Osprey Pens Scholar Review

Specifics

  • Price: $30-40 (tbd)
  • Measurements (very long)
    • Length (capped): 152.4mm / 6.00“
    • Length (uncapped): 138 mm/ 5.43“
    • Length (posted): 178mm /7.00”
    • Diameter (barrel): 12.45mm/.49”
    • Diameter (section): 10.67mm /.42”
    • Weight (all): 19g
    • Weight (cap): 6g
    • Weight (body): 13g
    • (From their site)
  • Filling system: Standard International Converter/Cartridge or eyedropper
  • Material: Plastic (probably resin)
  • Nib Sizes: Modular (F to B, flex, etc)

Intro

I was introduced to Osprey Pens through Instagram. I saw that they were a new pen company and were diving into a modular nib system. Because they were new, I didn’t feel inclined to make a hasty purchase from them anytime soon. That being said, I was still happy that there are pen makers who are willing to innovate.

The goal of Osprey Pens is to create an enthusiasm for writing. With every purchase made, they donate a matching pen to a school. In a world that is moving away from analog writing, I find it super nice for a company trying to preserve the wonderful dance of pen on paper that every fountain pen user appreciates.

They reached out to me a couple of months ago on Instagram asking if I could give them feedback for their Scholar model. They didn’t ask me to do a full review but I figured it was best to do one because it sounded fun and it would help people who are interested in purchasing one.

For the sake of transparency, they allowed me to keep the pen and all the nib units. All opinions expressed here are my own. This pen has been given to a friend of mine who is getting started into fountain pens.

First Impressions

  • Self explanatory possibly keep it a bit short
    • Feel in hand, weight, material
    • Problems or flaws in design

First of all, the Scholar is super long. In fact, it is my second longest pen. The pen is very light in the hand which means it will work well for long writing sessions. I really like bright orange model. It’s a fun color that I don’t have in my collection and it does a fun throwback to the vintage Parker Duofolds. I also really like the idea of a modular pen system because it allows for customization and flexibility.

Writing Experience

For the writing experience, I will separate them in 3 parts for the 3 nib units that I used the most: the zebra g flex, the stock F nib, and the untipped Noodler’s Flex nib.

The flex nib mod (prototype): It doesn’t really work…

To be honest, my expectations for this nib mod were very high. The nib mod itself was very different compared to the rest of the nib units. From what I can tell, the whole unit is ebonite from the housing to the feed. The only things that are metal are the end where the converter sits on and the Zebra G nib. So with everything being ebonite, I expected the nib to perform wonderfully. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

First of all, the feel of the Zebra nib is pretty soft in terms of flexibility. It is honestly a wonderful flex nib. The writing experience may be very scratchy depending on the nib since they are massed produced and are meant to be disposable. It can offer XXF lines to a Triple Broad (3B) at absolute max. I don’t recommend going over a Double Broad (BB) though. Pushing a flex nib or any nib to the max creates a bad habit and could easily ruin a nib. Luckily these are easily available for cheap if you mess one up.

In my opinion, what makes a pen a real flex pen is the ink flow. Unfortunately, my experience with this particular flex nib unit’s ink flow was pretty spotty. When you first ink up the pen, the flow is amazing. You get pools of ink and railroading is non-existent. If you leave the pen sitting after a day however, the ink flow craps out. There are constant hard start issues until you prime the feed with the converter. Even after priming it, the flow issues come back.

I seemed to have tried everything to fix the problem but to no avail. I changed the nib, i widened the feed several times, and I converted the pen to be an eyedropper pen. No matter what I did, the same flow issues were present. I was pretty disappointed with this nib unit and I hope Osprey can fix my said issues for future customers. Then again, mine might have been a dud.

*update*

I have been notified that Osprey is on their 3rd iteration of the Zebra G nib unit. I have not tried it, but it’s reassuring that they are constantly trying to improve on past issues. Please remember my unit was an early iteration.

Stock nib: wet, pretty smooth, some hard starts, rigid as expected

The stock F nib performed as expected.

I assume that it is actually an untipped nib. The “tipping” seems to be stainless steel that is folded to have a round end. This is my speculation though and it still performed decently.

It was kind of rigid, pretty wet, and a bit smooth. There were some hard start issues. It doesn’t suit my writing preferences, but it’ll fit most people’s preference.

Noodler’s Untipped Flex Italic: Hard starts but it’s my favorite unit.

The Noodler’s nib was honestly my favorite. It had a good inkflow that kept up to my fast flex speed. However, the nib does have a tendency to skip. The skipping is not necessarily an ink flow problem but a problem of over polishing. I tried to fix the skipping with my various grits of micromesh, but had no luck in fixing the problem. Luckily I can always put in my spare tipped Noodler’s flex nib in. I was pleasantly surprised that the plastic feed kept up with the ink demand.

Important takeaways

  • Converter problem
    • The Zebra G nib unit’s breather tube was slightly too big for a standard international converter, which broke the one I was supplied with. It fits on, but it is now too big for the other nib units. It’s a manufacturing issue that I brought up to Osprey Pens months ago and I hope that they have since fixed the problem.
  • Zebra g needs to be frequently replaced
  • Hard to remove rust from the ebonite feed
  • Ebonite housing is hard to clean
  • Even with modifications the Zebra G flex unit wasn’t optimal

Conclusion

I’m pretty disappointed with the Zebra G because it had a lot of potential to be an even more affordable flex pen that can compete with a Desiderata Pen, but maybe mine was a dud. I spent a very long time tweaking to get that nib unit to work but even with modifications it wasn’t optimal. In the end, I stopped using the pen entirely because I was so frustrated. I will wait and see if the Zebra G unit improves before I buy any Osprey pen. I still have high hopes for the company. I also think it’s a bit too long for the width, but that’s just my nitpicking.

On the side note, please let me know how I did with this review. I have a lot of things to work on to improve, but I’m still a noob on WordPress.

 

Uncapped comparison with a Pilot Metropolitan.
Capped Comparison
Posted Comparison

This is the result of not using the Zebra G unit after a day. There was still ink in the converter, but it had serious hard starts and it just wouldn’t flow as one can see from the unsaturated ink color. The ink used was Waterman Serenity Blue.
Please excuse this poor image. I no longer have the writing sample and I didn’t have a scanner working at the time. You can blame the SB fires for that. I promise to have a better writing sample picture in future reviews. The ink used was Iroshizuku Yamabudo.
The breather tube actually has a slight angle to it, which is a problem that damages the converter.
Osprey Scholar with the Zebra G nib.
Disassembly of the Zebra G unit (1st Gen)
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