Have we had a lot of Kickstarter pens designed around the Fisher Space Pen refill? No offense to any creators if we have, but I can’t remember many if any that caught my eye until I saw the Shipwrecked finish SQ1 sample on the Clicky Post‘s Instagram feed.
This was something different. This was all thumbs up and a basket of yes. And at the Kickstarter special price of two for $40, I didn’t even have to choose between my two favorites. Ryan did a good job of communicating and updating throughout the project process, and a good job of getting product out (estimated delivery October, actual ship November)–especially for a one-man show machining some quality pens.
The bodies of the SQ1 are all 6061 Anodized aluminum or stonewashed aluminum (I opted for a black and an olive drab green anodized), with four cap material/finish options (polished brass, polished copper, and then the two I chose: brushed copper and shipwrecked copper). In spite of reading how long the pen would be (5″ long, with a 5/16″ diameter), the thing itself in my hand was smaller than what I’d expected. Unless I actually measure and draw out a scale representation, I never really have an accurate conception in my mind of how big a Kickstarter pen will be.
The aesthetic is a simple but satisfying arrangement of circles and lines – dimpled lines of circles for the grip, circles carved around the ends to create a visual of lines, all on the straight-line cylinder of the pen body. I like that the cap isn’t flush with the pen body; it makes the grip more comfortable as there isn’t a step down between the pen body and the nose cone, and it gives the pen a stylized matchstick look.
But the biggest draw for me is that gorgeous shipwrecked finish. Every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped, and then some. The steampunky brushed copper looks great too. I’ve had both pens knocking around in bags for some time now, enough so that the anodized body of the black pen shows a bit of wear to it, but the finishes on the end caps look as good as the day I got them. I appreciate whatever protective or magical force has accomplished that, because I would hate for those beautiful patterns to get worn off.
Speaking of wear, here’s the wear I mentioned on the body. In dim lighting it’s hard to find but in sunlight, it’s visible. As long as I’m not losing my shipwrecked finish, then the more character the merrier. My only complaint for these pens: the threading on the nose cone. The cap doesn’t easily catch onto the threading. I have to take care and pay attention to make sure I’ve got it right. If anyone reports stripping the threads after a hasty or drunken recapping of the SQ1, I won’t be surprised.
I considered taking off points for the slight complications involved in freeing the refill. You have to unscrew the back end, then take a 1/8 allen wrench (not included) and insert it to unscrew the set screw, and then you can shake out the refill. But the set screw holds the refill perfectly and firmly in place. And if you’ve ever assembled or at least thought very hard about assembling any piece of IKEA furniture, then your toolbox probably already has an allen wrench or two drifting along the bottom with every spare mismatched nail you’ve encountered in your adult life. It wouldn’t be worth increasing the price of the pen to include one. My only beef here is with the cap threads on the nose cone (the threads on the back end to post the cap don’t have the same problem).
Though I haven’t actually reviewed the Space Pen itself yet, I’m not going to get into that this time. The short of it: it’s not a Jetstream, but it never said it was. It writes in all manner of environments, as would befit an EDC pen. Would I hand write a novel with it? No. Jot the jotty sort of jots one would expect of an EDC pen? Gladly.