I think I was perusing an issue of Pen World or even Levenger's site when I stumbled upon a newer release from their line, the True Writer Element edition. It intrigued me and stood out as a pen I wanted to review at some point, and oddly enough the folks over at Levenger reached out and asked if I might be interested in reviewing a pen.
Of course, I picked the Element... Thanks to Levenger for sending this my way.
The first thing that stands out to me about the Element is the texture on the shiny metal barrel. There is a design either etched, engraved, or stamped during production that spans both the barrel and cap which makes it look almost braided. If the pen had just a smooth metal barrel, I think it would look like just "any other pen" of its kind, but the texture really makes it stand out. I find it to be a handsome looking pen.
Being mostly metal, the pen has a good weight and heft, but not what I would consider to be overly heavy. The pen can be written with while posted which I wouldn't necessarily think of as annoying, but I do find that taking the cap off balances things considerably. To some people, posting is a really big deal.
The section is made from a black plastic or acrylic and transitions at a gentle taper towards the nib. No dramatic drop offs and the move from the threads to the grip isn't uncomfortable.
Lets talk about the threads; I love the threads. I've seen threads like these on some other pens, but this is the first pen to come into my possession with them. I refer to them as "chunky" threads. What I mean be chunky is that they are wide and there are only a few of them. Most pens employ really tight threads, but I dig the look of this. Seems such a silly thing to grab my attention, but I do like it. I've mainly seen it on Visconti and Montegrappa pens.
The True Writer is a cartridge/converter filling system and they send one of the really nice international converters with the pen. I like that. When a seemingly nice pen gets a cheap-o converter it kind of irritates me. So, kudos to Levenger.
I filled the pen with Noodler's 54th Massachusetts (which these pics don't seem to do justice) as it is a great blue black (sort of in my opinion...color wise) and has nice shading with larger nibs. I requested a broad on this one as I've been getting further into enjoying the way the ink looks on the page. Broads and stubs create such a different dimension with the inks and are a lot of fun to write with.
The writing sample is written on a Rhodia dotPad which is definitely one of my day-to-day papers of choice specifically for fountain pen use.
The nib... (sigh) When it writes it does pretty good, but it has a lot of feedback which makes the experience fairly dry and scratchy. I do like some feedback on my nibs, but this one is a little much. The nib is also plagued with some slow starting which frustrates longer writing stints. Even in 5 second intervals at writing vertical lines, the nib behaves pretty poorly. I believe Brad Dowdy swapped in a TWSBI nib to his as they are an exact match, but I'll try it out and see. I really like the pen design and barrel, but the nib makes things a bit tough.
Overall, I think the True Writer Element is a solid pen. Classy design, good weight and feel, and when it writes on good stints it is ok. If I can get some better flow through a different nib, I'd imagine this one could see the rotation frequently.