Fountain Pen Review: Osprey Scholar

Well, that didn't take long; I'm now the proud owner of multiple Osprey pens. I've had the Milano for several months, and recently I've acquired a few more models, courtesy of Abhiram Rao of Osprey. One of these is the Scholar, an all black pen to match the Milano.

osprey scholar fountain pen

Note that these two pens are very similar, so if you're interested in either one you should read this review and the one on the Milano here.

I really, really liked the Milano, so I walked into this review process with high expectations. I'm happy to say I'm not disappointed.

SUMMARY

Aesthetics: 4/5
Functionality: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Total: 12/15

AESTHETICS - 4/5

osprey scholar fountain pen
osprey scholar fountain pen
osprey scholar fountain pen
osprey scholar fountain pen
scholar fountain pen osprey

Like its brother, the Scholar is a simple pen, especially the all black one. Its design harkens back to the birth of fountain pens, around the turn of the twentieth century, when a black flat-top was the only pen money could buy. The entire pen is machined from a solid rod of acrylic, and is polished up nicely. The clip, cap band, and nib are all silver. Like the Milano, you could also get a gold-plated nib. Why you would want to is beyond me, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

What really strikes me about this pen is its length. The Scholar is longer than all my other pens besides the Joy. It almost makes the pen feel posted.

FUNCTIONALITY - 4/5

osprey scholar fountain pen

Like the Milano the Scholar is a c/c or eyedropper pen with a screw cap. What's really great is that the same inserts I had for the Milano work in the Scholar, and more can be purchased from Osprey Pens. If you're not aware: this gives you the option of fine, medium, Zebra G, gold semi-flex, and basically any other standard #6 nib.

I have no problems with the way this pen works, and the fact that you don't have to buy a whole new one for a different writing experience is a great feature.

WRITING - 4/5

osprey scholar fountain pen writing

SIZE COMPARISONS

scholar fountain pen size comparisons
osprey scholar fountain pen size comparison

CONCLUSION/VALUE

Thus far, the Scholar has performed well, but it gets better. At only 30 USD, I think this pen is an excellent value. It's machined, not injection molded, features a large nib, and Osprey gives away an equivalent pen to educational institutions with every purchase. Nothing else compares.

In my mind, the Scholar should be recommended alongside the Safari and the Eco. It's that good. If I had to choose between it and the Milano, I'd grab the ebonite, but that's only because I already have both. For your first Osprey pens purchase, the more inexpensive Scholar wins every time.

A Discussion of Numerical Ratings

When it comes to pen blogging, there is a choice you have to make (as the content creator) that allows for no middle ground. You can rate aspects of the pen quantitatively or not.

You see, up until now, I have only provided qualitative descriptions in my reviews. That is, I tell you in words about the "qualities" of the products. A lot of other people do this, and a lot of other people also include quantitative reviews, where numbers are used to rate products. It can be 7.5/10, it can be three stars, it doesn't matter.

I have deliberately avoided these types of systems thus far, for one simple reason. They tend to be arbitrary. It's hard to come up with methodology that will yield accurate results. For instance, I could slap an 8.5/10 in my review of the Safari, but it would be hard for me to justify that 8.5. Many have tried to work around this by including categories like "appearance" and "writing performance." That just shifts the problem to those categories. What really differentiates a 5.5 from a 6? The answer is: not much. Even with pre-made grading rubrics, a certain degree of arbitrariness and subjectivity is inevitable.

However, not everyone is willing to sit through a wall of text. Some have limited time, some are impatient, some need to use the bathroom. So, I'm converting to the dark side. From here on out, I will include numerical grades in my reviews. I'm in the midst of drafting rubrics and will of course make them available when the time comes.

Happy writing everyone.

Fountain Pen Review: Osprey Milano

I first discovered Osprey Pens at the 2017 Los Angeles Pen Show. The founder, Abhiram Rao, was manning his table alone–dashing left and right, answering questions, and handing out samples. His hands were covered in his Noodler’s exclusive ("Azure Main"), and he was perhaps the only man in the room with inkier hands than myself. I couldn't help but like the guy.

Unfortunately, I had already blown my budget at the Franklin-Christoph table, so I wasn’t able to purchase a pen in person. However, it wasn’t long before I had my own Osprey pen, the Milano.

Osprey Milano fountain pen

AESTHETICS

Osprey Milano fountain pen
Osprey Milano fountain pen
Osprey Milano fountain pen
Osprey Milano fountain pen
Osprey Milano fountain pen

The Milano is an all ebonite pen with a flat-top inspired design. The first thing I noticed was the size: compared to most pens the Milano is quite large, especially in terms of its width. The clip is pretty interesting, featuring a rolling ball. When the pen is uncapped, it delivers a sort of mirrored effect wherein the blind cap matches the section. Both feature a step and a set of threads.

The stock nibs are completely unadorned, with just the Osprey name and nib designation. I do like my scrollwork, but in this case the minimal look suits the pen.

FUNCTIONALITY

Rao has made it clear that he designed the Milano first as a rock-solid workhorse. For the most part, the Milano is excellent in this pursuit. It feels good in the hand, the cap threads on securely, and the clip works well. There’s not a whole lot to this pen, but what it aims to do it accomplishes.

The filling system is your average standard international cartridge/converter setup, and it works well.

The only flaw that I’ve found with the pen’s design is with the posting threads. The cap will thread on securely when posting, but the clip doesn’t line up with the nib. Depending on your hand size and/or grasp, this might be uncomfortable for longer writing sessions. If I were to post the pen (which I don’t), it wouldn’t bother me, since the clip wouldn't be touching my skin at all.

Milano fountain pen posted

The pen can also be converted into an eyedropper with a bit of silicon grease, and it works well in this regard being made of a solid rod of ebonite.

The highlight of the Milano’s design is its modularity. The pen can be fully disassembled into its smallest components without the use of tools. This allows the user to swap nibs without risk, clean the pen thoroughly, and remove the clip if desired. Theoretically, one could also access the converter knob via the blind cap, but in practice you’ll probably end up dislodging the seal more often than not. Not worth it, in my opinion.

opsrey milano fountain pen disassembled

For my purposes, the Milano’s body gets the job done without a hitch. Now let’s look at the nib(s).

WRITING

osprey fountain pen nibs
milano writing sample
osprey milano fountain pen writing sample
osprey milano fountain pen writing sample
osprey milano fountain pen writing sample
osprey milano fountain pen writing sample
osprey fountain pen milano writing sample zebra g
osprey milano noodler nib fountain pen writing sample

SIZE COMPARISONS

osprey milano fountain pen size comparison
osprey milano fountain pen size comparisons uncapped

CONCLUSION/VALUE

For me, this pen is well worth the money. It's all ebonite and the fit and finish are fantastic. The nibs are inexpensive, but they perform wonderfully. And you don't have to shell out for a whole new pen to freshen up your writing experience, you can just screw in a new nib unit.

If you're interested in Osprey pens, check out the online store. Rao is also active on Instagram and Youtube.

I can't wait to see what Osprey does next.

osprey milano fountain pen