Sometimes you run across a pen and ink combination that works especially well, and you just have to review them together. Such is the case with the Faber-Castell Loom and one of the new inks I received last week, "Quasar" by South Korean company Colorverse.
The Faber-Castell Loom: Budget Workhorse?
First off, I've written about Faber-Castell pens before, and in my opinion, the German company sells some of the best steel-nibbed fountain pens on the market. I've never had a Faber-Castell pen with issues, and I've owned several. The nibs always write smoothly and have especially good ink flow. The Loom is no exception.
Since you can purchase the Loom for as little as $40, you might ask why it's taken me so long to review this pen. Well, in pictures, I was always a little put off by the cap. I thought it looked chunky and heavy, and suspected it would throw off the balance of the pen when posted. I was wrong. The cap on the gunmetal versions pictured here is a lightweight plastic, which posts fairly deeply on the aluminum body. I've been writing with the Loom nonstop for the past week and it's extremely comfortable to use for long periods of time.
The only real critique I would have is with the grip. The section has raised ridges to give it some texture, but it's still pretty slick, even on the matte pen. It wasn't that big of a deal for me, but I know some readers are sensitive to this issue. I believe the "Piano" versions of the Loom add even more texture to the section in the grip area, which may help.
Colorverse Quasar: A Sheeny Ink You Can Actually Use
So what's been my favorite ink to use in the Loom? So far, I've had great luck with one of the new Colorverse inks that I received in the mail last week. Colorverse Quasar is a rich, dark blue that features a reddish sheen, reminiscent of other inks I've tried such as Akkerman Shocking Blue and Diamine Majestic Blue.
The Faber-Castell Loom ended up being a perfect pen for this ink because the medium nib was wet enough to show off some of the sheen, but not such a gusher that I ended up with bleedthrough or smearing issues. One thing I've loved about the Colorverse inks is the fact that for such saturated, sheeny inks, they seem to be relatively low maintenance, especially with respect to dry time.
Take that last comment with a grain of salt, because it's more of an initial impression than a final verdict. I plan to do a more thorough write-up of the Colorverse inks in the future after I test more of the line. I have additional colors on the way. That said, I'm impressed so far, and others whose opinions I trust have had equally positive experiences.
A note on Colorverse pricing: At first glance, the Colorverse inks might appear expensive at $36 apiece, but once you break that down a bit it's not that bad. For each color, you get not one, but TWO bottles (65ml and 15ml) for a total of 80ml of ink. That comes out to roughly $0.45 per ml, which on a per-ml basis is similar to the new Sailor Jentle inks ($0.44) and Iroshizuku ($0.40). All calculations were done using Pen Chalet's best pricing.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
The Faber-Castell Loom took me by surprise. This pen represents excellent value and has one of the best nibs that I've used in the $40-55 price range. Vanness currently has a large stock of these pens in various colors, but unfortunately the "Gunmetal Matte" version is sold out. During my visit to Vanness Pens back in December, I was torn between the matte pen and the "Gunmetal Shiny" version (which I photographed in the store), as well as the "Piano White", both of which Vanness still has in stock.
While I expected to like the Colorverse inks, simply because the "space/astrophysics" concept behind the brand was so well thought-out and intriguing, I didn't expect these inks to work as well as they do for everyday use. As I mentioned, I've ordered more, and look forward to testing the other colors. You can purchase all three "seasons" of Colorverse inks from Pen Chalet, who (along with Vanness) carries the entire line.
Disclaimer: Vanness Pens provided the Faber-Castell Loom for review purposes, free of charge. Pen Chalet supplied me with the Colorverse Ink. This post contains affiliate links.