Fountain Pen Revolution Himalaya | Fountain Pen Review
(18 Feb 2018) Correction: In both the video and written review, I mentioned that the Himalaya takes standard international cartridges and converters. It does not. It uses a different style converter, and I was not able to identify the type. The text below has been updated accordingly.
I first learned of Fountain Pen Revolution–a U.S.-based company that sells affordable, Indian-made fountain pens with a wide variety of nib options–when I was still quite new to the fountain pen hobby. I was still in “buy all the things” mode at the time and purchased several pens to experiment with and review.
At the time, I wasn’t blown away by the offerings, which had a few problems. Since that time, I never revisited any of the FPR offerings and as my tastes moved much further toward the higher end of the fountain pen market. With my desire to revisit some less-expensive pen options this season, I was glad when FPR offered to send a couple of the company’s newer pen models for review and giveaway.
The FPR Himalaya is a pen with a relatively nondescript, standard shape made out of bright, vibrant acrylics or even ebonite. The pen comes in four acrylic colors (Saffron Orange, Taj Mahal White, Indigo Blue, and Sindoor Red) and two swirly ebonites (Green and Brown). Nothing about the shape of the pen screams cutting-edge design, but it’s well-constructed, simple, and attractive.
The pen features a bog-standard folded metal clip, the likes of which I’ve seen on several pens made in this area. It’s a sturdy, springy clip, but the clip’s ring extends beyond the edge of the cap just a bit. It’s a very small overhang, but enough to notice if you’re particularly anal retentive like I am.
The cap features a large silver cap band, and takes two full turns to unscrew on smooth threads. Under the cap is a smooth, tapering section with a flange toward the nib. The section is made of the same arylic as the rest of the pen. The pen uses a #5.5 nib, and comes with an ebonite feed. There are several nib options available including: EF, F, and M nibs, with a $3 upcharge for B, 1.1mm Stub, and Flex. My pen came with the FPR steel flex nib.
The Himalaya comes with a converter and can also be converted to an eyedropper-filled pen as well. The threads on the section tenon are long and extremely tight, so with a bit of silicone grease, I’d be fully confident in eyedroppering this pen. The included converter is one of those very inexpensive plunger-style converters and gave me a few problems. I found ink tended to cling to the walls of the converter, and wouldn’t always flow down to the nib. And the plunger-style filling system can be a real jerk sometimes (see the blooper at the end of the video above for what I mean by that.) Unfortunately, as the converter is not of the standard international flavor, it’s not easily replaced. I’d personally recommend this pen only as an eyedropper.
In the hand, the pen is extremely lightweight and pretty comfortable. It’s a touch shorter and narrower than I prefer in my writing instruments, but only by a small bit. The pen can be posted, and it’s a design that I personally prefer to use posted; the cap balances the pen and makes for a more comfortable in-the-hand experience.
If you’ve never tried writing with a steel flex nib on a fountain pen (e.g., Noodler’s or FPR nibs, not steel dip nibs fitted into a fountain pen), it’s probably best that you set your expectations for flex writing appropriately. Most modern steel nibs flex, not by any particular give to the material, but rather by extending the nib slit much further than is normal. The slit on the Himalaya’s flex nib nearly disappears into the section, in fact.
Flexing a steel nib like this required a fair bit of downward pressure. You can get a decent bit of line variation, but it will require effort and going slowly. (And a good writing pad under your page so you don’t scratch up your nice wooden desk through the paper.) When filled as an eyedropper, or with a better converter, I really didn’t have a lot of problems with ink starvation or railroading unless I went very fast, or over-flexed the nib.
On regular writing, though, this pen was a lot of fun to use. It’s got a generous ink flow (likely because of the ebonite feed) and a slight bit of bounce. The nib tip was well adjusted and polished. I was able to write for long periods of time without hand cramps, fatigue, or any problems with ink starvation. Overall, I found this quite an enjoyable everyday writing experience.
And that, really, is where I place steel flex nibs like these in the pantheon of flex: you can get line variation out of them, but I much prefer them for regular writing because of their wet ink flow and bounciness. Don’t expect to get the same kind of flexing experience you’d get from a vintage gold nib or even something like the FPNibs.com semi-flex nibs.
What it is, however, is a very affordable way to experiment with a nib capable of line variation. The FPR Himalaya starts at a very reasonable $29 USD, with an upcharge of $3 for the B, 1.1mm Stub, or Flex nibs. That puts this pen in direct competition with larger-scale manufacturers like TWSBI or Lamy for tradition writing, or smaller companies like Noodler’s for flex writing. The FPR Himalaya still very much feels like a small-batch product, but it is of a much higher quality than any of the Noodler’s flex pens I’ve ever used. It’s also a very affordable way to get your hands on an Ebonite pen if you’ve been wanting to try out ebonite.
At $29-$32, I consider the FPR Himalaya to be a good value. The materials are lovely. The construction quality is good, and the regular writing experience is very good. I would personally ditch the included converter and replace it with something of higher quality or just eyedropper fill the pen. And this is a good way to experiment and get your first taste of flex…just don’t expect a tool for Spencerian calligraphy out of it.
Nib: Steel #5.5 FPR Flex Nib (Steel)
Filling System: Standard International Cartridge/Converter & Eyedropper
Length (Capped): 136.1mm
Length (Uncapped): 121.1mm
Length (Posted): 154.5mm
Section Diameter: 10.4mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 12.3mm
Cap Max Diameter: 14.1mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 11g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter):15g
Ink Flow: 7/10
Ink Starvation: 1/10
Nib Softness: 4/10
This pen was provided free of charge by Fountain Pen Revolution in exchange for an honest review and giveaway. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed herein are my own.