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Visconti Homo Sapiens Steel Age 25th Anniversary

Home Sapiens Steel Age
25th Anniversary set

Part 1
The Pen

*note, if you are interested in this pen please read the section on filling mechanism first*

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While this pen is the 25th Anniversary Addition, the only difference is a special button on the top of the pen, and the inclusion of a two pen case from Viscontis Dream Touch Leather line, and a Travelling Ink Pot, which we will look at in the second part of this review, for the pen, we will just look at it as a normal Steel age for the review purposes. the pen is a lot like its bronze brother that Dave(258) reviewed sometime back, with a few exceptions we will look at below.

Trim and Design

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The Steel age pen has similar markings to the Bronze Age, but instead of the bronze used this pen uses, well, Steel. The body is made up of the grayish black Lava Resin (We will go into that further in the next paragraph) and the bright polished steel rings upon the cap, and large pocket clip stand out beautifully that dark canvas that holds it. While the rings are perfectly marked some of the placement seems a bit off. the "Homo Sapiens" markings on the main ring upon the body doesnt align center with the nib, it seems kind of odd, but then while the italian pens I own are good with fitment, most of them lack in Finish as we see here. Also the two steel rings on the cap can spin on the cap, but there is no wiggle or play otherwise, they sit perfect, just are not glued down.

the body as you may have heard about in the past, is made of a unique lava resin, this stuff is as awesome as it is odd. to feel it for the first time it almost feels a bit rubbery, but a tap with your fingernail has it sound as if its hard. I pressed my thumbnail into it fully expecting a mark to show up, but its very hard and not a single mark was present. With very dry hands the pen body feels hard again with some texture that helps you grip it. its very cool, very unique, and im glad I own at least one pen in the material.

This is the MAXI sized pen, which is a large body pen. If you have a look at the Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal Swirl edition review you can see (As this is the same size) the pen against some other popular pens to see just how big this is. The pen is much lighter then the Crystal though, and is very well balanced and fits great into my medium sized hands.

The cap has some heft to it because of the large arc clip, and it wont post very deep on the body, as a result trying to write with the pen posted is very unbalanced and not a joy at all, if your a poster you may wish to think if you would use a pen that doesnt post before buying this one, as even though it can post, odds are you will not want to write with it that way.

The Nib

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once again we meet the pleasure of having the pleasure of meeting the dreamtouch nib. the 23kt palladium nib, this time in EF, which to my surprise was as "EF" as any of my Japanese "Ef" nibs. while it has a great feel to it, almost like my pilot nibs, this pen having a hairline (And I meen like 40 year old hairline not 18 year old) thickness, doesnt have that same dreamtouch numbness that a medium or stub will have. Its still an absolute joy to use though. its soft but not so much you will get flex of any kind, but I do see some variation as I write. The nib came perfectly flowing and aligned out of the box and has been used non stop since I have inked it up.


Okay pay attention to this part kiddies, we are going to get a bit complex here. the 25th edition I have comes with the "Piston" type filler, which is really a trapped converter of sorts, it only hold somewhere around .7 ml of ink. but thats not exactly what the Steel age will come with... follow along with me here

-Steel age releases comes with the power filler that hold 1.3ml or so of ink.
-all of a sudden Visconti changes it to the "Piston" filler
-and once again goes back to the power filler

Thats right depending on when the pen was made there is TWO choices in filling options. in this case the Power filler has twice the fill capacity of the piston, and is almost as easy to clean if you remove the nib unit from both pens, if not then they are both about the same meaning you will probably want the power filler in all cases unless you want to keep the weight down. Bryant at Chatterly Luxuries (Where I bought this pen from, clearly states that his steel age pens have the power filler, but if your not buying from him it is possible unless the seller opened and checked, doesnt know himself what filler type is on the pen, so make sure you ask before you buy so you know which one of the two you are getting.

I did know ahead of time, but as both the regular power filling steel age, and the 25th anniversary pens were the same price, I opted for the one with the included accessories over the ink capacity as I like to change ink colours often, and carry at least two pens anyway. plus I have a travelling ink pot to fill from now as well.

Any questions on the filling type mess here ??? just ask below

Final Thoughts
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When I opened the box I was a bit disappointed with the cheapness of the box, my other Viscontis even the rembrandts had some heft and a great finish, but hey its only a box, and this round the money wasn't put so much into the fake alligator housing, but the additional items inside. I had the chance to play with Daves Bronze age in NY, as well as playing with a Midi sized Steel age at the pen show in toronto, I knew I wanted this pen for a while now, and Am so glad to have it now, it is now at the top of my daily driver list. The material is touch and up to workhorse daily tasks, the nib is not a hard starter like the 1.3 stub, and man does it just fit the hand nicely. The cap lock is effortless, much more then the acrylic materials on the Crystal, here things are a bit more round and the cap locks into place and removes so easy I like it better then the clutch cap of a 51 or the magnetic cap of the rembrandt. All in all, the Homo Sapiens are a great line of pen in any variety, but the steel age at $500USD this is not a cheap pen, but for that price you are getting a large fill capacity (With the power filler) a great nib and feed, and high quality build, things you can have at a cheaper price, but only in this pen can you package it in a great shaped and balanced pen with something as unique as the Lave resin, which feels great in the hand and is very tough, and should last several lifetimes.

This is one of my, if not my favourite pen in my collection now. if you have been on the fence about one of these... everyone I know who has one, loves it.
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Part II
The Travelling Ink Pot
Two Pen Dreamtouch Case
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The Travelling Ink Pot
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This is a cool item to have around, in the few days I have owned it I have used it more then a few times on 3 different pens, at home, and at work. to use it is easy, get the pen prepared to fill either by twisting down the pistons of a converter or piston filler, or how ever the system of the pen is working, the key here is to not do it while the pen is in the ink pot, as pushing the air out of the pen will have it want to pop from the pot as its a fairly tight seal and the air has no where to go. Once thats done press the pen in tip it upside down and fill like you normally would. tip the pot back to where its opening is straight up so you dont have an accident when taking the pen out.

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The grip should be ink free, and the nib wont have much on it either, but there will be a small amount of ink on the top side of the pen where the nib inserts into the nib, but dont worry in the cap is a small fabric ink sponge thingy that works great at sucking up that little extra ink, simply blot up the extra ink, put back into the cap, reseal the pot and away you go with a freshly filled pen, its almost perfect. Almost.

When I had seen pictures of this thing, I dont know why (I do know why actually and we will get to that in a bit) but I thought it was made of glass, but the window is indeed plastic, this is very lightweight, and easy to take with you on the go. it was much lighter then I thought it would be but having it in the pocket or in a small pen case to carry means the light weight is a plus. I have had no issues with any spillage, but I really do wish the cap was a twist on rather then a friction fit, and it doesnt seem to me like that fit would prevent an accident if you accidentally dropped this, im fairly certain the pressure from the fall would pop the cap, but then that hasnt happened yet. All in all its small size, which holds quite a lot of ink, probably 1.25-1.5 times that of a full goulet ink sample vial, and light weight make this really a great choice for taking with you on the go, as the pots girth isnt overly large as well most pen cases would easily hold it.

For 40 bucks this is a great pick up for everyone, but there is the problem, this isnt 40 bucks, its between 70-150 depending on where you find it, and this is not made like a high quality luxury item at that price point
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the fit and finish is what I would expect for something like this at a much lower price range made by someone else, but at 150 bucks this thing is lacking some fit finish, and design. you can see above two issues, one the black coating has some kind of bubbling in it, and in the second picture the lettering is actually missing pieces in some point, and Im kind of thinking will wear off in time with use. none of this will take away from the pots ability to work mind you, but it feels cheap, looks like something well below its price point, and had this not been included with my pen and had I had purchased it at full pop on its own, I would have been rather disappointed.

So here is a question you will have to ask yourself, can you really use this, and is the bloated price worth it. This thing works great, I have used it already and plan to keep doing so as needed, much easier then keeping a bottle at work for emergencies, and for meetups and the like or travelling this really would be a life saver, but that high price is something you will have to pay as this is actually the cheaper option, Visconti does make vancy limited edition versions of these, I have not seen in person how much nicer the fit and finish is, or whether the fancy trim they put on those ones are done as poor or much nicer then this guy, but those fancy ones can run you around 200-300 bucks.

simply put,
It works great, its over priced, but you will use it.

The Dreamtouch Case

The case is nice, has plenty of room for two pens, to much room really as its to thick in size for your pocket, but would work well in a backpack, or briefcase. the bottom half of the case where there is no zipper is structured on the sidewalls to keep everything in shape and help to prevent anything from squeezing the pens. the leather is okay, it wont wow you, but it does feel nice. and the only trim is a little "V" logo on the top, which again looks a bit cheap, this to me feels like something that could get knocked off by a chinese source and you wouldnt be able to tell the difference, as there is nothing here to wow yer pants off. Its nice, it works, completes the set nicely, But I would never recommend you to spend 80 bucks on one. I think for the money you could find something just as nice, and maybe nicer elsewhere.

if you wanted to complete a set for a pen with some in brand accessories, the Ink Pot, and Pen case are nice enough and do work that they wont just sit and collect dust, but in my opinion they do seem to run a little to high in price for what you are getting, just one man's opinion and all, but I thought you should know what your getting before some of you run out and buy one as I know more then a few of you are interested in the ink pot.

A Final Note
I will finish with this though. When I was buying this pen i could have got the regular steel age pen for about the same money that would have come with the vac filling power filler that holds twice as much ink, but im glad I didnt do that, as having these two come with the "Piston" pen for the same money was a better choice for me, I can, Have, and will continue to use both items, and they are to me worth more then a pen alone with more ink capacity. if I lost the ink pot, I would have a tough time not replacing it from where I am at this point, even with its inflated price, the two pen case I would pas on purchasing though if that helps at all. While they are over priced, the Ink pot at least you may still want anyway.​
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I'm confused. I thought the terms power filler, piston filler or vac filler were all the same thing. I thought they were all just built in converters.
Power filler- think TWSBI vac 700 or pilot 823, where you extend the piston straight out the back amd press straight back in to create a vacuum behind the seal
Piston filler- screw type piston, think pelikan or how a converter with a twist knob works

vac- can mean several different things and really needs context as there is a difference between things like Sheaffer, Parker, TWSBI amd Pilot systems that use the term "Vac"

If you have never seen the workings of the twsbi vac or a Pelikan Piston there are videos out there on them but im sure i couls make a video tonight when I get home

and when I talk about the Piston here for this pen I mean It isnt a piston pen like a pilot, I mean they put in a converter and sealed the body so it isnt removable like a standard converter is as you have no access to it. its not really a piston like you would normally think of one as
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Part Two, the ink pot, and the case will come probably tomorrow
Very cool review so far....I'm really looking forward to this^^^^^I'm not familiar with the ink pot, but am now curious. Looking forward to your review of it.
James, a question about the "captive converter" filling system. If it's just a standard converter sealed into the pen body and not removable, what happens if (and when) the converter starts leaking or otherwise malfunctions? With a normal cartridge/converter setup, you can pull out the converter, disassemble and lubricate in some cases, or just toss it and replace it for a few dollars. If it's permanently sealed into the pen, does a bad converter mean you have to toss the pen? That can get pretty expensive! :scared:
James, a question about the "captive converter" filling system. If it's just a standard converter sealed into the pen body and not removable, what happens if (and when) the converter starts leaking or otherwise malfunctions? With a normal cartridge/converter setup, you can pull out the converter, disassemble and lubricate in some cases, or just toss it and replace it for a few dollars. If it's permanently sealed into the pen, does a bad converter mean you have to toss the pen? That can get pretty expensive! :scared:

I cant get inside... so I dont know.
If you look at the bottom of the nib, to the right and left there are notches, i think this can be taken apart but needs a tool to do so, which i don't have and an not familiar enough with this set up to risk brokageness on a new pen lol
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If you look at the bottom of the nib, to the right and left there are notches, i think this can be taken apart but needs a tool to do so, which i don't have and an not familiar enough with this set up to risk brokageness on a new pen lol

The nib and feed will pull right out. May be tuff but it will go. The othe part you see is the collar. It does need a tool to come out. I've gone from dumb *** to expert in about 24 hours
i was wondering how to get into the body where the filling mechanics is... i can see threads at the back of my crystal, but no way to spin it out on that one, and no way into it here either
Your handwriting makes that EF nib look quite handsome. You maximize the line variation to great effect.
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