Today we’ll be talking about a new pen that I’ve got last year: the Noodler’s Konrad Acrylic fountain pen. We’ve had a new dealer for Noodler’s stuff in Singapore and he’s part of our fountain pen club, so when he brought all the stock in, you can be sure that we snapped them up like hungry hyenas. I bought two of the Konrads myself, and was pleased to hear that, being so new, the ones I have chosen hadn’t even been named yet. Let’s take in their entire beauty:
Of course, these pens have been launched last year, and they have since been named beautiful names. The top, red and purple swirl patterned pen, is the Forbidden City, while the bottom blue-swirl patterned one, is the Marbled Marianas. As I’ve said before, I’m not such a great fan of red, but this red and purple is such a striking combination that I just had to get it! So this is the pen I am going to review today.
The only other Noodler’s pen that I’ve ever owned or reviewed has been the Noodler’s Ahab Jade fountain pen. The Ahab and the Konrad both use the standard Noodler’s nib, and this time I managed to score some rigid Noodler’s nibs to exchange with the flex ones that I have been using. The differences in appearance between the Ahab and the Konrad are obvious: their shapes are different, the pen clip on the Ahab is a curved shape while the Konrad has a straight-cut clip, the Ahab has a fat metal trip on the cap while the Konrad has a slimmer one. Another striking difference is that, while the Ahab is notorious for its characteristic vegetal resin odour, the acrylic Konrad pen has none of it. I’m personally not very much affected by the smell of the resin, and besides, I’ve used it enough to reduce the smell to an insignificant minimum, so this does not make a huge difference to me.
Being a convenient and easy-to-clean pen, it can be easily dismantled. Here you can see the pen taken apart. If you are wondering how, it’s easy! Just unscrew the cap, pull out the nib and feed carefully, and unscrew the other end of the pen. I suppose you might also be able to remove the piston, but don’t take my word for it. I’m not going to experiment that either! I’ve previously had ink loaded inside, which I flushed out very easily with water. One added benefit of this piston-filler of a Konrad over the Ahab is that the ink chamber does not get stained with the ink (at least, not so far). There is a bit of residual ink that tend to get stuck around the fittings, but that should be settled easily with more flushing and maybe even a bit of scrubbing with a soft brush. My Ahab piston converter has been stained yellow with Noodler’s #41 and I haven’t been able to get the stain off even today. 🙁
I inked up the Konrad with Caran d’Ache Sunset and I can see it sloshing around in the ink window on the pen. Yes, this is another benefit over the Ahab, which is solid through and through! This arrives as a great balance between having a nice swirly pen, and having a demonstrator where you can see how much and which coloured ink you have in the pen. Besides, the cap rolls on covering the ink window, so it wouldn’t be visible when the pen is capped.
Before inking the pen up, I had to fit the feed and nib in properly first. This was a somewhat annoying thing as I struggled to align nib and feed, and then push them in until they fitted snugly enough not to fall out or allow ink to leak out. Sometimes the nib and feed would slide against one another and the feed might end up too much inside the pen section, and I would have to pull them out and repeat the process. This may be a turn-off for people who are in a hurry all the time, but if you dedicate a bit more time to your fountain pen hobby, this shouldn’t come as too much of a problem. I personally opt removability and ease of cleaning over “ease of fitting them in”, so this isn’t a catastrophe for me.
As mentioned, this pen is a piston filler and the knob can be found at the far end of the pen barrel. It twists TWSBI-style and sucks ink up into its great ink chamber – very convenient, if you ask me. It has the added screw-on cap to cover up the piston knob, and when you screw it on, it is almost seamless. When I first got the pen, I had no clue how to fill it up until the dealer indicated it to me, because I didn’t even notice that extra little cap at the top!
Filling this pen up with the Caran d’Ache Sunset ink is a brilliant choice. Being red and purple, the pen is being complemented by the deep maroon of the Sunset. Such a harmonious combination! I would suppose that any red or purple hues would go very well with this pen (of course!).
This is my first time with a Noodler’s rigid nib, but I would say that I like it very much. I got a fine point and it writes very finely indeed – almost a Japanese fine, I would say! There is some minor feedback from the nib which I like. I like silky smooth broad and medium nibs and some (but not too much) feedback from fine nibs. As long as they are not scratchy.
I have had some difficulty getting the ink to flow after filling it and wiping the nib. It annoyed me slightly too. I capped the pen and gave it a couple of taps. Ink blobs appeared on the nib due to the shock and finally there was ink flowing. But ever since the taps, I haven’t been encountering any ink flow issues at all!
In general, this is a nice pen (I seem to always be reviewing only nice pens, eh?) and clearly, Noodler’s has thought out a bit more on the design of the pen. My favourites have got to be the filling mechanism, and the ink window. Unfortunately I haven’t got another Konrad to compare with this acrylic version.
This will be my current pen in rotation – I’m proud to bring such a beauty everywhere!