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Smiggle Fountain Pen


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29 replies to this topic

#1 RitchieMac

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:07

Introduction

This is a review of a cheap fountain pen – my criteria for cheap is when the fountain pen itself is cheaper than the converter that fits it. They are also colourful and sold in popular stationery chain in Singapore called Smiggles (the parent company, I gather from their website is from Australia). I bought these pens for my daughter who wanted her own set after seeing me using mine. I’ve gotten her Pilot V pen to try out, but let’s face it, it isn’t the most attractive of pens to children.

Appearance & Design (8/10)

For all those of you who are familiar with Smiggles, their stationery come in bright colour themes – light blue, violet, pink, green, black and orange. So all of their pens, pencils, bags etc. come in one of these colours. No wonder they are popular with kids. The fountain pens also come in these colours, of which I show only 4 here.

Pens X 4.jpg





Construction & Quality (8/10)

The construction of the pen seems sturdy enough, and it should handle the rigors and abuse of modern children who are used to ballpoint pens.

Weight & Dimensions (8/10)

It measures 14 cm capped, 12.6 cm uncapped, 15 cm posted, 1.1 cm diameter at the section. Weight is 11g. So, this is a light but good-sized pen. Dimensions and weight wise, it is very similar to the Platinum Preppy. It is easy to hold posted or un-posted. Cap snaps on closing the pen, and fits snugly when posted. The cap is unlikely to fly off with furious writing.

Comparison.jpg





Nib & Performance (7/10)

The pen only comes in one size and the nib size is unmarked. But I think it writes with a Western medium line. Nib is probably made of steel, and has the word “iridium” marked on it. Being a cheap pen, I am not going to compare the nib performance with Lamy 2000. For pens of this price range, it writes smoothly, and lays a moderately wet line. This may not be a fair comparison, but as for smoothness of writing goes – Pilot V pen > Smiggle > Platinum Preppy. I say that this may not be fair because I have only 1 Pilot V pen, and 1 Platinum Preppy, but I have 5 Smiggle fountain pens. All 5 perform consistently as mentioned. No skipping detected yet.

Nib oblique.jpg





Filling System & Maintenance (7/10)

The pen comes with a single standard international ink cartridge. No converter included. This is where the disappointment comes. I bought 5 different colours of Smiggle fountain pens – light blue, violet, green, black and pink, expecting the corresponding ink colours as reflected in the colour of the casings. Well, it holds true only for the black pen. The rest of the pens also come with black cartridges!!! However, I washed out the cartridges and fill them with appropriate ink colours, and to my surprise, the ink colours corresponded relatively well to the colours of the casings. Now I have 4 attractive pens with 4 attractive ink colours. I left the pink Smiggle fountain pen (not shown here) un-inked as I do not have red or pink ink. It will become my ink testing pen in the future.

Pens writing.jpg





The construction of the pen is similar to the Platinum preppy. After the barrel is unscrewed, you can see a long inner plastic screw thingy. What this means is that this pen can be converted to an eye dropper a la Platinum preppy – with silicone grease and appropriate O-ring. Not that I have tried it.

Pen opened.jpg





Cost & Value (10/10)

This is absolutely the cheapest fountain pen that I have bought – even cheaper than the Pilot V pen and the Hero pen. Each Smiggle fountain pen cost a princely sum of 1 dollar in my local currency (that is less than 1 US dollar). On the Smiggle website, it is listed as 1 Aussie dollar. I don’t think you will quibble with 1 dollar in whichever currency.

Conclusion (Final score, 8/10)

At 1 dollar, nobody is going to quibble very much about the quality of the pen. However, the quality certainly exceeds its cost. It is attractive and my kid loves it (after I changed the ink colours). They write well, and form a good introduction to fountain pens for kids. If you like Platinum Preppy, this would be an excellent alternative to it.

Finally, Smiggle makes nice colourful pencil case, which makes an excellent holder of the Smiggle fountain pens, as well as my other fountain pens!

Smiggle case closed.jpg

Smiggle case open.jpg




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#2 Osmaroid

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 15:53

Nice Review - I always like to see all parts of the price spectrum. I went on line and found they do ship to the USA, but at a $22 minimum shipping charge, somehow it is suddenly not that attractive!

#3 Uncle Red

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:24

That's very cute and I'm sure they make your daughter happy.

#4 RitchieMac

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 23:39

If she likes writing with fountain pens, I will consider getting her a *real*, *proper* fountain pen.

#5 shivabhakthan

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:00

very stylish fountain pens kit...

#6 richardandtracy

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 16:17

Love the name. It looks more durable than some of the really cheap FP's too.

Thanks.

Richard.

#7 basterma

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 16:49

I have an Indian pen made by Flair which has the same nib and feed. Its a nice writer. Its feed is unusual in that there is a felt insert between the nib and feed. Looking at your shot of the nib, it seems there is a similar small piece between the tipping material and the feed on the underside if the nib.

#8 seffrican

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 16:58

Pelikan 4001 cartridges come in a bright pink ink variety to put in the pink pen that's feeling left out.
"Qui plume a, guerre a." - Voltaire

#9 RitchieMac

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 23:46

I've taken a closer look at the nib of the pen, and yes indeed, there is a felt pad between the nib and the feed. Does this help with the starting and the flow of the ink? This is because the Smiggle pen has no problem in these respects, whereas many cheap and some expensive pens have such problems.

Thanks for the information on the pink ink cartridges. In fact, the coloured inks that I've used to fill up the pens are all Pelikan 4001 inks - turquoise, violet and brilliant green. They appear lighter than the usual ink colour as I did not wait for the nibs and feeds to dry completely before fitting in the filled cartridges. However, by sheer dumb luck, the diluted ink actually corresponded more closely to the colours of the casings.

If you wonder what the pink pen looks like ...

smiggle pink.JPG

#10 Newjelan

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 05:31

Oh no, not another reason to go into Smiggle!

#11 basterma

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:57

I think the pad helps with the flow of the pen. The whole section resembles felt tip and rollerball pens. The felt actually extends into a core that meets the cartridge, like a highlighter or felt tip pen. It may be common production tooling with their highlighters to keep costs down.

#12 Erise

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 19:17

Wow, I did not know Smiggle had fountain pens! Definitely gonna check them out soon! Still new to fountain pens so I'm always game for new (preferably cheap) pens to try out now.

#13 Newjelan

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:35

Bought a few today, great to leave in the office, or provide to interested friends. Had a friend with me when I bought mine and she bought one as her first ever Fountain Pen so she can have a play and see if she wants to get into them.
Smiggle's target market is primarily young -> teenage girls. I think it's a fabulous way to introduce them to fountain pens and hopefully build some interest in Australia and New Zealand - countries that stopped using them in schools over 40 years ago.

Edited by Newjelan, 18 January 2013 - 08:35.


#14 joeccentric

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:43

Wow, that's pretty neat!
I'll have to pop over to the Smiggle nearby to see if they have them in stock here.
I've been looking for a cheap fountain pen to gift to people, primarily younger ones, and this seems perfect!

#15 Mike 59

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:44

Hi All, Interesting review, and it appears the nib is extremely similar to a Berol handwriting pen I bought in a UK supermarket recently.
My pen's packaging has references to design by Berol and Papermate, and makes a point of the grip section, to help with holding the pen correctly. I did get two cartridges of black ink, which didn't seem to want to flow, but a different brand of cartridge seems better. (But it's -1 C here today so that doesn't help.)
The pen I bought is totally different in the barrel design to the reviewed pen, and is bright orange and black.
It also has the fiber 'wick' underneath the nib.

Edited by Mike 59, 18 January 2013 - 10:55.


#16 Newjelan

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:52

1358505819[/url]' post='2568849']
Wow, that's pretty neat!
I'll have to pop over to the Smiggle nearby to see if they have them in stock here.
I've been looking for a cheap fountain pen to gift to people, primarily younger ones, and this seems perfect!


I bought mine in Queenstown today (Friday) and they're charging $2.50NZ (supposedly reduced from $3.50), which is a bit of a rip off given they're $1 in Singapore (which has similar $ value to NZD) & $1 in Australia. So they should be $1.00 - $1.30NZ. Still, they're good value at $2.50 anyway.

#17 joeccentric

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 20:58

1358505819[/url]' post='2568849']
Wow, that's pretty neat!
I'll have to pop over to the Smiggle nearby to see if they have them in stock here.
I've been looking for a cheap fountain pen to gift to people, primarily younger ones, and this seems perfect!


I bought mine in Queenstown today (Friday) and they're charging $2.50NZ (supposedly reduced from $3.50), which is a bit of a rip off given they're $1 in Singapore (which has similar $ value to NZD) & $1 in Australia. So they should be $1.00 - $1.30NZ. Still, they're good value at $2.50 anyway.


Thanks for confirming they have them in NZ. I'm sure that if they are in Queenstown, they'd be in Auckland. $3.50 does seem like a rip off, but I wouldn't mind $2.50 as much

#18 Erise

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:48

Just bought these today - apparently they're discounted now, hence the S$1 per pen. Wasn't sure when the discount would last until so I bought five... Might get a few more so I can convert more people in office to FPs :)

#19 aawhite

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 22:08

I have this pen. The nib is OK. I loaded mine with Visconti blue and it writes beautifuly. The inner cap is spring loaded, something that you normally do not get from more expensive pens.

Edited by aawhite, 04 July 2013 - 22:14.

I only have two pens -  an Aurora Optima and others.


#20 Newjelan

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 10:40

I have an employee who's been using his daily for 6 months and it's still working perfectly (he bought a black one). He bought a couple for his 10yr old daughter and some J. Herbin cartridges, so she's hooked.  My husband is using one (finally the brainwashing is working). They're great value, I'm just waiting for an orange one.








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