Penemuel talks about pens, and sometimes writing. But mostly pens.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Staedtler Mars Professional drawing pens - discontinued?

A number of years ago, I bought this set of pens at Office Depot, and then I didn't draw anything for a while and they got put away in a drawer.

I've been getting back into drawing and pulled a lot of supplies out of their storage and discovered that these are still working, but the very fine point is starting to dry up, so I went online to see where I could order replacements from, only to find out that the model has been discontinued and the refills are no longer available.

I don't really understand this, as it's a very nice pen and the ability to switch out point sizes without the mess of technical pen inks or nibs or worrying about the ink drying up inside those tiny points is very convenient! The pen itself is light but sturdy feeling, though I'm not sure if it actually is metal over plastic, or just very metal-looking plastic over black plastic (it does seem to be a thin layer of aluminum from the noise it makes when I tap my nails on it), with a nice harder rubber grip. The cap screws on and seems to give a nice seal, but is a little awkward to post because it feels like it doesn't completely fit on the back of the pen. However, the rubber grip has a bump to keep the pen from rolling, so posting isn't completely necessary.

And then there's the ink 'cartridge' - it slides into the barrel from the grip end. There are slots in the cartridge and bumps inside the pen body that make sure it's in correctly, and the point size is indicated on the end of the cartridge that shows in the opening at the end of the barrel. To remove the cartridge to switch point sizes, you push it from that end (where there's an indentation that lets you have access to it), then take the protective cap off the new cartridge to put on the one you took out, so that it doesn't dry out. (There are only three caps in the set and four cartridges, so it appears you are intended to keep one in the pen at all times. Of course, there are also only three cartridge slots and four different sized cartridges, so there really isn't anywhere else to keep it.)

The four sizes of points are 0.25, 0.35. 0.5 and 0.7, and according to the manual it is a "high-tech tip encased in metal sleeve for optimal protection and stability". It seems to be very much like a Sigma Micron pen tip. The ink is light-fast, waterproof, archiveable, and forgery-proof according to the manual, and it draws a nice black line (though the ink in my Faber-Castell Pitt pens I have seems to be a tiny bit darker - perhaps it's just less shiny in my Hobonichi Techo. I haven't tested it on other paper, and don't want to use up too much ink doing tests...)

So here's a great little professional drawing pen set that I think I'll have to throw away when I finish it, unless someone knows where I can find refills.

Anyone have any suggestions or know more about the set and its future?