I'm pleased to announce that Karas Pen Company was kind enough to send me a review set of the "Galaxie" and "Starliner" pens from their new "Reaktor" series. These pens have been making the rounds lately, and while they're not yet available for purchase, I can see these becoming big hits that nicely complement their higher-priced Decograph (which I reviewed not too long ago).
Featuring midcentury modern designs inspired by the "Atomic Age" of the 1940s and 1950s, the Reaktor pens are more pocket-sized than Karas' typical offerings and designed to be manufactured for sale at a lower price point. All of them feel good in the hand and feature a slip/snap cap that works flawlessly. The cap closes and posts securely using an o-ring. The Reaktor lineup will include:
- Galaxie. A clipless pocket ballpoint that ships with the Schmidt 950M pressurized refill, which is Schmidt's answer to the Fisher Space Pen. Of all the pens, this is probably my least favorite refill option, as "ballpoint gunk" tended to collect on the tip. That said, it's a Parker-style refill, so there are likely other options you can use.
- Galaxie XL. A gel/rollerball pen with a clip that accepts the Pilot G2 refill, which is one of my personal favorites. Ana says the Galaxie XL also accepts the Schmidt P8126 rollerball, and since she's the refill guru I'll take her word for it!
- Starliner. A clipless, pocket-sized fountain pen featuring a design that pays homage to the "flat-top" pens of the 1920s. It's short, so the pen accepts cartridges only.
- Starliner XL. A more full-sized fountain pen with a clip, designed to use either cartridges or the Schmidt K5 converter.
Each of the Reaktor pens is designed around a specific refill and/or converter, and I've not had the opportunity to play around with them to see if anything else fits. Like the Decograph, these pens grew on me the more I used them. The ergonomics are very nice, especially on the "XL" series, and the pens feel much more expensive than their anticipated price point.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
Following up on the Decograph, the team at Karas has created yet another new series of pens that has left me with very positive first impressions. The Galaxie and Galaxie XL rollerball/ballpoint pens will be priced at $40 and $45, respectively, with the Starliner and Starliner XL fountain pens priced at $50 and $55. The "XL" pens should be released sometime in late June, early July, with the others arriving later this year. Be sure to follow the Karas Kustoms/Karas Pen Company website for updates! As I've observed elsewhere, there's not much currently on the market other than TWSBI and Lamy in that $40-60 price segment, and if Karas can figure out a way to make these pens profitable, they could have a big hit.
Disclaimer: Karas Pen Company sent me the pens featured in this review free of charge, for review purposes. Information on pricing and availability was provided to me by Karas. I was not otherwise compensated for this review.