If you ever were interested in old Topre keyboards, you won't notice a pattern in Topre keyboards, Topre made keyboards here and there and wasn't really consistent with its keyboards, from the oldest Topre keyboard that we've seen (viewtopic.php?f=62&t=19841) to their newest (viewtopic.php?f=44&t=18449), there are tons of naming schemes, part No. and Article numbers that would make Cherry enthusiasts sick . And it's fair, Topre is not a keyboard manufacturer after all, but a big company who happen to make keyswitches and PCBs for the same keyswitches. But this changed with the Realforce line. The Realforce set a massive standard in Topre's keyboard history, it set a consistent looking keyboard model, recognizeable by its thick top bezel and chubby looking corners.
The first Realforce model released was the 106, a WKL, JIS keyboard with variable dome. It was released in early 2003. Its brother, the Realforce 101, or ML0100, was released in the middle of 2003.
There are 3 version of this the keyboard, the ML0110, the ML01K0 and the ML11K0. In order, a White WKL ANSI variant, a White WKL Korean ANSI variant and a Black WKL Korean ANSI variant. The first two use the dye-sublimination Topre is known for. Only the first and the latter have been seen, I'm not sure if there are even pictures of the ML01K0. Here is a picture of the ML11K0 :
The 101 was unfortunately discontinued in September of 2012 (http://www.topre.co.jp/pdf/news/20120806/info_0806.pdf), because "Continuous production becomes difficult due to the completion of production of major electronic components." (Something to note is that the 101 mentionned is the ML0100, suggesting that the ML01K0 and ML11K0 were discontinued earlier.)
I mentioned it earlier, but I'm going to reiterate it to have a nice looking post. The ML0100 is an ANSI, WKL White Realforce keyboard with dye-subliminated keycaps.
But ... this description misses an aspect. The switches. Topre switches. Those come in multiple flavor : 30/35/40g, 45g, 55g, the different BKEs, variable, uniform, fun for everyone. The ML0100 comes with the "old" variable from Topre. "old" ? why the quotation marks ?, it's known to few people but Topre didn't always use the same variable scheme, the oldest ML0100s use the old version, this one to be precise :
Whereas the latter models came with this variable scheme :
The "new" variable was introduced somewhere between ... I actually don't know, this is one big mistery to me, I think it should be around 2008 ?
The love-letter to this model :
The Realforce 101 is my favourite model of its line and here's why : it's on the edge of the Realforce concept, it's common knowledge that the Realforce line, at least the first iteration of it, is trying to combine modernity, with a lot of technology in their keyboards, and traditionality, with its old looks.
The 101 is the peak of that concept, it uses the oldest usable layout there is and uses the same technology that you can find in the recent Topre keyboards. It's simply the most simple Realforce keyboard there is. The layout is to die for, the keycaps are excellent, and the switches are perfect.
Here are some pictures I took of mine, enjoy !