The Indian fountain pen market is an interesting dichotomy between cheap, largely unreliable pens, and gorgeous handmade pieces of ebonite that are a joy to write with. This pen falls firmly into the latter category.
Appearance & Design (9/10) –
The Ranga is absolutely gorgeous in a way no picture I could take will ever convey. There’s something about rippled ebonite that even the most experienced pen photographers (one of which I am most decidedly not) cannot convey in their work. If you have never seen a pen made from rippled ebonite in real life before, go buy one now. I promise you it will not disappoint. The size is perfect for what I was looking for, and Mr. Kandan (the pen turner who created this masterpiece) was very cooperative in making sure the design was perfectly made to my tastes. There was a slight communication error in ordering a color, but it was a happy accident; I love the color I have now more than I think I would’ve liked the other and Mr. Kandan helped to rectify the situation almost immediately with a partial refund. (Which I naturally used to help fund another Ranga… I couldn’t help myself.) The only flaw in the design of the pen is the cap posting. It does post, but not very securely, and the pen feels awkwardly long when posted. Otherwise, the design is flawless; this is a truly gorgeous pen.
Construction & Quality (10/10) –
You can’t beat handmade. The pen was obviously crafted with great care, and there is an undeniable beauty to having a pen made from a single piece of material with no seams or manufacturing nicks to be found. Although the 2C is the lightest and smallest Ranga available, about the length of a Lamy Safari and a bit thinner, it feels solidly made, and the ebonite of the pen is smooth and well finished. Handmade pens are always special in my opinion, and this one is no exception. They are made with special care and attention that no mass-produced pen can be, and the results are magnificent.
Nib & Performance –
The nib section of this review is where my experience may vary from that of others who use this pen, so I will refrain from giving a numbered score in this section. I set the stock nib aside almost as soon as I received the pen, and had replaced it before I inked it up for the first time. I did this because I use this pen for small annotations and Calculus, so I replaced the nib with an Extra Fine from JOWO of Germany. The 2C fits a number five nib perfectly as a replacement for its original nib. This is different from most Rangas, which accept number six nibs. The nib I swapped in was purchased from fpnibs.com, who also provide excellent service as well as a variety of affordable nib services.
Filling System & Maintenance –
The 2C is an eyedropper filler, so for a small pen it has a significant ink capacity, around 2-2.5 mL. This becomes especially significant (and useful) when you use an extra fine nib. I have not experienced any issues with burping, and the pen is relatively easy to clean.
Cost & Value (10/10) –
A handmade ebonite pen for $18 is unbeatable value. Mine came to a total cost of $28, including shipping, if you factor in the JOWO nib, but when you think about it that is an incredibly low price. It’s a handmade ebonite pen with a very nice German nib used in much more expensive pens smoothed by a nibmeister for the same price as a Kaweco Sport. (I have nothing against the Kaweco, it just happened to be the same price and a good comparison) At that price, the Ranga 2C represents an incredible value and I’m glad I purchased one.
Conclusion (9.67/10) –
The Ranga Model 2C is both a gorgeous pen and a fantastic value. Mr. Kandan is pleasant to work with, and happy to answer any questions. Should anything go wrong, he rectifies the situation almost immediately. The pen itself writes beautifully, and is both reliable and well made. It has been one of my daily writers since it arrived, and I can’t see it stopping in the near future.