Benu is a Russian company that makes fountain pens with wonderful names, with interesting shapes, and with beautiful patterns and colours. I’ve been wanting to try one for a while so was very happy when Scribble lent me his to look at.
This review will form part of a meta-review over at United Inkdom sometime soon.
Filling method: international standard cartridge/converter (a converter costs an extra $5)
Barrel options: various colours with wonderful names. This one is called the Friendly Chameleon. Some colours cost extra
Nib options: stainless steel in extra-fine, fine, medium and broad
Size: 13.7cm long capped
What’s most striking about this pen is of course its appearance. The cross-section is roughly triangular and the barrel looks like a futuristic torpedo.
The wide black band around the middle is the end of the cap. One face has the Benu branding and the others are ridged.
The blue resin has sparkles and swirls and hints of black and purple.
There are three little grooves towards the end of the pen. These secure the cap when it’s posted. The cap pushes on to post and screws on to close. I like that the cap always lines up with the barrel when you close the pen.
I absolutely love the resin used in this pen. It’s one of those barrels tempts you into picking it up and swirling it around in the light. I’m not so keen on the black band around the middle, I think it cheapens the look, and I don’t like the notches used to hold the posted cap in place. While they’re very useful they give the pen an unfinished look. Overall, though, the Friendly Chameleon (what a great name) wins on looks.
The pen uses an international standard cartridge or converter, which is always a good thing.
The nib is a #5 Schmidt. It’s functional and has a good flow with no hard starts or skips. It’s got a little tooth to it and it’s quite stiff. It’s okay but I’m not a huge fan of Schmidt nibs (they work well but they’re not fun) and this one doesn’t do anything to change my mind.
In hand the Chameleon is very comfortable. It’s light. The black section is long so your fingers are out of the way of the threads which, in any case, are thick enough not to be a bother. Unposted it’s a compact pen that’s long enough even for my big hands.
Posted, it’s a long pen but still balanced as everything is so light. It looks good, posted, too.
It isn’t perfect but nevertheless I like the Benu Friendly Chameleon. It’s completely functional and it looks different but still lovely. The colours in the barrel are stunning. If I could, I’d have a different nib in it and I’d have the resin continue throughout the length of the pen. Then this good pen would be, for me, great.
Stunning barrel colours
Fun and interesting shape
Comfortable to hold and write with
Nib works well
Some design choices cheapen the looks of the pen (in my opinion)
Nib is stiff and could be smoother