Bad Belted Kingfisher: an ink review

Bad Belted Kingfisher

This is Noodler’s Bad Belted Kingfisher.

Right off the bat it scores points for having a badass name. But if you were expecting it to be a kingfisher blue, you might be disappointed. Like its namesake, a bird that only American pen addicts are likely to be familiar with, this ink has less turquoise and teal tendencies, and more royal blue, even slightly blue-black ones.

Its depth of colour means that if you are looking a “shader”, then you will find better options around, although it does show some variation between deep, deep blue, and deep blue. On Tomoe River Paper. In bright light. With certain nibs. But the variation does exist.

The kingfisher, bad boy as he is, is not too picky when it comes to paper. Field notes, Moleskine — he’ll handle the lot of them, without feathering or too much bleed-through. So this ink is crappy paper certified, providing you forgo your gushing double broad italic fountain pen and stick to something more conservative, like a European fine nib, or a Japanese medium. There are limits, after all, to even the best of inks.

When it comes to the cool and oftentimes wacky Noodler’s properties, BBK did not get much love. It is not quick drying (but dries in a few seconds even on Rhodia paper, so not much to complain about there), freeze resistant, lubricated, fluorescent, sparkly, ghosty or scented. What it is water resistant, and part of the Warden series.

Now when it comes to water resistance and fountain pen inks it is important to remember:

  1. No  water resistance until the ink is not completely dry. That can take hours on certain types of paper.
  2. Water resistant is NOT waterproof. Rinsing it out with water will create a mess. Putting it in the washing machine will create a mess. Rubbing a wet finger to test if it is really waterproof (it isn’t) will create a mess.

Water resistant means that if you drop a few drops of water on it after the ink has dried, then you will still be able to read what you wrote after the water dried. That is the only thing promised on the tin (er… bottle).

So, about the Warden aspects of this ink… If you are interested, you are welcome to read about it here.

The ink was developed in the good old days of 2011, when the possibility of someone forging bank documents with ink was still a thing (?). These days, I’d just focus on BBK’s colour rather than its Warden superpowers.

So we are left with a middle of the road ink in terms of properties, with Noodler’s signature cheap price and good-looking bottle, with a colour that is nice, but is no Bungo Box 4B. There is no fun in it — no sheen, no hidden hue, no interesting shading, no cool property. In a field so crowded with great blue and blue-black inks, the kingfisher just doesn’t stand out.

Which is a shame, considering its name. Such a brightly-coloured bird deserves better treatment in ink, does it not?

Bad Belted Kingfisher: an ink review