Retro 51 is by far one of the more fun and approachable pen companies, particularly for "nice pen" newbies. The standard Tornado rollerball which most of us know and love is often our gateway pen as we delve into the depths of our wallets on eventually pricier purchases...
Although, with many products, once you move up to the "next level" of purchases in price (watches, sunglasses, shoes....) you often don't seem to go back, but with Retro 51 you can't wait to see what they come up with next.
I proudly state that a Stealth edition Retro 51 Tornado was my first jump into nicer pens. I've yet to turn back! My Retro 51 collection has also expanded over time and I am always excited to see what their newest Popper edition is. (Like the recent Lift Off? Awesome.)
In addition to the rollerball Tornado, Retro also produces a fountain pen version. One of the newest offerings from the fountain pen line is the EXT edition called Marlin. They were kind enough to send me a complimentary sample of the pen to review. Thanks!
The fountain pen version has come in two editions; the standard length and the slightly longer EXT version. This will be my first official review of the fountain pen Tornado on The Clicky Post, but I have used one in the past in the standard length. Personally I found the shorter version to be a bit on the short side for my hands, but the EXT is about perfect.
In reference to the Marlin name, this edition is made from a beautiful blue acrylic with silvery swirls throughout. Very aquatic and the name is a great representation of the material.
Being acrylic, the pen isn't overly heavy and is actually quite light. The cap of the pen has the Tornado "crown" with the knurled pattern which is made from metal and adds considerable weight. The cap does post, but I personally choose not too. The added weight makes it considerably top heavy, but the added length of the EXT barrel make for a comfortable feel without it.
The section isn't too fancy made from a molded black plastic. If there was a part of the pen that aesthetically I wish was a bit more enhanced, this would be it. It isn't ugly by any means, but doesn't stand out. To match the rest of the trim, I could see this part being made from metal and fitting into the overall look and feel quite nicely. Some understandably added cost, but if there's hoping, this would be it.
Retro is using Schmidt nibs in their fountain pens and, frankly, they are pretty dang good. Really good in fact and are super pleasant. The nib is smooth, wet, and doesn't have a hint of scratchy. It really is a pleasure to use and makes for a great overall experience with the pen.
I think the Marlin EXT Tornado is a great pen that I know I'll enjoy. The retail on the pen is around $55 and I feel is a good value for the price.
Also, stay tuned for your chance to perhaps get your hands on one yourself?... When Retro 51 sent this one for review, they were also feeling quite generous! Thanks again to Retro for sending me the sample.