Saturday, April 14, 2018

Colorverse Voyager 1 Limited Edition Ink Set

I learned a very important piece of information about myself this past week. Ink + Space Theme + Historical Tie-In + Limited Edition = I must buy it. Ever since I was a kid, I have been in love with outer space and planets. If you are a regular blog follower here, then you know I love historical significance and stories behind my ink. Well, let's see what makes this Limited Edition set for Voyager 1 so special.

We should start with a touch of history here. Voyager 1 is a space probe that was launched September 5, 1977 and it is still on it's mission today. Voyager 1 had a historic flyby of Jupiter and it took some great photos that allowed us our first glimpse of this giant up close. These inks have a magnificent tie in to this entire mission. It starts with the packaging.

This Limited Edition set is limited to only 1,977 pieces. See the tie in to the launch in 1977? Each set comes with a numbered card to let the owner know what numbered set they now possess. Mine is #1,250

The set comes in 4 different colors and the bottles are small 15mL bottles. I like the looks of the bottles but as far as function goes, filling from them is a pain. I was forced to either use an ink syringe of place the converter in the bottle to fill all by itself. It is a small nuisance.

Let's look at the colors and what makes them special.

Golden Record

Aboard the Voyager is a phonograph record, a 12" gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. It has images, music, sounds and greetings. Think of it as a time capsule for extra-terrestrial life. The color of the ink is a copper based hue.
Rhodia Paper
It is very similar to Diamine Ancient Copper

Here is a writing sample:

Jupiter Flyby

Voyager 1 had some amazing photos of Jupiter taken and gave scientists a great "look" at the planet to further learn more of this giant of a planet and it's moons. Jupiter is well-known for being the "banded" planet and this brown color is very representative of the bands seen on Jupiter. 

Rhodia Paper
This color is very similar to Platinum Classic Sepia-Black

Here is a writing sample:

Pale Blue Dot

The Pale Blue Dot is Earth. On Valentine's Day in 1990, Voyager 1 turned around and took a photo of Earth. This was not part of the planned mission but Carl Sagan had the idea of pointing the spacecraft back toward its home for one last look. In the photo, Earth is close to the size of a pixel and is within a sunbeam that is reflected by the camera. Why is this significant? It reminds us that Earth is merely a spec in the grander scheme of things. At least that is my opinion.

The color is more of a teal towards the green side

Here is a writing sample:

The color is very similar to Monteverde California Teal

Interstellar Space

This is where Voyager 1 is at now. This is the space between solar systems so it is officially no longer in our solar system. The color itself is a lovely shade of green. I would think that Interstellar Space would be black but I love the color green. so I am good with it.

Here is a writing sample:

The color is very similar to F-C Loden and Blackstone Daintree Green

What I also really like here, is that the package comes with a little booklet with the ink colors and it has the RGB codes as well as the Hex codes to recreate these colors digitally. 

It is a nice touch and these colors are all throughout the physical packaging.

I like the set. It is Limited Edition with a specific number of units and then they are gone. It is $50 USD which isn't terrible but it is super fun for ink lovers and space lovers alike.

This review is based off of my experience and opinion. I am not representing Colorverse Ink nor am I being compensated in any way.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Montblanc Beatles Psychedelic Purple

I am not much of a purple fan, honestly, but this color surprised me. I received a sample from one of my friends in our local pen group and I am quite taken by this color. I even went through all of my purple ink swabs and cannot find much close to it, from what I have available. Let's look at it.
 This is the latest Special Edition ink from Montblanc and I really enjoy the special bottle that this ink comes packaged in. It is a 50mL bottle and is listed at a whopping $43 here in the U.S.

 This is a very vibrant color and yes, I know I have misspelled the work psychedelic here in these swatches. We all make errors from time to time. There is some sheen seen on some paper but it needs to be applied liberally for it to show.

The ink itself is very well behaved and had no feathering, bleed or spread. It has nice flow and some decent shading when shown as it is a bit darker.

What I really enjoy is the way the ink remains constant no matter the paper being used.

Apica Paper

Franklin-Christoph Paper

Leuchtturm Paper

Rhodia Paper

Tomoe River Paper
The ink color is vibrant and actually is fun to write with. It reminds me of the infamous Noodler's Baystate Blue with how vibrant it can be.

I believe I need to purchase a bottle of this ink. This color has turned me into a purple lover, at least this particular purple. It is an expensive offering but 50mL is a good quantity and I do not have anything close to this shade of color.

This review is based off of my opinion and experiences. I do not represent Montblanc at all nor am I being compensated in any way.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Noodlers Ink - Luck of the Draw

Hello fellow fountain pen peoples. I was thrilled to get my hands on this ink which was made for the Baltimore Pen Show for 2018. As many of you know, I do love Noodler's ink. 

This color is quite intriguing. It is a muted dark green/grey color that does shade nicely and is water resistant. As with a lot of Noodler's inks, there is a story behind the color and label but Nathan Tardif has not disclosed it in this case. The label denotes 1850's Baltimore on the label so I took to doing some research.  What I found was interesting. It seems to be tied to pre-Cival War Baltimore, where the ruling party were Democrats and were primarily Catholic Irish. The working class was primarily German. The American Party (Know Nothing) came to power by using violence at the polls to keep Democratic voters from the polls. The American Party began to try to upgrade the water system and professionalize Police and Firefighters, which are noble endeavors. The Irish and Germans revolted and brought the American Party down. 

I may be off base, but to me, the ink color matches that assessment.

Ok, let's talk the ink itself. 

Rhodia Paper
It is a nice dark green grey color. It really swabs out to more of a muted color but the writing actually has some nice shading elements and some decent saturation. 

Tomoe River Paper

Apica Paper

Franklin-Christoph Paper

Leuchtturm Paper
Some papers tested bring out more of the grey aspects of the color and others have a nice blend of the green and grey. The Tomoe River really was my favorite looking of the tests. 

The ink behaves nicely from the tests shown. I did not see any bleeding, feathering or spread and the flow is moderate to wet. 

I wanted to see if I had any oddly colored green inks to try to compare to this one and Franklin-Christoph Loden is the closest. 

KWZ Rotten Green is quite nice but is a different mix of green and grey altogether. Loden is more of a rich brownish green than a greyish green but are close enough to be similar at least.

Overall, I really enjoy the color and the ink. I am very happy I made the purchase.

This review is based off of my opinion and experience. I do not represent Noodler's Ink nor am I being compensated in any way.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Colorverse Photon and Gluon Inks (#23/24)

I have a ton of ink in my collection and I will admit that I have become a tad more selective when looking at acquiring more. How many blue inks do I need? Colorverse is the new kid on the block here and seems to be gaining some momentum and popularity. A very good pen friend of mine obtained these 2 inks and has allowed me to borrow them and review them here. So let's have a peek.

I have to admit, I love the bottles here. These colors are from the Season 3 line of ink colors and come in a 2-pack. A 65mL bottle and a smaller 15mL bottle make it a fun idea. The small bottle is Gluon and is another shimmer based ink.

Seriously, the shimmer ink phase needs to stop already. 

The packaging is fun. I like the box that the two bottles are shipped in and the outer space/science theme is also a nice touch. The included items that come with the ink, however, is odd. This ink is not cheap at $36 + shipping which is why I am scratching my head here. There is a little pamphlet showing the other inks of Season 3 here, which is great. There are also some very small stickers from Season 1 ink colors...ok. But then the weird comes to play. A paper bookmark and a paper pen stand as well as a paper napkin. If I am paying this much for ink, why cheapen the experience with very cheap paper products? A cloth napkin would be nice for cleaning of a newly filled nib and the other items can be easily omitted.

Let's get to the ink itself. 

Photon is #23 and is a more blue-centric based teal color, possible an aqua. It is a nice color and on some paper, it is a dead ringer for Pelikan Edelstein Jade. 

Gluon is #24 and is a shimmer based ink and it is an odd off-yellow goldish color. With the bottle shaken, it has a subtle orange based shimmer and sheen to it but in my samples, it is very subtle. 


Shaken with Shimmer
The odd piece to this ink is that the Photon really changes its appearance based off of the paper used. Above is Rhodia but below are some other types and Photon shows a little different on each.

Clairefontaine Paper

Franklin-Christoph Paper

Tomoe River Paper

Apica Paper
The ink itself is highly saturated and has a tendency to be a little on the drier side which is odd as it is a fairly watery ink. It dries a little longer than I would envision but overall, is a well behaved ink. I noticed no bleeding, feathering or spread in any paper tried. 

These colors may appeal to others but they are not for me.

This review is based off of my experience and opinion. I am not representing Colorverse nor am I being compensated in any way.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Analog in a Digital World

I have a day job and recently was part of a company gathering where the company president gave a speech. The speech really inspired me to make this post as it really fits right in my wheel house. Be analog in a digital world. What does that look like?

Nowadays, kids are tied to their phones as well as their parents. Whether it be for social media, email, cameras, shopping or texting, the digital age is here.

Being analog is what I grew up with and it is foreign to my kids. If we wanted to talk to someone, we would call them. If we wanted to buy something, we would go to the store. We played outside and read books. Notes were taken by hand with paper and pen/pencil. Letters were a part of everyday life.

I have seen us as a society become so enamored with the ease of the digital  lifestyle. I have also seen the small revolution happening that is bringing the analog back. Here is what I mean.

I grew up with the local mom and pop style business and I saw the birth of the giant conglomerates that ended many of those family businesses. I am now seeing the swing of the populace embracing the mom and pop business again and shopping more locally. I am seeing the resurgence of customer service and more writing being done. Heck, my son even takes notes by hand now.

Being analog is picking up the phone to work on a solution with a fellow co-worker rather than sending yet another email. Being analog is writing a thank you note to a customer or friend. Being analog is looking for more of the human contact rather than a computer keyboard or screen. Being able to call a customer service line and speaking with a person rather than traversing a maze of department options or talking to the computer voice lady who never understands what you tell her anyways.

At work I prefer to call a co-worker to work on a project or ask a question. I write letters and prefer to shop locally rather than a chain. Handwriting my notes while others type them in on a tablet is my preference and I love the analog ways even though I do enjoy the conveniences of the digital landscape. Do you?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Steel vs. Gold Nibs

This could be a touchy subject and I will preface this by saying this is solely based off of my opinions through my experiences. The writing experience is purely subjective from one person to another.

I recently had a pen pal mention to me that they are relatively new to the fountain pen world and so far, only have steel nib based pens in their collection. That got me to do some thinking on whether that is truly a negative or not and are gold nibs truly worth it.

I have pens in my collection with steel nibs and I have gold nibs as well but is there a discernible difference? In the community, gold nibs are labeled as being smooth and quite a game changer compared to their steel counterparts. My answer to this is it depends.

I have some steel nibs that are super smooth and I mean butter smooth. I also have some steel nibs that are a bit toothy, even for a broader tipped nib. I even have gold nibs that fit both ends of that spectrum as well. The manufacturer is the defining caveat here, in my opinion. 

Signum 18k Gold Nib
Platinum 3776 14k Gold Nib

Diplomat makes a steel nib whose smooth performance rivals any gold nib I have ever used. Platinum makes a rather toothy gold nib in the 3776 feels very steel like at times. Whether a pen manufacturer makes their own nibs or orders a branded version of nibs made by a third party like Jowo or Bock, the experience varies.

Diplomat Steel Nib

Goulet Steel Two-Toned Nib
Lamy Steel Black Coated Nib
 From my experience, gold nibs are generally more artistic in their presentation through fancy etching, scroll work, insignias and plating materials. Not to say that you will not find some fancy steel nibs but more often than not, the gold nibs are more decorated. Gold nibs seem to have a wetter flow over steel nibs. Sometimes the nibs will be plated with a different colored material to make it look black or even silver and sometimes the gold or steel nib is completely unadorned with the exception of a logo.

Pelikan 18k Two-Toned Gold Nib

Pilot 18k Rhodium Plated Gold Nib 

Edison Two-Toned Steel Nib

 Franklin-Christoph 14k Gold Nib

Is smooth writing the only consideration here? nah. Steel nibs are most generally stiff and rigid whereas gold nibs will usually have some give and this can be referred to a "springy" nib. I greatly enjoy a springy nib but I am not much for flex. 

Type of ink is something to consider as well and mainly on whether you plan on using Iron Gall inks or not. 

So what is my answer to this steel versus gold nib debate? Well, it depends. I tend to look at the entire pen and not just the nib material when purchasing a pen. How does it write? What is the flow like? Does it fit my hand? Is it balanced? What is the filling mechanism? All of these questions fill my mind when looking at a potential pen and not just the nib material. I will say that if a pen is highly priced, I do expect a gold nib to help justify the price tag.