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Posts in the fountain pen review category

Pelikan M100 White

 

Earlier this year, I was tipped off about someone selling a small quantity of old Pelikan M100 White fountain pens for a really great price and I knew that it was an opportunity too good to pass up. It arrived safely and quickly and I was happy to see that it included all of the original packaging. This pen, which has been affectionately dubbed the Pelikan “Stormtrooper” due to it’s color scheme resemblance to the Imperial soldiers from the Star Wars universe, has become a bit of a “common collectors item” as of late. It entered production in March of 1987 and was officially discontinued in November of 1993 (due to low demand, unfortunately), so it can only be acquired second-hand. (A black version remained in production until 1999.) Still, it remains a beautiful pen and is (usually) priced at a very affordable range.

Packaging

Pelikan M100 White box

The outer sleeve box shows some slight signs of wear, but is otherwise still in great shape. The original stickers still bear the model numbers and identifying information clearly and boldly. Once the outer sleeve is removed, the remaining plastic clamshell is a simple but effective piece of protection for the pen itself. Opening it up reveals some relatively rough felt lining, a simple felt strap to hold the pen in place, and the original documentation. While the felt strap is nice, the actual work of holding the pen in place is a small elastic loop located right beneath it.

Appearance and Design

 

Pelikan M100 WhiteThe body of the pen is a very stark, bright glossy white with black accents around the cap and on the always recognizable Pelikan clip. Removing the cap with an easy 3/4 of a full-twist reveals the dark black, steel nib with an older “two-chick” Pelikan logo. The feed fins and tipping look great, as can be expected of a Pelikan pen. The cap threads are slightly raised above the grip section, but I did not experience and discomfort from them. The section tapers off heading towards the nib, but ends in a very subtle flare which is particularly beneficial on a smaller pen like this. Flipping the pen around reveals the piston knob with its wonderfully smooth action. The piston glides like knife through hot wax and is one of the best qualities of this low-cost instrument.

One of my favorite features of this pen, however, is of course the “W.-GERMANY” emblazoned across the pen cap’s accents. While there are a plethora of Pelikan pens floating around with these words marking their point of manufacture, it never ceases to be a point of intrigue for me–to hold this small piece of historical memorabilia so blatantly trumpeting its place in the timeline of the world. These markings are repeated on the bottom of the clamshell case as well.

Writing Experience

Pelikan M100 WhiteBeing labeled an M100, it is easy to assume that this pen is rather small–and you would be right. This pen is not going to be winning any size contests, but it is not dainty. It feels well put together, but it does not seem like a pen that can take too much of a beating. Not that I would run this pen through a rock tumbler, but it is certainly one I will be saving for my desk at home as I have no plans to throw it in my bag and haul it around the world. Despite its small size, it is surprisingly comfortable to hold. Yes, I still prefer larger pens, and no, I probably won’t be using this pen for long writing sessions. But this pen is well balanced enough to be a joy to write with in any normal circumstances. Posting the pen adds a bit of comfortable length to it and does not throw off the balance. The nib is smooth, but provides a decent amount of feedback as well. Someone seeking an ultra-smooth nib best look elsewhere, but if you like to feel the paper you’re writing on a bit, this nib will get you there. No issues with flow or skipping, and honestly finding a pen that is under $100 with a piston that works this well is not an easy task.

Conclusion

The Pelikan M100 “Stormtrooper” White is a small piece of Pelikan history that can be found at relatively low-prices around the internet these days (though this may change into the future). Considering its small size and relatively lightweight body, it may not be suited for everyone, but it is still a great little pen to have and I am delighted to have it in my collection.

Special thank you to Nancy and Christiane at Pelikan US and Pelikan Germany Customer Service respectively for their help in getting me a few more historical details on this pen.

 

Nib material: Steel

Cap: Screw

Filling mechanism: Piston

Capped Length (Overall): 122 mm

Uncapped Length (Nib tip to end): 117 mm

Posted Length: 144 mm

Retro 1951 Tornado Massdrop

 

In early 2015, US-based fountain pen company Retro 51 partnered with the community-driven e-commerce website Massdrop to produce a limited edition fountain pen specifically for the Massdrop community. After an initial round of voting where community members cast over 1,300 votes, the final design was chosen and production of the pen commenced. After some unfortunate delays in production, the completed pens were successfully shipped out to the lucky few who placed an order for this beautiful pen.

Packaging

Retro_1951_Tornado_03The pen comes in a simple, friction-fit cardboard tube that has a very nice and sturdy feel to it. A white label is wrapped around the center of the tube with the Massdrop logo as well as a brief history of the pen and the details of how it came to be. On top of the tube, there is a sticker with more information about the model of the pen and so on. The base of the tube has another sticker which indicates the limited edition number of the pen. Looking inside the tube, one will find a foam base that holds the pen upright, foam in the top of the lid to protect the top of the pen in case it shifts around, and a “manual” with the standard international converter folded inside. Overall, the packaging is simple and an elegant solution where more traditional packaging might feel a bit too heavy handed for a pen of this style. Concealed within the pen itself are two mini cartridges containing black ink so you can start writing right away.

Appearance and Design

Retro_1951_Tornado_06

Like many others, I was skeptical when the voting results came in showing that the community had chosen the “Acid-Etched Herringbone” pattern as the final design. However, my worries were allayed when the first images of the prototype pen surfaced in the Massdrop discussion thread. The acid-etched pattern feels great in the hand and it looks absolutely stunning in person. The cap maintains many of the common design elements from Retro 51 pens like the knurled crown and the unique shape of the clip. Since this was a limited edition run, the edition number has been etched into the pen cap sandwiched between “RETRO51” and “Tornado.” Constructed of a lightweight metal, the pen walks the thin line between feeling very sturdy and feeling really lightweight. I have no concerns about this pen getting banged up as the feel in the hand is very solid. Though the screw-cap threads on the pen body are made of metal, the threads within the cap itself appear to be made of a white plastic. Time will tell if these threads will hold up to long-term use. That being said, the threads hold the cap perfectly well with one and a half turns to securely fasten the pen. Although the cap posts somewhat deeply, it does not feel very secure at all and I would not recommend posting the pen as it feels like the cap could slip off. The grip section of the pen is a black plastic that feels a bit cheap compared to the rest of the pen, but it is comfortable to hold and the step-down between the section and the threads is slight enough to not be too bothersome for most. The nib itself is adorned with a simple scroll pattern, logo, and the words “Schmidt Iridium Point.”

Writing Experience

Retro_1951_Tornado_10

Although some have reported that their nibs (by Schmidt) were a bit scratchy upon arrival, my copy laid down a perfectly smooth line without any fuss. The nib gives a tiny bit of feedback, but it is not scratchy at all and is actually quite pleasant to write with. Flow is good and despite the fact that the pen lays down a thick wet line, the feed has no trouble keeping up with fast writing. To my surprise, the nib even expressed a bit of flex with the right amount of pressure and has a nice bit of bounce to it. However, I would not recommend flexing it on a regular basis. Initially, I was concerned that the pen having a metal body and plastic grip section would cause it to feel back heavy, but the longer I wrote with it the less I seemed to notice any weight discrepancies. Attempting to precariously post the pen definitely tipped the scales into the “back heavy” territory. The cartridges worked perfectly well out of the box (tube) and the piston-fill cartridge gave me no issues at all.

Conclusion

The Retro 1951 Tornado EXT M1 is a beautiful and unique pen that I am proud to have been a part of from watching the community vote online to finally holding it in my hand. While the pen itself doesn’t bring anything particularly unique to the table as far as writing experience, the design and story behind its inception is more unique than most. That being said, it is a solid performer, an excellent pen to carry around and would be sure to pique the interest of any fountain pen enthusiast who might catch a glimpse of it out in the wild. If you can somehow get your hands on one, I say go for it.

 

Nib material: Steel

Cap: Screw

Filling mechanism: Cartridge/Converter

Capped Length (Overall): 138 mm

Uncapped Length (Nib tip to end): 127 mm

Posted Length: 161 mm