Friday, December 30, 2011

Pilot Hi - Tec - C Slim Knock 0.4mm Gel Ink Pen

Every now and then, I come across a pen that really just surpasses its appearance by leaps and bounds.  The Pilot Hi - Tec - C Slim Knock 0.4mm Gel Ink Pen is one such pen.
A slim, compact plastic body, 4.75 inches, holds the coveted Hi-Tec - C 0.4mm Gel Ink cartridge, that simply glides on paper, not unlike an ice skater on an ice skating rink.
                                            (Photo courtesy of Jet Pens)
Hi-Tec - C Slim Knock does one thing and does it exceptionally well.  It lays down a nice thin, dark line on paper.  While the body is a little too slim for my large hands, I still enjoy using this diminutive pen to write short, sprint - like paragraphs.  Surprisingly, I wrote out this review using it and had no writers cramp afterwards.  This is a pen I would keep in my pocket portfolio, in order to have on hand when I need to take notes or write down info at meetings, etc. 

While not an overly fragile plastic pen, if I had my druthers, I would have Pilot produce an aluminum Slim Knock version, soon.  I would even love to see Pilot consider a Multi Pen Slim Knock aluminum version, preferably a three point pen.  I think that would strike a fancy with a lot of stylophiles.

But until then, I am content with using this little gem, which in case you hadn't guessed, I highly recommend!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ohto Multi Pen Hexagonal Barrel 3 Points, Matte Black

The Ohto Multi Pen Hexagonal Barrel 3 Points, Matte Black has a tactical defense weapon appeal to it.  Maybe its the design combination of the hexagonal upper mid-section,  blended with the lower round, sculpted grip section.  All is covered with a matte black paint job.  The only contrast being the white model label on its side, and the function indicators at the pen top.  Also, the ribbed grip section has black glossy paint applied to each rib,  which sort of detracts from the overall stealthiness of its ninja-like appearance.

                                     (Photos courtesy of iPen Store)
Touted as a professional multi pen, and constructed from a brass material, it feels well balanced and substantial when holding.  Its features include: a black fine 0.7mm needle point D1 cartridge, a red D1 of the same variety, and a 0.5 mm lead holder.  The needle points are really effective when applying ink to paper, gliding smoothly, they bring out the best in my penmanship, and when filling out forms, makes the task an easy one.  Even the lead holder performs quite the same without breaking lead during mid-stroke.  There also lies a small eraser included under the pen cap.

The Ohto Multi Pen has a two step knock mechanism for engaging and retracting the pen's functions.  It engages by pushing down its cap, and disengages by pressing a side release button, both operate flawlessly.  The pen is deconstructed by unscrewing the hexagonal barrel section from the round barrel section.  The brass threads have quite a solid feel when performing this task, confirming the quality of craftsmanship used in this pen's engineering.  And while not designed to be a defense weapon, one gets the sense when holding it, that if need be, this pen could very well double as both a formidable tactical weapon, and an effective writing implement, all rolled in one.

The Ohto Multi Pen Hexagonal Barrel 3 Points is somewhat of a cult pen, due to its unusual design, and its elusive availability, at least here in the U.S.  Its been seen available on several websites, including Ebay.  Available in red, silver, gunmetal, glossy black, and of course matte black.  The D1 fine 0.7mm needle point cartridges are available in black, blue and red, to my knowledge.

The Ohto Multi Pen Hexagonal Barrel 3 Points is clearly a pen that I could get used to calling on for a number of writing tasks.  Its a versatile writing instrument, with the potential to do duty if needed as a defense weapon as well.  As such, I highly recommend it. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Swan Neck Pen

I have wanted to review the Swan Neck Pen for sometime now.  Ever since I reviewed the Yoropen and several readers commented that they really preferred the Swan Neck Pen over Yoropen because they said it is constructed more specifically for the left hand writer.  So I was curious why there was such loyalty to this particular writing instrument.

So I emailed M.A.D. Associates, Ltd. in the U.K. and asked for a sample to review.  I soon received a reply from Heather, a M.A.D. Associate, who agreed to send me a Swan Neck Pen for review. 
Well, I have been using the Swan Neck Pen for over a week now and have some interesting results to share. 

First, let me thank Heather and the M.A.D. Associates, Ltd. for sending me their latest version of the Swan Neck Pen in both the yellow plastic variety, and the chrome plated aluminum model. 
The aluminum model came in a very lovely black presentation box, complete with white satin lining inside.  The M.A.D. Associates, Ltd. emblem and web address was stamped on the upper lid.  The two plastic versions I received came adhered to a promotional ad which bills Swan Neck as "the logical writing solution."  Swan Neck employs a patented "S" bend tip and rubberized ergonomic grip.  This gives the pen an angle and holding advantage, allowing the writer to see his / her writing in real time.  Swan Neck inventor Anthony Hemmings developed this innovation as a result of his left hand daughter Amy's hand-writing challenges.   After years of hard work and investment, Anthony and friend Mike, along with Dillion and recent M.A.D. Associates addition Heather, have  brought to fruition Swan Neck Pen's worldwide launch.  So, let's take a look at this innovative, left hand friendly writing tool.

The chrome plated aluminum model of Swan Neck has an industrial, minimilistic appeal and is thin and stealthy looking in appearance.  The pen measures 14 cm capped, and is not of substantial weight.  The cap is constructed of black plastic, and has a somewhat delicate pocket clip attached.  The tip of the pocket clip comes to an open end, undoubtedly for child safety reasons.  At the lower barrel portion, lies the rubber grip sleeve which is well made and is ribbed for extra holding potential.  Below it lies the "S" bend that extends to the ink cartridge tip.  What is interesting about writing with this pen is its learning curve.  That mainly has to do with how the writer HOLDS the pen.  That said, writing with it is pleasurable, and not at all a chore.  As a left hand writer, I really appreciate Swan Neck's ability to allow me, the writer,  visibility of my written text during the writing experience.  The ink cartridge is a ballpoint, but is smooth, and not at all scratchy when putting pen to paper.  However, if I had my druthers, I would employ a gel ink cartridge for this pen type, including a darker, more striking black ink color as well. 

So, how does Swan Neck stack up with Yoropen?  It's the "S" bend versus the "Z" bend in the Yoropen.  It's also the tightly fitting rubber grip with ribbed sides on the Swan Neck versus the thick rotatable rubber grip of Yoropen.  These seem to be the main deciding features of commonality that each share.  Well in my humble opinion, it's really a matter of individual preference, based on comfortability.  I can see how the average 12 - 13 year old left hand writer may feel more comfortable holding the Swan Neck, as it has a smaller diameter at its grip section.  While an adult with larger hands might enjoy the thickness Yoropen's grip possesses. 

I personally find Swan Neck enjoyable and comfortable to use on a regular basis, especially when writing narratives, as the fatigue factor is minimalized.  It will definitely have a well deserved place in my collection's daily rotation.  I highly recommend the Swan Neck Pen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Retractable Gel Ink Pen 0.5mm Black

At first glance, Pilot's Frixion Ball Knock Retractable Gel Ink Pen just appears to be a plastic bodied pen with a funny looking semi clear rubber cap at its top and a clear plastic pocketclip to round it off.  However, that would be totally misleading. 
This pen is one of Pilot's best designed, and technically constructed writing instruments to date.  A thoroughly thought-thru executed pen, Frixion makes for a versatile, go to writing implement. 

While examining this pen from head to toe, the first thing to note is the rubber tip at the pen's top.  Exposed, the hard rubber tip allows easy access when needing to do something not possible with an average pen.  Erase your hand written ink entry!  This is made possible by Pilot employing a thermo-sensitive ink that erases when rubbed out by the rubber tip.  Pilot says the ink will reappear when temperature reaches below 14 degrees fahrenheit.  I have not put this to the test, so I'll take Pilot's word for it on this claim. 

Moving down the pen body, a clear pocketclip doubles as the knock mechanism that allows the ink cartridge tip to retract.  The clip is not necessarily strurdy looking, but appears to do the job quite efficiently.  On the side of the clip is the stamp: "Frixion ball 0.5," indicating the size of the ink cartridge tip.  Cartridges are also available in the 0.7 mm variety.  Additionaly, pen bodies are available in ten different colors.  As well as a stainless steel model.   Continuing, below the clip is the Pilot Frixion logo.  Along the backside is a barcode and several lines of writing in Japanese.  Right below lies the grip section which works quite nicely and allows writing with this pen an effortless exercise.  Being a gel ink pen, it literally glides on paper, and the ink dries quite promptly, and a very dark black color. 

The barrel separates at the grip section and unscrews to reveal the ink cartridge which is of substantial size.  As a complete unit Frixion delivers, and in a very convincing way.  Available at, for $3.80, it is more than worth the cost.  I highly recommend the Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Retractable Gel Ink Pen. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Schrade Tactical Fountain / Ballpoint Pen

Schrade's Tactical Fountain / Ballpoint Pen is a finely machined, versatile writing tool that doubles as a tactical defense weapon.  After using it for a while, there seems to be a lot to like about it, so I will highlight what is noteworthy to me.

What's immediately apparent about this pen is how well constructed it truly is.  Made with aircraft aluminum, the pen is quite sturdy and solid.  The pen's design is reminiscent of a Star Trek, Dr. Who device that catches attention immediately.  It is available in three colors; bronze, black, and silver.  I received the bronze pen for review.  When capped, the pen is 14.5 cm, but when the cap is posted,  it is right at 18 cm.  Very long indeed!
The pen comes with several different components that comprise its multi-functionality.  The fountain pen cap, ballpoint pen cap, pen cap, ballpoint pen ink cartridge, and fountain pen cartridge.  All assemble and disassemble quite easily by screwing them on and off without a hitch.  When capped, the bottom of the pen exposes the tactical body business end of the pen. 

The fountain pen nib is of the medium tip variety, and inks as smoothly as they come.  German made, the nib is stamped "iridium point Germany" on its face.  When capped, this pen presents quite a formidable looking appearance.  You might have some trouble getting it through airport security gates.
The ballpoint glides on paper and inks a very black ink color.  It is very comfortable when holding during the writing experience.  Its ribbed sides allow easy gripping, without the creeping issues of some aluminum pens.  It swaps out quite easily with the fountain pen component screwing on and off as needed.
Using this pen proved to be an intriguing writing experience.  I don't know if I'll ever need the tactical edge to defend myself with, but its good to know it is there, just in case.
I highly recommend the Schrade Tactical Fountain / Ballpoint Pen.