Review: Elixir River Safari

This is the third and last SFPL Pen Show 2017 exclusive ink by a local ink maker. Elixir River Safari is my kind of green. It’s a dark green yellow ink that shades even in a EF nib. The shade hints at dark and mysterious depths in the darker parts of the ink while the lighter / brighter parts still remained grounded. The colour is dark enough to be used in a professional environment. Of all three inks that’s in the set, River Safari is my favourite

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Posted on July 20, 2018 and filed under review, Ink.

Review: Robert Oster Signature Aussie Gold

My thanks to Goldspot Pens for sending me a bottle of Robert Oster Aussie Gold.

Aussie Gold shades well, going from dark olive oil colour to pale yellow. Even with how light yellow inks tend to be, Aussie Gold shows up well even in my TWSBI EF nib. Personally, yellow inks are never really my thing but Robert Oster Aussie Gold is a very useable yellow. So all yellow ink lovers do check out Robert Oster Aussie Gold.

Similar Colours:

  • Scribe’ Ink Macallan Whiskey
  • Kyo no Oto #4 Yama Buki Iro
  • Diamine Amber
Posted on July 13, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Sailor Nioi Sumire

My thanks to Straits Pen for the ink sample. This ink sample is from the original release of the ink. Nioi Sumire is a lubricated, wet blue ink that has a good shading. It goes down bright and dries slightly muted. Nioi Sumire is part of Sailor’s 4 Seasons ink series. It is still available but only in the new Sailor packaging. I’ve not compared my sample to what’s currently available but it’s supposed to be the same formulation. Blue inks are never really my go to colour. But this ink made my dry nib write so lubricated. It’s definitely a good ink for a dry writer.

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Posted on July 6, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator

The Numbers:
Weight: 25.5g
Length (capped): 149mm
Length (uncapped): 138mm
Price: USD$120 from Pen Chalet
Body Material: Plastic
Nib Material: Steel
Filling Mechanism: Eyedropper
Colours: Clear

Intro:
Jin Gi is a Taiwanese company that specialises in making OEM / white labelled stationary since 1988. Opus 88 is their private brand.

Opus 88 fountain pens had been all the rage earlier this year and when pens were available in Singapore, they were sold quickly. I was one of the lucky few who managed to get a set.

Packaging:
My Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator came in a simple box. It has a brown cardboard sleeve with the Opus 88 logo printed on it. Sliding it out, you will a black box underneath. Inside, is the pen and a glass eyedropper as well as a card with relevant information. There are foam inserts that secure the pen and the glassdropper inside the box. It’s a very functional packaging for the price I paid for this.

Performance:
First thing right out of the gate, you will notice is the size of the pen. It is huge. I’d say it is similarly sized to the Pelikan M1000. I do not personally a Pelikan M1000 but based on the measurements I found online, the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator is just slightly longer than the Pelikan M1000.

However, despite the length of the pen, the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator is a light pen. It is made of clear plastic accented with a matte black clip, giving it a classy look. Now a demonstrator pen just calls for a nice bright ink to show off the interior.

The Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator is polished to a nice glossy finish on the exterior. The cap just slightly wider than the body. The black words “OPUS 88” printed on the cap just under the clip.

It takes a full 3 revolutions to get the cap off. This isn’t something I like. 3 turns is 2 tunes too many in my book but this is just a minor pet peeve. Once the cap is off you will see a very generous space on the grip and a #6 size Jowo steel nib. The grip is smooth to the touch and tapers towards the nib, ending with a slight flare. The threads are nice and smooth. The balance of the pen tips towards the nib so it helps with keeping the nib on the paper.

Since this is an eyedropper pen, to fill you have to unscrew the nib and grip and fill the pen that way. The body of the pen holds a whooping 4ml and it will last you a good long time. But this isn’t simply an eyedropper pen, it has a small seal attached to a piston mechanism to seal the ink chamber away from the feed. That makes flying with the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator is way safer than a regular eyedropper pen. But when you are ready to use it, unscrew the knob at the end. You just need it about 2mm of space for regular use.

Then the nib, I opted for a fine nib which in hindsight is a bad choice. The steel nib writes ok, nothing special but it is dry, very dry. And pairing a dry fine nib with a 4ml ink chamber seems like a bad idea after I’ve used it for a while.

Now, comes the cleaning. I don’t usually cover cleaning but this pen has frustrated me with keeping it clean. This is a demonstrator pen so the hope is I’d use inks that do not stain. I’ve filled it with Sailor Nioi Sumire and before that Monteverde Moonstone. Both of them stained to a certain degree and it wasn’t easy to get all the ink out even though it is an eyedropper pen. There is ink clinging to the inside of the pen barrel and cap for no reason I can figure out. Washing it with an ultrasonic cleaner helped some but there are still ink stains that just won’t go. The stains only got removed by soaking it in pen flush. The pen flush worked like a miracle but I don’t want to resort to a pen flush to clean this pen every single time.

Conclusion:
Overall the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator is a value for money fountainpen but the pen is just not for me. The larger size doesn’t fit my hand well, the nib coupled with the large ink capacity is also not working well for me. The nail in the coffin for me is how hard it is to keep the pen stain free. The pen is entirely serviceable but it is just not for me.


Pros:

  • Huge ink capacity
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Takes #6 Jowo nib

Cons:

  • Stains easily, harder to wash out
  • Doesn’t fit my hand
  • Dry nib

There are affiliate links in this review. I may get a small amount of store credit if you purchase anything via the links. You are under no obligation to do so but if you would like to do something nice, do buy what you need via my links.

Posted on June 29, 2018 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Graf von Faber-Castell Olive Green

This is one of the newer Graf von Faber-Castell inks. Yellow-greens especially darker ones have always been my favourite range of colours. Olive Green is unsurprisingly totally my cup of tea. Filling it in a wet nib the Pilot Custom 823 Waverly nib is the best combination. How this ink shades! It goes from a dark almost black green when ink pools to a muted lemon grass green sort of green. I really enjoy this ink a lot. It writes a little on the dry side so pair this ink with a wet nib.

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Posted on June 22, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Elixir Siloso Sunset

Elixir Siloso Sunset is one of the limited edition inks sold exclusively at the SFPL Pen Show 2017. Siloso Sunset goes down with a bright vibrant reddish-orange but dries to a duller shade. It’s not really my kind of orange even though it’s vibrant. It pops and shades. Personally, it’s way too red to be one of my favourite orange but this is just personal preference. But on it’s own, Elixir Siloso Sunset is an interesting colour.

Posted on June 15, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.