I've been ogling the TWSBI Micarta for quite a while. As much as I love EDC and always having a good pen on me, it's been tough finding the right one. Tanks like the Rotring 600 (or Levenger L-Tech) are too heavy. Lighter metal pens like the Zebra F-701 and Render K (Aluminum) have knurling or hard edges that can be lethal to phones and other pocket whatnots. My matte black Vanishing Point quickly fell victim to my keys, and while it still functions perfectly, I can't recommend this abuse to others. So when I heard about a laminate fabric pen designed to take abuse and not give it - sold!
Unfortunately, the first iteration of the TWSBI Micarta was fraught with problems: a consistently dry nib, poor cap seal, and worst - a tendency for the feed sleeve to crack and release pools of ink into the cap. So, yeah, I decided to hold off. TWSBI took down the line for revisions, so I patiently waited. I tried to avoid the murmurs of updates on TWSBI's facebook page, that would only decrease my patience in exchange for an excess of froth. I'm frothy enough as is.
At the end of May (I think), they finally rolled out the Micarta Version 2. By the first week of June, I had it sitting on my desk. Clipless, Extra Fine.
I have had this pen on my person almost every single day since, and I love it.
Aesthetically, I quite like the Micarta; it is very simple and clean. I much prefer its flat ends over the standard sloped cigar shape. The cap is barely wider than the body of the pen, and they are of almost equal length. This very simple cylinder has a nice ?burnt-in? logo on the end of the cap.
Opening the pen up, there's only a slight step down from barrel to threads to section. The section is wide at 1cm (maybe it dips down to 9.5mm at the narrowest), offering an excellent grip, especially in conjunction with the flare out before the nib. The simple gold (colored) nib works with the brown Micarta - while I'm not a fan of gold, I don't think steel would look any better. [I do intend to try out a Monteverde black nib in this pen, eventually. That may or may not look amazing.] Also, I really love the fuzz on the threads, it really feels quite organic.
In hand, the TWSBI Micarta is light, with subtle tactile sensation from the fibers. It fits well in my hand unposted (12.6cm), but it seems rather ridiculous posting at 17cm. That's even longer than the Lamy Safari. But hey, I'm not a guy who likes to post his pens, so perhaps 17cm isn't as silly to others. Unfortunately for those folks, the cap doesn't post very deeply or securely, so beware. As I mentioned before, the transition from barrel to grip is relatively slight and the threads are not likely to irritate. I find it quite comfortable for long durations of use, and texture of the section only encourages this.
The Micarta's nib is surprisingly awesome. Out of the box it was both smoother and finer than the EF nib on my Diamond 540. I'd call it a 7 out of 10 on the ink flow scale. The line it puts down is very satisfying, allowing me to write small but still discern characteristics within the inks I'm using.
So yes, I'd say I rather lucked out on the quality control end of things to have a nib this well tuned.
If left uncapped, it typically resumes writing following up to 15 minutes of disuse, no scratching or priming required.
The actual scrollwork / filigree on it aren't particularly interesting, but I can certainly get over that.
The supplied converter is fine, but feel free to use whatever standard international cartridge/converter you prefer. TWSBI's converter works and holds a reasonable amount of ink, probably somewhere between 0.7 and 1 mL. You could conceivably convert the Micarta into an eyedropper fill, but I wouldn't recommend it.
If you forced me to quibble over the unimportant things, I'd tell you that it it takes a while to screw and unscrew the cap. It's 2.5 revolutions, but it feels like forever. It threads well (cleanly), though, so whatever.
Really, that's my only qualm.
In the end, I think the TWSBI Micarta absolutely achieves what (I imagine) it set out to do - provide a rugged and unique experience. It's been living in my pant or shirt pocket for the last three months and it's never let me down. It feels like such a personal tool for me. If you're looking for a good writer that you can take anywhere, I think the value inherent is tremendous; I absolutely recommend the TWSBI Micarta (Version 2).