Noodler’s Konrad Brush Pen - Burgundy - $20
Noodler’s er…free pen that came with Nikita Ink - Creaper Nib
I bought a Konrad Brush Pen by Noodler’s, as well as a 4.5oz bottle of red, Nikita ink, which came with a limited edition fountain pen.
The fountain pen didn’t blow my socks off…At first. It has a Creaper nib, for writing, I think. (Contrary to what some people say, Creaper IS different than Flex. It is supposed to be stable with slight ‘creep.’)
That said, there isn’t a ton of flex and it’s not too great for extensive drawing, but it is smoother than butter, feels great in the hand, and it isn’t bad for being free. After a few minutes, I realized you can put certain nibs for dip pens into the thing, and then, my socks were blown off. If you can get a Speedball or Hunt nib to fit, you have yourself a portable pen of any kind of nib you like. (Just make sure it doesn’t leak and stuff before you stick it in your pocket.) It’s sort of a stretch, as dip pen nibs aren’t really intended for adaption, but happily, any Noodler’s nib fits with any Noodler’s pen.
The fountain pen is also pretty rare, since it only comes with Nikita ink and isn’t sold separately. It has a unique, clear, acrylic body to allow you to see the ink level, which is pretty darn nice. The cap and end are swell, a nice blending of black and red plastic. The metal trim is also pretty. I will probably get an Ivory Darkness pen with Flex nib later this year, but I may actually keep using this particular pen body, since it is so great to look at. It also matches my many other red drawing utensils…
You fill up this particular fountain pen with an eyedropper, something I don’t think Noodler’s does with any other pens they make. It is a very easy, quick way to refill your pen, and it’s also very tidy. No squirting ink through tiny tubes and using syringes. Just plop it in there.
The brush pen is perhaps the greatest thing on earth. It is $20, and better than my $50 Kaimei. I’ll say it. It’s better. It is capable of producing a much finer line, and isn’t changing it’s mind constantly, so I don’t have to wrestle with it and sort of shape the brush until there’s a fine tip. The ink is also better. I’m not too hot on the slightly transparent Nikita (really, it’s okay, I’m just nit picking), but considering this brush pen can take ANY of Noodler’s 100+ inks, I think it’s safe to say… the ink is better. Kaimei ink does not stand up to water and breaks up towards the end of the cartridge instead of draining. Nikita is waterproof and flows much, much better.
I also feel this pen will last longer than my Kaimei. I’ve known at least 4 people, including myself, who have cracked the screw-on ends of Kaimeis, because the plastic is so cheap and thin. Even if I could muster that with the Konrad, I feel I could just call Noodler’s and they’d actually try to help me fix it. Interesting, that. I contacted Kaimei, and they basically told me ‘too bad.’ However, they will sell you any other part of the pen you inevitably WON’T break…for $30.00.
I don’t hate my Kaimei, I just think the Konrad is a hell of a lot better.
Overall, I’m just blown away by Noodler’s. I don’t think these items feel cheap, despite what some reviewers (who own $125 luxury fountain pens) say. Yeah, the plastic isn’t aluminum or rubberized magic, it’s molded plastic. But it feels like it’ll last. Noodler’s also stands to create some of the last pens with hand-cut feeds. The best thing about the build of these products, is that they don’t feel like they were pushed out of a machine. I don’t know, I guess I just don’t think that’s ‘cheap’ (and even if it is, the pens are $14, for pete’s sake).
A man named Nathan in Massachusetts puts a lot of time and thought into these products. Nathan, in his videos, expresses a strong desire to produce quality products people can actually afford. He dislikes the idea of throwing things away when they’ve worn slightly, and so he sells replacement parts for pens at a very modest price. He also has tons of videos on how to repair and maintain his products, as well as how to customize them. Nathan does not believe in letting people buy a pen that fits only certain nibs he makes. One size fits all, and any pen takes any ink. He thinks hard about his products, and he even names some after whales.
What a man.