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Archive for November 19th, 2012

A Small Liking

Posted by Dirck on 19 November, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I was lamenting the possible sudden end of this enterprise due to outmoded software.  I mentioned then the possibility of being intercepted while all a-quiver to write “how much I (probably) like the TWSBI Mini!”  Well, whatever else happens, I’m not going to face that frustration:

Hey, there ain’t no ink winder?

Look what arrived on Friday!  It’s the new TWSBI Mini!  And do I like it?  Probably!

Actually, that should be “Mostly!”  I’m an acknowledged fan of the brand, and so it’s probably not a surprise if I start gushing about a pen which is very much like the Diamond which impressed me so much as the company’s more-or-less debut model.  Indeed, in many ways, the Mini is a revision of the Diamond, and addresses some of the issues that have been a constant thorn of the earlier model.  The clip design is basically the same as that one the Diamond 540, the section is reinforced against the cracking that so many have complained about, and then there’s the party piece.

I’ve not actually sat down and counted threads and comments on various fora, but roughly equal in number and loudness  to the complaints about little cracks in the plastic of the Diamond have been those about the poor cap-posting properties.  TWSBI has maintained from the beginning that the Diamond wasn’t designed for posting, but with the Mini they may as well be saying, “OK, you want to stick the cap on the back of the pen?  Sure.  Here you go.  Now quit bugging us.”  If there’s a quibble to be had with their solution, it’s that there’s an o-ring at either end.  That’s there to keep the cap from unscrewing; as one who frequently gives up on posting because I don’t trust the cap to stay put, I’m a fan of it, but I can understand a slight hesitation at the small, exposed softness on an object which is most usually firm in all its parts.

Posting, by the way, is an important thing for this pen.  Let’s compare it to the Diamond, side by side:

Like many small pens, its proportions are such that it doesn’t look so small…

…unless another pen is laid along side.

As you can see, the Mini lives up to its name.  It is almost a throwback in this era of big pens (indeed, it’s very much the same size as a Pelikan 140), and without the cap there to extend the effective in-use length, it is rather too wee for comfort in most hands.  When posted, though, it’s an eminently comfortable pen, and when capped is not apt to bottom out in smaller pockets.

So, yes, I do like it, and am even somewhat in awe of it, in as much as it has the same ink capacity as the Diamond 530.  There is one aspect that I do not like, and which I do not like sufficiently as to make an effort to efface it from my memory.  You do not see here a picture of the back-side of the cap-band, where the model name of the pen is etched.  Way back, when TWSBI first committed to the making of the Mini, they suggested three different fonts in which this name might appear, and asked for comment.  My own comment was, “As long as it’s not that one, I’m happy.  That one is hideous.”  Guess which one they used?  The font in question is a horrid, rounded 1970’s motif.  I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now, and I’m not mucking up my media library with it; if you want to see it, FP Geeks appear to not have the same prejudice as I.  Happily, it’s resting against my hand and thus hidden when I’m using the pen.

One final note– as the first caption above mentions, the version I chose has no ink level indicator, which is rare in modern piston-fillers, and not a requirement of the model (it also comes in an all-clear and a “classic” with a clear barrel and black ends).  Why chose this?  Well, I have previously mentioned that I only pretend to be smart, but that aside I thought an all-black TWSBI after the various transparencies they’ve offered would be an interesting change.  One will notice that many pens I use don’t have an ink window.  It may even help to put the user in touch with the pen’s tides.  In any event, with 1.2ml aboard, I don’t expect it will run out too briskly.

Today’s pen: Parker 95
Today’s ink: Herbin Pousièrre de Lune

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