Notes on MxLxBxD Field Notes

When the Dead Prints Edition Field Notes were released in 2015, they were an immediate hit. They were so popular and so sought-after that there was bound to be a follow-up edition, and that’s exactly what happened in February 2018. Mondo, Landland, and Draplin Design Co. got together again, this time inviting Burlesque of North America along for the ride, to create the MxLxBxD Edition Field Notes.

Although Dead Prints Field Notes were created from each company’s leftover scraps, which made for designs that varied wildly depending on where you bought them, the MxLxBxD Field Notes was more of a group effort to create a single product. According to the Field Notes website, the image files for the cover design were passed from company to company (a total of 84 times) with new elements being continually added. The end result is a bunch of notebooks that look like a heavily graffitied wall.

Other specs of note: the Field Notes logo (and all the cover text) are printed with turquoise foil press, and the notebooks are the standard 5.5” x 3.5” pocked size. Inside, you get turquoise grid ruling on 50# white paper. A total of 11,500 3-packs were made (as apposed to the measly 3,000 made for the Dead Prints edition), and some are still available. As of this writing, you can purchase them directly from here, here and here.

Though these books aren’t as unique as the Dead Prints Edition, I like their loud and creative look. If you use Field Notes and are a fan of one or more of these companies, it’s worth grabbing a pack or two as long as they’re still available. But, of course, if these companies ever team up again, I’m sure whatever they come up with will be just as cool.

Additional Notes

  • Of the 30 “Practical Applications” listed in the notebooks’ inside-back cover, my favorites are the following: “01. Hot Dog Stands To Avoid”; “16. Weekly Cheese Tally”; and “26. Ink-Mixing Ratios.”
  • For more info and good pictures, check out the write-up on the MxLxBxD Edition at Three Staples.
  • If you like these, they remind me a lot of the Two Rivers Edition. Though, those aren’t so easy to get hold of these days.

Retro Talk: Yoshimi & The Pink Robots

Retro 1951 and Brad Dowdy (of The Pen Addict) have come together twice before to produce really nice designs for the Tornado, which is one of my favorite rollerball pens. But this latest collaboration, The Pink Robots Tornado, may be evidence in favor of the old saying, “the third time’s the charm.”

I’ll leave it to Dowdy to tell the story behind the pen — he wrote a great post in which he explains it all. But, in short, the design that wraps around the barrel is an illustration created by Matthew Morse, which is an homage to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, the song and album by The Flaming Lips. If you haven’t heard it, I encourage you to check it out. It’s good!

Morse’s design for the pen wrap is similar to the original Flaming Lips album cover, albeit in a totally different style. It depicts a young Japanese Girl, Yoshimi, wielding a long, pink sword, ready to do battle with a couple of giant pink robots. The twist, clip, and tip of the pen are a all black, and, on the disk inset at the top of the twist, the “pen addict” logo is centered inside a hot pink background.

In my opinion, the best Tornado designs are the ones that adapt the work of artists, like the Bioworkz Edition and the Joey Feldman Edition, or the ones that tell a story, like the Tiger Shark or the Albert. This Pink Robots Edition manages to do both, which is probably why I like it so much. The bad news is that there were only 500 of these pens produced (I’ve got #156), and they sold out quickly. But with the success of this pen, there’s sure to be plenty of creative stuff coming next time Dowdy and Retro 1951 team up.

Looking Ahead to 2019

There’s no getting around it: 2018 was a hard year, a busy year, and also an exciting year in many ways. On the positive side, I finally managed to finish writing my Nib Novice series. I visited New York City and picked up some stuff from a few cool stationery stores (and also ran the NYC Marathon). I even fixed all my misspellings of “stationery” on this blog.

But, still, I only managed 16 new posts/reviews, which resulted in an 18% decline in pageviews compared to 2017. The most popular post of the year was my review of the Jeffbona In[k]ception pen, but my 2018 pen of the year is probably pretty obvious; the Pilot Vanishing Point. Despite some issues I’ve had with it, it’s a really cool fountain pen that I’ve frequently come back to.

Pilot Vanishing Point

So what’s in store for 2019? As I mentioned last year, I don’t do resolutions very well. So, instead, here are five goals I have for this website:

  1. More book reviews. I didn’t manage to write any of these in 2018, but I found a couple of books on The Well-Appointed Desk’s Gift Guide that sound pretty interesting.
  2. I still use Field Notes pocket notebooks all the time, but I just haven’t had time to write reviews for the many new editions that have been released. That will have to change in 2019.
  3. I’d like to write at least a couple more Off-Topic posts this year.
  4. I need to update my “Five Pens to Try” post. Though I don’t think much will change, it’s been a while since it’s been refreshed.
  5. Finally, I’d like to reverse trends and post a moderate increase in pageviews this year. Assuming I hit the above goals, this should take care of itself.

And, as always, there’s a lot to look forward to outside of the pen world. I’m excited about Avengers Endgame, as well as the finale of Game of Thrones (though I’m pretty sure that the book series will never be finished). I’ll also be running the 2019 Chicago Marathon, and (last but not least) by the end of the year I’ll be married!

So, to everyone reading this, I hope you have a happy, safe, and fun 2019!

Squire Special Edition: Field Nuts

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It’s been nearly a year since Baron Fig shipped the final Squire rollerball pen from their now defunct Squire subscription service, but that hasn’t stopped them from pumping out the special editions. Since then, Baron Fig has released the orange Mysterium, the yellow Bolt, a Squire made of stainless steel, and, recently, one made of copper. Though a couple of those made me take notice, none of them enticed me so much that I wanted to place an order.

I have enough Squires, after all, and they all feature pretty much the same mechanics and refill. However, a couple months ago, this Field Nuts Edition Squire popped up for pre-order, and it broke my resolve.

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Unless you’re a crazed fan of Field Notes like I am, you’ve probably never heard of “Field Nuts.” Essentially, it’s online fan group for Field Notes users, mainly based on Facebook but also with some presence on Instagram and Twitter. A member of that community partnered with Baron Fig to make a special edition Squire that is painted with the Field Nuts logo. The community voted on the color – they went with this leafy green (reminiscent of the “gumdrop green” notebook in the Shenandoah edition) – and, boom, here it is.

I don’t expect that many of you out there will care much about this pen, but as a daily user of Field Notes, I find it pretty cool. Baron Fig wouldn’t say how many of these pens were made in total (probably somewhere between 50-150), but they currently seem to still have a few available. I think this will satisfy my Squire itch for a little while, but if Field Notes ever officially partners with Baron Fig, then I may as well just send them my wallet.

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Retro Talk: The System

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In April of this year, Mike Dudek of The Clicky Post announced that he had collaborated with Retro 51 to create an exclusive Tornado. Called The System, the barrel of the pen features a stylized, overhead a map of the sun and planets in our solar system (plus Pluto) on a black background. The design looked awesome, so I had to get it.

You may not be able to see it in the pictures, but The System also has glossy black (“dark matter”) strips curving across the barrel that add a little texture, making it a little nicer to hold. The clip, twist, and tip are painted black, and the disk inset at the top of the pen is colored a sun-bright orange. It doesn’t have any acid-etching or glow-in-the-dark elements like other recent Tornados, which may have worked well here too, but I still think it manages to be one of the best Tornado designs out there.

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It didn’t come without a small bit of drama, however. Initially 300 of these pens were produced, but this was described as an “open numbered edition,” which apparently confused a lot of people into thinking it was a “limited edition.” Like limited edition Tornados, each of these pens has a number stamped near the twist, but Dudek planned to keep making them as long as there was a demand.

While I don’t fully understand the point, the “open numbered” concept really doesn’t upset me. After all, Retro 51 did the same thing with The Flying Tiger. Ultimately, a total of 1,300 pens were produced, and I think the only real angry people were the re-sellers. For my part, I’m just happy to have a cool pen.

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If you missed out on this one, it unfortunately doesn’t seem like Dudek plans to produce any more – though you can get still get the pencil version, if that’s your thing. But definitely keep an eye out for whatever he does in the future. I know I will.