Noodler's is releasing its latest evolution in flex pen design, the Konrad. This is a pen model that is currently offered in a refillable rollerball version, and was prototyped in a brush pen as well. But now, it is to be offered for the first time in a flex pen version.
I've been getting a lot of questions about what the new Konrad is like, and specifically how it compares to the other two Noodler's flex pens. The Konrad is a medium-size pen, in between the Noodler's Nib Creaper and Ahab. I think it's a wonderful compromise between the two pen sizes. It is a screw-type piston-fill just like the Nib Creaper flex pen, but with a larger ink capacity, closer to the Ahab (non-eyedropper converted, of course).
Noodler's Flex Pens capped, top to bottom: Nib Creaper, Konrad, Ahab
Noodler's Flex Pens upcapped, top to bottom: Nib Creaper, Konrad, Ahab
Noodler's Flex Pens posted, top to bottom: Nib Creaper, Konrad, Ahab
Noodler's Konrad Flex Pens, released in three colors: Red Mesa Tortoise, Roaring 20's Brown Tortoise, and Fleur de Lis Blue Tortoise
The Konrad flex pens are being released in three colors (to start), and there will almost certainly be others to come just like there have been with all of the previous flex pen models.
The design of the Konrad is Noodler's best yet, a true evolution from the two previous models. There is a clear ink window on the pen that helps tremendously to see your ink level. Unlike the rollerball version which has a little bit of a yellow tint in the ink window (on the black version), these ink windows are all clear.
It is a screw-type piston fill with a blind cap, so posting on the pen will not be a problem at all. A blind cap is a removable, protective cap that covers the piston so that there is no chance of inadvertently unscrewing it and forcing ink out of the pen. Not that this was a problem with any of the previous pens, but it's still good to see Noodler's is guarding against this.
Noodler's Konrad Flex with blind cap
One really nice aspect of this pen (aside from the pleasantly moderate size) is the fact that the entire thing can be disassembled with no tools whatsoever. You simply unscrew the back of the piston mechanism and it pulls right out of the back, so cleaning the pen could not be easier. One thing I will warn is that if you screw on the blind cap too tight, it will lock itself onto the back of the piston mechanism, and make it so that when you unscrew the blind cap it'll take the whole piston with it. It's an easy enough fix, you just hold the piston in place and unscrew the blind cap, but just be aware that this potential is there for this to happen. Don't take out all of your life's frustrations on that blind cap when you screw it on, and you'll be fine :)
Noodler's Konrad Flex with easily removable piston mechanism (and double o-ring)
It's still a good idea to give the pen a thorough cleaning. There are machining oils used to cut the slots in the feed, and residual oils can make the pens write a little dry or skip at first. This isn't always a problem, but about 10% of the Ahabs seemed to need a thorough cleaning to work well, I would assume that these will be the same way, but perhaps there are improvements made in the production of these feeds. I'm not privy to that information at this time.
One other thing to be aware of with the Konrad (and any Noodler's flex pen, for that matter) is that the nib and feed are friction fit inside the pen. This makes it incredibly easy to take apart and clean, but it can also require a little bit of tinkering to get them set in the right place for your ink to flow properly. This is something I talked about with the original Noodler's Nib Creaper flex pens, and I have a video on adjusting the nib and feed here. The concept is exactly the same for the Konrad.
Noodler's Konrad Flex pen completely disassembled.
The body of these pens is what's considered 'tortoise', so it has a partially translucent body with a swirl pattern to it. It's quite lovely, I must say! The translucent aspect of these pens is basically cosmetic. Normally, the benefit of a tortoise would be to see your ink level in the pen, but since there is a clear ink window, that takes care of that. Still though, it's a neat design aspect of the pen.
Noodler's Konrad Tortoise Flex pens, partially translucent bodies
So you might also be wondering about the ink capacity. The original Noodler's Nib Creaper flex pen is about .9ml, not too bad but many felt it was small. The Ahab addressed that when it came out and with the piston is 1.9ml, and eyedropper converted it's a whopping 6ml! The Konrad is a compromise between the Nib Creaper and Ahab. All-in-all, I think the Konrad is the best designed pen to come from Noodler's yet, and I'm very eager to see how it's accepted by the fountain pen community.