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Pilot Custom 742 #10 FA nib


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37 replies to this topic

#1 watch_art

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 05:19

Pilot Custom 742
All written bits made with Noodler's Bulletproof Black.

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Yeah, so this is by far the nicest pen I've ever written with in my life. Or at least since I've started using fountain pens. Some of the others are nice, some really nice, but none THIS nice. I'm still getting used to the fact that I spent this much money on a PEN. Last time I spent this much on myself I bought a Craftsman string trimmer with P2 technology! Whoopy! :-) But this does mean I need to get on with buying diamonds for my wife's ring. That'll balance the whole expense out.

I gotta say, though, that I was so excited and anxious about getting this pen that I sort of had to have a moment of silence when it came in the mail. I just sort of looked at the package for a minute, then the box, then I spent a minute opening that and just sort of looking at the pen on it's little fuzzy bed, a little plastic baggy with a wide mouth cart in it, snuggled up beside the pen. But once I was done looking I had to put it away for a few hours b/c I had my two boys plus my nephew over and didn't want to play with my toys until the nephew was gone and the boys were in bed.

So my initial impression was one of understated joy. Sure I was watching the three boys run and play in the yard, trample over each other and torment the dog, but I was turning the pen over and over in my mind. Hmmm... that's kind of sad isn't it?

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So this is the first new pen that I've bought besides my Lamy Safari and this one came in a fancy coffin of a box. It wasn't too fancy, but still. But at least Pilot puts the money into the pens and not fancy boxes. And it really did sort of look like some of the cheaper coffins out on the market... not that I look at coffins all day, but... nevermind. :P

I suppose I'm still getting used to it. This is the most expensive unnecessary thing I've ever bought myself, unless you add up all the watches and straps/bands/bracelets I've bought over the last year. That'll total at least $500 easy. So really this isn't too bad unless you consider I've spent that much plus a little on fountain pens and ink just since Valentines Day. Yikes. And I should be able to sell a few of the pens that I don't use anymore to help pay for the Pilot. So far I've made about $80 working on watches and swapping batteries, sold a couple pens already, and I guess I could count the money I get paid for gasoline/travel reimbursement at school, too... :-) So really, all in all I haven't REALLY spent even a dime on this thing. At least not from my paycheck. :P

1. Appearance and Design. 9/10
I love the black with gold trim design. Stunning to actually hold and look at in person. Pictures just don't do this any justice at all. I really didn't expect to enjoy the appearance as much as I do. Two things, though, that just don't excite me. First the nib. It's got the cool cutouts on the side, but that's it. Where are the cool engravings like Sailor and Montblanc have? The clip works great, but it's not really much to look at. Kind of a boring clip for such a nice pen. Maybe the beveling could have been more pronounced like it is on the cap ring. I do also wish the lettering on the cap ring was bigger, that it filled the space better like that on the Montblanc.

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2. Weight and Dimensions. 10/10
Honestly, this is as good as it has ever been for me. The Parker Duofold Jr. I got a little while back was the best up until now. There may be something better for me out there in the wide wide world of fountain pens, but I doubt I'll ever afford it. Posted or not, the weight and balance of this thing are as close to perfect for my hand as I can imagine a pen being. I think I like it better not posted, and considering how much I spent on this thing I just may not post it at all to keep from scratching the body up. And the girth, the thickness of the grip section is just phenomenal. I love to hold this thing.

3. Construction and Quality. 10/10
This thing is made from either precious or semi-precious resin (really nice plastic). :-) Glossy black finish. Everything looks and FEELS so nice and top notch to me. Really couldn't be more pleased with it. And all the threads work too. It's not like some pens where you have 5 or 6 rows of threads and you turn it once to cap or uncap it. You use ALL the threads. The clip is also pretty stout. Not the best looking clip on Earth, but oh well. I'm pretty sure I could go do some gymnastics and my shirt would fall off before the pen would fall out of my pocket.

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4. Nib and Performance. 9/10
Why just a 9? Same reason other reviews give: the feed can't keep up with the pace of writing. That would be normal print writing without trying to work any flex in at all. Sometimes a beginning stroke just doesn't mark. When writing fancy cursive I slow down considerably anyways, so it's not a problem then. But who am I kidding. My fancy cursive is worse than most of the normal handwriting I see here on FPN. :-) But this nib is just amazing to feel against paper. It has the perfect amount of tooth and resistance. It's juicy wet and smooth. This must be what buttery feels like. I can't even communicate how nice it is to write with in words. You'd have to see my face when I'm scribbling notes out or doodling. There is love in every mark and stroke. And with only the tiniest amounts of pressure the tines split apart. Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa. It makes me tingle inside just thinking about it. I can't wait to quit typing so I can take some photos and go write and doodle some more. The nib feels like an extension of my finger tips, able to recognize minute amounts of pressure and then flex JUUUUUSST enough to make me happy. Or a lot when I really call on it.

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5. Filling and Maintenance. 8/10
A piston would have been better. Like the Pelikans. But the Con-70 is very nice, as well. Stick nib in ink bottle, push button 4 or 5 times fast, and watch the ink suck up into the converter real quick. I thought it was going to be a slower process, but it only took a second. Pretty nice. Simple. Effective. An 8 because it's not as cool as it should have been.

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6. Cost and value. 8/10
Who knows if I'll ever spend this much on a pen again but dang, it's SOOO nice and worth EVERY penny I spent on it. But shoot it still cost $200. Well, $170 if you don't count shipping and the free Pilot 78G that was thrown in with it. Thanks Samovar!! He even threw in some Japanese tea. I'm not much of a tea drinker but I'll have a taste when my wife fixes it. I much more prefer coffee.

So overall I am very happy with this. Don't regret it one bit and I'm glad I spent the money. It was either this or way too many Caramel Java Chillers at Sonic and I don't need any more of those. Besides, I would have spent the money on lots of cheap stuff anyways. Lots of cheap fountain pens and maybe another watch or one really really nice pen. It wasn't too hard to decide.

Score: 54/60

Well, it's pretty late. I'm sure there are plenty of typos in that, but I'm going to bed. I have to give a benchmark test tomorrow. I'm supposed to be rested. Ha!

Thanks for lookin.

Edited by watch_art, 14 April 2010 - 05:25.

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#2 Samovar

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 05:42

Great review! Now, I really want one!
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#3 nvbrennan

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 08:03

Great review. Not sure this one's for me though as I've decided I just can't work with flex apart from mucking around with. Glad you're enjoying it. I slightly disagree on things like the clip, surely the pen is just beautifully understated in an appropriately Japanese way?

#4 Ed Ronax

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 11:41

Excellent review, thanks.
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#5 ailleurs

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 12:11

With reviews as good as these, you're not making it easy for me to wait until the Chicago pen show to buy my next pen :roflmho: ! Ever since I started writing with my Vanishing Point on a daily basis, I've been obsessing over getting a Namiki/Pilot with a larger ink capacity.

Compared to the CON-50 in my VP, the converter in your picture looks like a vat.

Must resist temptation to buy...
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#6 fabiorr

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 13:45

4. Nib and Performance. 9/10
Why just a 9? Same reason other reviews give: the feed can't keep up with the pace of writing.


I had this same issue until I used it with Namiki ink. Never again it skipped on me. Even when flexing.

Great review!

Cheers,
Fabio

#7 Tora Pens

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 14:06

Great review thanks. I have a Custom 743 with the larger size 15 FA nib. Wondeful flex, possibly the greatest flex in a modern pen.
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#8 Abhik

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 14:09

I liked your review. I feel same way for my 742 FA. I like making small sketches with it. Thanks for sharing!
Abhik.

#9 wykpenguin

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 14:38

I see the need for a frankenpen: FA nib on a vac-filler such as the custom 823. :puddle:

#10 Lloyd

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 14:56

Mike-it-Work turned my 743 FA that had the skipping issue and was a F without pressure into a non-skipping delight that is a XXF without pressure.Posted Image
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#11 watch_art

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 16:21

Mike-it-Work turned my 743 FA that had the skipping issue and was a F without pressure into a non-skipping delight that is a XXF without pressure.Posted Image


WOW! i might have to do that. although i'd hate to be without it for a few days, but to make it xxf and skip free? shoot.

and i'll try the namiki ink, too, to see what that does. it's just SOOO smooth! i love this thing!


thanks for all the comments.

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#12 LostInThought

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 22:21

Thanks for the review, this is one of the many pens on my "to buy" list.

#13 Lloyd

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 00:42

WOW! i might have to do that. although i'd hate to be without it for a few days, but to make it xxf and skip free? shoot.

and i'll try the namiki ink, too, to see what that does. it's just SOOO smooth! i love this thing!


thanks for all the comments.

FYI: It was possibly the best ~$65 I've ever spent in on pens. Mike's work is awesome. He emailed me comparison photos (versus a Sailor XF) ro help know if it was narrow enough.
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
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#14 watch_art

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 01:30

WOW! i might have to do that. although i'd hate to be without it for a few days, but to make it xxf and skip free? shoot.

and i'll try the namiki ink, too, to see what that does. it's just SOOO smooth! i love this thing!


thanks for all the comments.

FYI: It was possibly the best ~$65 I've ever spent in on pens. Mike's work is awesome. He emailed me comparison photos (versus a Sailor XF) ro help know if it was narrow enough.


i'll have to consider that for myself as a birthday present in october. thanks.

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#15 pkoko

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 01:51

Absolutely beautiful... It is like you read my mind... This was going to be my next pen or a MB 146/149 then I lucked out into a used Sterling Silver 1911 and I knew I had to get one. I have couple of really nice resin pens already but none in Silver or precious metals.

Can my site use your review? I know I haven't updated it in a while but I had a lot of meetings lately.
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#16 watch_art

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 02:08

Absolutely beautiful... It is like you read my mind... This was going to be my next pen or a MB 146/149 then I lucked out into a used Sterling Silver 1911 and I knew I had to get one. I have couple of really nice resin pens already but none in Silver or precious metals.

Can my site use your review? I know I haven't updated it in a while but I had a lot of meetings lately.


of course! and you have my permission to use any review i ever write from now to eternity. that's official.

thanks.

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#17 Escribiente

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 00:15

Great review. The Pilot 742 is probably the only contemporary true flex nib. I also like the converter. The design is flawless. Thank you.

#18 watch_art

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 00:45

Great review. The Pilot 742 is probably the only contemporary true flex nib. I also like the converter. The design is flawless. Thank you.


you're welcome and WOW COOL AVATAR! what is all that?

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#19 watch_art

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 03:59

so after nearly a week of writing and drawing, the skipping, dry starts, and railroading is starting to get annoying...
here's what i've found. and i found something almost exactly like this about the lamy safari here a while back.

thought others would find this helpful.

This is a fairly easy one to handle. You wont need to use a knockout block on this one, modern nibs/feed units that use a cart/converter dont allow for a K/O block because of the cart/converter nipple. They are however easy to adjust.

You'll want to soak the pen in slightly warmer than room temp water for 10-15 minutes or so. Then with your thumb and index finger simply tug/pull the nib/feed straight out. after it's out, rinse both off well. Then with a new and sharp xacto blade lightly score down the feed channels to open them slightly. You can do it again if it's still not flowing enough, you cant go back and close them up again very easily. Then reposition the nib/feed and reinsert them back into the section. Check to see if there is a 'lug' inside the section then just feed up correctly, if not, then just go for it and have fun.


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#20 Lloyd

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 06:15

Personally, I wouldn't risk it. I'd hate a flex pen that was too wet. The thin/thick/thin transitions would be gone.
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