I started by thinking this was called Air Corp Blue Black because it is a blue-black similar to the colour of many military uniforms but keeping in mind the picture on the bottles of Noodlers inks usually tells a story there had to be more to the name.
The ink a is attribute to the 'Flying Tigers', this and the fact they were formed as part of the Republic of China Airforce can be seen on the bottle that has both a picture of a tiger, a flying tiger, Chinese writing and the American flag alongside the flag of the Republic of China (from that time period).
Pilots from the USA Army Air Corp and Marine Corp were recruited by President Roosevelt to make up the First American Volunteer Group of the Republic of China Air Force, commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. They flew Curtis P-40B Warhawk aircraft marked with Chinese colours but always under American control. The group was also known as the Flying Tigers because of the distinctive marking on the plans they flew.
The mission was to bomb Japan and though the group was formed before Pearl Harbour delays meant they did not fly a mission until after the US and Japan had declared war with each other. Their first combat mission was 12 days after Pearl Harbour (20.12.41), they were disbanded in July 1942 to be replaced by the 23rd Fighter Group of the USA Air Force. The 23rd FG retained the distinctive nose markings of the planes.
I had been looking at this ink for a long time and was not sure I wanted to commit to yet another bottle of ink that I would never finish so when the opportunity arose to get a sample I snapped it up immediately.
I am not sure I can call this ink blue-black as it is so much more. I would describe it as a teal-green with a black overlay .
The chromatography hints at what I mean as it shows a mix of turquoise, dark green and black.
The swatch on col-o-ring demonstrates what I am trying to describe – you can see the black looks like it has been painted over the teal-green as an after thought. On Tomoe you see the same thing but the teal is far more dominant in that swatch.
On cheap paper there was some feathering Dry time was very good but I definitely couldn’t use both sides of the paper. It was also at this stage I noted the nib creep.
On Rhodia it was very slow drying, I wasn’t surprised as I could see as I wrote it was quite wet looking. It dries to a dark teal colour with some shading.
On Tomoe again very very slow to dry. The way the colours separate out (as shown in the swatches above) makes this an interesting ink. Here it still dries to a dominant dark green teal but the back gives it some lovely shading.
Despite this ink being wet / slow drying I do like it and in fact have been using it at work – its ok on paper the weight of copy paper, there is a little show through but for use for note taking or if I am using good quality paper this is fine. It is a unique colour – I could not find anything amongst all my inks that comes near it and as you can see below there is no consistency to what is considered blue-black.
It wasn’t that long ago you could not get Noodlesr inks in this part of the world. Now in NZ, Inkt and PenClassics carry them. The range is not huge but this is one colour you can usually purchase.
In summary -
Saturation - high
Shading – yes but the better the paper the better the shade
Sheen – no
Shimmer - no
Nib dry-out - none
Nib creep – yes some
Start-up – Excellent
Feathering – yes on cheap paper
Drying – slooooow
Cleaning - good
Water resistance – this is one of Noodlers bullet proof inks so should be water-proof. As you can see from the photos it is quite water resistant, but a lot of the turquoise ink washed out – it still leaves an impressive amount behind but I wouldn’t call this completely bullet proof.