I must first tip my hat to Mr. Grant Takara for being so kind as to send me a prototype to review of his newest creation, the Airfoil Click Pen. He also kindly provided me a prototype of his last pen a few months ago, The Airfoil, which I found so clever and creative, but when I saw the Airfoil Click I knew he was onto something fantastic.
If you don't recall the original Airfoil campaign, take a minute to look over some of Grant's history with his first venture into the pen design world. The design is very unique, but his outside of the box approach to conventional pen design is what made me enjoy his last project most.
Grant was also kind enough to reach out a few months ago while still in some of the finishing design phases so I could take a peek and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this thing.
When he offered to send me a prototype I asked if he wouldn't mind sending me an "all silver" version: silver aluminum barrel, silver clip, silver inner sleeve, silver screws, and silver knock. Just from seeing the design I knew this would be my preference as to try and soak in as much aviation inspired goodness as I could handle and, let's just say, Grant has impressed me with this pen. It literally takes my mind to where he intends it to go, or like I'm looking at a vintage polished aluminum aircraft.
With all of this fantastic aviation imagery in my hand, the only thing it may be missing is a pinup girl painted on its side!
If you are familiar with the original Airfoil, you will quickly recognize that while the Airfoil Click takes some reference from the original design, it really is a completely new pen which has been revamped and streamlined beautifully.
The first major change is the "fins" or "struts" on the sides. In the original pen they were much more pronounced, had sharper edges, and were bolted to the tip and tail with hex screws. I would wager that if there was an element of the last pen that people may not have enjoyed so much, it would have been those. They made me think of the inner frame of a zeppelin or supports inside an airplane, but for a lot of people holding them in your hand to write may not have appeared most comfortable.
In the new pen, Grant has refined these to be sleek, stylish, and comfortable, but still keep their purpose in the design and help to maintain that Aviation feel that make his products unique. Rather than being their own separate pieces, they have been machined out of the solid metal barrel. This provides a more fluid feel to the overall pen design, but also allows him to cut down on extra parts and assembly which is a total win:win in my opinion.
Some other aviation styled features are the nose cone front section which could be like the tip of a fighter plane or rocket and the recess where the knock sits is concave like the afterburner of a jet. Even the clip has some holes drilled through it to maintain some of the "structural" look of an airplane and is reference (like the holes in the "fins") to how plane manufacturers do this to cut down on weight, but maintain integrity of the aircraft. These subtle details are definitely some of the things that I appreciate most about this pen because so much thought went into the experience of the pen, not simply function.
The tip has three rings machined into it which provide ample grip. Grant sent me the pen with a Schmidt Safety Ceramic rollerball refill, but I ended up swapping in a 0.5mm Pilot Juice in blue/black as it is my preference.
The knock being used will be familiar to many as it is the same Schmidt knock used on the Karas Kustoms Retrakt and Tactile Turn Mover and Shaker which is smooth, durable, and all metal. I can see why this knock is so popular in the Kickstarter scene as it is discreet yet somewhat industrial feeling and is a part that pens can be easily machined to fit. I can't even imagine how much it would cost to develop your own knock... why reinvent the wheel when this one is popular and works great?
In size, the Airfoil Click is smaller in diameter than its predecessor by quite a bit and comes in at around 1/2". This makes for a very comfortable size for everyday writing and is easily pocketable.
The clip is adorned with the word "AIRFOIL" in a very aviation themed Art Deco-esque font reminiscent the lovely machines and vehicles being dreamed up during the late 1920's and 1930's.
I 100% provide a stamp of approval on this pen and I absolutely love just how unique a piece it is. Often times "theme" based designs can tend to overdo it a bit, but Grant really nailed it down between the lines of subtlety and exaggeration. Kudos, Mr. Takara. Is it odd that I can't wait to see what you come up with next?...
In addition to receiving this prototype I will also be backing the project. If this seems up your alley (or someone you know...) give his Kickstarter campaign a good look over.
Thanks again, Grant!