, ,

Sigmund Freud wrote that we are nurtured as toddlers to collect. Sure much if not all, of his work has now been debunked, but too many of us look at limited edition releases of pens and go all Pokemon, have to catch (collect) them all, and boy are the big makers aware of this. Be it the Writers Editions from Montblanc or the flood of annual releases from Lamy, often covering five to eight lines of writing implements. Kaweco are no strangers to this, however limit things (normally) to just their basic Sport and AL Sport models.

From what I can tell, in 2022 Kaweco released two different AL Sport, three Sport, and a single Lilliput limited editions. Here I have three, two leant to me through the United Inkdom Group by Kaweco and the third a purchase of my own. In March I treated myself to a little bit of bling in the form of the Iridescent Pearl Sport, while a month ago I received an Iguana Blue AL Sport and a Mellow Blue Sport. All have medium nibs, none the premium version. Note if you look at the Kaweco Collection web page you will see more/different pens as some historical are shown and some are 2023 models.

Here with my Orangina limited edition.

Now I have already reviewed a Kaweco Sport, so this piece will be more covering these specific pens rather than the model as a whole. Along with the pens I was also leant a leather pocket sleeve. I have been alternating between the two loaners when I’ve been heading into work the last couple of weeks, putting the chosen pen in the sleeve, and that in to a pocket. Forget about it heavily bouncing around (as I mentioned in last week’s post on looking for an alternate pen for my pocket journal) as the trip is just from the house to the car, car park to my desk, and the return. So little bouncing around, but still some and this did highlight a couple of things.

First thing to confirm, as I just had to try it. The metal cap and body of the AL Sport do work with the plastic cap and body of the regular model, though I would not recommend doing this much as I am not convinced the plastic threads would not start to wear over time. Still it is nice to see you can do this, unlike on a Lamy Safari and Al-Star. Second they are all the same length, except when capped or posted. The threads within the metal cap are shorter, leading to a longer secured pen and the barrels seem to sit deeper in it. I tested this with both the aluminium body and the Iridescent Pearl plastic one.

In the hand there is a big difference in the feel of quality between the aluminium AL Sport and the regular plastic models. I’ve always felt the latter felt cheap. Sure they are just £20-£25 in the UK, but compared to the Lamy Safari and Pelikan Pelikano they do not feel as strong. The AL Sport, on the other hand, feels like it could take a real beating though I did note it arrived with a chip in the paintwork (I am the third reviewer in the group to get my hands on it). Still the anodised finish looks top notch and goes deep inside both the cap and barrel.

On the plastic pens I think the colour can make a big difference. I am not just talking about the two here and my Orangina limited edition. I’ve seen plenty of Kaweco Sports over time and have long developed an opinion that strong and bright colours tend to work well with the model. Here the Iridescent Pearl disappointed me, reminding me of something out of a Christmas cracker or the wrappers for chocolates. It was not the bit of bling fun I expected. Sure in certain lights it can be nice, but much of the time it is more like a cheap toy. Not sure being mildly translucent helps its case either. As to the Mellow Blue, more a boring grey (with a blue tint) and the sort of thing I would expect to see being used in a school. This is, of course, all my personal opinion and taste.

The AL Sport pens I’ve seen have all looked a lot better. I do love the turquoise finish of this one and if it were to ‘vanish in the post’ on the way to the next reviewer you can look at me suspiciously. Even the dull/matt aluminium pens I have seen work for me, though not necessarily enough to want to buy. It does say a lot about how the base material and method of finish can make such a difference on what is effectively the same pen.

Personally the Sport model is a bit too thin for me for comfortable use, however these pens are nicely balanced when the cap is posted. While the pen might be designed with this in mind, I have average sized hands (my glove size is male medium), I find I can just about use the Sport unposted without issue. Good for quick note taking, especially if the cap is secured to a journal or book.

Back when I reviewed my Orangina Sport I commented on Kaweco’s reputation for inconsistent nibs. This was three and a half years back and there were rumours Kaweco were switching from Bock to JoWo nibs. Well they did not, so how do things fair now. Three medium nibs and … three different writing experiences. Thing is it can only be partly down to the ink. Sure my pen contains Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-Ho, but the two loaners both contain Diamine Peppermint from the 2020 Inkvent calendar, which is a shimmer ink. Now I did have to rinse out the nibs and feeds on the latter two pens due to particulate blockages, however it is my Iridescent Pearl that is actually the worse writer. At the same time it is both the wettest and the least smooth, actually having a slightly rough feel to it. Under a loupe all is fine and it has been this way since first inked (I always properly rinse manufacturing detritus out of my pens). The Mellow Blue pen is smooth though with a pencil/graphite like feedback. I know people who love nibs this way and I think this is what the Bock 060 nibs should actually be like. Finally the Iguana Blue AL Sport has by far the smoothest nib, though with the same level of ink flow as the other loan pen.

Side note on the nibs. While the 060 may look like it is a size 4, it is actually size 5 as the collar diameter (and the width of the nib where it sits in the collar) is 5mm. It is just the nib length which is short. With the AL Sport the nib is part of a screw in unit and so can be easily swapped, including for the premium nibs (yet to try one but I have heard mixed things) and the overly expensive gold nib (Kaweco appear the be charging ~£110 for stamping their branding on the nib – as they go for £180 at Cult Pens, but the plain Bock version is just ~£72 at fpnibs.com (including 20% VAT)). With the regular plastic Sport the nib and feed are friction fitted and if you want to swap then you have to buy a replacement section. Fine if your pen is a regular colour (including Frosted and Skyline variants), not if it is a limited edition. I suppose you could always swap nibs by pulling them but this is a risky option. Still there appears to be no difference in cost between nib units and replacement sections with nibs fitted.

The two loaners came with syringe filled cartridges, where as mine has the Kaweco mini-converter attached.

With my Orangina limited edition I did report the cap would occasionally unscrew. I’ve not moved my Iridescent Pearl pen around enough to see if that also suffers, however the Mellow Blue pen has shown no such issues for the same levels of treatment as the Iguana Blue AL Sport. Problem is with the latter not only has the barrel started to unscrew with minimal movement, but also a few times the nib unit has come loose. It might be just this particular pen, but that is a killer to me.

Bulge is from a pen being inside.

While I did not receive all the packaging, the AL Sport arrived in an Eco Velour One Sport Pen pouch. I really like it. The pen fits snugly inside and feels like it is being protected from loose items in your pocket, bag, or hand bag, such as keys and loose change. Yes for a plastic pen it is some what of a luxury, being similar in price, but for the metal pens, if you are going to be carrying them around like this, then it could be worth the extra £18.50 (Cult Pens). The pens even fit with the option clip attached.

Has my views on the Sport (and AL Sport) changed. Not really. I think they are a great range of pens with lots of variety, but for me personally are just a little bit too thin. Having said that there is always the chance of a fine nibbed pen appearing alongside my Midori Passport at some point in the future. Never say never, as they say.