Review by Laura Cameron
Over the holiday break, Ana let me play with the set of Karas Kustoms Starliner and Starliner XL fountain pens that she had received for review. I love my Karas Fountain K and prototype Decograph so I was excited to see what else Karas has to offer!
The Starliner series pens are fun machined pocket size pens that start at $55, which makes them a great introductory to mid-level option for those new to the fountain pen world, or those looking for a durable, affordable every day carry. The pens are light weight, but sturdy and the ability to post them adds a little length if you think a pocket pen might be too short for you.
First let’s go over the things that are the same between the Starliner and Starliner XL series.
- Materials: Both pens are machined in 6061-T a “space age” aluminum.
- Colors: Both come in a variety of colors: Black body/Black section/Black Cap, Tumbled body/Tumbled Section/Tumbled Cap, Silver Body/Red Section/Silver Cap, and Silver Body/Blue Section/Silver Cap.
- Caps: Both come with snap caps that post.
- Nibs: Both pens are outfitted with Bock 076 (#5) nibs and are offered in EF, F, M, B or 1.1, 1.5 or 1.9mm stubs. They can also be upgraded to Titanium or 14K nibs if you wish, though that will raise the price.
Now let’s look at where they differ:
- Length: The Starliner comes in at 4″ capped, and 4.5″ posted whereas the XL comes in at 5″ capped and approximately 5.5″ posted.
- Weight: The Starliner weighs in at 24g (filled and capped) and the XL weighs in at 30g.
- Ink System: The Starliner is small enough that it only takes cartridges, but it will take any standard international cartridge. The XL is a bit larger and can take a Schmidt K5 Converter or any standard international cartridge.
- Clips: The Starliner XL cap comes with a clip; the Starliner does not.
Now for the eye candy:
For my review purposes I chose to take the Black Starliner with an F nib for a drive and popped in one of my favorite cartridges (Tarzan Teal from Fahrney’s). The pen started right away and wrote smoothly, with no skipping. I carried the pen around in my pocket and purse for a week or so and found that it always started up right away. The pen was the perfect size to stash just about everywhere.
The only pocket pen in my collection that I can compare the Starliner to is my Kaweco Liliput. While I prefer the smooth lines and styling of the Liliput aesthetically speaking, the Liliput is far too small for most hands, as well as more expensive than the Starliner. The Starliner’s rugged appearance will definitely appeal to a different audience and seems like a great addition to the Karas lineup!
And, in case you missed it, use the code WELLAPPTDESK when shopping at Karas Kustoms and you’ll get 10% off your purchase!
DISCLAIMER: The fountain pens included in this review were loaned to us free of charge by Karas Kustoms for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.