When looking over my fountain pen collection I am leaning heavily towards the affordable/starter fountain pen category. With a few exceptions most of my fountain pens are in the $25 or less category. I've done this on purpose to try and learn what it is I really like in a fountain pen.
The Sheaffer VFM is a solid starter fountain pen. I picked it up a little before Christmas time at my local art supply store. The pen comes in a variety of colors. I chose the matte black because I like to believe that I'm a professional.
The packaging is nice for the price point of this pen. It comes with two international short cartridges loaded with black ink. After putting the provided cartridge in the pen was ready to write almost instantaneously. After putting pages of writing through the nib I found that the only issues to writing was when making right to left strokes like starting a 2 or a 7. Other than that the pen has been performing very well. For a Medium nib the line is on the finer side and I'm glad that I didn't go with a Fine. I fear that the fine would have been to sharp.
The VFM is a tapered design both at cap and tail with the ends rounded. The pen is covered in a matte finish that is smooth and comfortable to the touch. The silver clip is solidly attached and feels secure. I'm not a fan of the white dot at the top of the clip and would prefer the clip to be solid without adornment. There is a silver ring where the body meets the cap that has the Sheaffer name stamped into. This small feature I do like and think it would be all the decoration this pen needed.
The cap sits solidly and has a satisfying click when pushed closed. Removing the cap reveals my least favorite aesthetic of the pen. The nib section is made of a cheap looking black plastic. The plastic feels cheap in hand and when writing I never feel I can get a truly comfortable grip on the pen.
Capped the VFM comes in at 5.25 inches. In general I prefer to write with the cap un-posted and at 4.75 inches this is almost to short for me to write comfortably with. If I were to write with the cap posted the cap doesn't sit solidly on the tail and as I write I can feel it come lose and add a wobble to the pen.
On a scale of 1-10 I would put the Sheaffer VFM as a solid 7. As a starter fountain pen I would definitely recommend this. Especially to someone in middle or high school whose smaller hand size would suit this pen perfectly.