This review will really focus on the nib and gloss over on the pen. Until I started to put pen to paper (sounds better than key press to WordPress) I did not realise I am yet to review the ScriBo Write Here, despite it being the first mainstream offering from Scrittura Bologenese, and despite me buying one of the first editions just after this store exclusive arrived off the flight from Italy at the October 2017 London Pen Show. A more in depth review will follow, meanwhile this piece is all about the nib. A ScriBo stub. 1.4mm width of tipping on a rhodium plated nib with its heritage going back to the old OMAS days and made on the same machines.
I will quickly cover the material and looks of this pen, after all it is a variant I do not own. It was the fourth or fifth limited edition produced for the Write Here shop in Shrewsbury, with the material being based on a poll of the regulars who are subscribed to the shop email newsletter. Purples, pinks and plum all with large quantities of shining chatoyance. I am actually going to copy information from the store website as I think John Hall described it best with the history behind the chosen name:
The name derives from the colour. It suggested something autumnal to us, mists and mellow fruitfulness and so on, and initially thought plum. I love plums (greengages especially.) But a trip to the market showed that it wasn’t quite the right colour. Then I saw a display of red onions that looked just perfect. Red Onion is Cippola Rossa in Italian, which I thought was a great name. I got back to Luca and Elena in Bologna who weren’t so keen However, Luca, a fan of red onions, told me that the best and sweetest red onions come from Tropea, on the upper part of the boot of Italy – Calabria. They are so sweet you can eat them like an apple! So the name should really be the “Cipolla Rossa Di Tropea” – a bit too long, so Tropea it is.
So if you like the looks, like the colour, like ScriBo nibs, then I believe there are a few left, but not for long. Needless to say if you have fancied trying a Scittura Bolognese piston filler but are put off by the looks of the Feel (and now the La Dotta) then the Write Here, with its more traditional shape, may be the one for you.
Looking at the shining rhodium plated 18k nib you will straight away notice one difference. The stamped (not laser engraved) patterning. The ‘Feel the flex’ and ‘Feel the Writing’ started with the Feel, which came out a year after the Write Here. Instead this range has the store emblem on it’s pens. Being an 18k nib you have a stamping almost like a silhouette broach, with the angled nib at the core. This differs from the 14k variants where there is no patterning behind the nib emblem and instead Extra Flex is stamped between it and the gold measures.
Filling up with a suitable ink, ScriBo Rosso Chianti, I am quickly reminded that stub nibs require patience. It is not just the need to write with larger letters, but as some one who scribbles too quickly, I also need to slow down. The ebonite feed may be very good at providing a quality flow of ink, but 1.4mm of tipping makes for a thirsty beast. Take your time and write at a casual or measured rate (as I am sure those with neat hand writing already do) and all it fine, but if like me you rush things (resulting in my poor scrawl) then you can get a little tram lining, though I only saw this with the start of long down strokes where I am applying less pressure (a side effect to writing too quickly).
There is a sweet spot to this nib. This is not unusual with stubs. It is not just about maximising the width of the tipping, but also the angle of the cut. With smooth and glossy papers you may not notice anything untoward, but on a rougher surface you can feel the edge catch occasionally if the angle is wrong. As mentioned, this is common with stub nibs and while the likes of Franklin-Christoph have got partly round this with their SIG, this is at the expense of a narrower line (and the need for a specialist nib smith to create the grind).
There is some flex, after all this is a ScriBo 18k nib, however with this being a wide stub you should not need to risk the tines, instead allow the bounce and spring of the nib to add to the experience of using this pen. Prefer a much stiffer nib, then arguably a steel stub or italic would be a better bet for you.
The key thing is, are you going to use a nib like this. If you are a calligrapher or want the italic effects and will be writing/scribing large letters then this is a very good nib. Stub nibs add character, even with poor writing such as mine, and are easier to use and more forgiving than flex nibs. In addition, and this will annoy some practitioners of copper plate and spencerian calligraphy, people can normally easily read script where a stub nib has been used (assuming the writing is legible). While less common now, I am still surprised how many people complain their letters have been returned as undeliverable because the postman and the postal machines can not read the address in their highly flourished calligraphy on the envelope.
Alas for me this nib is a non starter as my writing is too small. I do like the way it lays down ink, the feel I get when I use it, the shading you see in the writing, but for me I would rarely use it which would make it hard to justify the purchase. However, for others that will not be the situation and to those of you who do use large stub and italic nibs then this is a great one to consider. As to the pen and the resin, well as some one who normally only has one of any model of pen, I have two ScriBo Write Here and can see myself getting a third in time. The Tropea resin is really tempting and if you like purple pens …