Day Carry use? Well, it could be. As detailed by the two ladies above, it is a larger pen to bring along. When I used this pen at work, I had to make sure that the dress shirt I was wearing had a deep breast pocket and even then, it still stuck out semi-securely. I am able to conceal and secure the LB5 when I constantly wear a suit jacket at work though. Now for carrying cases, it barely fit in my Nock Co. Sinclair case that I use on the daily. It does fit nicely inside my Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Six case and is quite secure in my bag. The broad nib is a little too wet for the cheap paper used at work but I believe a medium nib would be perfect.

Just like most Sailor pens, it is a cartridge/converter filled pen so when I used this pen on the daily, I found that I needed to refill every three days or so. An advantage of the c/c filler is it makes the pen light weight instead of having a filling mechanism installed which potentially makes a pen heavier.

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: I can see why this pen is a grail for many, but the size just means it doesn’t work for me. I wish pen makers wouldn’t only make their flagships massive… It’s gorgeous, has a fantastic nib and has a really unique material. But, I prefer smaller pens. :/ Womp.

Pam:  I love the nib of this pen.  Unfortunately, this pen wouldn’t be balanced to have a small pen with a large nib.  I would highly recommend this pen to those who have the fortune of having a “normal” hand size and can find one of these pens looking for a new home.  The way I see, if both criteria are met, the stars have aligned and you are meant to have this pen. ;p (Wallet protests aside.)

Franz: As we have noted in the beginning of this review, the Classic Pens LB5 has long been sold out. If you are interested in the pen’s unique diffusion bonded acrylic, Andy Lambrou currently has another edition of limited edition pens in these acrylics. The Lambrou Pens LB6 Virtues is slowly being issued in seven different colors. This edition however is more limited since they are releasing only 10 pens in each color.

My final thoughts on the LB5? I am channeling the thoughts of the people who had reviewed the LB5 before (Dan Smith, SBRE Brown, Matt Armstrong, etc.) when I say that, I love this pen! The Classic Pens LB5 has been a part of my Top 5 pens ever since I brought it home from the pen show. Why? Is it because: it’s a limited edition? the material? the pen size? the aesthetic? the value? the connection I have with the pen maker? I can’t specifically answer why but I feel that it’s the whole package that the LB5 delivers.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Franklin-Christoph Model 31, Aurora 88, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Classic Pens LB5*, Sailor 1911 Large, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Franklin-Christoph Model 31, Aurora 88, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Classic Pens LB5*, Sailor 1911 Large, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Franklin-Christoph Model 31, Aurora 88, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Classic Pens LB5*, Sailor 1911 Large, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

Closed pens from top to bottom: Tensui (raindrops) in Space Blue, Tairiku (continent) in Amethyst Mauve, Kouseki (metal ore) in Diamond Brown
Unposted pens from top to bottom: Tensui (raindrops) in Space Blue, Tairiku (continent) in Amethyst Mauve, Kouseki (metal ore) in Diamond Brown
Closed pens from left to right: Closed pens from top to bottom: Midorigi (new green trees) in Forest Green, Tairiku (continent) in Amethyst Mauve, Tairiku (continent) in Marble White, Kouseki (metal ore) in Diamond Brown
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Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 31 Omnis (Purpurae, Medium Nib)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: I really like the material of this pen. It’s so pretty! The design of the pen isn’t my favorite though, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not bad. It’s probably worth noting that I’m not a big fan of what I think of as FC’s “chunkier” designs, or the indented rings they like putting on pens. I love their models with clean lines — the 45, the p66, 66 and (a little bit less) the 20, but the 31 just isn’t as clean.  But, personal preference.

Pam: I was blown away by the size and material of this pen.  The material of the pen is stunning with alot of iridescence and depth.  I really like the shape of the pen, but the size of the pen is a bit much for me. I have mixed feelings about the indentations on the body and the placement of the nib.  It adds texture to the body and interest in the eye, but also breaks up the lines of the pen shape.  The nib is semi-hooded which baffles me a little bit.  I didn’t notice this before on other FC pens and I can’t decide if I like it or not.  Overall, I think the model 31 is a great add to the line up for those with larger hands or prefer larger pens.

Franz: “Holy swirly purple pen Batman!” Yep, that was my reaction when I saw this at the LA pen show in February 2017. This was the first Model 31 I ever saw and it was (at that time) the only prototype in the purpurae material. When I saw this pen, I knew I had to have it. Anyway, going back to the pen model, this is a fairly large pen size in the Franklin-Christoph line up. Their model 19 is still the largest of the group but I think the model 31 is just a level below that.

Now for the details that my co-bloggers have mentioned, I love the indented rings on the barrel as it’s quite distinctive. While I’m at a pen show hovering at a Franklin-Christoph table, I can immediately identify a model 31 from their display because of these rings. The nib is recessed just like their model 20 and provides a smooth transition from the section to the nib which I’m liking very much.

In the Hand: Franklin-Christoph Model 31 (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Franklin-Christoph Model 31 (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

 

The Business End

Katherine: Like all FC nibs, this one was a comfortable and unproblematic writer. Franz had a steel medium in it and it was smooth, wet without being soggy, and an all around undramatic but very reliable writer. No complaints!

Pam:  Like all FC nibs that I have tried, it wrote well.  Smooth, saturated lines without getting too heavy.  The black anodized nib is amazing.   I particularly like how the logo stands out on such a sleek nib.

Franz: Surprisingly, I asked for a stock medium nib when I got this pen and Mr. Jim Rouse actually chose the Shadow (black) finish of the nib to match the pen. As with all Franklin-Christoph pens bought at a pen show, the nib is tuned by Jim to your writing preferences. So this medium nib is one of the smoothest, and perfect flow writers I have.

Thanks very much ROUSE! 🙂

 

Write It Up

Katherine: This pen was a wee bit top heavy when posted (the cap doesn’t post super deeply, so the pen ends up kinda long), but when unposted, is very comfortable. The threads are on the section, so I don’t even have to worry about gripping them when I hold my pen further forward. I could write for pages with this pen.

Pam: I preferred writing with this pen unposted.  In my pixie handed fist grip I found it to be top heavy when posted.  I had no issues writing with this pen as I found it relatively light (for it’s size) and well balanced.  The width of the pen is quite comfortable for either the fisty grip or the tripod grip.  For a larger pen, it is quite comfortable in petite hands.

Franz: As seen from the “In the Hand” photos above, the Model 31 is perfect for my hand with both the cap posted, or unposted. The elongated section is great because my grip comfortably lands right before the threads start when unposted. If I post the cap, it does get a bit long but it’s not unwieldy at all. The light cap doesn’t make it top heavy for me especially when I move my grip a little further back. #BearPaw

I wrote with the 31 unposted, and posted equally within twenty minutes and it was a very pleasant journaling session.

 

EDC-ness

Katherine: This made a solid EDC carry. It feels solidly made, uncaps fairly quickly and has a reliable clip. I wouldn’t hesitate to keep this pen in my pocket, or even throw it in my jacket pocket with my keys (don’t worry Franz, I didn’t!).

Pam: Like all FC pens,I have no qualms using this pen as an EDC. It’s well built and should there be a clip, a great add on to any shirt pocket!

Franz: I have used the Model 31 at my workplace quite a few times already and it works nicely as an Every Day Carry type of pen. The medium nib writes nicely on the cheap copier paper and the cap twists off very quickly for fast writing requirements. The only issue of this specific pen is that it’s clip-less and at times I worried that It might roll away when I set it down. Thankfully it hasn’t happened yet.

Let me just add that when I bought this pen, Jim said that I can request to have a clip installed if I wanted to. So far I like it as it is but if I change my mind, I’m sure Franklin-Christoph will take care of it because their great customer service is legendary.

A couple months ago, I featured this pen paired with Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst ink. It just matches!

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: All in all, I think (like most of FC’s pens) this is a very solid, well made pen. However, the aesthetics just don’t jive with me. I love the material, but ultimately found the pen a little too chunky and a little too busy for my tastes. But, if the look appeals to you (and now that I’m looking at their website… perhaps that yellow and black?) it’d be an easy buy for me.

Pam: Franklin-Christoph has a pen to suit every taste, hand size and aesthetic.  The model 31 is a bit big for me and the material is not exactly my cup of tea. Although this pen doesn’t particularly scream “buy me,” I have been a fan of FC for a while. The pocket 20, model 45 and model p66 are totally up my alley. FC materials are also always amazing, so you really can’t lose!  The model 31 is a great add for any collection really.  You should really check out their table at your nearest pen show.

Franz: Dude… it only took me a couple years but I think I can finally say that I found a Franklin-Christoph pen that fits my hand very nicely.

If that last statement isn’t enough, let me just establish that I am very smitten by the Model 31. Before the 31 came out, I was leaning more towards their Model 03 and/or Model 02 but couldn’t decide which one I liked better. But I am thankful that I met this pen at the LA pen show and it has not been un-inked since I got it. I’m afraid that I might inadvertently start a Model 31 prototype collection if I’m not careful. (Channeling @murberdraws from Instagram)

As contrasted by the experiences of the two ladies above, I would recommend the Model 31 for people with medium to larger hands. If you think the model 03 is kinda small, and the model 19 is too big, try out a model 31. You never know.

“Twilight fell: The sky turned to a light, dusky purple littered with tiny silver stars.”

– J.K. Rowling

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Pelikan M200, Pilot Vanishing Point, Sailor Pro Gear Classic, Edison Beaumont, *Franklin-Christoph Model 31*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Pelikan M200, Pilot Vanishing Point, Sailor Pro Gear Classic, Edison Beaumont, *Franklin-Christoph Model 31*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Pelikan M200, Pilot Vanishing Point, Sailor Pro Gear Classic, Edison Beaumont, *Franklin-Christoph Model 31*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

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