Half Stealth

2012 was the year of stealth pen and while many makers jumped on the matte black bandwagon, Pilot proved they were still top dog. Their modern flavor of the Stealth Capless became the pen du jour, and I have to admit that few writers looked so good alongside a MacBook Air 11 or a Mission Workshop messenger.

For 2013, Pilot decided to ditch the polished chrome accents on the gunmetal gray VP and fit stealth trim instead. Looky! It’s pretty…

The packaging is different from what housed the black carbonesque VP I once owned. It’s less box and more escape pod in execution. I love how the Japanese devote such attention to even the smallest details. It just pushes the ownership experience from “what do we have here?” to “that’s how you do it!”

The nib is a rhodium plated Broad that writes as wide as its Western counterparts and flows about as wet as Hannover’s fulhalters. The tip hydroplanes with ease on paper and though I usually like to feel the nib as it works, I could get used to this. It’s also a tad springy, which gives a cushioned albeit hardly flexible feel.

I spent a rainy afternoon fussing over an ink that would suit the VP and decided on Diamine Graphite. It seems to match the pen without seeming contrived and would not raise eyebrows if I chose to sign office papers with the Pilot. Given how much ink is on tap, you’d forgive me for confining this writer to signature duties.

Anyone who’s owned a Capless bewails the modest capacity of the CON50 converter. Cartridges hold enough ink for a day’s ride but none came with the package. I’d be lucky to go half a day on one tank. It isn’t a fatal flaw but something to keep in mind if you’re considering one of these pens.

I’ve seen several modern Stealth VP’s earn scars after a few months. Not pretty, as the underlying brass practically screams against the matte finish. The clicker thingy also picks up character marks in time, and gouging the clip or the nose is bound to create a homely looking beast. The gunmetal barrel seems more forgiving of rough play, so this pen should age like Obi Wan more than Palpatine.

It may be half a Stealth , but I think it’s twice as good!


The joy of decluttering


These pens went on the market today and within hours, all found new homes. Most of these are Leigh’s, but the big clear Pelikan was in my care for about a year. It seems none the worse for wear and I’m pleased that it is going to someone who wanted this particular demonstrator with this particular nib. Serendipitous indeed.

The Chartres Blue Century was also a trusted ally for the better part of the year but an honest look at my box told me that as much as I took delight in wielding it, it might bring even greater joy to someone else.

Not two weeks ago, I let go of another Pelikan — an M600 with an exquisite Masuyama EF regrind. It was good to me but I felt it longed for and justly deserved better hands. It was welcomed by a pen friend blessed with the lightest touch. I can’t forget the glee on her face when she first touched the nib to paper. Another great pairing achieved.

So now, no Pelikans call my case home and I am a Platinum short. But to play matchmaker to pen geeks looking for the right fit outweighs any pain that thinning the flock brings.

Maybe there are a couple of idle writers in your box that’ll make someone’s day?