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Retro 51 Tornado Betsy and Some Refill Options


Retro 51 Tornado Betsy Held by George

The Retro 51 Tornado is just an all round great pen that has a ton of available colors, themes, and styles that it is available in.  With my personal penchant for all things retro flag related, the new Metalsmith Betsy version of the Tornado (via Jetpens.com) was a must have.  There was a nice post regarding the of Retro 51 series over at Clickypost.com that you should check out too.   Although the Retro 51 Tornado Betsy for this review was received free of charge via our friends at JetPens, however that has no influence over the perspective provided here in this review today.


Retro 51 Tornado Betsy Top View

As with all of the Retro 51 Tornado Roller Ball pens, the Betsy version has a nice metal twist knob on the top that serves as your method for exposing and retracting the tip of your pen, and I’ve always loved the nice knurled surface of that part of the pen.  On the Retro 51 Tornado Betsy the metal knob has an antique brass look to it that matches the clip and the nose cone.


Retro 51 Tornado Betsy Side View

The body of the Retro 51 Tornado Betsy has an vintage style American flag pattern on it with the classic 13 stars and stripes in somewhat yellowed red, white, and blue tones.  It appears that there is a nice lacquer finish over the great looking paint job on the metal body of this pen.  With all of the metal used to put this pen together I have to say it has a very solid feel in your hand without feeling too heavy.


Retro 51 Tornado Betsy and Clairefontaine 1951 Collection

When I was contemplating what notebook to use for the writing sample of the Retro 51 Tornado Betsy, I figured the best option would be a notebook from the Clairefontaine 1951 Collection due to their similar implied vintage. 🙂   The Clairefontaine 1951 Collection’s smooth paper along with the great performing ink in the Retro 51 made for a great match too.


Retro 51 Tornado Betsy Refill Writing Samples

Overall, the Retro 51 Tornado Betsy is a very comfortable pen to write with because if its solid weight and nice balance in the hand.  The standard Retro 51 Tornado refill cartridge usually performs well from my past experiences, but the one that came with this version took close to a page worth of writing (not pictured here) to really get going smoothly and consistently.  In trying out another Retro 51 refill with the pen I didn’t have the same issue so that reassured me that I probably just had a minor issue that is probably of no concern.  I did notice too though that with my sometimes tiny handwriting, the ink did show a minor tendency to skip here and there similar to what you see in the “n” in the word “Writing Sample” in the above photo.


Retro 51 Tornado Refills

In addition to the standard Retro 51 Tornado Refill REF5P, the pen also takes a standard Parker refill, so I tested out a few of those as well.  I found that the Parker Quink Gel refill (via Amazon) had some of the same issues getting started that the original REF5P refill did, but once it got going the writing performance was nice and smooth.  The only issue was that it had a minor bit of tip rattle each time the tip of the pen lifted and was pressed down on the paper again.  Other than that (which only happened with one of the two refills) the Parker Quink refill performed nicely.  The other refill that I tried was the Monteverde Ceramic Fine Point (via Amazon) which turned out to be my favorite of the three that I’ve mentioned here.  It didn’t have any issues in getting started up, the line was bold and consistent, and it even felt like it was just a hair smoother as it ran across the page.


Retro 51 Tornado Betsy Top Down

Although this pen isn’t “new” to me, I’m still glad I picked it up because it has that excitement and fun experience when I pick it up because I know I’ll enjoy writing with it because of the great writing experience and the great vintage American Flag look to it.  The Retro 51 Tornado Betsy is just one of many styles available from JetPens, so check out the selection they have on these fun pens and find one that matches your personal style.

©2016, Brian Greene. All rights reserved.


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