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Diplomat Aero


This is a review that I've wanted to write for a long time, and Larry and Hillary from Points of Distinction (the US distributor of Diplomat pens) gave me this pen to make it possible. I originally wanted to get the brown version of this pen, but this matte black was a new color for this spring, and it called to me.

The pictures for this review were pretty difficult to take for some reason. I think I've gotten some good ones, but I owe a lot of that to the folks in the Pen Addict's photography Slack channel. Thanks for the help, Slackers!

Check out the review below and let me know what you think of this pen in the comments.


Material: aluminum (It's fairly heavy, so I'm guessing the section is made of something else, or very heavy aluminum.

Nib: Stainless Steel, Fine
Available nibs: Fine, Medium, and Broad in SS and 14k.

5.51" capped
5.06" uncapped
6.22" posted

Max Barrel Diameter: 14.9mm
Section Diameter: 11-10mm taper.

Retails $195 with stainless steel nib.
Retails $295 with a 14k nib.


The silver box below is actually a metal slip-cover that contains the standard cardboard box and pillow. The metal is a nice touch, but I think they could have gone a little easier on the packaging and shaved a few dollars off of the price of the pen. Fancy packaging can be nice for a gift-pen, but it's wasted on most people.


The Aero is one of the more interesting designs from this venerable German company. (The Balance is the other one, but that one looks like it has been continued.) It's designed to resemble an airship, and I think it does (a bit, anyway). The tapered cigar shape is cool looking, almost tactical in the EDC sense.

The color is an interesting one. It's got a matte finish to it that was really difficult to photograph well. It's not entirely smooth, but it's not exactly rough, either. Your fingers certainly don't slip when you're writing with it, though.

 The cap posts deeply and securely. I don't have a problem with the balance when it's posted, but if you have smaller hands than mine you probably won't like it posted.

The picture below shows the only blemish on this pen. I'm certain that these marks weren't on the section when I got the pen, so they must have developed over time. They're right in the place where I hold the pen, though, so I think they must have come from my fingers. It's not ink. I checked, and it doesn't wash off. It also doesn't seem to physically damage the finish. I haven't seen anything about this phenomenon in other reviews, so I think it's got to be particular to me. Anyway, I don't mind the dark spots. They're sorta cheetah-like. Makes me write faster. Yeah.

 The clip is pretty great. It feels sturdy, but it's not over-tight and I've used it confidently on everything from dress shirts to jeans. It's a good clip.

The Diplomat emblem seems to be painted on, and it is scraping off a little bit with use. I'd rather it were engraved into the cap. I think it's going to disappear over time, and that's okay. It's a nice flower, but the cap will be fine without it. A pen this tough begs to be taken places, so I bet this flower is going to rub off for lots of people. 

This inner cap does a really good job of keeping the ink from drying out. I haven't had any issues with this nib starting up since I've had it.

There are lots of threads on the section of this pen, and the barrel screws on very securely. That flare at the top of the section creates a very nice transition from the section to the barrel that doesn't leave much of a step. 

I should also say that the finish on this section makes it immune to the slipperiness that you can get on a metal section sometimes. None of that here. Good grip at all times.

Nib and Performance

The nib on this pen is really good. It's labeled as a fine, but the line is something closer to a medium, I think. Medium-fine? I expected that there would be some flex to this nib, as there have been with other Diplomat fine nibs, but it's a nail. That's not a problem for me, but don't expect any play from this nib. There is a bit of feed-back, but it's smooth and consistent. Less feedback than a graphite pencil, I'd say, but more than the "buttery smooth" nibs out there. Some writers really like this feedback, as it lets them feel the contact with the paper. I can take it or leave it.

I've always thought that Diplomat nibs were pretty nice looking. They're not overly complex, but the design is nice. The two-tone gold nibs that they offer are really cool. I don't know if they write better, but the golden flower on those is rad.

Here are a couple of writing samples, followed by a short time-lapse video. It writes very smoothly and consistently.


A whole bunch of pens! This is a fairly large pen, but it's not huge. The Pelikan m800 in the picture is a close match in terms of size, but they're very different sorts of pen.

From left to right:
Pilot Vanishing Point, Monteverde Impressa Delux, Sailor Pro Gear, Sailor 1911L, Diplomat Aero, Pelikan m800, Pilot Custom 74, Franklin-Christoph 03, Lamy Al-Star, Franklin-Christoph 45.


I sort of thought that this would be a "men's pen" based on the size and weight. Surprisingly, the people who've liked it the most are a couple of the folks in the eyeglass shop. You never know where you're going to meet Pen People.

I haven't heard any negative things about this pen from people who've seen me using it, and it certainly is a conversation piece. If you're the sort who likes to keep their pen habit under wraps, then this might not be the pen for you. If you're a pen-evangelist like I am, though, this is a pen that gets attention and draws people into the hobby.

The video review will be available on my YouTube Channel as soon as it's finished uploading. It's taking forever. FOREVER. right now. Here's the link.

***This pen was provided free of charge as a review sample. That doesn't change my review in any way that I'm aware of, though your mileage may vary and I can only relate my own experience with the pen.***

A video blog: A Vlog!


Ink Crate Video Review

Hi folks,
I've just gotten the first box of these inks from Ink Crate, and it's a pretty cool service if you're looking to replace the now-defunct Ink Drop.

5 samples. At least 2ml each. $10 shipped. Cool deal, right?

Check it out at and use code "INKDEPENDENCE" to get $2 off of your crate!

Here's the video review. Click on the "YouTube" icon to see it on my YouTube channel in big-o-vision.

J. Herbin's Stormy Grey


I've been reviewing so many sparkly inks that I automatically attach the word "Diamine" to any shimmey ink. Fortunately, my wife noticed that I'd put the wrong brand on this review. Hooray for Audrey!

Alright, so I know this isn't the newest Herbin ink on the block. Or even the second newest. I just noticed that I hadn't actually reviewed this one, though. I bought it from my friend Lori almost a year ago, and I'd never used it. I think Audrey had used it for a fill or maybe two, but I hadn't. So it's getting reviewed now as part of our Nibs & Nails feature. That means that she's got a nail polish that is based on this ink to show you over at her blog. It's pretty cool. Check it out if you (or someone you know) is into painting their nails.

Stormy Grey is, first, a really good grey ink. I like the not-black hue and it behaves itself pretty well on copy paper (and really well on good paper). It flows perfectly well despite the shimmer, and it looks cool in a demonstrator. I don't see anything that makes me think that it's going to stain my TWSBI Vac Mini, though it did certainly stain my desk when I accidentlly poured the contents of my vac onto the desk. Not ideal for my desk, but that's what ink is supposed to do.

Nibs and Nails!

This week's nail polish came out pretty perfectly, I think. Head over to Right on the Nail to check this one out. You can even win some! (This can't be bought anywhere, so get in there and enter to win!)

Written Review


Copy Paper Test

Tomoe River Test


Water Test & Video Review

Different (and worse) lighting, but here's the after-shot. It's got some water resistance!

Shimmer! Glitter!

So, I actually like this ink a lot. It makes me look forward to revisiting the rest of those J. Herbin inks over the next several weeks

You can find it from many vendors, including my friends at Anderson Pens where you can find it in 50ml bottles for $26 and 3ml samples for $2.50.

(I bought this bottle with my own cash-money, and everything reported here is representative of my experience. As usual.) 

Papier Plume Peacock Blue


Another Papier Plume ink? Yep! This one is a charming turquoise blue that really reminds me of those fly-over shots you get of deep, tropical waters

The Written Review

And now for one in sunlight that is unreasonably bright! Yeah. That's way too bright.

Close Ups:
 I took these inside in indirect sunlight, and the color is accurate on all of my screens. You get a much different hue from the narrower, drier nib on the Loom. For me, the wetter nib is way better with this ink.

 Another unreasonably bright picture:

Tomoe River:

Copy Paper Test:

 It doesn't have the best performance on copy paper, and you lose the cool shading in the ink on the copy paper. Keep it on the good stuff.

 Yo, dog, I hear you like blue...

Lots of Blues:

 Blues in bright light:

Video Review and Water Test: water resistance.

If you're looking for this ink, head over to Papier Plume and get it in bottles from $5 to $12. Tell 'em I sent ya. It won't get us anything, but it's fun to say!

***This ink was provided free of charge in return for my honest review. That's what I do here. Honest reviews.***