Karas Pen Co: Reaktor Starliner Review

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Karas Pen Co. sent me a selection of their Starliner fountain pens to review here on the blog. All thoughts expressed about these pens are entirely my own.

Last week I reviewed the Galaxie pen that makes up part of the Karas Pen Co upcoming launch of their Reaktor line of pens. This week I am looking at their partner, the Starliner fountain pen.

The Starliner comes with a lot of the same backstory as the Galaxie pens. There are two different sizes, the pocket and the XL. The colour options and materials are the same on both pens, however the Starliner has a few subtle differences that make these stand apart from the Galaxie.

The Starliner Design.

The Starliner follows the same simple aesthetic as the Galaxie pen in that familiar Karas Pen Co. style. There is less flourish on the cap of the Starliner, when you compare it against the Galaxie. The top of the pen cap has a small raised peak, but no cog. There are three machined rings at the very top of the pen cap, two at the bottom and one on the bottom barrel of the pen itself. These represent a countdown, such as you would see in a space launch. This is again different to the Galaxie pen and sets the two apart.

 3-2-1 countdown on the Starliner pen.

3-2-1 countdown on the Starliner pen.

The pocket Starliner takes standard cartridges and ships with a Monteverde black cartridge. The XL version comes with a K5 Schmidt converter, which immediately makes this a more attractive pen for my personal use. They come with the 076 Bock nibs similar to other Karas Pen Co fountain pens. I have found these pens really nice to write with, all through the different nib sizes.

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The Starliner fountain pen follows the same pricing as the Galaxie hitting that entry level. The pocket will come in at $50 and $55 for the XL.

Using the Starliner.

Similar to the Galaxie I preferred using the XL version of the Starliner fountain pen. I like the fact that I can use any of the inks I had on hand. The additional length you get with the XL is far more comfortable to use and with the ink options makes this a lot more adaptable.

However personally I prefer the aesthetic of the pocket pen mainly due to the lack of the clip. The good news is the pocket Starliner is a tad longer than the pocket Galaxie, as you can see in the photo below. The additional length makes the pocket Starliner comfortable to use unposted, an issue I had with the Galaxie. As with the Galaxie range, the full black version of the Starliner is probably my favourite, it just looks so sharp and clean.

 Galaxie on the left and the Starliner on the right

Galaxie on the left and the Starliner on the right

Overall thoughts.

I can’t quite help but compare the Reaktor pens to the other Karas pens I have used in the past, the Ink, the Decograph, the Render K and the Retrakt, and there is a distinct difference. Therefore if you’re familiar with or own any of those pens, the Reaktor range is different. But different doesn’t mean they’re worse. These pens are great, reasonably priced and do give you two good options of pen styles based on your preferred style.

 All of the colour combinations. 

All of the colour combinations. 

I like what Karas Pen Co. have done with their new Reaktor range of pens. They are really nice to use and don’t compromise on that Karas feel. Creating a range of entry level pens is a good move.

Thank you again to the guys at Karas Pen Co. for sending me these pens to play with and review here on The Finer Point.

Karas Pen Co: Reaktor Galaxie Review

 The four different Galaxie designs

The four different Galaxie designs

Karas Pen Company sent me their latest pen releases to review here on the blog. Today we will be looking at their Galaxie range of pens, all thoughts of which are my own.

Karas Pen Co will be launching a new line of machined pens this summer called the Reaktor line which includes the Starliner fountain pen and the Galaxie ballpoint/rollerball pen. There is a lot to say about both so I am splitting out my reviews, with today’s focusing on the Galaxie range of pens.

What is the Reaktor Galaxie?

The concept, design and naming of the Reaktor line is influenced by Mid-century America, specifically space, and the themes that influenced almost all aspects of their culture. As with other Karas pens the design behind the pens are well considered and really add to the identity of the pen you’re using. It’s also interesting that there are quite a few stationery brands that have launched products with a space theme in recent months, so there is something of a trend here too.

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The Reaktor Galaxie pen comes in two sizes, a small pocket pen and an XL full length pen. They take two different refills, the pocket shipping with the Schmidt MegaLine P950 in medium, or the Parker style refill, and the XL with the Pilot G2. The difference in the refill compatibility needs to be considered when choosing the right pen for you, although its worth mentioning that Anna’s Epic Refill Guide should also be referenced to investigate what refill hacks can be performed. For the purposes of this review I am judging these pens based on how they arrive, straight out of the box.

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Galaxie Design.

The pens arrive in a small plastic container which I have been told is very close to the final packaging design. The colour of the packaging corresponds to the colour choice of your pen. I really like the packaging, it’s slim and lightweight, good for international customers, but it also keeps the pen secure.

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The pen design is typical of what you may know and expect from Karas Pen Co. There are four different options to choose from, full black, a tumbled aluminium finish and then two polished aluminium pens, one with a red anodised grip section, the second with a blue anodised grip section.

There are a few subtle differences between the two different sizes. The pocket Galaxie is clipless and the XL has the traditional Karas bolted on clip which regardless of the colour choice you go for is consistent across all pens.

Both sizes of the Galaxie have a distinctive cap design which looks like a cog, but actually takes inspiration from the hose fixtures found on space suits. This is also where the inspiration of the colour scheme comes from. The Galaxie pen is a click rather than screw cap meaning its very simple to flick off the cap.

 The cog, or more rightly hose, design on the pen cap

The cog, or more rightly hose, design on the pen cap

Using the Galaxie.

I have been using these pens for some time now. I have a number of them on my desk which I have been using to write work notes, jot down quick additions to my planner. Initially I was drawn to the smaller version of the pen because of the size and it worked well with my pocket notebook use. Unposted the pen is too short and not particularly comfortable to use. When posted the length is much better and the weighting works well too. Usually I don’t post my pens, but this one needs it. The one issue I’ve found is that the cap did come lose I guess from the movement when I was writing and I had to nudge it back in place quite a lot.

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The Schmidt refill is not my favourite. It’s quite gloopy and I had quite a few false starts. As I mentioned the refills can be swapped out and I would definitely recommend this on the pocket Galaxie. With the XL the popular Pilot G2 works as you would expect.

In terms of colour choices I think the black anodised finish on these pens looks great. The colour options feel very American with the blue and red grip sections. I was surprised by the tumbled aluminium finish Galaxie, it looks a lot better in the flesh than I expected.

Overall thoughts.

I like the Galaxie pen and it’s nice to have another machined pen option for your refills. Personally I like the XL version a lot more, the size is more comfortable to use and there is a little more flexibility with the refill options. The smaller pocket Galaxie however is a great pocket pen choice. The bonus to all of this is the price point. The smaller version is $40 and the XL is $45. That’s great value for a machined pen and I am not sure there are many options in the market at these prices. There is a nice notebook which is available now with a really nice Reaktor logo on the cover.

 Everything that makes up the Reaktor line of pens: Galaxie pen, packaging, notebooks and stickers 

Everything that makes up the Reaktor line of pens: Galaxie pen, packaging, notebooks and stickers 

I’d like to thank Karas Pen Company for sending me their latest pens to review here on the blog.

Mid-Week Mini: Baron Fig Card Sleeve Review

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Baron Fig sent me a sample of their newest product, the card sleeve, to review here on the blog. As usual all thoughts shared are my own.

In the past few weeks Baron Fig launched the latest addition to their product offering, a leather card sleeve expanding the number of leather goods they have to offer. The card sleeve is a very simple, slim wallet. It comes in a range of the signature Baron Fig colours, Fig Wine, Yellowgold, Charcoal and Rose Quartz. I have a Fig Wine card sleeve which I have been using for a few weeks.

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The card sleeves packaging is really nice and simple. It arrives in a card envelope with a familiar line drawing of the item on the outside. The sleeve is wrapped in tissue paper protecting the leather.

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The card sleeve is very minimal. I actually use a card holder normally which over time has expanded with all the cards I cram into it. This had two card sections on each side and then an opening in the middle allowing me to carry more than 10 cards and some cash. The Baron Fig card sleeve forces you to minimise what you’re carrying.

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There is one opening on either side, the main one having a diagonal cut off giving you easy access to the card(s) you use the most. It also adds something different to the design and shows off some of that Fig Wine colour.

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The colouring on the Fig Wine and Yellowgold is subtle with most of the card sleeve actually being charcoal and accents of the Baron Fig pallet showing through. The only exception to this is the Rose Quartz which is the inverse and full on pink!

Using the card sleeve has been good. You can see there are some scuff marks on the leather due to scratches from my keys, being thrown around in my bag and so on. This doesn’t bother me at all, but does shows that the leather is soft.

The number of pockets has taken some personal adjustment reducing down what I carry. I have taken out some cards, which on the whole were loyalty cards or ones I don’t use very often. I have managed to squeeze two cards in one pocket, three in the other and kept the central space for cash.

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My one criticism of the card sleeve is the size of the Baron Fig logo on the front of the card sleeve. It’s the same size as my pocket Guardian but this is hidden on the inside cover. It would be nice if this was a bit smaller and less visible, but that’s a small niggle I have.

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I really like the card sleeve and have personally always appreciated a simpler, usually smaller, wallet carry. The Baron Fig card sleeve is a nice slim profile wallet made from the same high quality leather as the other Baron Fig leather goods.

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Thank you to the guys at Baron Fig for sending me over their card sleeve to review.

Mid-Week Mini: Field Notes Signature

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It’s not often that the guys at Field Notes release a new addition to their standard product line-up but in the not so distant past they released the Signature Series. This came to the Field Notes flock due to huge demand after the success of their Dime limited edition.

 Size comparison against a Two Rivers pocket size Field Notes

Size comparison against a Two Rivers pocket size Field Notes

The Signature comes in a slightly larger size, 4 1/4” x 6 1/2” and with 72 rather than 48 pages. There are two different book options, one ruled (hurrah!) and the other is a sketchbook with plain paper. Both notebooks have a heavier paper stock, 70#T, which is again welcome as it really opens up the variety of writing tools you can use. For some time the lack of a heavier paper stock from Field Notes has limited how and when I use their products, but the Signature has changed all that. I have been happily using fountain pens with no feathering or bleed through and testing out some of my coloured pencils in the sketchbook.

The binding on the Signature gives this notebook its name. The three staples are ditched and a signature binding used which accommodates the size and additional pages.

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The binding also means the notebook lays almost flat which really is needed on these types of notebooks.

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On the spine the notebook particulars are debossed. These small details really finish off this product nicely and set it apart from the pocket notebooks.

 A few of these lined up on a shelf would look sweet!

A few of these lined up on a shelf would look sweet!

Each version of the Signature has its own colour. The sketchbook is a lovely blue-grey shade and the ruled notebook is a creamy colour. The branding is debossed giving it a really nice subtle finish.

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We have grown accustomed to good design from Field Notes. The Signature is very muted and simple but the little Field Notes Flourish (FNF) creeps in and I love it. For this notebook it comes with the logo which is delicious. You see this on the belly band and also debossed on the back of the notebook. It’s such a simple logo, it doesn’t have any new information on it, or anything specific to this notebook as such but I really like it. Thick lines!

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There’s a lot to like about the Signature notebooks and it’s a fab addition to the Field Notes line. I haven’t liked a new Field Notes notebook, limited editions included, as much as this one for some time. The muted colours are beautiful and will give this line longevity. The ruled and plain paper may not be to everyones favour but personally I love them. Grid paper is used so often in the pocket notebook sizes I think we are due to some alternatives and putting these into the larger size makes sense. The sketchbook couldn’t come at a better time for me in my sketching journey so I love this too. I’m going to stick my neck out and say these are my favourite Field Notes they have released and fit into my notebook usage perfectly.

Bravo Field Notes!