The Chaplain’s Tankard

Today’s review features the Italix Chaplain’s Tankard. Italix is a brand of pens with a predominantly clerical theme, made exclusively for Mr Pen, a London-based retailer. As an owner of their Deacon’s Doodle, (a favourite of mine), I can attest to their quality.

The Chaplain’s Tankard is a fairly ordinary looking black lacquer pen with gold trim. This is in no way a detriment, unless you happen to like your pens with more bling than Liberace. It has a pleasingly simple and stylish quality that is lacking in many more expensive pens (and, indeed, Liberace). It comes in a compact black cardboard box, which is all the packaging that is needed for a pen IMO. (Don’t get me started on the space taken up by unnecessarily large and fancy pen boxes!)

The pen is a good weight at 40g and feels solid in the hand, which is what you’d expect from a tankard. The cap screws on and so doesn’t really post, but that is not a problem as it would unbalance the pen and make it too heavy if it did. As it is, pen is a comfortable weight and, entirely in line with my expectations, writing with it is a delight. The two-tone gold and silver “Italix” branded nib is, I believe, made by Bock, and there are a dizzying 19 nib options available. These include Right and Left versions of the five, yes five, Oblique nib variants, as well as Italic, Cursive and Non-italic (plain) nibs in Fine, Medium, Broad and Extra Broad, so you are bound to find something to suit.

The pen comes with a converter (huzzah!)*, but can also be used with cartridges. There is also a clever button fill mechanism which allows you to fill the converter without unscrewing the barrel. You unscrew the small top section of the barrel to reveal the mechanism, so there is no danger of accidentally discharging ink whilst fiddling with your pen as you contemplate the mysteries of life. I suppose it is intended as an unobtrusive and convenient way to refill your pen, and although undoubtedly an interesting feature, one that strikes me as being somewhat gimmicky. There seems to be little advantage in unscrewing the top of the barrel over unscrewing the barrel itself, plus you can’t see how much ink you have drawn up.

So how does it perform? The nib is buttery smooth and delivers ink consistently and generously. The nib on this particular model gives nothing away, but I suspect it is a Medium or Broad Italic given the line variance. It is a little broader than my usual preference, but I found myself really enjoying the writing experience and I found my handwriting adapting to the italic nib. Given the number of nib options available and the affordability, the lack of labelling on the nib might make identification a bit of a guessing game if you owned more than one. Although, since engraving is also available, you could always have the nib type engraved on the pen 😀

On to Pros and Cons then:

Pros:
– Quality feel and solid construction
– A nice weight
– Excellent nib with a huge choice of nib options
– Supplied with an ink converter
– Excellent value for the price point

Cons:
None really, but if I were to be exceedingly and unnecessarily nit-picky…
– Cap needs several turns to unscrew
– May be too heavy if you prefer lightweight plastic pens
– Too much nib choice for the indecisive 😀
– No indication of type on the nib

I must admit that I really love this pen. It’s stylish in an understated way, the nib is incredibly smooth and it’s simply a joy to use. The cap requires several turns to unscrew, so it’s more suited to prolonged periods of writing than intermittent jottings, but that is probably the only thing that might be an issue for me as I tend to be a random jotter. The most astonishing thing about this pen is how unbelievably affordable it is at £28. This particular model was donated for review purposes, but I will certainly be buying one… as soon as I can decide which nib to choose from the myriad of options on offer.

You can buy yours from Mr Pen here.

*Failure to supply converters, particularly proprietary ones, with fountain pens is a bit of a bug bear of mine, so I am always pleased when a converter is supplied as standard.

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