Noodler's Dragon's Napalm is an ink that I wanted to try for a long time. I finally decided to test the sample I've been saving. My general impressions are good. This is a very balanced ink but the color may be off-putting to some due to its brightness and saturation. Oh, in case you're wondering, this ink is classified as orange, but more on that later.
I decided to test Dragon's Napalm in my Lamy AL-Star and I fitted the 1.5mm italic nib for the occasion. I thought that a very broad nib would showcase the ink better than a regular nib.
Noodler's Dragon's Napalm comes in 2 bottles. There's the classic 3oz/89ml bottle which sells for $12.50 or $0.14 per milliliter. And then there's the large 4.5oz/133ml bottle fitted with an eyedropper, which goes for $21, or $0.16 per milliliter. The latter, however, also includes a Noodler's eyedropper fountain pen. It's up to you if the bigger bottle is worth the price difference. The general wisdom remains that if you anticipate using gallons and gallons of this ink, you should probably go with the big bottle.
Color and saturation
Ah, here's where Dragon's Napalm comes into its own. The color of this ink is very peculiar. The best way to describe it is to tell you a little anecdote.
When I finished the samples for this review, I asked my wife how would she characterize this ink. She pondered for a second, then said "Well, it isn't orange and it isn't pink". There you have it, straight from the mouth of babes (forgive the pun). Dragon's Napalm is a strange mix of orange and pink. It is better characterized by what it is not, rather than by what it is.
Retailers classify it as orange and so do I. But you could just as well claim it's a pinkish orange as you could claim it's an orange-ish pink. Whatever the case, I would appreciate your opinion in the comments.
As for saturation, it is high. The ink pops out at you from the page and comes close to doing damage to your retinas (I kid, of course). In the sample that I did on photocopy paper you can also see a comparison with Diamine Orange (of which I own a bottle). That one is a true orange ink and the difference between the two inks is obvious from the swatches.
Just like its Diamine "rival", Dragon's Napalm is a flat color, without any shading present.
There is a little ghosting in evidence, thanks to the 1.5mm italic nib, but even this nib produces extremely little bleed on cheap photocopy paper, except in places where I pressed too hard on it. The q-tip swatches tend to bleed a little in places where the ink had the chance to pool. On the other hand, Rhodia 80g paper is much more resistant to ink and neither does it ghost, nor does it bleed.
Flow and lubrication
The flow is excellent in my Lamy AL-Star, despite the 1.5mm nib requiring more ink than a normal nib. The ink feels just a tiny little bit dry on paper but this could also come from the nib. It's hard to tell exactly because it is a subjective experience but it seems to me that Dragon's Napalm is not a 10/10 on the lubrication scale. Nevertheless, the very small resistance that it gives when writing is just right.
Noodler's Dragon's Napalm dried fairly quickly, around the 10-15 second mark, despite the 1.5mm nib, on both photocopy paper and Rhodia.
Smearing when dry
No smearing whatsoever.
Big fail here! But don't worry, this ink wasn't billed as a water resistant ink. As you can see from the sample, it washed off almost completely after 10 seconds under running water. Just don't dunk your masterpieces penned in Dragon's Napalm in liquids and you should be fine. What's interesting about these water resistance tests is that sometimes you get to see an underlying pigment or component of the ink. In the case of Dragon's Napalm, there are strong traces of yellow.
Noodler's Dragon's Napalm is a very bright and saturated orange-pink ink with some very solid and balanced properties. Everything about this ink reminds me strongly of Diamine Orange and even the color comes close, though you won't confound the two. I couldn't find anything to criticize about Dragon's Napalm. For that reason I highly recommend it, if you are looking for a bright orange ink (with a twist).