On Fire: The Delta Unica Red LE Fountain Pen (via Anderson Pens)

Delta Unica Red LE Fountain Pen

I rarely come away from watching the Anderson Pens video podcast without jotting yet another pen onto my wish list. Case in point— just before the DC Supershow, Brian and Lisa announced their Delta Unica Limited Edition Fountain Pen, in a gorgeous red acrylic that’s an Anderson Pens exclusive. Wowza.

Oh, that acrylic!!
[Oh, that acrylic!]

With just fifty pens in this color, I was intrigued. And when I heard the price— just $85 (a small premium over the regular Delta Unica colors)— I knew I wanted this pen. BUT, I was getting to the pen show for Sunday only, so I spent a lot of my road trip from New York to Virginia worrying that they’d be gone by the time I was able to shop. PEN ANXIETY!

They were gone. I didn’t get one. The End.

KIDDING.

I hit the Anderson Pens table(s) pretty quickly on Sunday morning and was relieved to find that there were still some left. I chose #34/50 (medium nib), got one of Lisa’s famous hugs, talked to Brian, and ran off to pinball my way around the rest of the show. (Why I can’t seem to do a pen show in an orderly fashion is beyond me. I think it’s adrenaline.)

AP 34/50 Limited Edition
[Limited Edition, Anderson Pens, 34/50]

Once home, the first pen I inked and spent time with was my Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen (LOVE that thing), so I didn’t get around to inking the Delta until a couple of weeks ago. And that’s when I found a bit of a glitch. The pen would write, then stop, then write again. Sometimes it flooded the paper with ink, while other times it ran completely dry. Well, shoot.

Once I took a close look at the nib, the problem was obvious— the nib tines were simply too far apart. I contacted the Andersons by email, included a couple of photos to illustrate the problem, and had a speedy reply from Brian. At his recommendation, I mailed the pen to him, he fixed the nib, and returned it to me asap. Great service after the sale.

Delta Unica matte steel nib
[All better.]

NOW it writes as good as it looks.

Delta Unica LE Red Fountain Pen

It truly is a stunning pen. The red marble acrylic has amazing depth and sheen and looks like it’s on fire from within. Branding is VERY subdued. (You can just make out the “DELTA/ITALY” engraving at the bottom edge of the cap in the picture above.) The clip features a little roller that makes sliding the pen in and out of a pocket or case snag-free. I love the shape of the cap— how it subtly flares out— giving the pen a really clean and simple, but interesting, profile.

Delta Unica vs. Lamy AL-Star
[Size comparison: Delta Unica vs. Lamy AL-Star]

The size is perfect for me (4-3/4″ unposted, 6″ posted). The cap posts securely and doesn’t throw off the balance of the pen. The 0.46″ grip feels great in hand, and the threads and oh-so slight step-down do not interfere with my grip at all. It’s a joy to hold and use. The pen weighs 22g (15g body, 7g cap)— light enough for even an extended writing session.

Delta Unica Matte Steel nib

The nib is steel in a matte finish, and features branding that I find to be a little busy. The writing experience is a smooth and juicy one, with just a bit of feedback. The Unica is cartridge/converter pen, and a converter is included. I’ve filled mine with Sailor Jentle Grenade, a color that was MADE FOR this acrylic.

Delta Unica in LE Red Acrylic
[On fire!]

I’m very pleased with my Delta Unica LE fountain pen— my Anderson Pens Delta Unica. It’s hot looking, writes great, and feels terrific. Brian’s speedy response and quick nib fix proved why it’s important to deal with people you trust. Sometimes things aren’t exactly perfect— with pens as with life— and it’s great to know that there’s someone there should you need help.

Delta Unica LE Red Acrylic fountain pen

Or a hug. (Right, Lisa?!)

————–

Click HERE to watch Brian’s video overview of this pen.

Team Wahlnut: The Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik Fountain Pen

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen

As I mentioned in my quick summary of the DC Pen Show, Fred’s not a pen user, but he IS a talker. He’ll pretty much talk to anybody about anything. As I circled the atrium in the Sheraton looking for deals on Retro 51s (I found a few last year, thus my quest), Fred struck up a conversation with Syd Saperstein, the co-owner of Wahl-Eversharp. After I made my rounds, I stopped at the table and was quickly drawn into the conversation and the pens.

Syd’s a great guy— very easy to talk to and very passionate about his pens. He’s also the perfect salesman— a skill he says he learned from his mother. He’s not pushy in the least, but instead, nudges you towards a purchase with a wealth of information and the interesting history of the Wahl-Eversharp company. He also lets his pens sell themselves. Smart man.

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

Wahl-Eversharp pens WERE on my “quest list,” but I’d already made a few purchases and was contemplating a gorgeously swirly acrylic pen at another table. But then I tried one of Syd’s tester pens. OH, MY. Once I wrote with the Natural Aluminum Skyline Technik, I was 98% sold. Syd’s easy style, as well as a free bottle of Wahl-Eversharp ink, took care of the other 2%. Even Fred (who’s quite— shall we say— thrifty) was sold. As they chatted, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote a little more. Great nib. (“It’s ceramic-coated,” Syd explained. “And semi-flex.”) Super smooth. Addictively smooth. A nib that makes you say, “Wow.”

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

Like I said, I’d been contemplating someone else’s eye-popping acrylic pens, but that Technik tester reeled me right in. Offered in three colors— Natural Aluminum, Black, and Cobalt Blue— I was leaning towards the natural finish while Fred lobbied for the black. He liked the black nib offered on that pen, and in the end, I had to agree. Black pen, black nib. Really cool. Sold.

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

Once home, the Technik was the first pen I inked. Filled with my free Wahl-Eversharp Everberry ink, my pen wrote just as smoothly as the tester, and laid down a gorgeously wet fine-medium line. I’m horrible at getting pens to flex— I’m afraid of springing the nib and have a really light touch— so even though I’ve yet to take full advantage of the semi-flex nib, I do enjoy the way it feels— springy and full of life.

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

I’m quite taken with the design and the construction. Syd explained how the Technik is cut from a single billet of aluminum, resulting in a very sturdy pen. “This isn’t soda can aluminum,” Syd noted. It is the real deal and gives the pen a nice weight (24g capped, 15g uncapped) and substantial feel. I’m just as happy using it posted as I am unposted. The cap posts deeply and securely and feels very well balanced either way.

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

The Technik’s details give it a timeless look. The design of the clip, and the way it’s integrated into the cap, looks both modern and vintage at the same time. The finely milled grooves in the cap add interest and give the pen a distinctively retro look. The tapered 5″ (5.6″ posted) body and 0.4″ grip fit my hand perfectly. So even though I was initially on the prowl for a colorful, swirly acrylic pen, this cool black pen completely won me over. And continues to do so.

Technik in hand

I use it EVERY DAY.

Oh, that nib!

The ceramic-coated, black finish, stainless steel nib is easily in my top five— maybe in my top two, just behind my Visconti Opera Elements. I don’t understand how the ceramic coating works, but if it makes a nib feel and write THIS well, then Syd and his business partner, Emmanuel Caltagirone, are definitely onto something.

Disassembled Technik

THE DETAILS
Body and Cap: Anodized Black Aluminum, cut from solid aluminum billet (Natural Aluminum or Cobalt Blue finish also available)
Clip and Trim: Rhodium-plated (Gold-plated option available)
Nib: Fine to Medium Semi-Flex Black Finish Ceramic-Coated Stainless Steel
Feed: Wahl-Eversharp Exclusive computer-designed Magic Feed II
Ink Filling System: Converter included or standard long Waterman style cartridge
Included Literature: Wahl-Eversharp booklet and warranty card
Packaging: Black lacquer piano box embossed with gold “Wahl-Eversharp” on top, with plush white lining inside
Price: $279

The Technik's packaging

The Technik’s style, weight, design, build quality, and even packaging, are all top-notch. That’s what’s cool about pen shows. I’m not sure that I would’ve purchased this pen had I not seen it, held it, and used it in person. Syd’s enthusiasm and deep passion for his pens and his business were as big a selling point as the pens themselves. During the course of our conversation, Syd told us how he’s known as the “Wahlnut” and I can certainly see why.

Clip profile

Just one question, Mr. Saperstein…can I be an honorary Wahlnut, too?!

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen

[Want to know more about Wahl-Eversharp's history? There's a great story about the company, the pens, and Syd in the February 2014 issue of Pen World magazine.]

Refreshing! The Kaweco Skyline Sport (Mint)

I really wasn’t in the market for another Kaweco, but then I read Ana’s post about the Kaweco Skyline Sport in Mint. MINT! That’s not a pen color that you see very often, and it’s one that reeled me right in.

Kaweco Sport Skyline

I ordered the pen from Fontoplumo, using the discount code on Ana’s site, and just a couple of hours later received an email saying that my order had shipped. THAT was fast! Frank, from Fontoplumo, also followed up with a genuinely friendly thank you email. Good vibes already, all the way across the ocean.

Kaweco Sport Skyline

The pen arrived about eight working days later— not bad from the Netherlands— and I immediately popped in the included blue cartridge. I couldn’t wait to put pen to paper. I’ve had mixed experiences with Kaweco nibs— from amazingly smooth in my first Kaweco, the Liliput (EF nib), to “won’t write at all” in my AL Sport (also EF). The vendor remedied THAT problem, but it’s made me leery of the brand. My clear Sport writes nicely, but not as good as my Liliput. So what would my experience be with this Skyline Sport model and its medium nib?

The Skyline's medium nib

SUSPENSE!

I’m happy to report that this Skyline writes like a dream— smooth, consistent, pleasantly wet— just like my Liliput. Kaweco nibs are inexpensive and super simple to swap, but I’d rather swap nibs because I want to try a different line width than because of a problem. All is well. Phew.

Closed vs. Retro 51 Tornado

This Skyline Sport is, of course, the perfect pocket pen, made even more perfect by the unusual pale mint color. It’s cool. It’s retro. It’s minty fresh.

Posted vs. Retro 51 Tornado

The pen is light (about 10.5 g), but the plastic is sturdy and feels as though it will hold up well. Posted (as it really must be) the pen is almost identical in length to a Retro 51 Tornado. The cap posts securely, better than the one on my AL Sport which always seems to wiggle loose as I’m writing. The plastic on this Skyline Sport is grippier than the metal on the AL Sport so that hasn’t been a problem at all.

Disassembled Kaweco Sport Skyline

I plan to stick with cartridges or syringe re-filled cartridges. There’s a mini converter available but I haven’t read many (or any) favorable reviews on that, so sticking with cartridges seems to be the best plan.

Despite an iffy experience in the past, this Sport Skyline has me back on the Kaweco bandwagon. Everything about it has been superb— from the quick and friendly service by Fontoplumo, to the smooth and juicy nib, to that cool mint color.

Kaweco Sport Skyline end cap logo

The Kaweco Skyline Sport— it really IS wonderfully refreshing.

———————

Check out Ana’s review HERE, for her take on the same pen, as well as her Fontoplumo discount code.

A Second Chance: The TWSBI Diamond 580RB

TWSBI 580RB

I think I was JUST discovering the TWSBI brand back when the first incarnation of this pen— the TSWBI 540 ROC 100— was around. At the time I was enamored with the TWSBI Micarta which couldn’t be more different than this pen. I remember seeing the ROC and thinking that the color scheme wasn’t really my thing. And so I passed. And then it was gone.

Which immediately made me want it. Well played, TWSBI, well played.

Blue Sky with White Sun

So when TWSBI recently released the TWSBI 580RB with the same red/clear/blue color scheme, I pounced on it on launch day. It’s a patriotic looking pen, but not necessarily applicable to just the USA. The cap features the “Blue Sky with White Sun” Taiwanese flag symbol. Though a version sporting a US flag design is promised, I prefer seeing this sun on the end of my pen. I’m patriotic(ish), but more in a “Give me your tired, your poor…” way than the “We’re #1!!” kind of way. The pen, at first glance, might seem like it’s screaming “USA, USA” but there SO MANY countries with red, white, and blue flags, that it could actually be considered multi-cultural.

TWSBI 580RB blind cap

When I was fascinated with the organic and muted look of the TWSBI Micarta, the 580ROC looked garish, but now I enjoy its eye popping red cap and section and blue blind cap. I’ve filled mine with Iroshizuku kon-peki which is a dead ringer for the pen’s blue accents. The piston filler works smoothly and makes the pen a breeze to clean.

TWSBI 580RB Medium nib

The pen is available in fine, medium, and broad— no stub as yet— but a spare TWSBI stub nib unit could be swapped in. I chose the medium nib which writes very smoothly with excellent flow. I couldn’t be happier with the way this steel nib performs. I have a couple of other TWSBIs with EF nibs that I can swap in should I desire a finer line with this pen. I also have a 580 with a 1.1 mm stub, so I’ve got the nib range pretty well covered.

TWSBI 580RB Cap, clip, & branding

The pen’s clip is firm but functional. The branding— etched lettering on the cap’s band— is simple and clean. The cap doesn’t post. Well, technically you can jam the cap on the end of the pen, but it’s not a good look or feel. This isn’t an issue for me as the 580RB’s uncapped length of 5-1/8 inches makes it the perfect size for my average-sized hand.

Filled with Iroshizuku kon-peki

While the pen’s red section is round and nicely tapered, the clear body is faceted, which gives the pen the “Diamond” moniker. I get endless amusement from watching the kon-peki slosh around in the pen body. Simple pleasures— or a simple mind?! It’s a cool look and makes monitoring the ink level a snap.

TWSBI 580RB

While I was asleep at the wheel when the TWSBI 540 ROC was available, and lost out on a chance to acquire that pen, I was wide awake when TWSBI launched the 580RB. While not a pen for everyone in terms of color-scheme, I personally love the look of this pen that celebrates its Taiwanese roots with the cap’s charming sun design. And whether you’re American, Chilean, Norwegian, French, or Slovakian, the 580RB’s red, white (clear), and blue colors will remind you of your country’s flag and history.

We’ll celebrate the 4th of July here tomorrow with cook-outs, parades, and fireworks, and lots of red, white, and blue decorations. My favorite one will be this pen. Thank you, TWSBI, for the second chance to own this pen with a decidedly global vibe.

TWSBI 580RB

I like to think of the TWSBI 580RB as a pen that reminds us we’re all in this together. Peace, friends.

Great Expectations: Visconti Opera Elements/Air

Visconti Opera Elements (Air)

One day, a few months ago, THIS pen popped up on sale in an email from Fahrney’s Pens. I’ve admired the looks and reported performance of Visconti pens vicariously for quite some time, but figured it’d be a long time (if ever) before I acquired one. They do tend to be pricey. The sale on this pen, though, brought it into the range of the possible. But was the price really a good one? Was the pen a good one FOR the price? Hmmmm. What to do, what to do?!

Visconti Opera Elements

I quickly turned to someone who could help me sort out this pen dilemma— my friend and penpal, Tracy— known in pen circles as the Visconti Queen. Tracy and I met for the first time at the 2013 DC Pen Show and the Viscontis in her pen case are drop-dead gorgeous. She’s a great ambassdor for the brand as she clearly knows her way around the Visconti block and is building a truly impressive collection. If anyone could help me, it’d be Tracy.

And she did. We chatted via Facebook where she asked me about the particulars— the model, the nib, the price. After our chat she rendered her verdict— “Get it!” And so I did.

I COULD NOT WAIT for it to arrive.

There’s always that underlying anxiety when I buy a pen online— will it live up to my expectations? Given the brand and the list price, my expectations were pretty high. Scratch that— they were REALLY high.

For the reduced price, I gave up some choice. Only the Air (Yellow) model was available, and only in a medium nib. Why Visconti calls this “yellow” is beyond me.  It’s clearly brown. (And why is “air” yellow or brown??) One reviewer called the resin “root beer” and that’s a perfect description. Root beer with white stripes. A root beer float! Yum. (Sorry. Hungry.)

Visconti Opera Elements

I think the resin is gorgeous— flecked and rich and just a LITTLE bit translucent, especially in the cap. So the lack of a model/color choice was not a problem.

Visconti Opera Elements (Bayonet cap)

This Opera Elements pen comes with a “bayonet style” cap, which is neither screw-on nor a snap cap. Basically, you push the cap on, then twist a quarter turn so that the grooves in the cap engage with the grooves in the body. This style cap assures that the facets on the pen and the cap are always aligned. It makes capping and uncapping the pen quick and easy. The cap can be posted, but I never do so because I’m afraid of scratching the metal trim, and because it makes the pen a little long for my taste.

Visconti clip

You can’t miss the iconic Visconti clip. It’s arched and springy and bears the brand’s name on both sides. I only clip this pen into my pen case, never into a pocket, so I can’t really attest to the functionality of the clip. It works fine for my application.

After I admired the pen, and even the packaging (a leather-lined box with a built in drawer for holding the Visconti booklet), it was time to ink it up! I chose Pilot’s Iroshizuku tsukushi (horsetail) because the color is a dead-ringer for the Visconti Opera Element’s resin, and filled the converter. Then I got out a piece of Tomoe River paper and put the 23 kt PD950 palladium nib to work. Drumroll, please….

Dreamtouch nib

WELL, HELLO! They don’t call this a Dreamtouch nib for nothing. The springiness of the nib surprised me as it felt unlike any other nib in my collection. With just a light touch, the nib laid down a wonderfully wet line. I was worried that the medium nib might be a little too wide for my tastes, but it’s not. In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve been branching out into medium, broad, and stub nibs. The Dreamtouch nib— well, the whole pen, really— feels (and looks) elegant and makes me feel like I should be signing important documents with flourish. But of course, I’m not. I’m writing letters and doodling and recording the day’s joys and frustrations in my journal. Even my mundane scribblings feel elevated with this pen.

Visconti Opera Elements

The pen arrived with a small slip of paper tucked under the pen’s clip which read, “Don’t press! This nib will follow your dreams.” I might edit that to, “Don’t press! This is the nib of your dreams.”

Visconti Opera Elements

The Visconti Opera Elements is now solidly at the top of my “best-writers” list, just above my Lamy 2000 and Delta Fusion 82. The nib, she is impressive.

I think Tracy may be onto something.

The “Anti-Stealth” Edison Nouveau Premiere 2014 Spring Edition (Cherry Blossom)

A couple of weeks ago, I was blabbing about my love for all things stealth, like pens with black matte bodies and all-black nibs. I DO love those. I really do.

Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Blossom

But then I saw THIS pen on the Goulet Pens site and it’s obviously as “anti-stealth” as a pen can get. It’s pink and swirly and alive with depth and sheen. And it spoke to me. LOUDLY. Quite frankly, it would not shut up.

Pink & swirly!

Let’s set the groundwork— I’m not a pink person (she says, as she sits here wearing a pink shirt). Well, I did request a pink room when I was eight, but I chalk that up to falling for the “girl’s room = pink” stereotype of my youth. I’m much more drawn to earthy colors, and taupe. Lots of taupe. So me wanting this pink pen sort of came out of left field.

Sheen and depth and swirls!

It’s like how I LOVE the movie “The September Issue” despite being one of the least fashionable, comfort-trumps-all people I know. That movie, about the making of the September issue of Vogue magazine, is packed with moments of beauty, creative genius, and hard work. This pen, it seems to me, is packed with those as well.

Stabby ends

The Edison Nouveau Premiere model features a pointed body and cap, which makes it look a little “stabby.” That slightly tactical look, coupled with the luscious pink swirls, makes the pen that much more appealing to me. It’s like it’s tough and soft at the same time, which is a cool mix.

Translucent cap

One of my favorite things about the look of this pen is the translucency— how you can catch a glimpse of the nib and converter inside the pen. Coupled with the sheen and the swirls, this is, to me, the perfect look— full of interest and surprises.

Uncapped Cherry Blossom

The pen is a light one— 17g overall (10g body, 7g cap). This coupled with the nicely tapered grip makes it a great candidate for long writing sessions. The cap doesn’t post, but the uncapped body measures 5-1/8″ making it perfectly usable for just about everybody.

Edison nib

I ordered the pen with a medium steel nib, and after a bit of debate, filled the included converter with my beloved Levenger Shiraz ink. This is a “we were meant to be together” pairing, and writing letters and notes with this pen/ink is a true pleasure. The nib writes wonderfully. It’s juicy, with just a touch of feedback. No hard starts, no skipping. The ink always flows even if I’ve left the pen sitting for a couple of days.

Cherry Blossom

What’s really nice is that the #6 nibs are easily swappable. Just screw out one nib unit and screw in another. Because of this, I ordered a couple of spare nibs with my pen— a fine as well as a 1.1mm stub. It’s like having three pens in one for just a little more money.

Edison branding

As noted on the Goulet Pens website, “Edison Nouveau is a joint collaboration between Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company, and Brian Goulet of the Goulet Pen Company. This is an exclusive line of Edison fountain pens available only through the Goulet Pen Company.” Branding is super subtle, and notes that this is the 2014 Spring Edition of the Edison Nouveau Premiere, meaning this version will only be available until mid/late June. It’s not a limited edition pen (i.e., there aren’t a limited number available), rather it’s available during a limited timeframe. I’m already anxious to see the 2014 Summer and Fall versions.

Oh, those swirls!

But for now, I love my pink Edison Nouveau Premiere, despite my professed love of black stealthy pens. (It’s our inconsistencies that make us interesting, right?) This pen positively POPS and sparkles and shines. It’s bright, it’s fun, it’s fresh and swirly.

Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Blossom

It is the Cherry Blossom.

So I picked up a broad……..nib.

Never say never. Though I thought I would forever be an extra-fine/fine woman (we’re talking nibs here), watching all of those SBREBrown pen review videos (that man loves him some B, BB, and even BBB nibs), and receiving letters from friends who swear by juicy, fat nibs, I cracked. I had to explore.

VP Raden with broad nib

Goulet Pens recently ran a “Spring Cleaning” 20% off promotion on a number of items, including the Pilot Vanishing Point nib units. What a perfect time to branch out a bit. When the broad VP nib unit arrived, I popped it into my beloved and sparkly Raden VP (thanks, Dan!), loaded it from a sample vial of Noodler’s Turquoise (thanks, Joe!), pulled out some Tomoe River paper and let it fly.

Hoo boy. VERY nice.

I kind of get it now. Maybe I MORE THAN get it now.

VP Raden with broad nib

While I won’t be using broad nibs for my everyday writing— my handwriting is just too small for that— I can totally see myself transitioning to them for letter writing, when I can use my Tomoe River or Clairfontaine Triomphe paper, and when I really like seeing how an ink shades.

Granted, the Vanishing Point broad is, since it’s Japanese, more like a European medium, but still. I’d stepped away from my comfort zone and had to admit that it felt…well…comfortable. Wonderfully smooth. Nicely juicy.

(This keeps sounding dirty and I DO NOT MEAN FOR THAT TO BE HAPPENING.)

Raden VP with broad nib

Getting back to my point (and my G-rating), all I’m trying to say is that it’s cool to take a pen body that you love, and swap in some different nibs for a completely different writing experience. The VPs are great for this, as are, of course, Lamys and TWSBIs. I see that Richard Binder offers Vanishing Point pen bodies (even the new metallics) separately, so I may go that route when I decide to spring for the cool looking green metallic. That’ll save me about $60. Since I own a range of nib units to swap in, why buy another complete pen?

VP nib unit and Lamy nib

When I ordered the broad VP nib unit, I also picked up a Lamy broad nib as these are crazy easy to swap in and out of several Lamy pen models. And when I recently purchased my Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Blossom with a medium nib, I tossed a fine and a 1.1 mm stub into my shopping cart, as well. One gorgeous looking pen, three different writing options.

So have fun. Experiment. With nibs, I mean.