Out browsing today and came across a model of red pen I hadn't seen before, so before you could say "stationery fetish" I bought myself one. After rigorous roadtesting, here are my thoughts:
Make: Faber Castell
FC are well know in the art world but this is the first time I've seen them venture for a wider audience.
Model: Finepen 1511 Document
Price: £1.70 ish
Colour of ink: red
Quite a bright red, actually. There 's no colour stated on the pen, but I think it is what we call in the teacher trade "scarlet displeasure", perhaps with a hint of "vague encouragement".
Reasonably thick without being chubby; large pen lid. The body of the pen is a dark green (with a red end indicating colour), so I worry that after a heavy day I may inadvertently grab it thinking it's green rather than red. Time will tell.
The pen top is chunky so should survive a good chewing, if you're given to such nervy behaviour. Phenol tones dominate on the palate, with an aftertaste of burnt sugar, lavender, pomegranate and wellies.
Not written on the pen, but a width of 0.3mm is apparently claimed. Electron micron measurement reveals a precise width of 0.324mm, which is fine by me, as the extra 0.024 always comes in handy for hefty ticking.
Reasonable on a standard 0.5 square centimetre jotter, though comments written in anger ("NO!", "ugh!", "Show your WORKING!!!" etc) fared poorly - perhaps one to use with a more able class?
The pen was road tested by first computer generating 100 basic arithmetic questions and answers, which I then marked under standard teacher conditions, ie at 11.30pm after consumption of two-thirds of a bottle of cheap red wine. The pen felt good on the ticks, with a free-flowing action, but on the crosses there was a tendency for deposit build up on the second stroke. To be fair, this is a well-recognised problem in assessment, and to the pen's credit, it did manage to write reasonably well on wine-stains.
Fair, but the jotters did get soggy.
Performance at altitude:
In order to check the pen's ability I took a long-haul flight (for greater altitude); the pen performed reasonably well but did smudge some jotters marked in economy class. To be fair, this may be because I'd dropped my mini-bread roll on the page earlier.
Works in zero gravity?
A delay to the space shuttle launch leaves this question pending. For wider space travel, however, it's worth mentioning that the pen worked well in a Type 40 Time Travel machine, though it didn't unlock any doors, so a sonic device remains a safer bet in such an environment.
Overall score: 6.83/10.
Not a classic by any means, but shows promise and may age well. Use now to end of term two.