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Pilot Custom 742 Fa


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27 replies to this topic

#1 laser8

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 08:51

Dear all,

Here is my first review of a pen acquired after joining FPN, so please be mild on commenting my skills, both written and visual (I used my Blackberry for taking the pics, so no close-ups, sorry).

Basically, I found FPN when searching for details about a FP that my boss broke (the FP was mine, of course). Since it is a FP that has many memories attached, I decided to search for a new FP - in order to have two (well, three) of them should one get hurt again. Of course it did not end to this one, but more about the other purchase when it will arrive. And yes, thank you very much for asking, the broken FP has been repaired and is well now.

Anyway, I was searching for a reliable, not way-too-expensive, not-too-flashy pen, and ended where I usually end when I search for watches of the same characteristics - to Japan. In order to vary a bit my usual M nib / cartridge combination, I decided for a "flexy" nib and a C/C filler (so to justify the purchase of ink -_- ). I ended with a Pilot Custom 742 FA, which I understood to be reliable, have some flex, and be honestly priced.

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Appearance and design (7/10)
It is not ugly, but neither a beauty. Classic cigar shape, screw-on cap, would have got an 8 if it was not for the golden metal parts (clip, metal rings). I am conservative, you know.

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Construction and quality (8/10)
Almost nothing to criticize here. Well, it is made of plastic and it fells like plastic (so -1). When the cap is screwed on, it has a bit of a loose feeling if you try to move it perpendicularly to is axis, if you understand what I want to say. It seems like if the screwed part of the barrel and the screwed part of the cap has some tolerances. Here is the other -1.

Weight and dimensions (7/10)
Dimensions are fine and suit my hand. I do not post and have big hands, but I do not like pens that feel like holding a huge wrench. It is a bit too light for my taste, though.

Nib & performance (10/10)
Forgive my inexperience with diverse nibs, but the FA is probably shortened from fantastic, not falcon or flex. Glides without problems on different papers, writes pretty fine if no pressure is applied, feels very nice with some pressure here and there. If you come from european style nibs, it is like switching from BMW to Range Rover. It tends to write pretty wet, which I like (but it may also be a characteristic of the ink). I do not know if others take pictures with the nib cleaned up for that purpose, but the FA nib tends to be stained by the ink pretty much.

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P.S. I added two pictures, just to show you the feathering of Iroshizuku yama-guri on lighter paper. BTW, the yama-guru color looks exactly like some 100+ years old writings I have at home.

Filling system and maintenance (8/10)
Exactly what I was looking for. It has the possibility to be used with a converter (a Con-70, which I found to be good enough) or with Pilot cartridges (the 8 has been given because, if I wanted to switch to cartridges, I cannot buy them at the local shop but have to order them from abroad).

Cost & value (8/10)
As with other items not available in Europe, there is the issue of servicing, spare parts, and purchasing -of course. Except for that, fantastic value for money, as always from Japanese producers.

Conclusion (8)
Great pen, if you can live with its specifics (not available in EU, "flexy" nib which is not that easy to use as one may think, design which is pretty uninspiring).
I was looking for a pen which differs from the usual offer in the old continent, and believe to have found one.


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#2 WillSW

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 23:50

Nice review, thank you. One of my most wanted pens. I'd love to have one ground to EEEF.

#3 Lloyd

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 01:03

Nice review, thank you. One of my most wanted pens. I'd love to have one ground to EEEF.


Send it to Mike-it-Work.:cloud9:
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
Oscar Wilde

#4 777

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 12:20

Very nice review and thank you for it!

I've been sort of "watching" these pens with interest for a few months. I personally love the design of them. Also I'm interested in flexible nibs. Still, if it is on my eventually buy list, it's somewhere far down...

Regards,
777

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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Colossians 3:17 - And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.


#5 Rain24

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 15:42

Send it to Mike-it-Work.:cloud9:


I've heard this several times before. Could I ask who Mike-it-Work is? (Please forgive the newbie question here. :embarrassed_smile: )

Great pen. Is this nib more flexible than the Namiki Falcon?

The appropriate amount of pens to own is (n + 1), n being the number of pens you own currently.

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#6 Lloyd

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 15:55

Mike-it-Work is Michael Masuyama. He worked at Sailor Pens for more than 20 years and is a pleasure to work with. Read his testimonials page.
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
Oscar Wilde

#7 Rain24

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 17:19

Many thanks, Lloyd!

The appropriate amount of pens to own is (n + 1), n being the number of pens you own currently.

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#8 fabrimedeiros

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 20:39

Nice review! I'm very curious about writing experience of that pen. Your handwriting showed a good line variation. Probably that pen can give a great writing pleasure. :puddle:

Fabricio

Edited by fabrimedeiros, 01 September 2010 - 23:20.


#9 sygyzy

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 22:09

How did you choose the 742 over the 743? And what made you choose the nib size you did?

#10 laser8

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 07:25

Is this nib more flexible than the Namiki Falcon?


Would not know, but suppose it is, at least from what I read on the web.

Nice review! I'm very curious about writing experience of that pen. Your handwriting showed a good line variation. Probably that pen can give a great writing pleasure. :puddle:

Fabricio


I am extremely pleased. With no pressure the line is pretty fine, whilst when applying some pressure it springs nicely and you get a lot of line variation. OK, if you want to flex it "properly" and obtain serious difference between the finest and largest lines, you should pay attention to the speed of writing - at max flex you cannot write with the same speed as when applying no or little pressure. It is also, IMHO, what is usually described as a wet writer (at least when inked with Iroshizuku yama-guri). I read many reviews of people complaining about the feed, or the con-70, or the inkflow, and was a bit concerned, but I believe those people are either pro users or have extremely high standards (suppose they usually write with firemans' hoses).

How did you choose the 742 over the 743? And what made you choose the nib size you did?


It was basically size and price and nib. I have no need for the larger pen (as already stated above i like medium sized pens), and the 743 offered no technical differences worth noting. I have also read in more than one place that the FA nib size 15, compared to the 10 of the 742, has less "flex". Plus there is the price difference.

Regarding the nib, I wanted to try "flex" without adventuring in vintage territory, and understand the 742 and 743 are the best way to go. I cannot compare them to other modern "flexy" nibs, but for the moment I must say I am pleased by this kind of nibs.

#11 OdinLoki

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 09:36

Thanks for the review. I agree with most of it - in the case of my own 742 FA, the performance is not ideal because the feed cannot keep up when I'm writing with flex. It starts to skip on the downstrokes after a few lines.

Conversely, I find that the flow is a little _too_ wet when I'm writing XF-F lines without pressure.

I love everything else about it though! The nib itself is lovely - fine & buttery smooth. The weight suits me just fine. It's also great for sketching.

Edited by OdinLoki, 02 September 2010 - 09:40.


#12 SDM

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 14:28

Thanks for the review. I agree with most of it - in the case of my own 742 FA, the performance is not ideal because the feed cannot keep up when I'm writing with flex. It starts to skip on the downstrokes after a few lines.

Conversely, I find that the flow is a little _too_ wet when I'm writing XF-F lines without pressure.

I love everything else about it though! The nib itself is lovely - fine & buttery smooth. The weight suits me just fine. It's also great for sketching.



I recently got one of these, and it's skipping _horribly_ with no attempt to flex the nib at all.

Typically, I can write about a paragraph (sometimes more), then it starts to skip.

It feels like a feed problem of some kind. If I just get a ruler out and start drawing lines at a light pressure, I get skips.

Does anyone else have experience of this sort of thing, or have I just got a bad one?

Here's an example: Ruled Lines - that's @ 600 dpi

I love the pen.... when it deigns to write.

#13 Lloyd

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 14:19

SDM,
What ink and paper are you using? Have you tried other inks and papers? Did you try flushing the pen and converter? (If you have ammonia, flush with a mixture of 1 part ammonia and 9 parts water. Follow by many pure water flushes. Otherwise, use a small amount of dish soap in water in place of the mixture of ammonia & water.)
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
Oscar Wilde

#14 SDM

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 06:29

SDM,
What ink and paper are you using? Have you tried other inks and papers? Did you try flushing the pen and converter? (If you have ammonia, flush with a mixture of 1 part ammonia and 9 parts water. Follow by many pure water flushes. Otherwise, use a small amount of dish soap in water in place of the mixture of ammonia & water.)


I've already used Ammonia; it's also been through an ultrasound bath.

Inks: Namiki blue, Pelikan Blue, Diamine Registrar's. That sample was written with Noodler's X-Feather.

Papers: nothing special. That sample was copier paper,

#15 Bruno_Taut

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 01:35

The feeder is simply unable to provide all the ink the nib demands.

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The ink on those pictures is Iroshizuku Yama Budo.

And too often, the nib does not start promptly. However, on the other side on the tip --writing with the nib upside down-- there is always ink to use.

However, Pilot claims the pen is perfectly all right and that this pen is to write very lightly. That is what they told me at the Pilot headquarters in Kyobashi, Tokyo.

More information, here.

Cheers,

Iosepus
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#16 watch_art

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 02:10

heh. MINE keeps up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qhkT2FufiE&feature=channel

and here

and here


Of course, I've hacked the hell out of the feed, and knocked the breather tube out. So to me, it's PERFECT. But I like em wet. But as far as 'flex' writing goes, it performs perfectly fine for me when I ask it to, no matter how fast I write.

edit: oh, and I don't have the bulb filler cart in there anymore. I syringe fill my con-70. What an awful converter.

Edited by watch_art, 08 September 2010 - 02:11.

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#17 Lloyd

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 06:34

I syringe fill my con-70. What an awful converter.

I think it's the best converter out there by a mile.
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
Oscar Wilde

#18 laser8

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 10:02

I agree with most of it - in the case of my own 742 FA, the performance is not ideal because the feed cannot keep up when I'm writing with flex. It starts to skip on the downstrokes after a few lines.



I recently got one of these, and it's skipping _horribly_ with no attempt to flex the nib at all.




The feeder is simply unable to provide all the ink the nib demands.

[

And too often, the nib does not start promptly.


I read a lot of such comments and this was the main reason of this not being a straightforward purchase, as I explained in my original post too.

My pen may be an exception, but since I write slower than usual when I flex (something that I have to do anyway because such a way of writing is new to me), I am not encountering such problems. I must say that when I am not pushing the flex (using it like a regular FP, with little or no pressure) it writes w/o issues, even after being capped for few days. If I try to write pretty fast and flex it, the "railroading" problem emerges for me too.

@ SDM - it looks to me like your pen may have some real problem, I never experienced such issues with any pen
@ Iosepus - like your blog, must say I visited it on several occasions, keep up with the nice work! Regarding your pics, I can post some of mine where it does not produce the same problems. Are you sure it may not be the speed of writing, or the way you hold it or similar?

#19 HenryLouis

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 10:19

Beautiful pen, however i would get it with a standard nib instead of the FA and leave the flex for vintage pens.
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#20 theblackpen

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 10:21

I syringe fill my con-70. What an awful converter.

I think it's the best converter out there by a mile.

I received this converter in a vintage Pilot Custom. Does it provide a better ink flow than the CON-50 or the CON-20 or it's just the larger capacity that makes it great?

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