Baron Fig Squire Click Pen Review

Baron Fig Squire Click Pen Review

I've always had a soft spot for a good ballpoint pen. My dad used those Papermate blue ballpoints for years. Back in the 80s, they weren't that bad, or at least I remember them being pretty good. During my high school years, I was a black Bic Cristal guy. Then Bic Clic Stic when I was a server in my early 20s, because they were good, but not good enough to get stolen by customers, and the clips kept the pens in the apron really well. Also, it was a pen that was often used as a marketing item, so they were usually around and free, which is 2 things most important to a server. A little later, when my main need for a pen wasn't its ability to write on thermal receipt paper, I started to branch out and found a love for gel and rollerball pens. Pens that amazed on good paper. I rarely used a ballpoint again unless I had to.

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Baron Fig 'Key' Squire Pen Review

Baron Fig 'Key' Squire Pen Review

Released in conjunction with the Lock Confidant I reviewed yesterday, the Key from Baron Fig is a new Squire that has one major change from previous Squires...it's BRASS. This is the first time they've moved away from aluminum in the Squire series and while this is going to be very popular, having this in hand for the past few days I can tell it's not for me.

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Baron Fig Insightful Spectre Squire Review

Baron Fig Insightful Spectre Squire Review

The Insightful Spectre is the newest Limited Edition Squire pen from Baron Fig. On the product page, there is a cute little story about the pen. You’ll also find some nice pictures in a spooky setting. You may be a little upset when your Squire arrives and you find it’s not black like the photos, but a very dark grey with purple tones in certain light (most light, really). The photos on the Baron Fig website are black & white, it seems, so be forewarned: this pen is NOT black.

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Revisiting the Paper Mate Flair

The Paper Mate Flair is a classic of the pen world. Love it or hate it, the Flair has been around since the mid-1960s and is still a top performer for Paper Mate. I hadn't used a Flair (or any felt tip pen) in a long time. I remember as a kid, my brother and I weren't allowed to have markers at our grandparents' house, but Grandpa had all these Flairs we would doodle with. Back then they had ridges, so there was a little tactile feel to them. I also went through a Flair phase in college, when I learned Quentin Tarantino used the Flair to handwrite his screenplays. Well, I'm writing stationery reviews instead of snappy dialogue, so we all know how that worked out. Of course, if the tools were what made the art, there'd be as many modern Hemingways as there are Moleskine users.

Having not used a Flair in some time, I thought maybe I had remembered incorrectly, that maybe it was another brand that had the ridges, but when I looked it up, lo and behold, I was right. Apparently, when they moved production from the USA to Mexico, they stopped doing the ridges. I liked the ridges, but I can imagine a lot of gunk building up in them. The ridges also stopped just short of the end of the pen and it stepped down instead of the full taper it does now. The white cross in the cap is still there, though it doesn't spin as freely as I remember. I used to sit there and twist the pen and watch the cross spin as an absent-minded habit. Now I can barely get one of the five (the red one) to spin just a little.

Writing sample.

The pack I bought at Target had black, blue, red, green, and purple. They don't sell the 5 pack on Amazon, but here's a standard 16 pack.  I really want a dark green and an orange single.

The current Flair is what I remember, but maybe a little bit cheaper in the plastic department. The current plastic shows what I first thought where fingerprints and oily-ness, but turns out it's minor scratches or flat parts in the barrel "finish". The plastic is somewhat matte but anytime it comes into contact with something hard-ish, it will make that spot glossy and therefore look greasy or like fingerprint gunk. The tip guard used to be white plastic and, along with the ridges, added to the aesthetic. It is now clear, which makes the tip look a little awkward. The tip, however, does write better than I remember, and it is less squeaky in the aural feedback department. Could be I'm using better paper these days, but somehow the tip seems firmer upon initial tests...but let's be honest, I'm not going to subject myself to writing with this thing for a week to see when the felt tip finally breaks down and mushrooms out.

I would stack the Flair up against any broad point gel pen. They can leave a thick line without taking forever to dry. That's one reason I've always liked the Flair, and because they're cheap, they're easily tossed when they dry up. It's also a great signature pen and the choice of the true autograph hound, because as long as they aren't dry, they will write the first time, unlike a ballpoint, and when you have 5 seconds with the star, it has to write...not that any of that matters now as selfies are the new autograph. The feathering and bleed through is non-existent, except when you happen to draw over the same spot again and again, when the Flair takes on marker tendencies and saturates the page.

Overall, these little cigar-shaped marker pens are a classic. The design has changed very little since they were released in the mid-1960s, and for good reason: it's simple, effective, and minimal.


I came across a few old Flair commercials on YouTube (here's the whole Vintage Paper Mate playlist), and I felt like I wouldn't be doing my duty if you didn't get a chance to see them too. These are hilariously retro...and awesome.

Flair Fi Fo Fum

Flair Ultra Fine

Flair Set

NEW Flair Guard

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen Review

The only Preppy I like. 

The only Preppy I like. 

Happy New Year! This is the first fountain pen review I've ever done, and I am by no means an expert, but I have been dipping my toe into ink recently, so to speak. I have yet to delve into the deep world of fountain pen obsession, and because I am and always will be Pencil First™, don't expect a lot of these. However, the fountain pen world is one that has always interested me, and what a better way to learn about them than to research and review? Thanks for taking this journey with me.

The fountain pen hobby can be expensive, but absolutely does not have to be. A video from Brian Goulet of Goulet Pen Company brought me to this realization. His video, Top 5 Fountain Pens for Newbies, listed 4 pens under $15, plus the Lamy Safari at $30 as a step up.

One of the pens listed was the Platinum Preppy that I'm reviewing today. I had actually purchased this before I had found the video, basically due to the price (sub-$4!) and the deals that were going on at the time from Pen Chalet. I will be buying from Goulet Pens very soon, though, as his videos have been extremely informative and I would like to reward that. Which is not to say my experience with Pen Chalet wasn't any good...it was awesome.

 

Enough about that, on to the review.

 

Why is this not removable? Yuck. 

Why is this not removable? Yuck. 

At first glance, you can tell this is a $4 pen. The clear barrel seems to be pretty fragile, like a drop or an accidental step on it would crush it. If it were in your bag that was on the floor of a coffee shop and someone stepped on it, it could ruin your day (and bag). The barrel has the Preppy logo on one side and some UPC / instructions on the other side. This is printed on. At first, I thought the UPC side was a sticker and it could be removed, but no, it can not. That is a shame, because being a clear pen, you can't really get the full affect of seeing the inner workings with all that logo information on it. I did find a site that had some tips about removing it without clouding up the clear plastic, but I'm not so sure it's worth the hassle on a $4 pen.

Silver nib, black pen stylings. 

Silver nib, black pen stylings. 

The nib color is supposed to match the cap color. I got black, but it came with a silver nib. I don't really mind that, but I think had I bought one of the colors and it didn't come with the colored nib, I'd be a little more upset. Again, $4 pen.

03 means Fine in Preppy-speak. 

03 means Fine in Preppy-speak. 

I bought the Fine nib, or in Platinum parlance, the 03 Nib. This is a very fine nib compared to the medium nib on my Lamy Al-Star. One thing I'm learning is that Japanese and European nibs have differences, similar to the hardness scale of pencils, but in reverse. A Japanese Fine is finer than a German Fine, and in the pencil world, a German 2B is harder than a Japanese 2B. But I love the nib. I don't really like a super fine line, and this might be as fine as I'm comfortable with. I don't see myself going for a finer nib any time soon.

The ink flows very nicely for such a cheap pen. I bought the converter, which was more expensive than the pen itself, so I could try out a new green ink I bought at the same time. It was my first time working with a converter, but it was a snap to work with and I haven't had any problems. The pen acts just like if I had a cartridge in there.

Spring has sprung! 

Spring has sprung! 

The Preppy is very light weight, especially for a fountain pen. It's capped length is 5.5 inches, cap off 4.75 inches, and with the cap posted, it's 6 inches. The cap snaps on fairly well and it is spring loaded, so it helps the cap come off once the initial pull is made.

This pen is cheap enough that even the most miserly person can afford to try it out to see if they like fountain pens. It's perfect for a recommendation, because it's cheap enough that they won't feel like they've spent too much, yet it is good enough to get people hooked and simple enough (especially with cartridges) that they wouldn't be overwhelmed.

Here's a writing sample with some Monteverde Yosemite Green ink. Green inks are my favorite and have become something of a trademark for me, or at least, I like to believe that. Maybe at some point I'll post about the ink, but I'm such a noob when it comes to that, I don't feel like I can do it justice.

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Thanks for stopping by!