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Pen Mini Reviews – BWIPS ’22 Haul

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Non-Fountain Pens

Well, I meant for this to go up on Tuesday, but I just didn’t get to it. You all seemed to enjoy my pen mini reviews of my DC Pen Show Haul, so I’m doing them again with my BWIPS 2022 haul. I hope you enjoy this one, too. FYI, I’m listing the pens in purchase order.

As usual, click on any image to view it larger.

all pens from my haul
A full rotation of pens in one haul.

Only interested in certain pens? No worries, jump to specific reviews: Jason Neil Penworks | River City Pen Co | Retro 51 | Ryan Krusac | Hardy Penwrights | Sailor

Jason Neil Penworks Modified Clarke

modified clark

This is my first Jason Neil Penworks pen, bought secondhand. This is definitely a pen made to let the material shine. And the material — Unicorn Horn — is, of course, gorgeous. I love how sparkly it is, like magic. The colors remind me of Encanto. FYI, my feelings about that movie have changed. Expect a post on it soonish.

The section is on the long side, but feels really nice in my hand.

modified clark section comparison
The section is a couple of millimeters longer than typical. That doesn’t seem like much, but it’s noticeable

The final polish is lovely, and there are not flaws that I can see.

River City Pen Co Wizardly Woods

wizardly woods bronze and blue

I followed along as Rich of River City Pen Co (RCPC) made these, as he was kind enough to post his progress on Instagram. I wasn’t fast enough to get the first Blue and Bronze — but really, we all know it’s Ravenclaw — version, but I was able to snag the second. I love that it’s in the real Ravenclaw colors, not the incorrect blue and silver from the movies.

For those who don’t know the wood used for this series comes from Christ Church College, best known — at least in my generation — for its inclusion in the Harry Potter films. According to RCPC’s Instagram posts and a card included with the pen, the wood was treated with Danish oil, cured, and coated with carnauba wax.

card that came with the wizardly woods pen

I’ve got two small critiques for this pen:

  1. The metal rings are a bit uneven. And the top ring has a rough join point. I don’t really mind it, as I feel like it fits in with the imperfections of the wood, but it is something worth mentioning.
  2. I would have like the cap to be even with the barrel when closed. I readily admit, however, that this is entirely personal opinion.

That said, I really like the rounded edge at the top of the cap, and the tapering on the barrel finial. the gentle rounding of the edge on the nib end of the section is very nice, too.

Retro 51 Artist Series by Vanness Pens

retro 51 artist series by vanness

Across from Dromgoole’s main tables at BWIPS, they’d set up a massive collection of Retro 51s. There were two nearly identical Katie McGowan Artist Series pen. One was significantly lighter than the other. I bought that one because I thought the other one had patinated and would continue to do so.

I’d forgotten that there were two versions of the Katie McGown pen and thought that both available pens were early proofs, before color had been considered. But, they are just proofs of the Antique Copper version.

As best as I can tell, this pen is identical to the version that was sold, except for the PROOF engraving where the number would be. The body has a lovely mandala design, and the star/flower finial is nice, too.

Ryan Krusac Legend L14

legend l14

Amongst the — admittedly beautiful — browns on Ryan Krusac‘s table, the gorgeous, almost grape juice, color of this pen caught my attention. I thought it had been dyed. However, Ryan explained that purple heart is naturally this color — a quick google search will tell you why.

On top of the color, the alligator skin engraving is mesmerizing. It’s amazing to me that there isn’t a single rough spot, despite all of the cuts. I can run a finger over the entirety of the pen without it catching on anything. Even better, the threads have a single start, so the design always lines up.

I also love the weight of the pen. The brass section and insert at the top of the barrel weight the pen toward the front, so it’s very comfortable to write with.

Hardy Penwrights Companion

companion liquid smoke diamondcast

Among all of the bright colors on the Hardy Penwrights table, this one stood out for its lack. Not that it’s lacking in beauty in any way. According to my receipt, it’s the Liquid Smoke Diamondcast. It’s got a wonderful depth, and each shade has a different amount of sparkle. Greg did a great job letting the material shine, literally and figuratively.

I love the rollstopper as well. The back shaping, so that it follows the contour of the pen and lies flat on the top, is great! Plus, the design is cute.

The section is a nice length, and it’s good to have a resin pen without an indented section. I don’t have many of those.

companion section

As if the pen isn’t awesome enough, it came with the most awesome bag I’ve ever seen from a penmaker. It’s well-made from a thick, canvas material, and has a clip inside. I get the feeling it’s actually meant to go with the high-end pens, but, being Mrs. Pensloth and a friend to Greg, they gave me one. I’m definitely not complaining. It makes those higher-end pens even more worth it, honestly.

Sailor Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary

sailor hello kitty

While this is the basic, full-sized Pro Gear shape, I appreciate that there are alternating resin colors with metal rings in between. I don’t think it’s labeled as a Pro Gear. The weight difference between the two is negligible, with this one only 2 grams heavier.

There are multiple other differences from the standard Pro Gear:

  • The cap finial features Hello Kitty’s bow instead of Sailor’s anchor
sailor finial comparison
  • The red cap section has an image of Hello Kitty hugging a bear, the Hello Kitty logo text, and copyright information.
Hello Kitty Sailor cap collage
  • The main cap band says Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary, followed by Hello Kitty’s bow, then the number out of 400 — I have number 262.
  • The clip is simpler than the Pro Gears I have, but as this pen came out in 2014, I don’t know if that was the standard clip at the time. Let me know in the comments.
sailor clip comparison
  • The nib has a slightly different shape — it’s a bit wider. It also has a custom design featuring 40th in Hello Kitty font and Hello Kitty’s bow.
sailor nib comparison

I don’t know if the converter is original. If it is, it’s disappointing that the metal isn’t gold colored. If it isn’t, that’s a shame, too. Either way, I’ll likely see if I can get one that’s a better match.

That wraps up my mini reviews — and the pen porn. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Do you own any of these pens? Have I inspired any pen envy with these photos? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from you!

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One Comment

  1. Caroline

    1) Jason Miller is indeed the king of polishing. I have one of his and the polish is just beautiful and flawless. And I like the slightly longer section although I hadn’t really attended to it, because it keeps my fingers well away from the nib.
    2) I also bought a Hardy pen (a Traveler) and got the lovely bag too. And I had a ball chatting with Greg while I babysat his neighbor’s table. Fun guy!

    March 29, 2022

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