Retro 1951 Tornado EXT Custom Fountain Pen–Long Term Review

If it weren’t for the nib, I wouldn’t own this pen any more.

I’ve written before about my problems and pleasures with the Retro 51 Tornado EXT that I got from Massdrop and I have to admit, I’m surprised that I not only still own it, but that I still use it regularly. For some reason, I can’t quit it.

The Retro 1951 Tornado EXT on a Field Notes Byline. The ink is Stone Road of Gion.

The Retro 1951 Tornado EXT on a Field Notes Byline. The ink is Stone Road of Gion.

I still hate the narrow, slippery section. I’ve been disappointed that regular use hasn’t made it any less slippery. It’s not as off-putting as the scrawny neck on other pens, but it’s still annoying.

I mostly keep it because I like the nib too much to part with it. The medium Schmidt nib is terrific. It’s smooth and wet enough that it handles even relatively dry inks, such as Kyo-Iro Stone Road of Gion with little trouble. It also works well on different types of paper.

The pen itself has held up well. It hasn’t developed any creaks or loose bits, despite being dragged around in a Nock Co. case almost every day since I bought it. The herringbone finish hasn’t worn off either.

Because the nib is good, the pen gets used mostly for testing different kinds of ink. It’s also great to use as a lender pen for people who’ve never used a fountain pen before. The steel nib can handle inexperience better than a gold nib can.

A close-up of the Schmidt nib and Stone Road of Gion ink.

A close-up of the Schmidt nib, the slippery section, and Stone Road of Gion ink.

If it weren’t for the section, this pen would be in my top five writers. Because of this I’m tempted to send it to a pen maker for a section modification. Until then, I’ll keep using it and hope the slipperiness wears away.

 

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