A new pen to bump the line of back-log! Sometimes I like to give pens a bit of use time before reviewing (also cause busy), and sometimes I like to review them right away for early impression thoughts. This was one such pen. My second Opus 88 pen now, so to be perfectly honest, I didn’t buy the pen believing I would love it as evidenced by my review of the Koloro (I don’t hate it though!), but I definitely bought it for a reason. In any case, let’s dig in shall we:
Does this pen look super awesome? Yeah it does!
And it is precisely its looks that got me. This pen has a very unique look for a non-custom pen (at least from the research I’ve done on custom pen blanks and such). Discounting my recent discovery of Leonardo Officina pens which also have a unique look thanks to the pen body material, I don’t see this kind of special cast resin pattern on many manufactured pens. The shape of it is also unique, designed based on a flower vase, which I thought was quite cool. There are so many colours on this pen body – a very CMYK kinda feel, with the K being replaced with whites – CMYW if you will. I like it.
The pen is designed to be flush at all seams, which is what I really like about the design. I’m enjoying the flush aesthetic, and actually have started to keep my eye out for more pens with a flush cap-body look. The overall tapered shape also allows the pen to be posted despite having a flush cap-body, but as I’ll describe below, the pen is quite large and probably doesn’t benefit from being posted.
The packaging was a standard Opus 88 box with a simple magnetic flap top, with just the pen, an eyedropper and a tiny booklet inside. This one is a little more special though because the outside of the box cover was wrapped in nice red rice-paper. Sorry for the mis-coloured photos, I think I took some photos during the day, and some at night — oops!
The cap is shaped the most like a vase, with a little sculpted divot at the finial. The overall dimensions for this pen are hugggeee! The length is almost 15cm (5 7/8″) with the max width on the pen cap measuring 2cm (3/4″). I tend to not really read numbers or stats on pens before buying them because I’m too shallow — I just see how the pen looks xD, so I had no idea the pen would be this big. Slightly worrisome in terms of regular use, but more on that later.
The pen nib is a stainless steel EF, ordained with the company logo. The nib is quite large as well, to match the large pen, almost 2.3cm long. Last thing I’ll say about the pen design is that it can be set vertical on either it’s bottom or cap, which is another thing I really like about it. I have it just standing on my desk in an elegant pose unlike the rest of my pens, which require a cup holder to stand upright, or a majority of them just laying horizontally on my pencil case. It’s an excellent feature, and I wish more of my pens could stand on it’s bottom — even though when they’re inked that tends to empty out the feed.
I’m going to preface this with the fact that I do not dislike using this pen at all, but I also don’t see myself using it in regular rotation. And perhaps a part of that is just that the pen is definitely too big in my hands, but I think there’s a few more things that go into it.
I enjoyed using the pen on first run. I inked it up after a helpful instagram poll of whether to go with Robert Oster Fire & Ice or Iroshizuku Tsutsuji, both inks I thought would match the colourful exterior of the pen wonderfully. Tsutsuji won. It was a late night, but I inked it up and just started doodling. The pen runs smoothly. Not the EF nib I always desire (can’t really compare to those Japanese EFs), but it was good!
No hard starts, and ink flows smoothly, so no complaints there. When I seal up the bottom and have the pen standing on it’s base (nib point up), then I definitely have a harder time getting the ink flowing again once I release the valve. This is good and bad I suppose, since it means it will likely not be a leaky pen during travel. But this also means the pen will not write right away once uncapped after a long period of time. As such, I’ve been keeping the pen nib point down and unsealed at the bottom just so when I pick it up to use again it’s working smoothly from the get go.
As mentioned above, but biggest (haha) issue is that the pen is quite big. My hand doesn’t wrap comfortably around, in any grip form. My thumb to index wrap around feels like it has to strain to keep the pen in control. This is of course, no surprise, as I knew the pen would be on the large side. I decided to buy it anyway despite knowing this, because I liked how the pen looked. Oh shallow me.
Weight wise, the pen is quite good. Being a plastic pen, it doesn’t carry too much weight, yet feels balanced enough when I’m using it. Unfortunately because of the size, I end up not being able to use the pen for long periods of time anyway. Hence this review took a longer than usual time since I split it up in sessions of doodling and writing.
For the most part over the past few weeks, I’ve left the pen unused, but propped on display vertically on my desk because I enjoy the patterning so much. On the rare occasion, I whip the pen out to use, being careful to untwist the piston at the bottom to let pressure out for ink to flow. I’ve noticed though, that the ink starts to bleed out from the connection between grip and body. It’s hard to notice at first since I’m using an ink colour that matches part of the pattern on the pen, but there is a slight dying of the plastic with the bleeding ink. I also sometimes come off using the pen with stained fingers. I don’t know if this is a result of me pushing too much ink from the piston or from a leaky o-ring. I won’t really be able to test this until I flush it out and fill it again, but in any case it’s something that does happen with the pen.
Frankly speaking, this pen is really cool. Just by looks alone, it is unique, serves as a talking point (if I ever brought this pen out to see people, of which I have seen close to none since March), and it is certainly great to look at on display. If you have slightly larger hands and longer fingers than I do (not difficult as I’m just generally a small person), then this pen could also fit and feel very comfortable in hand too!
For me to gauge value, I suppose I also have to gauge from a point of view of both collector and user. From a collector’s point of view, it’s worth adding to the collection, being only a semi-expensive pen. From a user point of view, it’s not for me, but it’s certainly not a bad pen at all. It’s not a smooth rolling as say a TWSBI, but it still rolls and it’s got a great big ink capacity for those who like using their pens to oblivion. I personally don’t, as I like to switch up inks now and then and keep things fresh.
- Unique design and material
- large ink capacity
- Writes smoothly
- Good balance
- Grip and body are larger than average
I’ve used this ink before in a previous review (Wink Pen), so I have a bit less to say about it. Part of me was leaning towards Fire & Ice for the pen, but instagram votes prevail! Next time 😃
Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think about the pen!