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View Full Discussion Although I'm not participating in this drop, I own or have owned all of the items and wanted to add a few words about the products and the Massdrop experience before it ends. As usual, I've divided my post into sections. I've also divided it into two separate posts: Products and Massdrop experience. Here's the info on the pens and paper.
THE PENS & PAPER:
Using a Varsity was my entre into fountain pens. They write with a true medium line, are suprisingly smooth (check nib alignment if they give you problems) and are remarkably durable. The nib will work if you flip over the nib. Also, they tend to write a little wet and ink for some of the colors bleeds heavily through cheap paper. Although they are marketed as “disposable”, I have refilled all of mine - some several times over. For instructions, I use the method posted here:
However, there are other methods out there: using boiling (or very hot) water, using a carefully rigged syringe, going in from “behind”, opening the plastic divider within the pen and then plugging the hold with some epoxy.
The advantages and disadvantages of the method from the website:
1. The tools are easily obtained, if not already lying around.
2. The entire pen (barrel, nib, feed) can be cleaned.
3. Once comfortable with this method, it's pretty quick and straight-forward.
4. The barrel holds almost exactly 2mls of ink.
5. It's fun to do (but that's a matter of opinion).
1. You might mess up, especially in your first few attempts - I've trashed at least one nib.
2. It can be a little messy. This can be minimized by making sure the pen won't write anymore - i.e.. is truly dry.
3. Even with experience, you might damage the nib a little. I have one I've refilled 2 or 3 times already. I think it has 1 or 2 more refills in it before I've trashed the nib irreparably. But a total of 6 2ml fills on a pen that costs less than 3 bucks? Not too bad. Had I been a bit gentler pulling out the nib/feed combo, I could keep refilling it indefinitely.
Metropolitan & Plumix:
The Metropolitan, has been stated numerous time elsewhere is one of the best, truly “non-disposable” fountain pens available. It's easily refillable and comes with an acceptable converter, it posts securely and the nib is very smooth for whatever size you get.
[Edit/Update: I just noticed that you can add on a few CON-50s to your order. The price being offered is the best price I've seen, given that there is no additional shipping cost within CONUS. The included aerometric converter holds about 0.9ml of ink but you cannot see how much in you've used or or have left until you run out. The CON-50 holds about 0.6ml, but is transparent allowing for assessing how much ink is remaining. In my opinion, the CON-50 is also easier to use overall. If you're already participating in this drop and you're so inclined, I would take advantage of the opportunity to grab the 1-5 converters included as an "add-on option" in this Drop. But that's just me.]
Note that the medium Metropolitan lays down a noticeably thinner line than the Varsity. Somewhere buried in the 2-Metropolitan Drop discussion, I've posted a picture comparing various nib sizes that fit in the Metropolitan. Speaking of which …
The Plumix nib will fit into the Metropolitan.
I don't dislike the Plumix, but it's not one of my favorites, either. I find the grip comfortable (bear in mind I also like the unique grip on the Lamy Safari, etc). The nib says “” on it. I think of it as a stub that's a puts down a thinner line than a 1.1.
It's an A4 Rhodia pad. Rhodia is known for making excellent, fountain pen friendly paper. If you'd like more info, others have written extensively about (almost all positively). I suggest scanning Massdrop for previous Drops that included this pad.
As usual, I hope this helps.
Fine print: periodically edited, no affiliations, opinions are my own.