So this week I’ll be doing a quick review of the Scroll 4 calligraphy nib by the Manuscript Pen Company.
The scroll nib concept is simple enough: it splits a regular italic nib with a second slit and a notch out of the middle, thus creating two lines when applied to the paper. The Manuscript scroll 4 has this simple design, with “No.4 Scroll England” stamped into it as well.
Writing is much easier than with a standard calligraphy fountain pen nib. The feed seems designed to keep up very well with all kinds of calligraphy nibs. Very little pressure is required to write and may even hinder performance at times. Each line is about a millimeter wide with one being slightly smaller than the other. To write with this nib, one must adjust their calligraphy a little bit but not very much, it is a very easy nib to use, though even with gentle use the small tines get misaligned every now and then, causing them to pop and either momentarily spit a small glob of ink or skip.
Overall this is a fairly nice nib that is well suited to its purpose of calligraphy, and while it doesn’t have many other (if any other) uses, it is still quite fun to play around with sometime, and this particular one doesn’t cost much.
Now, for the second part of the Sheaffer Maxi Calligraphy Kit review. This one might be a bit short as I’m going to be looking at the three included nib sizes: Fine (1mm), Medium (1.5 mm), and Broad (2 mm).
The nibs themselves are Italic, meaning that they are flattened and straight at the tip, thus producing a wide up-and-down stroke and a thin left-to-right stroke. They are true Italics, with no tipping material, and sharp edges that may cut into the paper if one isn’t careful, but they are a bit more rounded off than a dip pen Italic would be. Because there is no tipping material, the stainless steel of the nib is easier to wear away and damage from rough use. Although this doesn’t happen often as steel is still a very robust material, it is worth noting.
Each nib has almost the same left-to-right width, but the up-and-down stroke width is equal to the size of the nib stated above (1mm,1.5 mm,2 mm). The fine nib can be used for regular cursive writing, but the medium and broad nibs should not be used for cursive writing as the size necessary would render writing impractical or illegible. Although the corners of the sharp nibs can cut into the paper, they aren’t quite sharp enough to make the sharpest of line turns. To most eyes, the angles appear spot on, especially when compared to the round corners of regular fountain pens, but when compared to a dip nib they are a bit lacking. Overall, the nibs a very functional and useful in a variety of situations (at least calligraphy situations). They provide enough variation to not be bored with inking up three pens, and even without a tipping material will last through quite some use.
If you’re an artist or would like to become one you’ve probably heard that ballpoints are not a good art instrument. While this is not the case, there certainly are better ones. Fountain pens are generally accepted to give a better writing performance than ballpoints. And the Bic disposable fountain pen seeks to combine the smoothness of one with the convenience of the other.
The body of the pen is a smooth torpedo in the classic fountain pen shape, though a little smaller. The cap has an easy-to-use clip attached solidly to the top that is both sturdy and tight. There is a partial ink window and logos along the otherwise silver-colored barrel, nothing else. Taking off the cap and looking at the (grip) section, the feed(er) is viewable though a clear tube. The section is much thicker than a ballpoint and easy to grip, though it may become slippery and has no lip at the end. The nib (tip) is steel and ground to a medium point. It is unspectacular looking.
As for writing, it is very good. Most of the money you pay likely went into the nib and it shows. The pen writes smooth and effortlessly for the most part, but can be prone to feedback. The flow of the ink is good and it keeps up well. Speaking of the ink, it is surprisingly black, and unsurprisingly not waterproof. This ink will feather easily and take a moment to dry. I also don’t recommend using cheap paper, as the ink will bleed thorough, though not as bad as many bottled inks. There is a massive supply of the ink, though, so you won’t have to worry about this pen breaking your wallet particularly.
For a cheap pen ($2-4 a pen), this is a very nice one with a lot of okay ink. It writes well and draws the same. If you’re looking to experiment with fountain pens in your art or writing, and would prefer a slightly larger pen, this is certainly one to look up.