Robert Oster is an Australian Ink manufacturer, based out of South Australia. They’ve been around for a few years now and they have a large range of fountain pen inks, roughly about a million in their line (just an estimate!). I first stumbled across Robert Oster inks through the Macchiato Man’s blog post on Lake of Fire and I had been interested in trying them out ever since.
As I mentioned before, Robert Oster had a massive stand at the Sydney Pen show and we were fortunate to be situated right next door. At the end of the show, Patrick from Robert Oster offered me some samples of their new 2019 inks.
After my initial swatches a few weeks ago, I was really excited to try out the Australian Opal Gray as it looked to me to be the most interesting and complex of the lot. In the initial swatch, it looked to me like it was a gray base with greens and pinks showing through, so I decided to ink this one up first and test it out.
My first impressions of the ink was that it was extremely dry! I inked up my Pilot Custom 743 Spencerian grind first and the pen kept railroading and hardstarting. I would push ink through the nib, rest it, write very very slowly, flex it less that I normally do, but it would keep railroading every second letter or so. After trying on both Tomoe River Paper and the Air paper, I gave up and decided to do the heading with my stub nib (hence the different headings for this review).
Once again, with the TWSBI 1.1mm stub nib, the pen ran very very dry and struggled with all papers except the Fabriano which has a bit of tooth and seemed to be able to wick the ink through the feed better. For all other papers, horizontal lines skipped and were mostly non-existent and performance was the worst on the Air Paper (which is smoother than Rhodia). You can also see that the Fine nib struggled and the text is a lot lighter than that from the other pens. This is with me continuously forcing ink through the nib, as well as dipping it in the ink to get it going.
Briefly looking into some other reviews of Robert Oster inks seem to show that they do tend to run a little drier – this is my first time using Robert Oster, so I don’t have any experience to draw from. Having said that, this issue was non-existent in the Broad and medium nibs, but recurs in the fine.
Onto the colour – the green undertone of the ink I saw in the initial swatch is definitely present in the writing sample, on all paper types tested and is particularly prevalent in the stub samples. But I no longer see the pink tinge to the ink that I saw from the initial swatch. In the Broad to Fine nibs, the colour looks a bit flat actually, with no obvious shading or sheening in the writing sample.
I think even though this ink is quite dry, it would work well on pens that are extremely wet (like my Bexley Poseidon White Pearl). Unfortunately, ink colour was a bit flatter when it dries - I think this is one of those inks that is much more complex when went, but dries a slightly different colour. I was really excited to see the complexity of colour I initially saw in the first swatch, but it seems not to have translated in the writing samples. It just goes to show that cotton bud samples are not necessarily representative of the colours you will see in a pen.
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