It has been hot and sunny in London this weekend but the cool morning air reminds me of my school days and the start of a new autumn term after those long summer holidays.
In Rymans’ Back to School special offers, I spotted this Stabilo fountain pen, called the EASYbuddy, reduced from £14.99 to £5.99. It comes in a blister pack. There were two other colour options available apart from this two-tone blue version, namely purple and pink, or black and hi-viz yellow.
I was very pleased to see that it had such a long body. It measures about 135mm when uncapped which is longer than a Lamy Safari and appreciably longer than a similar looking Bic Easy-clic.
It is made of a very tough-looking plastic, with a snap on cap and an ergonomic rubberised section, which is rounded and tapering but with three facets to aid correct grip. (That is, assuming you wish to grip the pen symmetrically and not with the nib rotated either to the left or right in relation to the paper).
The cap pulls off with a firm click, secured by a three small raised edges at the top of the section, (farthest from the nib) which are not obtrusive when the pen is in use. Unlike some pens that I have used, the cap does not need a huge effort to be removed but is firm enough to give reassurance that it will not slip off accidentally. The cap does not post.
The pocket clip is of moulded plastic, a continuation of the cap material and springy enough to clip onto a thick pocket or bag. The Stabilo swan logo is on the finial.
Removed, the cap does feel very strong and well made. It is a double thickness, having differing colours inside and out. It can be squeezed a little but feels as though it would need a lot of effort to break it accidentally while fiddling with it.
The nib is stainless steel medium, with an iridium tip but no breather hole. Mine was nicely aligned and wrote well from the start. It is fairly firm but with just a little give, to allow some line width variation.
The barrel has two long transparent plastic viewing windows, one on each side, when the barrel is screwed on. It is pleasing that the threads are made such that the barrel comes to rest in this symmetrical position.
It takes a standard international cartridge with room for a spare which is a very useful feature. I immediately tried mine out with the one royal blue cartridge supplied. It began to write almost instantly. However I noticed the ink seemed to feather out on Leuchtturm notebook paper (not usually susceptible to feathering) if I held the pen and allowed the nib to linger in one spot. But this was not a problem in ordinary writing. It is the fault of the runny ink and can easily be rectified by trying another ink next time.
Holding the pen, you do feel strongly urged to hold it with thumb and forefinger on the facets either side of the centre line and with the pen resting on your second finger. The rubberised grip means that once held in position, it is not very easy to make small adjustments to the angle of the pen to find a sweet spot, as the rubber prevents the pen from being slipped around in your hand.
At this time of year, there must be lot of competition with the likes of the Lamy, Faber Castell Grip and Pelikan vying for a slice of the school market for entry level pens. This one certainly feels very durable and well made. Mine writes well and with a change of ink will be even better. At full price it would be a tougher choice but while available at the sale price, it makes a great value, robust pen to carry around.