Review: Sheaffer Pop (Star Wars Edition), Gel Ink, 0.7mm

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Last year Sheaffer jumped on the merchandising train and made a handful of Star Wars themed pens. Not that it’s a bad thing. While I have mixed feelings about the most recent spate of Star Wars movies, it turns out that I like these pens a lot, even though they are just a re-skinned version of the Sheaffer Pop. Luckly, the Pop is a pretty good pen by itself.

The Pop comes in ballpoint and fountain pen models and are typically found in bright, solid colors. But I’m keen on the gel pen* versions of R2-D2 and BB-8 (though they also have Darth Vader, Death Star, Kylo Ren, and Yoda designs). These barrel designs are detailed, fun, and it’d be safe to assume that any Star Wars fan will get a kick out of them. I also really love the 0.7mm gel refill for its smoothness and deep black color, though the ink will smear some.

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As for the Pop’s rubberized grip, I could do without it. Not only do they wear out over time, but they tend to feel pretty cheap. However, the pen’s thickness makes up for it by making it comfortable to write with,  and it also has a sturdy, metal clip and cap that posts pretty well.

My only real gripe with these Star Wars Pops are their cost. With a plastic body and aforementioned rubber grip, it just doesn’t seem like it should be $20+. The non-Star Wars versions can be found for around $15, which seems more reasonable – I guess Sheaffer has to recoup the expensive Star Wars licensing fees somehow. Although, if you’re willing to spend that extra money, these pens are pretty cool.

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*Sheaffer labels it as a “rollerball” pen, but according to the markings on the refill, it’s actually a gel pen similar to this one (except the model number is 0917).

Extra Links

Nib Novice, Part 3 – The Sheaffer Calligrapher

Note: this post is the third part of a series in which I’m learning about fountain pens. For Part 1, click here. For part 2, click here.

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One bonus that comes from having a blog about pens is that I occasionally get some interesting hand-me-downs. This Sheaffer Caligrapher is a good example. Purchased sometime in the 1980s, it was found by my mom at the bottom of her desk drawer, where it sat in its original packaging, unopened and with two black-ink cartridges.

After my bad experience with the Zebra V-301, I was eager to break open the packaging of a new fountain pen and pop one of the ink cartridges in. I gave the cartridge a squeeze to get the ink flowing, and to my surprise, this 30-year-old pen began to write without any issues (though I did manage to make a small mess).

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italic (calligraphy) nib vs. fine nib

Up until now, I haven’t gotten into much detail about nibs. The nib is the tip of the fountain pen; the part the touches the paper and distributes ink to the page. There are a lot of different nib styles – fine point, medium point, stub, flex, etc. And a fountain pen will produce different line variations, depending on the type of nib being used.

The Shaffer Calligrapher uses an italic nib, which has a tip that flattens out into a broad area. Rather than providing a consistent line width, this nib design is meant to produce broad horizontal lines and thin vertical lines. And If you hadn’t guessed by this pen’s name, it makes an ideal tool for calligraphy.

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As far as I can tell, the Sheaffer Calligrapher is an older model of the Sheaffer Viewpoint, which sells for under $10 and is commonly bundled with special calligraphy sets. The Calligrapher is built nicely for this purpose, too. It has a threaded cap with a flat end that can stand up vertically when posted, making it ideal for longer writing sessions. Surprisingly, it’s also a pretty durable pen. I inadvertently threw it in my backpack where it banged around for a week, and when I took it out to write, it still worked great.

All said and done, It was nice to use the Calligrapher. It’s a good-quality pen at a low price, however, I can also tell that it isn’t the right pen for me. I’d like a pen that’s more practical for every day use and something that fits my block writing style better. In the mean time, the Calligrapher will rest in slot number three on my fountain pen stand, waiting until the next time I need to write a thank you note.

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