I had been itching to try one of Birmingham Pen Company’s custom fountain pens — their Model-A series designs. They release a small batch of a particular color material every few weeks or months. For some reason, I was taken by the Crystalline Liquid Hot Magma ($119) acrylic color, aptly named after the Austin Powers reference. It is a vivid orange with lighter threads of white and creamsicle orange.
The pen shipped in a lovely bamboo, magnetic box. It was a fancier box than I was expecting but since the pens are handmade, I appreciate that they present them with a certain level of love for what they created.
The Model-A has a stubby cigar shape and is a smaller pen overall. If you are a fan of Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pocket 45 and the like, this is a pen you will probably like as well.
The things I like best about the Birmingham Model-A designs, and this crystalline acrylic model was that it looked perfect to be eyedroppered. So, of course, that’s what I did.
Birmingham Pen Co. offers lots of nib options for the pens including an array of Knox and Nemosine nibs from extra fine all the way up to 1.9mm stub in gold, silver and two-tone color options depending on the nib. Personally, I am a fan of the Nemosine 0.6mm stub nib, a lovely steel fine stub option and was delighted to be able to select that.
The Model-A eyedroppered and capped weighs 19gms, putting it between a Safari and a TWSBI Mini. The acrylic material gives it a more solid feel than standard plastics and it holds a massive amount of ink when eyedroppered. Uncapped, its a demure 14gms and just a bit longer than 5″ (13cm). Based on the size, it makes a good purse pen and it fits nicely in my dress pockets.
As anticpated, the Nemosine 0.6 mm nib writes like a dream. The Model-A, eyedroppered, works great. I did run the pen once through first using the converter that shipped with it. In both cases, I do tend to find a bit of ink in the cap from regular use and bag jostling so this is definitely a pen I would recommend keeping an eye on if you plan to travel with it as there could be a chance of ink leakage. Or, you could remove the nib unit and grease the threads with some extra silicone grease to be on the safe side. I suspect I should probably try that to see if I can cut down on the ink seepage.
Otherwise, I am thrilled with this pen. I do prefer smaller pens overall though, so take my recommendation with a grain of mini-salt.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 with 6mm guide sheet
- Pen: Birmingham Pen Co. Model-A Crystalline Liquid Hot Magma ($119)
- Ink: Birmingham Pen Co. O.W. Penn Hotel Merlot (part of the October 2018 Pen Parcel subscription)
DISCLAIMER: I bought this pen and ink with my own money, however, some items included in this review were provided free of charge by our sponsors for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.