This Just In: Filling Out The Retro 51 Collection (Part II)

Photo of the packaging for the Retro 51s

(L->R) Vega, 2019 Artist Series, Flint, Flare)

After receiving the four pens in my first Retro 51 FOMO order I was reminded on how intricate the craftsmanship is, so I returned to the web to see what else was available. I ended up on the Vanness website, where they had a wide selection available. I made a quick pass and added all the pens that caught my interest into the shopping cart. Then I made a pass through the cart intending to get it down to a reasonable level. Then a made a second pass through the cart with a sharper eye and did get it down to a sensible four pens. I eliminated all the smooth metal and lacquer pens along with the pricier pens. Well, four was reasonable as far as I was concerned, so I placed the order. They arrived last weekend.

The pens are:

Photo of the Retro 51 Flare and 2019 Artist Series

Smithsonian Vega Pen: This Retro 51 is based on Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed 5B Vega. The pen is a lovely bright red, accented by gold stripes. While the pen is mostly smooth, a few lines of rivets provide texture.

Artist Series 2019 Etched Copper: I’m a sucker for etched copper. It helps that I like the design of the pen. The design is by tattoo artist Katie McGowan. Like Vanness Pens, Katie is from Arkansas.

Photo of the Retro 51 Flint and Flare

Tread Collection Flint: The Tread collection is a series I was unfamiliar with until my recent explorations. The pens are acid etched with a pattern that resembles a tire tread. Well, it resembled a tire tread once the idea was in my head. The official description calls it a chain-like design.

Tread Collection Flare: This has the same pattern as the Flint, but it’s bright orange instead.

There’s also a distinctive yellow version of the Tread, but I passed on it. I did get serious consideration instead of the Flint. Taking only two of the three versions lets me claim that I have some self-control.

Photo of my four latest Retro 51 pens

There’s a couple more Retro 51s calling my name, but I only see one more in my future. The Pen Addict 2020 Kickstarter will include a Retro 51. Since I back them every year, I’ll undoubtedly end up with the pen. While I can’t rule out a new release, my Retro 51 collection is complete.

 

These Just In: Filling Out The Retro 51 Accumulation (Part 1)

Photo of my four newest Retro 51

(Top->Bottom) Eiffel, Rosie, Lincoln, Dino

With Retro 51 announcing that they’re winding down operations (even the best outcome has the current team moving on), FOMO took hold, and I ordered four Retro 51s to fill out my accumulation. Little did I know that this would only be Part 1. Once the pens arrived, and I saw them, I decided that I wanted some others, and four more are now working their way towards me.

Although there’s one exception in this batch, I find that I really like both the look and feel of the etched metal models. I’m not too fond of the feel of the smooth metal or lacquer models, especially for longer writing sessions. It turns to active hatred in the summer when heat and humidity are likely to make my fingers wet with perspiration.

Lincoln: This is a returning model. I had a Lincoln and sold it as a pair with the fountain pen version. This is a smooth metal pen, but I love the look of the copper and the patina it will develop. So, with a relatively low price, I caved and bought it.

Eiffel Tower: An etched metal pen with an antiqued brass colored finish. I’m a sucker for the color and love the intricate detail. The color can vary with the lighting, sometimes looking like more of a dark green than brass.

Rosie: Another etched pen, but with less intricate detail. Lines of rivets form the design, and the pen has a grayish color. For you young folks and non-Americans, it’s based on Rosie the Riveter, a cultural icon from WWII. Rosie’s image (based on a poster from that time) is on the packaging tube. Rosie is still around today – a Jeep at the office complex I work at has a Rosie spare tire cover.

Smithsonian Dino Fossil: I have the Smithsonian Corona and love it, although its general look is much like the Eiffel and several other Retro 51s that I have. The Dino is entirely different. I almost didn’t get the Dino because I didn’t really like the look based on the photos. The photos don’t do justice to the copper & ivory design. The dinosaur printing is slightly raised above the copper, so it isn’t an entirely smooth pen, although not as raised as the etched pens. I’m not a Paleontologist, but this could become a favorite Retro 51.

I usually swap the stock refill for a .6mm Schmidt (same ink, thinner tip), but I’m running low on spares, so I’ve been leaving the stock refill in some pens. Yes, I could buy more, but it seems wasteful, so I’ve been keeping the stock refill in some pens. This time around, only the Dino got a .6mm refill, I guess that makes it the favorite of the bunch.

Retro 51 Accumulation

Photo of my current Retro 51 accumulationIt seems I don’t give my Retro 51 pens the attention they deserve. They are scattered around various briefcases, computer bags, desks, and other flat surfaces. They’re very much out of sight, out of mind. A couple of months ago a pen case with 5 of my Metalsmith series Retros turned up, and I had to admit I had forgotten about the pens. They aren’t listed on my pen accumulation page or in my electronic pen inventory. Retro 51 pens deserve better treatment than this.

I finally decided to inventory all my Retro 51s. This turned up one I had completely forgotten about, I went to my car to get the green lacquer Retro but found that I had replaced it with the Retro 51 Surf. The green lacquer was on a counter with a dry ink cartridge. It went dry, and I forgot about it before I got a refill.

I’ve been decluttering my apartment using the rule that if I come across something forgotten and unused for years, it needs to go away. I’m breaking this rule with the Retros, they’ll all be staying. Instead, I collected them all up and will keep them in a single pen case and track I went through my email and verified I had all the ones with a purchase record and I’m not aware of any others, so I think I have them all. That said, I had no purchase record of the Surf and did not remember it until I stumbled upon it. So there may be one or more forgotten pens still under a couch cushion. Eventually I’ll add them to my pen database, but for now having them in one case will be an improvement.

I should mention that the official name is “Retro 51 Tornado…”, but I’m dropping the Tornado.

Here’s my Retro 51 accumulation.

Starting with the pen tray, going left to right.

Retro 51 Green Lacquer: This was my very first Retro 51. I think I bought it after a discussion on an early Pen Addict podcast. I picked it because the lacquers were the least expensive model, and it’s green. This pen is historically the one I leave in the car, which is why I went there to get it. It’s my only Retro with a chipped barrel (although not visible in the photo). It is a pen that is tossed around and kept in a pocket or briefcase with keys, so the chip isn’t unexpected.

Retro 51 Montana (a.k.a. Ugly Sweater Pen): My favorite Retro 51 for a reason I can’t explain. Someone was trying to sell one for $130 on eBay, so I guess I’m not alone. (FYI: It didn’t sell.)

Retro 51 Terabyte: A limited edition from Anderson Pens. Another favorite since it’s green and has a computer theme.

Retro 51 Play Ball: This is the rollerball (recently swapped to gel) that currently travels in my Nock Co Fodderstack XL. After all, it is baseball season. I love the intricate design of the pen, based on baseball terms and phrases.

The next six pens are all part of the Vintage Metalsmith series. The series was an early obsession of mine, and I wanted them all up to a certain point. To me, the Albert and Dr. Gray may be called Vintage Metalsmith, but they don’t seem to fit into the design aesthetic of the series. They are more like Tribute or Deluxe edition pens.

My Vintage Metalsmith series pens are:

  • Roosevelt
  • Monroe: My only Retro 51 eBay purchase. I skipped this when it was released but found it on eBay for a reasonable price.
  • Jefferson
  • Franklin
  • Lincoln: I think this was my second Retro 51, although it might have been third, after the Stealth. I like the antique copper finish. The Lincoln is the pen that hooked me on the Vintage Metalsmith series. I also have the fountain pen version of this pen.
  • Betsy: This is where the Metalsmith began to veer from the original design aesthetic. I had forgotten it was part of the series until I looked it up for the inventory. I like the pen, and it usually comes out in July for obvious reasons. For non-Americans – Betsy Ross is typically credited with making the first American flag.

Retro 51 Liftoff: Space-themed pen designed to look like a rocket. I love it.

Retro 51 Apollo: A sentimental favorite. I was born days before President Kennedy’s speech to Congress proposing the goal of landing a man on the moon. The Apollo program started that same year, and I grew up watching it on the news (well, at least when they were getting close to landing on the moon) and was fascinated by it. It’s yet another attractive design that I love.

Now the pens above the tray, from top to bottom.

Retro 51 Stealth. I had to have the stealth version. The finish has held up well.

Retro 51 Tiki Kona: A bamboo pen with a Tiki head design. I like the intricate design, but on mine, the clip is slightly off center to the nose. The slight angle hides it in the photo, but I’ve seen it and can’t unsee it, so it bugs me. Like the regular bamboo pen, the Tiki Kona is slightly larger than the typical Retro 51.

Retro 51 Bamboo: I like the slightly larger girth along with the feel of the bamboo.

Retro 51 Vintage Surf: The forgotten pen. The Surf is another wooden pen that’s slightly thicker than the typical Tornado.

Retro 51 Hot Coffee: Another vendor exclusive pen, this time for Goldspot. I had to get a pen with a coffee theme.

So that’s my accumulation of 17 Retro 51 Rollerball pens. I previously linked to Mary’s post about a gel refill for the pens. I have the gel refills in three of the pens. The Play Ball has red, the Terabyte has green and the Tiki has black. The remainder all have Schmidt P8126 0.6 mm refills, rather than the original P8127 0.7mm refills. I still have the original refills and may revert to using them in some pens to be less wasteful.

Happy Fourth of July

July Fourth Retro 51s - Betsy Ross and Lift-OffHappy Independence Day to my fellow American readers. It seems these two pens are a more appropriate carry for today than my usual fountain pen. I can probably go a whole day without using a fountain pen, especially since it’s BBQ and picnics. Although I suspect I’ll pull out a fountain pen to write a few notes to avoid withdrawal.

This Just In: Retro 51 Tornado Popper Lift-Off

Retro 51 Popper Lift-OffI’ve been able to resist the recent Retro 51 Tornado special editions, until I saw the Retro 51 Tornado Popper Lift-Off. As soon as I saw it I headed to Goldspot and ordered it. It looks like I wasn’t the only one since the virtual shelves seem to already be empty since there were only 500 made. Luckily pricing wasn’t based on demand so the pen was only $35 which is in line with other Poppers and a couple bucks less than the recent Sport themed Poppers that are still available.

Mine arrived Monday and is number 460. While the pen is undamaged, Goldspot shipped it in a padded envelope,  not a box. The Retro 51 tube was a bit crushed near the top. Not a huge deal for me since I don’t keep the packaging but something to keep in mind if you order a Retro 51 from Goldspot.

There’s not much to say about this that the pictures don’t say. It uses my favorite Rollerball refills so there’s that.

Retro 51 Lift-Off Number 460Retro 51 Lift-Off