the schneider id fountain pen
I recently saw these on Cultpens, and thought that I might depart from my usual range of Lamys and try something slightly new. As of time of writing, the description of these pens on the catalog page of Cultpens is simply "Weird".
It's an absurd-looking pen, but has a certain charm if you like that sort of thing. The cap is immense - the photos really don't do it justice - and the clip on it is bizarrely huge as well. (I bought one with green trim, but it is available in a number of colours.) The body is a translucent black plastic which shows the cartridge or convertor. It is overall lighter in weight than one might think, though, yet it's solid in construction - it doesn't feel cheap or flimsy at all.
The grip is rubbery and deliberately contoured to encourage a particular sort of hold. There is a flattened dip on the top right for one's index finger, and underneath, a shallower but wider flattened part for the middle finger. Some people hate this sort of thing but it fits in quite well with how I hold pens. The grip, the weight and the generous but not excessive width lead me to think it would be a good writer for extended periods.
This model has a medium nib, which is a "European" medium i.e. fairly broad, and is also slightly italic. It is pleasantly smooth on the paper and ink flows well, or at least it does now. Originally when first filling it the thing had trouble starting and was writing quite dryly. "Oh gawd," I thought, "another fifteen quid wasted on a pen I'll never use," but being sensible I gave it a good flush and a soak for an extended period with a little washing-up liquid to clean out any gunk from factory or storage or malicious pen pixies, and now it seems fine, at least with Waterman Florida Blue which is what I have in it at the moment.
The iD takes standard international cartridges, and has space for the usual two back to back inside. I ordered a Tombow convertor at the same time for use with bottled ink and this seems effective, in fact a pretty good convertor all told, with a good seal and no air getting in.
Overall, I am happy with this pen. It has a fatter nib than I normally prefer, but it is a nice comfortable writer, and if I didn't need a rounded fine nib to write in my usual appalling spider scrawl (being fairer to myself here, I also draw bubbles and arrows and diagrams a lot, and a broadish italic nib is not good for that purpose) I could see myself using it regularly. Somebody looking for a relatively inexpensive and comfortable pen for long periods of writing - exams, theses - might find it pretty ideal. Do flush it out first though.
Additional information (Tuesday 27 July 2010)
Having used the iD for a while now, I have noticed a peculiarity - it takes forever to clear ink out of it. I don't know where it's hiding it all, but whereas most pens will run fairly clear after a few fillings and ejections of water with a convertor, the iD keep pumping out the ink for ages.
This is a little annoying if you change inks as frequently as I tend to, but for most people it is probably an advantage of sorts, as if one sees an empty cartridge or convertor there's likely still quite a bit of writing left in the thing, giving one time to find a refill.