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Robert Oster Torquay

This ink sample was provided by Anderson Pens for review.

The Robert Oster trend continues with Torquay! It's another of the turquoise, light blue, blue-green inks that were calling to me from their little sample vials this spring, and I'm glad I got a chance to try it out. Read on below to check out this ink and decide if this is the light-blue-green that you need this summer.

 Written Review

This one isn't  as free-flowing as the others that I've used from Robert Oster. It's a little on the dry side, in fact. That means it didn't really get along well with my fine blade turk nib. It does mean that it performs well in the broad nib of the Franklin-Christoph p66, though, and that it would work well in your super wet nibs. It could tame them up for you, even.


 Geeze. Sometimes my handwriting looks like junk. If you're out there thinking "I can't write things on the internet. My handwriting is too sloppy!" Well, sure you can. I do.

Copy Paper Test

There's some bleed on the copy paper with this ink, but not much feathering or anything else. 

Ink Journal Tomoe River Journal

Pen Habit Currently Inked Journal

Color Comparisons

Of the available inks in this color-space, this one isn't really doing it for me. It's fine, but it's not winning any prizes from me. 


Water Drop Test and Video Review

Yeah, no water resistance on this one.

***This ink sample was provided for review by Anderson Pens. No cash has changed hands, and no guarantees were given. Just their ink and my honest review.***

The Aurora Kappa Winner Has Been Chosen!


Linda L.

Watch your email inbox for an email in your inbox!

Thanks for entering, folks. It's awesome to have so much participation.

Wanna watch a long Q&A video?

Cool! I made one of those.

Leave your questions and I'll answer them next time.

Robert Oster's Tranquility


I haven't done many of these Oster inks yet, but there are lots of them in the pipeline for the summer. There are a zillion inks in the collection, so let me know if you've got one that you'd like to see. I have most of them in samples from Anderson Pens (that's where this one came from), and I'm trying to decide which ones to start with.

This is a good summer-y color. It reminds me of beaches, and maybe I'll see one of those this summer. There are several good colors like this in the collection, with subtle variations. I tell ya, Robert nails the turquoise color family.You can find these in bottles and samples at Anderson Pens.

If you're not familiar with Robert Oster and his inks, you should check them out. He burst onto the scene a year or so ago with a huge collection of inks. They're inspired by the wine country that he lives in in the Coonawarra district of South Australia and, judging from his inks, that must be a great part of the world.

Okay, enough chatter.

Written Review


Copy Paper Test

Pen Habit Currently Inked Journal

Ink Journal's Tomoe River Edition

Ink Comparisons

Okay, so I like this sort of color. I have several of them inked up right now, and there are some more coming.


Water Test and Video Review

I don't really have any complaints about this ink. Like the other Robert Oster inks I've used, it's really good. Performance is great, color is beautiful, just enough shading and sheen. No stains. Easy to clean out. What's not to like?

**This sample was provided free of charge by Anderson Pens. No guarantees are given, and no money changes hands. All you get is my honest review and a bunch of pictures.**

Aurora's Kappa Fountain Pen


I've been reviewing a lot of Aurora and Montegrappa pens lately, and this one comes to us from Federalist Pens, who loaned it to me for review (and a giveaway!). Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway!

The Kappa is a collection of pens is a brand new line of pens from the venerable Italian brand. Priced under the Ipsilon model, this is their new entry level pen in rollerball, ballpoint, and fountain pen. Obviously, I'm reviewing the fountain pen version. Because...duh.

So, here's the packaging:

It does the job. 

The Pen

This one isn't like anything else that Aurora has in the lineup. It's light, translucent, and a little futuristic. It's all swoopy and angular like something from Speed Racer. The look is going to be polarizing. I'd guess that you already either like it or hate it.

One virtue of this look is that it sort of resembles the pens that you can find in the office supply cabinet. It'll blend in at the table when you're in a meeting and it won't draw a whole lot of stares from your coworkers or classmates. It's sort of flashy-stealth.

If you're not into the translucent blue barrel, there is a black version that doesn't appear to be translucent.

The section is curved, glossy, and a little prone to fingerprints. Obviously. It's a comfortable section. In fact, the section and the nib are identical to the Ipsilon.

Here are a couple of shots of the nib, section, threads and the cartridge. That black band is actually Gorilla Tape. It's only there because the cartridge had a crack in it and it was leaking ink into the barrel. It's not standard. Also not standard with this pen: a converter. That's a disappointment  with this pen. At $70 MSRP, it ought to have come with a converter. Of course, the Aurora converters are pretty expensive, so the lack partially explains how they lowered the price.

The cap is actually really good. It's a metal shell with a plastic liner and a plastic inner cap. I've never had a problem getting this pen to start writing, and it hasn't dried out at all. Pretty impressive. That plastic liner also keeps the metal cap from scratching the plastic barrel when you post the pen.

Specs and Writing Samples!

Video Review!
It's always best to see a pen in action!

The Give-Away!

I'll have Rafflecopter pick a random winner on Saturday the 27th. Make sure you pay attention to the Rafflecopter for precise ending times and such.

  • I'll ship you the pen (and boxes) anywhere in the USA. (Sorry, no international shipping.)
  • The pen doesn't come with a converter and I can only include the (used) cartridge that it came with. Make sure you order some Aurora cartridges or a converter if you're the lucky winner! (I've found that a Lamy converter seems to work, but use it at your own risk. I don't know if there are real risks, but one never knows.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, again, to Federalist Pens for providing the pen for review and sponsoring the giveaway! 

The Namisu Studio


This pen was loaned out to me by my friend Andrew from the PenAddict Slack channel. Originally, I just wanted to try out a titanium nib, but this pen is one that I hadn't tried out either, so he sent the whole pen. I'm really glad that he did.

Namisu is a UK pen maker that I'm not all that familiar with. They've been around since 2013, and I've seen the name around the internet, but I don't think I've seen any of their pens in person. Probably I've come across their aluminum version of this pen, the Nova, but I hadn't seen the Studio yet. In fact, the version of the pen that I'm showing today seems to be in pre-order on their website. If the aluminum version is nearly as nice as the ebonite then, at about $60 (shipped to the US), it would be a steal.

Let's check out the ebonite Namisu Studio.  (I'll link the video at the end of this post, and you should totally check that out if you like videos of pens.)

The Pen

 Its' a beautiful pen if you're into simplicity. the lines are clean, and the finish has that beautiful (and sort of matte) shine that you really only get from ebonite. It's a hard rubber, and it'll oxidize over long periods of time but you can always clean it up. The ends are capped in titanium, and you can get a titanium nib, as well. It ought to last forever with those materials.

The image below shows the only bit of branding on the pen. A simple engraving on the finial. Slick and unobtrusive.

Here's the finial on the bottom of the pen. Slightly pointed but unadorned.  In this close-up you can see the slight pattern left in the ebonite by the machining process.

When you take off the cap you'll find titanium threads an an ebonite section. The threads are square cut, smooth, and it doesn't take many twists to remove the cap. That ebonite section is really comfortable, too. There's something about ebonite that just feels warm to the touch.

This side-shot makes the nib look a little bit out-of-proportion, but that wasn't my experience with it. 

The Nib 

 Andrew got this pen with a titanium nib. I think it was supposed to be an "extra fine", but it didn't feel like one, and it wasn't marked. It wrote more like a medium, really. 

I wasn't sure what to expect from a titanium nib. I'd heard, variously, that they had a little bit of flex to them, that they were hard like a nail, that they were too wet to use, and that they were prone to getting "sprung" because Ti can't remember what shape it's supposed to be. 

In my experience with this pen (I had it for about a month), the Ti nib is great. There's a little bit of bounce to it when you're writing normally, but if you apply just a little bit of pressure you can get some really decent line variation. If you're braver than I am, you could push it harder. This wasn't my pen, though, so I wasn't taking any big chances on it. It was totally serviceable for regular writing, too. I wrote pages and pages (and a few converters full) of notes with it using the Sailor Rikyu-Cha ink that you see below, and I never had any problems. It's one of my favorite inks, and the nib on this pen really let it show off.

The picture below was from the  writing sample that I did in the video. Check out that video around the 2:30 mark to see the writing sample being done.

In the Hand

I've got pretty large hands, and this pen fit me perfectly. The website at Namisu says that this pen was designed to be used without posting, but this version posts perfectly. I probably used it that way more than any other mode. The clip-less cap meant that if I just set it down it would roll away, so I'd either post it or I'd set it upright on the desk. Length and balance are great either way.

I didn't get my own measurements before I sent this pen back, but Namisu has them on their site, and I've no reason to think they're incorrect. It feels light and substantial at the same time. Good stuff.

Comparisons to Other Pens

Full-Disclosure: I was in a hurry when I took these pictures, and the glare and balance and focus are all off. Since the pen is gone, though, I don't get a do-over. These pics will serve, but they're not my finest work. 

From left to right:
Pelikan m800, Lamy Al-Star, Namisu Studio, TWSBI Eco, Platinum 3776, Franklin-Christoph 20, and a Pilot Vanishing Point.

Video Review


So, should you buy this pen? Sure. I totally should have bought it from Andrew. The only things holding me back were some recent pen show expenditures and the fact that it didn't have a clip. I like to take my pens with me, and I really prefer a clip. I don't think they should ever add one to this pen, but I don't know if I could have turned it down if they'd had one on there. Looking back, though, I've got regrets about letting it go. The look, feel, and performance of this pen were great. Ah, well. Who needs more pens, right? Right?