Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 10

Diamine Inkvent Calendar is an advent calendar with a tiny (7ml) bottle of ink behind 24 windows, and a larger, 30ml, bottle of ink behind the 25th window. All the inks are limited edition, and only available through this calendar. You can read more about the calendar here.

It’s day 10 in the Diamine Inkvent Calendar, and so far there hasn’t been a truly weird ink in the bunch. That’s about to change…

Day 10’s ink is Diamine Winter Miracle, a sheen and shimmer dark purple ink. Now, purple is notoriously difficult to photograph, but if you look at photos of Winter Miracle and say to yourself, “huh, it looks almost black”, that’s not a photography issue. Diamine Winter Miracle is a super saturated, deep, dark eggplant purple with some shimmer (much less than Gold Star) and a significant amount of green sheen. It looks like black with an attitude.

You can see some of the silver shimmer on the top, but it’s understated compared to Diamine Gold Star.

Tomoe river paper makes this ink look wild, especially when viewed at an angle to the light.

So much sheen!

Winter Miracle was so unusual that I went ahead and filled a Pelikan Pelikano Up with it.  The medium Pelikan nib (that’s a broad for every other maker) really shows off this interesting and unique ink, and it’s dark enough to pass as black at a cursory glance. I even wrote down next year’s resolutions with it.

Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 10

Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 6

Diamine Inkvent Calendar is an advent calendar with a tiny (7ml) bottle of ink behind 24 windows, and a larger, 30ml, bottle of ink behind the 25th window. All the inks are limited edition, and only available through this calendar. You can read more about the calendar here.

Day 6’s door has a bonus bird, which is nice. It also has the best named ink of the bunch so far. Allow me to introduce you to:

Diamine Ho Ho Ho! This delightfully named ink is a orangey-red that shades beautifully.

Like all the rest of the Inkvent reviews, this was drawn on a Kanso Sasshi 3.5” x 5.5” Tomoe River Paper notebook, which really makes the best properties of each ink shine. Here it’s the shading, that goes from a dark orange to fire engine red, and is really warm and cheery.

This was drawn using a Pelikan Pelikano medium (which should be called a broad, but it’s Pelikan, so hey), and you can see the shading in almost every stroke above. I tried not to draw over the same place twice, just so you can get a better feeling for the shading properties of this ink.

The above was written on Clairefontaine paper, so you can see that the ink shades on it as well. This is a terribly impractical ink for day to day use (you can’t even mark papers with it, it’s too cheerful and bright for that), but it’s an excellent ink for Christmas cards or Christmas themed art.

Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 6

Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 3

Diamine Inkvent Calendar is an advent calendar with a tiny (7ml) bottle of ink behind 24 windows, and a larger, 30ml, bottle of ink behind the 25th window. All the inks are limited edition, and only available through this calendar. You can read more about the calendar here.

Don’t you just love the design on these? Diamine did a fabulous job with the packaging of this calendar.

Day 3’s limited edition Christmas ink is Snow Storm. It’s a shimmer ink, with a lot of silver particles, much more than day 1’s Blue Peppermint. This is how the bottom of the bottle looked like when I took it out from it’s little nook:

This is definitely an ink that you’d want to thoroughly shake before using.

Lantern Waste, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, C.S. Lewis.

Diamine Snow Storm is a grey ink that looks a lot like Diamine Graphite, if you dumped a whole sack of silver glitter on it. It also shades and outlines like mad. Diamine certainly went all out on this one.

Look at all that glitter. There’s so much of it, it sheens.

This was drawn on a Kanso Sasshi 3.5” x 5.5” Tomoe River Paper notebook using a vintage Swan broad italic nib (dipped in the ink, because boy did I not want to clean this ink out of a lever filler), and this combination shows the properties of this ink beautifully. Diamine really proves that grey doesn’t have to be boring .

I’m not a big fan of shimmering ink, but Diamine Snow Storm is so wild, with it’s shading, outlining and silver particles, that it makes me smile. It would be a good replacement for silver gel ink pens, when it comes time to write greeting cards.

Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 3

Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 2

Diamine Inkvent Calendar is an advent calendar with a tiny (7ml) bottle of ink behind 24 windows, and a larger, 30ml, bottle of ink behind the 25th window. All the inks are limited edition, and only available through this calendar. You can read more about the calendar here.

So what’s behind door number 2?

 

Day 2’s limited edition ink is Diamine Candy Cane. It’s a standard ink, midway between Diamine Amaranth and Diamine Coral, both excellent and unique pink inks. This ink shades a lot, even in a fine Lamy Safari (Coral) pen. It’s a dark enough pink to be readable, but still not something that I would recommend for an office setting. It’s great for personal correspondence, Christmas cards, and journalling.

The bottle is so tiny and cute.

The bottle is made of glass and is delightful, but a bit impractical for use. You need a cartridge converter or a syringe to fill a pen with this ink, or you can just use it with a dip pen or a brush.

Look at that shading! Yes, this was drawn on a Kanso Sasshi 3.5” x 5.5” Tomoe River Paper notebook, and Tomoe River paper makes everything pop, but even on “regular” Rhodia paper you can notice the shading. That’s not always true for such bright and light shades, like pink or coral.

If you enjoy the looks of this ink, I think that there’s a good chance that you’ll love Diamine Coral (it’s such an optimistic colour) or Diamine Amaranth (which is also a delicious looking ink, but darker than Diamine Candy Cane).

Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 2

Waterman Phileas Review, or Why, Waterman, Why?

The Waterman Phileas was my first fountain pen, one that I bought after careful research on eBay, shortly after they were discontinued. It cost me £15 at the time, a small fortune for me, and the most I had ever spent on a pen. My RSI was at its worst, and I had to take a lot of notes (I was still in the university), so I splurged mostly out of desperation. Internet research brought up fountain pens as something that could possibly help with my RSI, and so I decided to give it a try. I found the Fountain Pen Network and combed the boards for information about fountain pens for newbies like me. Two pens kept coming up as good first fountain pens to buy: the Lamy Safari, and the Waterman Phileas. It was relatively newly discontinued by Waterman, and so I could find it easily and buy it NOS from a reputable seller. It’s been over 11 years since I bought it, and it’s still one of my favourite pens, and one of my most frequently used ones.

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Look how pretty this pen is! 

The Waterman Phileas is named after Phileas Fogg, Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” protagonist. It comes in blue, green, red and black, and is cartridge converter pen with a large two-tone steel nib. The nib and pen have an art deco look to them, and the pen is also designed to look somewhat like a cigar. It’s a classic “fountain pen” look that makes it appear more expensive than it is, and it’s part of the reason why you’ll see it popping up in various commercials, even to this day. It’s a very beautiful and elegant pen that just looks classy.

Unlike it’s cheaper sibling, the Waterman Kultur, the Phileas has a brass insert in the body, which means that it has got some heft to it, weighing (filled, with a converter) 24g, as opposed to the Lamy AL-Star’s 22g (filled, with a converter). The weight is perfectly balanced for writing, especially for beginners, since it encourages you to lay off putting pressure on the pen. The pen let you feel that it’s putting the pressure on for you.

The look of the Phileas is phenomenal, especially for the price, but it’s the nib that made me fall in love with it specifically and with fountain pens in general. I chose the extra fine nib, and it is nothing short of magical. Take a look for yourself:

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From hairline to European fine – the Phileas line variation at work.

Yes, that’s line variation. No, it doesn’t come from applying pressure to the nib. It works like a less extreme Sailor Zoom nib: vary your writing angle just a bit and it will go from 0.4 mm lines to 0.7 mm ones. The nib is also smooth, but gives a little feedback, which reminds me a little of the feedback you get from using a really good pencil. Couple that with the fact that the Phileas is a cartridge converter (with a sizeable converter), and so very easy to clean, and you’ll understand why this is still my favourite sketching fountain pen.

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Drawn with a Phileas, except for the witch’s cloak and hat.

The Phileas accepts long international cartridges, and Waterman is one of the few makers that make those cartridges. They excellent (especially the blue-black) and very convenient when travelling with your fountain pen.

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Look at that nib! It’s hard to photograph, but it’s such a great design.

Which brings me back to the beginning of my story. It’s 2019 and I have a substantial collection of fountain pens, most of them costing well over 10 times what the Waterman Phileas cost me. None of them are 10 times the Phileas as a pen. I could have stopped here, but the Phileas has proven to be a gateway into fountain pen madness for many people over the years. It’s a pen to fall in love with, in a way that I haven’t ever fallen in love with my Lamy’s, good-though-they-are. Its design is classic and timeless, and its quality is unparalleled for the price (yes, even today).

SO WHY HAS WATERMAN DISCONTINUED IT? WHY? WHY?

This should have been their Lamy Safari, TWSBI Eco or Pilot Metropolitan  – a more classic version of the beginner’s fountain pen, as opposed to the other’s more modern design. It boggles my mind that they not only discontinued the Phileas, but also it’s cheaper cousin, the Kultur. What on earth are they doing over there? Do they not want new people to fall in love with their pens? It’s the same weird move with their ink line (their refusal to jump on the limited edition/shimmer/sheen ink bandwagon), but even more baffling. YOU WOULD SELL THESE WATERMAN!

So frustrating.

Anyway – if you can get your hands on a Waterman Phileas for a reasonable price, I highly recommend it. It’s a charming pen that will never go out of style.

Waterman Phileas Review, or Why, Waterman, Why?

PenBBS 309 Hawaii Fountain Pen Review

I’ve been on a fountain pen purchasing hiatus for a while, as I’ve been trying to use what I have rather than buying more pens that will see little or no use. Also, money is a thing, and this hobby can get really expensive really quickly.

So when reviews of the PenBBS pens started coming out I largely ignored them, even though they were generally very positive. That changed when I saw the PenBBS Hawaii: here was a chance to get a pen with a Kanilea Pen Company kind of vibe, but at a price that I can afford. To be honest, despite the reviews, at this price point ($39) I thought that I’d get a cheap, plasticky feeling pen that wouldn’t really be a piston filler.

I was wrong.

This is what arrived in the mail:

Then I took this out of the sleeve:

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I don’t usually care much about packaging, but this is worth noting. Even if the packing would have just been a sturdy cardboard box inside a sleeve it would have been mind-blowing for this price. But it’s so much more than that.

That black box is designed like the boxes high end Pelikans come in (including a cushioned interior). It’s designed. There’s texture to it, a logo and the edges are rounded up so you can see the red colour underneath. The box even comes with magnetic closure. It’s well-made enough and good-looking enough to be used as a display box.

But that’s not enough for PenBBS. You paid $39 remember? You’re going to get so much more than your money’s worth. The pen comes in a beautifully made sleeve. Somebody bothered to make a sleeve (a lined and sewn sleeve, not a cheap felt glued one, mind you), and then took the time and effort to make it a display piece: something that you’d proudly carry around with you.

But the pen is the thing, right? As amazing as the packaging is, we’re here for the writing experience, not the unboxing one. So here it is, the PenBBS 309 Hawaii:

Isn’t it pretty? The pen is semi-translucent, with a lot of depth and chatoyance. It’s also pearlescent in places, as you can see in the tip or near the section. I filled it with Sailor Bungubox June Bride Something Blue ink and you can see some of the colour coming through the body (and a slight smear of ink in the cap, where I didn’t clean it properly after filling before capping it).

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The only thing that I don’t quite like about the pen design is the super wide metal band on the cap. It has “PenBBS” and “309” engraved on it, but it cheapens the pen because of its width, not because of the branding.

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The nib looks great, with some thoughtful scrolling engraved on it, as well as the nib width (fine. It only comes in fine). The pen is quite standard in its width and weight, and very comfortable to use in long writing sessions. The section looks sleek, but is much less so than the Lamy Studio, and the lip on the edge prevent your fingers from accidentally hitting the nib and getting inky.

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The fine steel nib offers a tiny bit of line variation as you tilt in (not the flex kind of line variation that appears as you apply pressure on the nib). It’s smooth but does provide feedback, and depending on how you hold it, you may feel more or less of that slight feedback as you write. I enjoyed writing with it, and because it’s a light acrylic pen, its comfortable for really long writing sessions.

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Because its a fine nibbed pen I thought that I’d try it on my current journalling Moleskine. To my surprise this pen and ink combo worked fine on that paper. There are a few dots of show through here and there, but nothing that bothers me. Again, YMMV, and this LotR Moria Moleskine isn’t advertised as having fountain pen friendly paper, but I’ve been enjoying journaling with my PenBBS on it.

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The PenBBS 309 is a piston filler, which for this price is unconscionable, especially considering that the piston mechanism works smoothly (and without squeaking) out of the box. The Pelikan piston fillers do feel better than the PenBBS one, but they come at a much higher price.

Whether you’re just starting with fountain pens or you have a sizeable collection already, the PenBBS 309 is well worth purchasing and trying out. I look forward to trying other PenBBS pens after this one, and I love that companies like PenBBS allow people to have a great fountain pen experience at such an affordable price.

 

PenBBS 309 Hawaii Fountain Pen Review