Fountain Pen

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.

Lamy Aion Review

The Lamy Aion was sent to me to review here on the blog by Pen Heaven. All the thoughts on this fountain pen are entirely my own.

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The Lamy Aion was a welcome addition to the Lamy line of fountain pens and the mid-range fountain pen market as a whole. It’s priced at approx £50 and you get a lot of good pen for the money.

Pen specifics.

The Aion comes in two colour options black and silverolive similar to the colour options from the Lamy 2000 and Lamy Studio range. The design of the Aion positions this fountain pen with Lamys premium products and separates it from the playful entry level pens in Lamys line.

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I have the silver Aion which almost has a brushed aluminium finish. It gives the pen some grip and texture but also looks really nice. The grip section of the pen is smooth, there isn’t any knurling or the moulded grip you get on the entry level pens. In use its been fine but this smooth grip section isn’t something that’ll work for everyone.

The Aion grip section and nib close up

The Aion grip section and nib close up

The Aion also has its own nib, the Z53 again setting it apart from entry level pens. It’s a firm steel nib that takes my heavy hand well and writes really smoothly. Although it’s new I can’t say I noticed a huge difference from other Lamy nibs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I really enjoy my other Lamy pens.

Size comparison versus the LX and AL Star

Size comparison versus the LX and AL Star

Impressions.

The first thing I was struck by was the size of the Aion. It’s a hefty pen and feels pretty heavy. Most of this weight seems to come from the cap and once you remove that and begin writing the weight and length of the pen give you a nice balance especially if you are using the Aion for long periods of time.

Posted the Aion doesn’t look much bigger than Lamys other pens, however take the cap off and you really see how long that barrel is.

Posted the Aion doesn't look much bigger than other Lamy fountain pens

Posted the Aion doesn't look much bigger than other Lamy fountain pens

I have a medium nib which seems to be standard, at least here in the UK. If you want an extra-fine, fine or broad nib these are special order. I have come to really like a medium nib from Lamy because it means I get too appreciate the ink I am using a lot more. The ink flow has been excellent, I haven’t experienced any issues with skipping. Considering this is a different nib to the Lamy Safari/AL Star/LX ranges I didn’t notice too much difference. The progression from these entry fountain pens to the Aion felt seamless.

Overall thoughts.

The Aion is a really good fountain pen at a great price point. I had high hopes for this pen and there were a few elements, such as the size which threw me off initially. However after using it for a while and getting used to it, how it felt and how it wrote I am really impressed. More than anything a pen from Lamy at this price point is a very welcome and much needed addition into their range bridging the gap from the Lamy AL Star/Safari to the Lamy 2000.

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I would like to thank Pen Heaven for sending me the Lamy Aion to review.

Why I love Lamys entry level fountain pens.

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I have come to notice in recent months how much I use Lamy fountain pens and how much I am drawn to use them. The Safari, AL Star and LX are pens I reach for every day because of how well they write and how versatile they are meaning there is something for everyone. You can choose from a range of colours, you can add/change/swap out nibs to your hearts content and you can use cartridge, or convertors and really open up the world of ink. I’m an advocate for the Lamy entry level fountain pens and wanted to share with you how I use mine.

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I use my Lamy AL Star in Copper Orange as my sketching fountain pen which I have inked up with Noodlers Black ink. I love using this bright and vibrant pen for sketching. The size and weight is comfortable especially when sketching for long periods of time. The nib is sturdy and gives good line variation with different pressures.

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My Lamy LX in Rose Gold has become a daily use fountain pen. I have this inked up with the lovely Sailor Blue Black. I love this pairing, its simple and feels classy. The LX has an aluminium body like the AL Star and comes with a black steel nib.

I have several Safari fountain pens and usually have one inked up. The Safari is the plastic barrel fountain pen that comes in a whole host of colours that have a matte look finish. I tend to swap out my Safaris a lot more but I always have one in use.

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There are so many plus points for the entry series of Lamy fountain pens. Over the years I have acquired a small collection without realising it. I don’t have a preference between any of these ranges, I am driven by colour and finding something that works for me. Because of their materials and durability I always recommend and gift these pens to people.

Karas Kustoms Decograph 1801 Sleeping Beauty Limited Edition Review.

Karas Kustoms contacted me some time ago to ask if I would like to use their latest signature limited edition fountain pen, the Decograph. I have been using this pen for some time, all the opinions and thoughts shared in this review aren’t influenced by Karas Kustoms in any way.

I have been using the 1801 ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Decograph for some time, months in fact. The Decograph is not my first experience with Karas Kustoms pens, I own a Retrakt and an Ink fountain pen both of which I enjoy but in very different ways to the Decograph.

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The name.

This limited edition is the 1805 Sleeping Beauty. Its name is taken from the blue colour of the pen which is inspired by turquoise mines found in Arizona, where Karas Kustoms is located.

The packaging.

I don't really often mention packaging on the blog, because really who cares. But the Decograph deserves some attention here. This is one of the nods to Karas Kustoms specialities, working with aluminium. The Decograph is packaged in an aluminium tube with the Karas Kustoms logo stamped on the front.

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As this is an aluminium tube its heavy. This tube provides serious protection to the fountain pen, perfect for shipping but also for storing your pen when you’re not using it.

I was genuinely wowed when I opened the box, I wasn't expecting anything like this, and it’s very different to how the Ink and Retrakt came to me. I presume this is all part of the signature line.

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The Decograph design.

The Decograph is a move away from the traditional Karas Kustoms materials. It’s made from a thermoplastic or acrylic-like material which they have combined with their distinctive aluminium finishes. The blue acrylic has a black swirling pattern moving through the pen body that is similar to other acrylic pens.

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I really like the blue used in this edition because its bright and vibrant. I expected it to be semi-transparent but in fact it’s not, it’s a solid blue. I like this because you aren’t distracted by the inner workings of the pen and seeing the convertor which is pretty boring, instead you concentrate on the beautiful colour and design.

The defining features of the Decograph come from the aluminium flourishes. The sturdy pen clip and the aluminium cap top and bottom.

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There’s a subtle Karas Kustoms logo nestled on the underside of the pen. The aluminium is almost a brushed finish which looks nice in the overall design. The contrast of the plastic and aluminium helps to add some weight to the pen but also finishes everything off really well making it look and feel like a premium pen.

Each limited edition pen comes with the model number and pen number etched into the side of the pen. Each limited edition has a limited number of available units and you can track your unit number on the pen itself.

Model number and pen number subtly hidden in the pen barrel. 

Model number and pen number subtly hidden in the pen barrel. 

The nib and using the Decograph.

Karas Kustoms Decograph uses a #6 Bock nib. I am not sure what nib I have here, I am presuming a fine but it writes beautifully. The nib is smooth and the ink flows well. The #6 Bock nib is the right size and fits proportionally with the Decograph, anything smaller would have looked odd.

The Bock nib

The Bock nib

I have used the convertor provided with the pen using my Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-Ro, one of my favourite inks that matches so well with this pen.

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I have used this pen a lot over the last few months because I enjoy it so much. It’s really nice to write with and the light weight makes it a really comfortable to use for long periods of time.

Overall thoughts.

I have used my Decograph almost every day which shows how much I have enjoyed this pen. I’ve tried to think about how to summarise the Decograph and do the pen some justice. When you look at this pen it’s clear its made by Karas Kustoms. The simple, classic shape plus the high end aluminium finishing touches all scream Karas Kustoms.

Size comparison against the Lamy AL Star

Size comparison against the Lamy AL Star

For me the Decograph puts Karas Kustoms in a place where I feel like I can really use their pens. Their past alumiunium pens, while they are solid and great to use, are too clunky for long term use. By expanding out and using a different material and pairing it with aluminium is a great idea and potentially opens Karas Kustoms up to a whole new market. The Decograph has become my favourite Karas Kustoms pen and one that I will use over and over again.

I’d like to thank Karas Kustoms for sending me the Sleeping Beauty fountain pen to review here on the blog.