Saturday, 15 April 2017

Conid Cappuccino - more than just froth!

I am from Melbourne: the coffee capital of Australia; so when I heard that there was a coffee themed fountain pen brewing, naturally I wanted to be in on the act before it was too latte! 

The Pelikan Cafe Creme, the Lamy AlStar in coffee, the Mocha Brown Sailor Progear are all samples of other coffee-linked pens; but none of them quite perked me up until this one... the Conid Cappuccino.



Now sometimes the boast of pen manufacturers are all froth; but not this time. Here, in a limited run of only 36, lay my opportunity (if I got my order in, in time) to purchase the cream of Conid's fountain pen offerings. I took the plung (er), and took whatever beans necessary to make this pen mine.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Being excited about the arrival of a new pen is something that can turn any Quillophyle a quiver. 

Will it live up to expectations? 

Will it look as good as the photographs ? (Unless you're near a brick and mortar store, this is always a risk - sort of like on-line dating, only you're pretty much stuck with this one forever) 

Will it write straight away?

Well there was no need for me to feel despresso; the Conid Cappuccino impressed from the beginning.

The packaging was impressive without being too over the top: 
  • a small, black, hinged, metallic box simply marked "Conid" and the edition number (see below); 
  • an opaque pen stand, 
  • a Conid drink coaster (weird addition, but I guess it's consistent with a coffee theme)
  • a Conid branded cleaning cloth
  • a few other cards and notes (examples of the tests to ensure my cursive italic titanium nib is tuned as required); and
  • the pen.




9/10

APPEARANCE AND DESIGN
The Conid Cappuccino has a relatively simple design. It's not extraordinary; and yet... The luscious warmth and flow of the resin (I presume) coffee and milk swirls immediately fill the senses with a shot of excitement.
One of the reasons I haven't bought a Conid earlier, is that I have been somewhat underwhelmed by their design. There has been nothing wrong with it; it's just a little more utilitarian than a shallow "ooo, look at all the pretty colours" guy like me is attracted to. This time however, Conid have managed to include some pretty colours and swirls and suddenly I can no longer mocha them! (Oh dear, just how many coffee puns can I do?). 

While we're on "Appearance and Design" I should also mention briefly the filling system (so there, I've mentioned it. It is a major design highlight; but I'll let that percolate a little for now and talk more about it later).

Other design features include the ink window; and the clever black and white touch on the finial (the top of the cap) which is a design representing the clever piston-turning mechanism that is unique to Conid Bulkfillers (not sure I love that name - sounds like a body builder's diet regime prior to a major competition).
8.5/10

WEIGHT AND DIMENSIONS
The Cappuccino measures about 135mm in length capped, and 127mm uncapped. It also posts securely (if you like to post - and I do); and that takes the length to around 165mm. 

Width is pretty standard (around 12mm).

I find the Cappuccino a lovely weighted pen; and an ideal size. Posted it is a touch top heavy; but not ridiculously so.
8/10

NIB AND PERFORMANCE
Conid uses Bock nibs and this was an area I ummed and ahhed in while making my choices. You can choose steel, gold or titanium and I just wasn't sure which way to go. In the end I decided that I didn't have all that many titanium nibs so I would give that a go. Just to sweeten the deal, I also decided to get a cursive italic "grind".

I was very happy with my decision.
This nib wrote perfectly right out of the box. No skipping, no hard-starting and fabulous line variation and bounce. 

In my experience, titanium nibs are not necessarily flex nibs (although I have found the Stipula titanium nibs to have some pleasant flex in them). Nevertheless, this Bock nib (Bock are a nib manufacturer for those who are wondering what on earth I'm talking about) has a fabulous feel to it that makes the pen a pleasure to write with.
8/10

FILLING SYSTEM
Conid's filling system is unique. It is one of the reasons I have always wanted to try a Conid. Essentially, the Cappuccino "Bulkfiller" is a piston filler. But the way it fills somewhat resembles a French Press: somewhere between a piston filler and the Visconti and Pilot power fillers. 
Describing how the filling mechanism works is extremely difficult; so I would recommend you look at how it's done by watching Matt Armstrong of "The Pen Habit" doing a fantastic job of detailing the engineering of this pen. You check out his Conid review on YouTube here: Conid Bulkfiller on the Pen Habit
What makes this filling mechanism unique is that Conid have engineered a system that maximises the amount of ink you take into the barrell by essentially engaging and disengaging the piston mechanism with a plunger. Like a French Press in reverse. Cleaning the pen is the same in reverse; but 150% easier and more effective than Visconti Power fillers and the Pilot Custom 823. I would go so far as to say that the Conid system is the easiest of all my pens to completely flush out of ink.
The only caveat I would add to this praise is that because it is so unique, (or I'm just so damn old) I have forgotten a few times how to engage the mechanism and had to play around a few times to remember. Once my head is back into gear however, it's as simple as can be.
9/10

COST AND VALUE
One of the other reasons I haven't bought a Conid before has been cost. These pens are not cheap. And when you find a limited edition of only 36, well....
Nevertheless, the Conid Cappuccino has bean superbly engineered, is a great looking pen and has a fabulous nib. You get what you pay for.
8/10
 
CONCLUSION
This was a brand it has taken me some time to add to my collection; but now it's here, I am happy to say that the Cappuccino, is a really... wait for it... BREWtiful pen!

84/100



00-50
To be avoided at all costs
51-60
It’s cheap and you don’t really care
61-70
A nice pen with the makings of something better (just don’t spend too much)
71-80
A better than average pen with just a few flaws that stop it from being really good.
81-90
A good pen, a keeper, only a few minor places off being great
91-95
Now THIS is a pen! If you can get it: keep it, love it, cherish it, and keep it away from the dog
96-100
GRAIL




video video


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Quillophyles : DON'T LOOK AT WHAT YOU SPEND; LOOK AT WHAT YOU'VE SAVED!


I DON'T want to think about how much I've spent on pens, inks and papers over the years because I know if I looked there's a good chance I would feel a touch guilty... just a touch 😧
Banksy "Sale Ends Today" from Banksy Melbourne Exhibition.

Back at the end of 2016, Althaven blogged her analysis of the amount of money she had spent on pens, inks and paper for the year. 

Why on earth would she suggest such horrid torture? 

Was it something I said? 

Don't you just love the human condition? A challenge is set, and the physiology of the brain gets to work creating escape routes to protect the psyche!

It's all about focus and disposition. 

So in this blog, I thought I'd focus on the things in the last month or so that I wanted to buy but didn't. These are the FOMOs and cravings that took me to a web site, an instagram,  a brick and mortar store and right up to the point of pressing the "buy" button on shopping carts before pulling back my finger and .....saving!!! 🙈🙉🙊


This is a one-off Desiderata Icarus in a fabulous orange ebonite.
EYES: "What a beautiful pen. That orange just sings to me; and I love the feel of ebonite in the hand. 
HEAD VOICE: You have a Desiderata pen don't you? Do you use it a lot? I know, the one you have is just black and not shiny and pretty like this one; but is this a pen you really need?  --- quick, close the page and move on!
SAVINGUS$175
The Karas Kustoms Knox Retrakt pen - limited edition (and not a fountainpen!)
[Photo from KK website]
EYES: This pen just reeks of character. It's unique. I love that oxidising light blue. I love the lack of uniformity; the almost organic sense to it. Karas Kustoms make a fabulous, quality product and this is a humdinger!
HEAD VOICE: It's not a fountain pen. You have other KK pens.
SAVINGS: US$210 

Baronfig ASKEW Notebook
EYES: Brad Dowdy likes it, (Myke doesn't) and that was a really interesting discussion on the PenAddict podcast. Let's check it out. Website (above) visited. Wow! That blue on the cover is brilliant (not keen on the LE cover). Love the haphazardness of the lines. It's a brilliant anarchic take on the notebook. I JUST LOVE IT. It's not even that expensive. I want it!
HEAD VOICE: How many unused notebooks do you have? (boxes). 
SAVINGSUS$20

Sailor 1911 Large Fresca Blue Fountain Pen from Anderson Pens
EYES: There it is on the Anderson Pens YouTube... just love that colour! I love Sailor nibs; this is a no-brainer let's go to the web site. OOOO; look! It was $360 and it's down to $288 In Australian dollars that's a savings of AU$96!  Drool......
HEAD VOICE: How many pens do you have now? Yes it's gorgeous; but you have how many Sailor pens? (11) Is this where you want to focus your collection; or could this be money that went towards a grail, a celluloid, an OMAS that your collection really needs... [DAMN]
SAVINGS: US$288

and there's more:

  • ITOYA PORTFOLIO JOURNAL SIDEKICK MAGNETIC PEN HOLDER - SAVINGS: US$19.99
  • LAMY Z24 CONVERTER - SAVINGS: US$4.50
  • 5ML BLUNT TIP SYRINGES (2 PACK) SAVINGSUS$5.00
There you have it. All up, over the past month or so, I have not spent a total of US$722.49 (AU$957.83 at beginning March 2017). Not bad work!  Now, how am I going to spend that.....
"Destroy Capitalism", Banksy Exhibition Melbourne - yes, that's me in the reflection!


Saturday, 5 November 2016

Happy Fountain Pen Day! - today's Photo Blog

It's late at night in Melbourne; but if I don't blog today, Fountain Pen Day, it would be a sin indeed! Today is the day where Quillidealists everywhere celebrate our obsession and joy. So here, my friends, is a pic-heavy blog edition with the full set (plus some) of my Inktober Instagrams to keep you quillified:

Pilot Vanishing Point 2016 LE

OMAS Ogiva Cocktail, Blue Angel

Edison Pearl Bulb filler

Pelikan M450

Pelikan n101 (modern edition)

Pelikan Lizard m101n

Pelikan m400 white tortoise



OMAS Extra (Cognac)

Lamy Safari, French Blue

Aurora Oceania (of course!)

Conklin Word guage LE, and a poem I wrote on leadership.

Aurora Europa

Sailor King of Pen, Ebonite

Montblanc 146 90th anniversary rose gold edition; with Dan Smith CI nib (love ya work Dan!)

Pelikan Gaudi LE

Visconti Homo Sapiens

OMAS 360

Visconti Pininfarina

Montblanc Rouge et Noir

Pilot Vanishing Point in Dark Yellow

Sailor Galaxy Pro Gear Slim

OMAS Arco Ogiva


Sailor Progear Slim in Green Mosaic

OMAS Arlecchino

Visconti Metropolis Gordian Knot

Lamy Safari Joy

OMAS Arco 360


Nakaya Naka-ai, Hiwa-Moega LE

Karas Kustoms Fountain K

Delta La Citta Reale LE

OMAS Galileo Galilei

Montblanc Heritage 1912

Happy Fountain Pen Day!!