Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tools of the Trade: Ink Review - Noodler's Dragon's Napalm

Sometimes, you just want an ink that makes a statement.

When that mood hits you, this is your ink:

Noodler's Dragon's Napalm

When you hear a name like "Dragon's Napalm" you should already be prepared for an intense, unique color. This ink definitely delivers in that aspect.

The man behind Noodler's Inks, Nathan Tardiff, has stated that he wanted to capture the unique color of Mercurochrome, a popular antiseptic in the 70's and 80's, known for the fluorescent red/orange stain it applied to everything it touched.

This is the real deal:
Photo courtesy of Kevin Vreeland via Wikipedia
And this is Dragon's Napalm:

I'm a little too young to remember ever having used Mercurochrome, as it was already falling out of fashion in my youth due to concerns about its mercury content, but there is no denying that it is a unique, vibrant color that probably invokes memories for a lot of people.

Personally, I went after this ink because I wanted something fun to write with when I felt I needed a little pick-me-up. Sometimes a little novelty goes a long way with me. Anyway, this ink doesn't get to come out of its cave too often, but when it does, I really enjoy it.

I haven't noticed it staining any of my pens yet, but I don't know if that is because it isn't as stain-prone as I would think given the high dye content and color, or if I have just confined it to pens that are pretty resistant to staining anyway. Noodler's inks are a polarizing topic in the fountain pen community since some of the zany ideas that work their way out of those Noodler's bottles can be a little finicky if you aren't sure what you're getting into. Personally, I'm a Noodler's fan and use their inks widely. That said, this is one I handle with care, much like Noodler's Baystate Blue (which is about as controversial as the Affordable Healthcare Act). I haven't actually had any reason to believe this ink would harm a pen--repeat, it has never harmed any of the pens I've used, including my husband's beloved Pelikan m800--but I do tend to confine it to pens I know I can take apart and clean easily and ones I do not believe will conspicuously stain. I do not have to be burned by a dragon to know that fire is hot.

I have to admit, I long to see this ink sitting in a clear demonstrator, like my TWSBI Diamond 540. That color can really wake you up, and I think it would be fun to see it sloshing around in a crystal clear pen.

As for performance, this ink is on the dry side. I tend to like the smoother feel you get from more lubricated inks, but dry inks are not inherently bad. If you use finer nibs, you might notice a little more scratch when you write than with some other inks, but it is not a deal-breaker. Dry inks do tend to make me a little paranoid that my pen is going to clog, so that is sometimes a distraction for me.

This ink is certainly dark and clear enough to use for regular writing, though you might want to put on sunglasses if you're reading back a full page. It is also great contrast ink, and I can see myself reaching for it to underline or edit. You would certainly not miss any margin notes written in this stuff.

This ink is so hard to photograph. I did the best I could with the review, so hopefully it is close enough to give you an idea. Probably not, though. This stuff really burns out your eyeballs in person.

This ink is pretty magical stuff. If you're suffering from a case of the writing blahs, Dragon's Napalm will cure them. If you don't believe me, check out this Youtube video from NoodlersFan:

No comments: