Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Noodler's Bulletproof Black Ink Review

Why yes, this picture was taken almost three years ago (when the ink was relatively full)
Noodler's Bulletproof Black is arguably the best-known black fountain pen ink in the US market. The bulletproof designated to their range of ink that's waterproof (red label is not, I had to draw it back with red Pilot G2 after touching the bottle with damp hand), fade proof and UV proof. Each fill-to-the-brim (be careful when you open it!) bottles contain 3 oz of ink and retails for 12.5 dollars, making it the most affordable ink per unit volume in US. I have a love-hate relationship with this and I am still not able to come up with a verdict after using it for more than a year.
Noodler's black is a warm black, one with a brown/taupe undertone to it (I suppose I like it better than one with an eerie teal shadow but I would still prefer an inky, neutral black). Initially, I thought the color is a tad watery and gray for a "bold black", it turns out that the dye are settling into solid bits at the bottom (all I needed was some shake before syringe-filling). The ink has an almost serum-like consistency and a strangely food-like smell (like a cross barley tea and soy milk). For the first month since I got the ink, I had done quite some unintentional nib-sniffing during writing because it just seemed so pleasant and different (the only bottled black ink I had used regularly was the one by Hero, and boy did that stink!).
One of the qualities that I like the most is how smooth it writes (so why would people actually need the "eternal eel" with extra lubricant) and that it problem flowing out from even the finest nib. Anti-feathering is the second quality that I notice - it just writes very well on more porous paper. The main selling point would be the water-resistance, which was certainly delivered...but if and only if it fully dries (given its serum-like consistency, it means that it would take up to a few hours depends on what kind of paper you use). To be safe/paranoid, I usually wait overnight before erasing penciled guidelines or adding water color on top.
Bigger pool and still passing the drip test with flying colors
So far so good, eh? Well, the affordability, smoothness and water-resistance (other might not need this function but I spill, drip, get caught on rainy day all the time) are some aspect that I love. The ink stains (not so much on the hand but) the interior of the barrel where converter/cartridges is attached, it's different from a film of color covering the areas, more like little blacks particles sticking onto the surfaces. It's near impossible to get rid of with just rinsing and I guess it could clog pen over-time.

Overall: Smooth, affordable, dark and (unlike many other fountain pen inks) archival. I love it but I like to reserve it for cheaper and non-limited release pen (limited Lamy Al-Star still count since the feed section is technically the same for all pen).

No comments:

Post a Comment