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Bullets vs. Missiles: comparative review of the Fisher Space Pen vs. the Jinhao Missile Fountain Pen


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#1 bpendleton

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 20:28

Ok, so, I just, finally, got my Jinhao Missile pen in the mail, after buying it from an eBay seller almost exactly a month ago.

That said, this is a nice little mini-pen. Long ago I bought a Fisher Space Pen to be my pocketable mini pen, and, also, long-ago abandoned it. As you'll see at the review, if I *do* carry it nowadays, I use a modified Zebra G-301 cartridge (see here for an explanation of how to do this).

Anyway, here's the handwritten review. Written on a sheet of Levenger Steno Pad paper, as it seemed the perfect medium for comparing two mini pens.
Click here for scary-high-res review

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#2 troglokev

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 20:36

I get the distinct impression that you speak from experience, when you talk of the likelihood of forgetting to remove the Missile pen from your pockets. Though it does mean you gain bragging rights for slipping a Chinese Missile past airport security! :bunny01:

#3 bpendleton

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 20:39

Here are some lousy cameraphone photos to compare the two pens. Except for the comparison shots, you'd be better off tracking down good photos of either of these pens elsewhere on the web.

Salient point: the missile is *slightly* shorter posted. Both are otherwise nearly identical, size-wise. Diameter of both pens is nearly identical. The space pen I have has a matte finish - it's a little more granular matte finish than the Jinhao, but you wouldn't be able to see that in the photos.

Space Pen vs. Missile Pen gallery at Flickr

#4 bpendleton

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 20:43

I get the distinct impression that you speak from experience, when you talk of the likelihood of forgetting to remove the Missile pen from your pockets. Though it does mean you gain bragging rights for slipping a Chinese Missile past airport security! :bunny01:


Not yet, no, but I tend to squirrel a lot of things into my pockets, so it's a concern, especially as it has just arrived, and I'm due to get on a plane in 2 1/2 days. My newest pen tends to live in my pockets for a few weeks, and that *would* be a concern. I'll try flying with it (fairly full, but also in a nice safe ziplock bag) and update the thread later.

There's enough metal in the pen that I'm sure it wouldn't easily make it by security by accident. Speaking of ironic, is it ironic that I filled up this super-cheap Chinese pen up immediately with American-made ink?

#5 MYU

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 04:14

That Jinhao Missle is certainly a very small fountain pen! Thanks for adding this.

By the way, can you try resizing your handwritten scan? It's massive and doesn't scale very well (either way too small or too large in most common browsers). Try 600x800...

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#6 bpendleton

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 19:54

Less high-res version of the review, cropped and downsampled for your ease-of-viewing pleasure.
Posted Image

#7 Alohamora

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 01:01

My Jinhao Pocket Missile arrived in the mail today. I purchased it on ebay and got the glossy red marble finish, which looks quite nice. I can't believe how small it is! It's about a quarter of an inch shorter than my Pilot Petit-1 and much slimmer. It's more comparable in size to the Zebra Compact F301 I've been carrying around. I have average to large hands for a woman and I don't think I'd be able to write with it without the cap posted. With the cap posted it's about 5 1/8 inches long and easy enough to hold.

I really like the way it writes. Now, keep in mind I'm a newbie and my "best" pens so far are the Pilot Plumix and Pilot Petit. So I may not be the best judge of such things, but it does feel very smooth and fluid. (Filled with black Quink).

Downsides, it's very thin and the ink bladder is tiny, those are both characteristics I can live with as fair trade off for something so pocketable.

#8 EdwardMarlowe

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 16:31

Interesting thread... on the basis of this and a couple of other online reviews I found, I went onto eBay today to look for one.... and got seduced by the ridiculously low price-per unit into buying a bundle of ten (working out at around two dollars each...). I'm not normally a one for a very fine knib (my ideal is the typical 'medium' to be found on a Parker 51, or 45, or a Waterman Philieas), but recently I've been looking into a tiny pocket pen. What sparked my interest in this was the arrival of my latest repro Flying Jacket (this time a USAF B15-C), which has a short pen pocket on the sleeve. I have been looking at the Fisher Bullet. While I much prefer a fountain pen, sometimes that isn't practical (glossy greetings cards, postcards, and the likes). The Fisher is also so little and neat... One of each would seem to be an excellent combination to have on me when travelling.

Your post does raise a question in my mind, though, regarding flying with a fountain pen. I am aware that the Parker 51 Aerometric filler was designed with such application in mind. I'm not clear exactly what the dangers are, though? I've flown with an Aerometric 51, my Hero 100 and Waterman Phileas in my pocket.... is there a type of fountain pen I should avoid carrying in such conditions? Never had a problem - I had actually begun to wonder whether the 'no fly with fountains' idea was an urban myth?

Helpful post - I will try to remember to come back with my thoughts on the Missiles when they arrive.

#9 skols

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 15:43

But the Fisher Pen writes underwater which is a great advantage . . . well I just need to find a good underwater paper, a snorkel and a reason.

#10 The Bantam Scribbler

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 14:42

Goodness! Here I thought I was going to have to get another Pilot Petit (after the nib gave out from abuse) or even spring for a vintage Sheaffer Tuckaway. But now that I've seen the diminutive missile (and its equally diminutive price), I know which pocket pen is next on my list.

#11 bpendleton

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 18:56

Your post does raise a question in my mind, though, regarding flying with a fountain pen. I am aware that the Parker 51 Aerometric filler was designed with such application in mind. I'm not clear exactly what the dangers are, though? I've flown with an Aerometric 51, my Hero 100 and Waterman Phileas in my pocket.... is there a type of fountain pen I should avoid carrying in such conditions? Never had a problem - I had actually begun to wonder whether the 'no fly with fountains' idea was an urban myth?


I've actually flown with fountain pens a few times since posting this, and had no problems. I always fill them up before leaving (who wouldn't want a full charge when travelling, anyway?). I stick them in a small ziplock with a small piece of fabric in case of leaks (and to tattle on any leaks!) and have yet to have a problem. I've even used them mid-flight.

A few follow-ups after having owned 3 missile pens (I eventually bought one of each finish) for nearly a year:
  • The capacity isn't the biggest problem - the fact that 2 of the 3 I have dry out in less than a week is!
  • The sac on one of my pens has stretched out already. I took off the outer piece, so now my pens are all just a sac with a breather tube. So far, so good.
  • Not a leak in a pocket yet, but I've had a few issues with ink on the grip/in the cap after carrying them around in my pockets for a long time. But no ink in my pockets yet!
  • Though I still love the size/portability, the limited capacity (and unexpectedly being dry on occasion) has led me to only use these pens in the summer, when I'm not wearing my ScottEVest, with its useful pen pockets. The rest of the year, I always carry at least my trusty old-style Hero 329, which has much better capacity and hasn't yet dried out on me, even after a few weeks' neglect.
  • Since I'm a BSB lover, I should add that I inked one of mine with BSB when I first got it (so no chance of other inks being anywhere in the feed/mechanism), and it's been fine ever since. In fact, I've had less trouble with that particular pen going dry, so I keep it as my backup BSB pen. The sac is stained, of course, but all of the user-visible parts of the Jinhao Missile appear to *actually be* metal, and so BSB cleans up trivially off of those surfaces.

    Also, among my 3 Jinhao Missiles, all write nice XF lines, and are reasonably smooth when inked, but all of them also have considerably more tooth than, for instance, my Hero 329, or even my Lamy Safari. Tooth, I say, because there's a feeling of drag, but still very even and easy to write with. That's as far as my all low-end fountain pen experience can provide for context, though, I suppose.

That said, I still stand by my original review... though, if you *do* own a Space Pen or are willing to get a refill, I noticed I can stick the refill, sans cover, completely inside my wallet, along a seam that is always protected by several plastic cards. Now I can write upside-down underwater (and never run dry) if I need to, but still use a nice permanent-ink fountain pen the rest of the time, too.

#12 The Bantam Scribbler

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 10:45

By the way, it appears that a company called Lanbitou makes a pen that, as far as I can tell, is completely identical to this one, and is also called the Missile. Does anyone happen to know what, if any, are the differences between these two "dueling missiles", besides the fact that a lot of 10 Lanbitous can be bought on eBay for ten dollars cheaper?

#13 bpendleton

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 12:57

By the way, it appears that a company called Lanbitou makes a pen that, as far as I can tell, is completely identical to this one, and is also called the Missile. Does anyone happen to know what, if any, are the differences between these two "dueling missiles", besides the fact that a lot of 10 Lanbitous can be bought on eBay for ten dollars cheaper?


The photos appear identical, even to the staging in some cases. Could be a cheap knockoff, could be alternate branding.

That said, the eBay lots I just saw are selling for the same I saw the Jinhao selling for before, except for the existence of the 10-pen lot, which is only slightly cheaper per pen.

#14 Silvermink

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 17:08

By the way, it appears that a company called Lanbitou makes a pen that, as far as I can tell, is completely identical to this one, and is also called the Missile. Does anyone happen to know what, if any, are the differences between these two "dueling missiles", besides the fact that a lot of 10 Lanbitous can be bought on eBay for ten dollars cheaper?


I wouldn't be shocked if it's exactly the same pen. That seems to happen with some of the Chinese brands.
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#15 The Ant

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:09

I ran a missile pen filled with Noodlers bulletproof black through the washing machine with 2 new white polos and not a trace of ink spilled out of the pen.

#16 drwright

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:14

I bought a Jinhao black pocket rocket (missile) FP from nibs.com a few months back, and it's a great little pen! Ridiculously small and easy to carry, though capped it's just big enough for me to use comfortably. Really like it. And it's a wonderfully smooth nib. Great pocket pen.

#17 hardyoyo

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 21:44

Hi, while it may well be capable of writing under water, the ink in a Fisher Space pen is definitely not waterproof. Take it from a guy who washed his pocket notebook and lost about 3 months of notes. :gaah: A distinct advantage of the Jinhao missile pen is that you can put an actual permanent ink in it.

#18 ninad

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 19:01

I prefer it over my Tuckaway and my Kaweco Sport Piston filler because it is so damn cheap and writes so well! Very highly recommended, and the $5 price is just incredible.

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Edited by ninad, 06 October 2012 - 20:35.


#19 Bhavna

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 10:33

I have been interested and getting one of these but the sellers I have seen state they will not post to the UK! I do like the Jinhao make very much, I haven't had a single problem with my x450/ x750/ 500 etc etc. I am waiting for a gorgeous Sheaffer Tuckaway in the post. SO excited!
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#20 ninad

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 16:56

I have been interested and getting one of these but the sellers I have seen state they will not post to the UK! I do like the Jinhao make very much, I haven't had a single problem with my x450/ x750/ 500 etc etc. I am waiting for a gorgeous Sheaffer Tuckaway in the post. SO excited!


I suggest you contact the seller for clarification, because while the UK is listed as an exclusion, I see that some vendors specify shipping rates to the UK in the main listing! (~$3 I think). I am sure something could be worked out with the right vendor. I just got one pen, but now I wish I had purchased the 10 pack and handed them out to everyone I know.






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