Review of Tachikawa School G (Fine)
Apologies in advance for the low-qual photos, I did try to sharpen them up a bit.
Although the pen has issues as I'll mention, I still liked it enough to buy a backup, so here are some pics of an unused pen along with the cartridge it comes with (waterproof ink) to start things off.
<img src='http://www.fountainp...chikawa_new.jpg' alt='1_Tachikawa_new.jpg' />
<img src='http://www.fountainp..._new_detail.jpg' alt='2_Tachikawa_new_detail.jpg' />
<img src='http://www.fountainp...awa_new_nib.jpg' alt='3_Tachikawa_new_nib.jpg' />
Filling: Proprietary Tachikawa cartridge (waterproof ink) or eyedropper. No converter available.
The manufacturer recommends that you use the pen frequently or risk it permanently drying up. I imagine this wouldn't be an issue if you convert it to an eyedropper and fill it with ordinary fountain pen ink.
The cartridge lasts a long time so if you're interested in turning it into an eyedropper and don't care about waterproof ink, I would skip the cartridge.
After using the cartridge ink, I gave it a good flush and filled it with various inks (current ink: Platinum Carbon black). I haven't had any flow issues so far, but then again I don't leave the pen sitting for long.
The overall construction of the pen is light and though the snap-on cab fits snugly, the nib seems prone to drying if left alone for a few days (a quick wipe restores it).
For eyedropper conversion, I added a O-ring because I'm a bit paranoid, but the threads are cleanly cut and the fit between the section and the body is tight so you can probably get away with just silicone grease.
The brown on the part of the nib sitting in the section isn't rust, it's ink from a previous fill that doesn't seem to want to leave. It doesn't really do anything otherwise–I haven't noticed any problems but something you might want to watch out for if you want to try multiple inks.
<img src='http://www.fountainp...chikawa_old.jpg' alt='4_Tachikawa_old.jpg' />
<img src='http://www.fountainp...awa_old_nib.jpg' alt='5_Tachikawa_old_nib.jpg' />
Nib: The line you can get is quite fine and there is slight variation possible but the nib is not flexy at all, don't let the "G" lead you astray in case it evokes "G-pen."
One major annoying thing is that you kind of have to hold the pen a certain way because of the rounded underbelly shape of the feed, which you might be able to see from the photos.
My wild guess is that because the pen isn't that sturdy, this is to discourage users from putting down too much pressure at a wide angle in a way that could snap the nib off.
Construction Quality: In a word – basic. And it's a very light pen, almost too light! I'm actually someone who prefers lightweight pens but even for me, only filling the pen body with ink has made the pen useable personally, I found it too light with just a cartridge installed.
After a few months, some of the plastic coating on the outside that makes up the packaging is flaking off, but the structural integrity of the pen or what have you remains okay. While it seems designed to be only a step above disposable, I think with normal handling there's no reason the Tachikawa School G shouldn't last you as long as any other similar light plastic pen such as a Pilot Varsity that's been re-filled.
- Inexpensive fountain pen that writes a reasonably fine line
- Cartridge-based waterproof ink
- Easy to convert into an eyedropper
- Scratchy nib (but seems to smooth out after a while)
- A little flimsy and very light, possibly too light for some
- Will show cosmetic wear and tear over time
Like the lower-priced Sailor "fude" pen that I previously reviewed, this is another inexpensive fountain pen that can be used as a sketching pen. It's fine on smooth paper, but rougher paper (such as cold-press watercolor paper) gives the nib some trouble and fibers will catch on the tip.
It's not the most robust pen, but one that has fair potential for fine line drawing, though perhaps not enough to make it more attractive than disposable, permanent pigment ink fineliners.
(Below: writing sample on Black n' White notebook paper.)
<img src='http://www.fountainp...itingsample.jpg' alt='6_writingsample.jpg' />