Ink Review: Robert Oster Frankly Fifth (Federalist Pens 5th Anniversary Ed)

Robert Oster Frankly Fifth

Robert Oster Frankly Fifth Cap

Robert Oster Frankly Fifth bottle

I’ve gone around over the years about my feelings regarding the size and shape of the Robert Oster 50ml ink bottles and, while they are not the most romantic, elegant bottles, they really are pretty easy to use once you get the hang of them. The plastic is a standard #2 plastic making them recyclable in most major cities and towns worldwide. It also means they are pretty nonbreakable if your bottle gets dropped or tipped over. This also means that there is considerably less merchandise loss for vendors who often get this Australian ink shipped to the other side of the world and then repackage it to ship to you. The plastic is lighter than glass reducing the overall costs to ship as well. Once in our individual ink collections, the bottles take up considerably less space and are easy to store multiple bottles.

Now, that I’ve waxed poetic about the bottles, let’s get to the actual review.

Robert Oster Frankly Fifth ink swatch

I was so flattered that the brothers at Federalist Pens asked me to review their new custom ink color, Robert Oster Frankly Fifth which was created to celebrate their fifth anniversary. The brothers said it was a way of bringing everything full circle since it was way back in 2017 that I first reviewed their first ink collaboration with Robert Oster, Frankly Blue, to celebrate their first anniversary.

Robert Oster Frankly Fifth folded nib

Robert Oster Frankly Fifth writing sample

A lot has changed for everyone this year. I’m sure the intention was to release the new ink in time for the DC Supershow but well, we all know how that turned out this year. I say that because the new Frankly Fifth is definitely a brighter, more indigo blue that makes me think All-American, true blue, denim and red, white and blue. In writing though, the color has a more violet cast than I expected. In my medium nib, it reminds me a little of some of the washable blues from the vintage pen eras. Or maybe the color of the ink from school mimeograph machines.

When I was writing the heading, my nib still had a little water in it and the writing had that light, almost periwinkle color of the Sailor Studio/Manyo inks. Curious. There’s some lovely shading with this ink but no sheening. It dries pretty quickly on the Rhodia paper I was testing it on. It’s funny, the more inks I use, the more inks I love and not the other way around.

Robert Oster Frankly Fifth swatch comparison

In comparisons, Frankly Fifth is pretty close in color and shade to Sailor Ultramarine and Nioi-Sumire as well as Diamine Bilberry. I included the Monteverde DC Supershow Blue from 2018 since I made reference to “show inks” but it’s a bit more ultramarine with no hint of violet.

Robert Oster Frankly Fifth ink comparison

I pushed the swatches closer for a better look and you may notice that Bilberry is slightly more purple and probably has less shading. If price/value is an issue, the Frankly Fifth compared to the Sailor colors is a much better deal $/ml.

I’ll go back to my previous statement that I’m often hard pressed to find an ink I don’t like. I may find an ink that’s a better value or better suited to a certain pen or certain mood but if what you want is to maybe think your paper might smell like cornflowers or a mimeograph, this might be the ink for you.


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Federalist Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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