Review Paper: Rhodia No. 18 Lined Pad
Description: A smaller vacuum filling fountain pen than the last one they made.
Refills: Internal vacuum plunger fill, 2ml capacity
Body: Plastic / Aluminum
Measurements: 4.91″ long closed, 5.97″ posted
Color Options: Clear with silver aluminum accents
The 540 cracked, the mini was just “ok”, the ECO was ugly, and my 580AL just doesn’t quite do it for me. I’m still hunting for a TWSBI that works for me. Does the Vac Mini stay in my collection, or get sold off like the others? Read on to find out!
Appearance and Packaging:
TWSBI packaging is cool. The plastic box nicely presents the pen. I’d be excited to get this pen / box as a gift. It looks just as cool as the packaging it comes in.It’s definitely impressive, but if you’ve seen TWSBI packaging before, you’ll know what to expect here. Now the pen… When capped, the pen is pretty small. It’s nice to tuck in a pocket or bag without taking up too much real estate. The faceted body, compact size, steel vacuum plunger rod running the length of the body, and metal accents results in a really nice looking pen. I’m still a little wary about TWSBI pens, as they have cracked on me before. I’d hate for this one to break in my pocket, releasing 2 ml of ink onto my pants.
Even though it’s on the smaller size, it nicely compliments the size of the pen. The nib is stamped with the TWSBI logo, and is a bit narrower than those seen on the 5XX series. Everything’s to scale here. There are few things that bother me about a pen more than an out of scale nib. Something about a giant pen with a small nib, or a small pen with a giant nib just throws the entire pen off aesthetically for me. Kudos to TWSBI for making a small pen that doesn’t come off as such!
Filling System / Nib Performance:
The steel fine nib on the Vac Mini is nice and smooth. Right out of the box, it lays down a consistent and smooth line. The flow is a little bit on the dry side of medium wetness, making for a great everyday nib. Keep in mind that the filling knob seals off the section. If your Mini is running a little dry, loosen up the filling knob on the back of the body to flood the section with ink. You’ll be writing again in no time.
It’s easy to use, holds a ton of ink, and looks cool during the process. It’s definitely the main selling point of the pen, and it delivers. Like its name suggests, the Vac Mini fills with a vacuum piston system. The filling system is by no means a gimmick to sell pens, as it’s quite efficient and easy to use.
TWSBI’s Vac Mini feels like a $65 pen should. At 24 grams, it’s got a nice bit of heft without being heavy. The faceted plastic body is smooth to the touch and pleasing to hold.The Vac Mini has a two-piece section, I was confusing this with the TWSBI ECO which has a one piece body and section. The step down from the barrel to grip is still comfortable, it’s just in two pieces.
While it’s totally possible to write with the pen cap unposted, it’s much more comfortable to do so with it secured onto the back of the pen. The end of the body is threaded so that the cap can screw on for easy posting. The pen is really nicely balanced and nicely weighted. It reminds me almost of the Sailor Professional Gear.
Cool filling system
Holds a lot of ink
Good size / balance
Fine nib is great for everyday writing
I think the Vac Mini is finally the TWSBI for me. It’s reliable, looks great, and performs well right out of the box. Pending nothing cracks or breaks, I can definitely recommend this pen to others. It’s a really compelling entry in the “mid tier” pen world, and dare I say it’s a steal for under $75. You can pick up a Vac Mini for yourself from Jetpens!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the TWSBI Vac Mini in the comments below!