Monday, January 3, 2022

Fountain Pen Review: Leonardo Officina Italiana Furore Aquapetra Rose Gold and Zenzero (Ginger) Gold


Hey! Yes! It's a brand new year! It's a whole new year to gather new pens, write with new inks, and keep new memories in our favorite notebooks! It's going to be another year filled with fun and love for our favorite writing tools. As we all welcome this brand new year, I'm stepping back to write about two pens from the magical workshop in Napoli that were introduced last year. Leonardo Officina Italiana, one of 2021's most prolific pen makers, launched two new pens in their Furore Collection, the Aquapetra, and Zenzero (Ginger) in late November.

Launched in 2018 as Leonardo's second pen model after the outstanding Momento Zero line, the Furore is inspired by the form and design of vintage Italian pens. The collection also derives its colors from the Amalfi Coast, a magical place where land, sea, and Leonardo's origins meet. The Furore and all the pens from Leonardo's collections are passionately hand-turned by expert craftsmen using old loading systems, giving their unique pens soul and warmth.

Leonardo Officina Italiana's latest Furore fountain pens, the Aquapetra and Ginger.

The Furore Aquapetra combines the charm of seawater and the uniqueness of gemstones like amethyst. Aquapetra is made from deep blue-green resin with pink and purple accents. Looking at the Aquapetra is like seeing through deep seawater and finding beautiful stones and sea glass. The rose gold trim is perfect with the Aquapetra's deep blue-green color which is translucent. This fountain pen also reminds me of the deep turquoise Smeraldo, an earlier Furore model.

Leonardo Furore Aquapetra with rose gold trims.

The Furore Zenzero (Ginger) is a perfect combination of two classics, brown and gray. Ginger is made from resin with marbled effects that suit the classic cigar shape of the Furore. The brown and gray colors almost change in appearance depending on the intensity of light. In bright light, the brown and gray almost appear as reddish-brown, and the gray appears more pronounced. The pen's material is also translucent.

Leonardo Furore Ginger with gold trims.

The Leonardo Furore Aquapetra and Ginger fountain pens have the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.75 in | 14.6 cm
  • Length, uncapped, including nib: 5.2 in | 13.2 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 6.5 in | 16.5 cm
  • Length, barrel only: 3.6 in | 9.1 cm
  • Length, section to nib: 1.6 in | 4 cm
  • Length, cap: 2.5 inches | 6.35 cm
  • Diameter: 0.6 in | 1.52 cm
  • Full pen weight: 27 g | 0.95 oz
  • Barrel only weight: 18.6 g | 0.65 oz
  • Cap weight: 6.4 g | 0.22 oz
  • Body material: Resin
  • Trim: Rose Gold (Aquapetra); Gold (Ginger)
  • Cap: Screw on, postable
  • Clip material: Stainless steel 
  • Nib: Steel or gold  in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, 
  • Broad, or Stub (1.1mm); Steel nibs available in gold, rhodium, or rose gold finish
  • Filling mechanism: Screw-on Leonardo converters (supplied with purchase)

Leonardo Furore fountain pens can be filled with ink using international standard cartridges or the supplied customized screw-on Leonardo converter with a metal knob. Unlike most converters, Leonardo's converters screw to the pen's section for a secure fit and avoid ink spills. The screw-on converter also allows for a piston-like filling mechanism by removing the cap at the end of the barrel.

Leonardo Furore fountain parts: cap, section including the nib, converter, barrel, blind cap.
Leonardo has upgraded their converters and included a logo in the converter's knob. It's also very thoughtful that they included matching converters with rose gold and gold trims.
Leonardo installed new clips for this set, they are thinner than those in previous pens.
Previous Furore pens were engraved with Leonardo's branding and pen number in the barrel. This set has engraving on the cap, above the two cap rings. The Aquaptera and Ginger are regular, numbered Furores, but they are not limited edition pens.
The Furore Aquapetra and Ginger fountain pen barrels are highly polished and smooth.

When I received these two Furore fountain pens from Leonardo, I loved their beautiful material and polished steel nibs. The Furore is available with either steel or 14k gold #6 nibs in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, or Stub (1.1mm) widths. The Aquapetra is fitted with a steel Fine nib in rose gold finish engraved with the Leonardo logo and it looks elegant. The Ginger's Medium nib in gold finish looks classy. Both nibs wrote smoothly out of the box without the need for priming or any modifications. Leonardo's nibs are one of the smoothest that I have tried, and writing with them is a wonderful experience. 

Leonardo's nibs write smoothly out of the box. 

Leonardo Furore fountain pens are turned from solid bars of acrylic resin, and the weight and feel of these pens are well-balanced in one's hand. The tapered grip section is comfortable for long writing sessions. The pen is large enough to write unposted. However, for those who prefer to write with their pens posted, the Furore posts securely on the barrel end of the pen.

Leonardo Furore fountain pens: Arancio, Ginger, and Aquapetra.

The Furore, a standard-sized fountain pen, shares approximately the same length with a Tibaldi N°60, Lamy Al-star, Laban 325, and OnAWhimWoodWorks pen. Uncapped, the Furore is still the same length as all four pens. The Furore is postable, but I love writing with it unposted. Posting makes this pen long and affects my writing speed and comfort. However, posting provides balance in writing to some people, so it helps that the Furore is a postable pen.

In happy company. The Aquapetra and Ginger share the same length as Tibaldi, Lamy, Laban, and OnAWhimWoodworks pen.

I love matching my fountain pens with inks, so I chose J. Herbin Bleu Calanque for the Aquapetra. I then filled Ginger with the Leonardo Sepia Classico ink. Ink flow to the feed was very fast and both the fine and medium nibs wrote smoothly and wet out of the box. The steel nibs are springy and wrote so well without the need for any adjustments or tuning. I wrote a full page for each of the two pens and it's a wonderful experience!

Aquapetra pairs beautifully with J. Herbin Bleu Calanque.
Ginger is perfect with Leonardo Sepia Classico.
Leonardo Furore Aquapetra and Ginger fountain pens.

Furore Aquapetra and Ginger are exceptional and well-designed fountain pens from Leonardo Officina Italiana. These fountain pens are fully handmade in Italy using high-quality, beautiful resin and include a full lifetime mechanical warranty. Like its pen cousins, the Aquapetra and Ginger are delightful to look at, wonderful to use, and great to keep. Get them into your collection!


These days, Leonardo Officina Italiana is one of the most active and talked about pen brands. Anyone into pens who is on Instagram knows this. Leonardo also has the fastest workshops with their current pen collection getting new additions almost every quarter. From the initial series of Momento Zero and Furore, they now have the Cuspide, Speranza, Messenger, Pura, Musis, and quite a number of limited edition pens in various materials in between. The Momento Zero and Furore have also gotten their size upgrades: the "Grande" with piston filling mechanism and ebonite feed. I'm always excited to see new pens coming from the Leonardo workshop, and I'm sure more exciting pens are coming in this year.

Rants of The Archer thanks Leonardo Officina Italiana for providing the Furore Aquapetra and Ginger fountain pens for review purposes. To learn more about these beautiful, colorful, well-crafted pens, visit the Leonardo Officina Italiana website (https://leonardopen.com/) or follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/leonardopenss/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/leonardo_pens/).

In Europe, Leonardo pens are widely available from retailers such as Fontoplumo, Appelboom, and Fontanna Penna.

In the United States, Leonardo pens are available from Goldspot Pens, Truphae, and Pen Chalet.

In the Philippines, Leonardo pens are available exclusively at Pengrafik (https://www.facebook.com/PenGrafik).

Monday, November 15, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: Tianzi Sky Blue Piston-Fill Fountain Pen


Surprise!!! Here's a new fountain pen brand in Rants of The Archer! Did I surprise you? Maybe not, but MysteryhouseCrafts from Etsy.com (IG: finewordzfountainpen) surprised me with their Tianzi Sky Blue piston-fill fountain pen. I learned about the Tianzi fountain pen when fellow pen enthusiast Alex Umali told me about the brand. After our chat, I checked the fountain pens on Etsy and Instagram and I thought that the pens are quite impressive. I also read some good reviews from happy fountain pen users. There are several Tianzi fountain pens in different finishes and I liked the clear ones. I chatted with the makers of Tianzi, and we agreed to do a collab review of their Sky Blue fountain pen.

Tianzi fountain pen presented in a gift box.

Shanghai-based MysteryhouseCrafts calls themselves "material masters" because they can make the same material into diamond painting pens, crochet hooks, and yes—fountain pens. Before they ventured into making fountain pens, they thought that it was an outdated craft with ballpoints, gel pens, and electronic messaging now widely available. Yet, the following that their fountain pens received from enthusiasts from all over the world not only inspired them but gave them a new purpose. Now many more people are enjoying Tianzi fountain pens.

Tianzi is an impressive fountain pen. It's simple yet classy, inexpensive but functional, and designed well. Out of the box, I liked it right away. The pen size has a good balance, and the acrylic felt good in my hand. The steel No. 6 medium nib wrote well, but you know what the best part about this fountain pen? It's a piston filler! Not bad for US$40.

Tianzi Sky Blue Piston-Fill Fountain Pen. The transparent acrylic with swirls is beautiful.

The Tianzi fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.77 in | 14.7 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.24 in | 13.3 cm
  • Full pen weight: 19.8 g | 0.7 oz
  • Body material: Acrylic
  • Trim: Chrome
  • Cap: Acrylic, screw-on, cannot be posted
  • Clip material: Metal 
  • Nib: No. 6 stainless steel in Fine or Medium
  • Filling mechanism: Piston fill only
  • Colors: Sky Blue, White, Mauve, Dark Green, Mystery Blue
Tianzi fountain pen is an excellent daily writer with a large ink reservoir. Perfect for long writing sessions without the need to reink frequently.
Tianzi's cap is also made from the same material as the pen's barrel/body. The clip is springy, and the cap band is imprinted with the pen name. This pen's cap does not post, though, which is not a problem with me because I don't post my pens.
The transparent barrel of the Tianzi Sky Blue looks so cool! I hope it won't stain easily. The piston mechanism also works well and filling the pen with ink was a breeze! I just wish Tianzi has a wrench to help in disassembling the piston mechanism for cleaning.
I like the cap top and barrel end of the Tianzi. The solid acrylic reminds me of the glass marbles that my brothers used to play with when we were younger.

Tianzi's stainless steel No. 6 medium nib is engraved with the logo, TIANZI, and M to indicate the nib width. Though Tianzi is offered only with Fine or Medium nibs, these steel nibs are excellent. My pen's Medium nib wrote smoothly out of the box without the need for priming or any modifications.  

Tianzi's Medium nib writes smoothly.

The Tianzi is a full-sized fountain pen measuring 5.77 inches while capped. It has the same length as the Narwhal Original, both are slightly longer than the TWSBI 530, ECO, and Lamy Vista. Uncapped, all five pens share the same length.

From top: TWSBI ECO, TWSBI 530, Tianzi, Narwhal Original, and Lamy Vista.

I love filling my fountain pens with matching ink colors, and I chose J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche, an old favorite for my Tianzi Sky Blue. It's a perfect match! Tianzi wrote well as soon as I filled it with ink. I did not experience any hard starts, skipping, or ink blobs which is a common concern with piston fillers. I did not experience any problems with Tianzi's nib. It's perfect for writing, doodling, and sketching small shapes. It's an enjoyable pen and just right for my stick font handwriting style. It's beautiful, elegant, sturdy, and comfortable to use for long periods of writing. 

Tianzi's nib wrote smooth and wet, and it's a perfect match with J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche.
Perfect pairing: Tianzi Sky Blue and J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche.

I am satisfied with the Tianzi fountain pen and its Medium nib. I recommend it to anyone who wants to explore the brand or try a piston-fill fountain pen. This fountain pen is a perfect daily writer for newbies and long-time fountain pen users. Get one for your collection!


Rants of The Archer thanks MysteryhouseCrafts for providing the Tianzi Sky Blue Piston-Fill Fountain Pen in this review. Tianzi is available in Etsy. For more details about the fountain pen series, check Tianzi on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TZPEN) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/finewordzfountainpen/).

Monday, November 8, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: Laban Gloria Ruby Red


It's amazing how fountain pen brands come up with new pen models. Each month, a new fountain pen model is introduced to us, and we get a wide variety of fountain pens with different designs and materials. Last month, Laban introduced Gloria, a brand new line of brass fountain pens with a highly detailed endless diamond guilloche pattern. Gloria is available in two color finishes, Sapphire Blue and Ruby Red, and I chose the red pen for Rants of the Archer.

Ruby Red is a standard-sized fountain pen with a guilloche engraving pattern on lacquer with a shiny finish. I love turning the pen in light and seeing the engraving pattern at different angles. I also feel the pen's lines and pattern as I hold it to write.

Laban Gloria Ruby Red in the blue gift box including converter and warranty booklet, Laban's special bookmark accessory, and a nib sticker of Gloria's nib.

Gloria is my first brass fountain pen from Laban. The three 325 (Wisteria, Snow, and Lagoon) fountain pens that I reviewed before are all made from precious resin. While Laban's more popular pen models (325, Rosa, Taroko) are made from resin, the company also offers a number of brass fountain pens (Antique, Antique II, Gloria)  and I'm glad that I can review one.

Gloria Ruby Red, one of two fountain pens in Laban's newest series.

Laban's Gloria fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.28 in | 13.4 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 4.70 in | 11.9 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 5.96 in | 15.1 cm
  • Full pen weight without cartridge or converter: 41 g | 1.45 oz
  • Weight, cap only: 18 g | 0.63 oz
  • Weight, barrel and section: 23 g | 0.81 oz
  • Body material: Brass
  • Trim: Gold
  • Cap: Brass, screw-on, postable
  • Clip material: Metal 
  • Nib: Gold-plated stainless steel in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, or Broad
  • Filling mechanism: Converter or standard international cartridge included in the pen package

Gloria is a heavy pen especially with the cap on. It can be used with the cap posted, but the pen will be top-heavy, affecting one's writing comfort. Usually, posting makes pens uncomfortably long and top-heavy. Thankfully, this fountain pen can be used comfortably without the need to post the cap.

The Gloria Ruby Red can be filled with ink using cartridges or converters. A Laban converter is included in each pen purchase.

Gloria's brass cap bears the Laban branding. The wide cap band is engraved with the Laban logo and the gold-plated clip is firm, sturdy, and holds the pen securely in place. Unlike the 325's finial which is the Laban logo, the Gloria only has a semi-pointed gold-plated disc as its finial.

Gloria's brass cap has a wide band engraved with Laban's logo.
The finial (left) and barrel end of Gloria Ruby Red are simple, gold-plated discs.

Gloria's two-toned nib is made from rhodium and stainless steel. The German-made nib is engraved with Laban logos, Iridium, and Germany. The nib width marker (B) is on the right shoulder of the nib. Laban offers the Gloria fountain pen with a size 5 nib. The nib widths available are the following: Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, or Broad. My fountain pen has a Broad nib and it wrote smoothly out of the box. It didn't need any priming before I wrote with it.

The Gloria's section is gold-plated brass with a metal coupler. An O-ring is installed around the coupler to provide an airtight seal inside the barrel and prevent ink leaks.

The No.5 nib on the Gloria Ruby Red wrote smoothly out of the box.

The 325 is a larger pen, but the Gloria is heavier because it is made of brass. Both pens are sturdy and comfortable to use, with nibs that write smoothly.

Beautiful Laban fountain pens: Gloria Ruby Red and 325 Snow.

The Ruby Red is a full-sized fountain pen, but it is shorter than a Lamy Safari, Leonardo Momento Magico, or Tibaldi Bononia. It is heavier than the three pens, but it's a well-balanced pen that is comfortable to use.

From top: Tibaldi Bononia Seashell Mist, Leonardo Momento Magico Millefiori, Gloria Ruby Red, Lamy Safari Special Edition China, and Kaweco Classic Sport Red.

Laban has also recently launched the Greek Mythology 2 fountain pen inks and kindly sent Ares Red to match Ruby Red. It's a match made in heaven! Watch out for my review of these amazing Laban inks!

Laban has made a perfect pen and ink match: Ares Red and Ruby Red.

To test how this beautiful red fountain pen writes, I filled it with Ares Red from Laban's Greek Mythology II Fountain Pen Inks series, a matching red ink. The pen wrote well out of the box and I did not experience any hard starts or skipping. The steel Broad nib wrote smoothly, I had no trouble writing at all. The Laban Gloria Ruby Red is such an enjoyable pen. It's elegant, beautiful, sturdy, and one that can be used for long periods of writing without any discomfort.

The Broad nib writes smooth and wet, there are some feathering in my writing, but no bleed at all.

I am very happy with the Laban Gloria Ruby Red fountain pen and its Broad nib, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to explore and know this excellent pen brand from Taiwan. It's a beautiful and sturdy pen and truly well-built for long-term use as Laban is dedicated to crafting excellent pens using only the best materials. Get one for your collection!


The Laban Gloria Ruby Red fountain pen is available at Laban.com where it retails for US$240. Aside from the Gloria series, Laban also offers the following collections: 325, Abalone, Antique, Antique'II, Canyon, Flora, Galileo, Mento, Mother of Pearl, Pocket Pen, Rosa, Skeleton, Solar, and Taroko. Laban offers pens in different materials including aluminum, brass, abalone, mother of pearl, resin, and silver.

To learn more about Laban, where to buy their pens, and for other details on purchasing their pens, visit their website at https://www.laban.com/ or follow them on social media: