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Three New Chinese Piston Filler Pens

wing sung caliarts piston filler chinese

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#1 dcwaites

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 04:03

This last year saw the arrival on the market of a number of new piston filling fountain pen from mainland China. Two of the pens have the Wing Sung name, the 698 and the 3003, and the third I am going to discuss is the Caliarts Ego. Two others that I know of are by Lanbitou and PenBBS.

I now have one of each (two of the 3008) and thought I would do a compare and contrast of these three pens.

 

The Wing Sung 3008 was the first of the three pens I bought, and the cheapest. These pens come with a Lamy Safari style nib, in F and EF. The pen holds a little over 1 ml of ink. The cap doesn’t have an inner cap, but there is an o-ring on the body at the base of the cap thread. This seals against a shelf inside the cap and stops the nib from drying out, at least over a few days. The barrel has 16 facets and is slightly tapered towards the far end. The end cap on this model doesn’t lock, and there is always a bit of slack. In practice, though, I have not had any problems with inadvertent leaks, in spite of carrying it to work in my shirt pocket for a couple of weeks.

The piston assembly is retained by a ring at the top of the barrel. Undoing this ring allows the whole piston assembly to be easily removed for cleaning and lubrication.

As mentioned the pen uses a Lamy Safari style slip-on nib which is interchangeable with a real Safari nib. The feed is relatively long, and has a key at the bottom so it can only be put back in one way.

Apart from the loose blind cap, the only other problem this pen has is that the screw head inside the cap that holds the finial and clip on gets rusty.

Overall, this is an inexpensive pen that feels good in the hand and has been a reliable and robust worker.

 

The Caliarts Ego was the next pen to arrive. This pen comes with a Pilot 78G style nib but the feed is a little different. I had ordered mine with a Fine nib, but it came with a second, EF, nib and a spare feed. This pens holds about 2 ml of ink, and along with the Fine nib, should mean quite a lot of writing between fills. Like the 3008, there is no inner cap, but there is the cap-sealing o-ring on the barrel.

The cap is a very simple affair and, I think, detracts from the pen a little. However, you can now get the Ego with coloured finial and end cap, and these look much more attractive. The finial screws into a threaded extension at the top of the cap, so there are no holes in the cap at all. The section and barrel are all one piece, as it is on the 3008. There is no metal ring on the end of the section, as there is on the 3008. I don’t like metal rings on the ends of sections, as I have had them leak (Jinhao 159, I’m looking a you, here…)

The body of the pen is very sleek, with the only break from the end cap to the end of the section being the barrel threads. These are much less prominent than on the 3008. There is no lock on the end cap, but it does screw down firmly and then doesn’t move. The step from the end cap to the barrel is quite smooth, almost as smooth as on a Lamy 2000 or Parker 51 Vacumatic.

The pen comes with a little wrench to unscrew the piston mechanism. However, others have said that the plastic flats inside are quite soft and easy to damage, so I haven’t disassembled mine yet.

I tried both the EF and F nibs that came with the pen, and they were both excellent, very smooth, especially for their width. I did have to make some adjustments to the F nib, as it was a bit too wet for my taste. Others might like it as it is. Then, using it on hard, smooth Japanese showed up another problem – skipping due to excessive baby-bottom. This didn’t show up earlier on softer, more fibrous, Chinese paper. Using the fine surface of a nail buffing pad I removed a tiny bit of metal, then buffed on the other side. This nib is now perfect, butter smooth for a Fine, Asian nib. Note that this was only a problem because of the combination of my nib preferences and my paper. Others might find they have no problems.

 

The Wing Sung 698 was the most recent acquisition (I have only had it for a couple of days). It is available in various colour schemes, and I got mine in transparent with gold fittings.

This pen is the 3008 made properly. It has a Pilot style nib, compared to the other’s Lamy Safari style nib, and both nib and feed are interchangeable with those of a Pilot 78G. In addition, the section unscrews completely for thorough cleaning, if necessary.

Unlike the overly simple cap of the Caliarts Ego, the WS 698’s cap is an impressive affair. There is a solid metal ring near the base, surrounding, and presumably reinforcing the cap threads. The finial is solid metal, held on by a large, possibly aluminium, flat-head screw. Unlike the other two pens, the 698 has an inner cap which seals against a chamfer at the end of the section. The o-ring on the body has been replaced by a metal spacer ring between the section and barrel.

The body is cylindrical, with the piston assembly held in by a metal ring, as on the 3008. However the end cap has a locking mechanism, where two keys on the cap mate with two slots in the ring. The cap then clicks into place when you push it down.

I bought mine with a Medium nib, which equates to a Western (i.e. Parker) Fine. You can also get it in F and EF, and spare nibs in all three sizes are available on eBay.

 

Nibs

The nibs on these pens are not up to the standard of a proper Japanese nib, and even the genuine Lamy Safari and Pilot 78G nibs are better than what comes with these pens. However, the nibs are quite reasonable, and all wrote straight out of the box, unless you are as fussy as I am about nibs. See the last paragraph in the Ego section.

 

Dimensions

Below is a table of dimensions for the three pens. As you can see, they are very similar. The weights are with the pens empty, so you would add about 1 g for the two Wing Sungs when full, and about 2 g for the Caliarts.

 

 

fpn_1515211974__table2.png

 

Pictures

 

fpn_1515213451__capped.jpg

 

Capped, from the top, Caliarts Ego, Wing Sung 698, Wing Sung 3008

 

 

fpn_1515213573__uncapped.jpg

 

Uncapped, from the top, Caliarts Ego, Wing Sung 698, Wing Sung 3008

 

 

 

In Conclusion

Of the three pens, the Caliarts Ego is my favourite. The 3008 has value in being the cheapest of the pens, while being a robust and reliable pen. Its only real fault is the rusting screw head in the cap. The 698 is, as said, the 3008 made properly, and is a good-looking pen that works well. The Ego, however, is functionally flawless, is good-looking and feels good in the hand. Being able to swap nibs around, and get replacement ones, for all three pens, is a bonus.


Edited by dcwaites, 06 January 2018 - 21:17.

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#2 Jamerelbe

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 05:38

Thanks for the write-up - I only have one of these pens as yet (the Wing Sung 3008), though I've recently acquired a dodgy-looking Lanbitou 3059 / TWSBI Eco rip-off (what can I say? it was dirt cheap!).  I've been tempted by the Wing Sung 698, but put off by the higher price.

 

A couple of comments on the Wing Sung 3008:

 

(1) I've had two of these inked up since early December, and I was going to say that neither shows any signs of corrosion on the screw head - but I've just checked them again (for the first time in a couple of weeks), and... well, both of them *are* now looking a little corroded.  Nothing too serious, but it's not looking promising.  Hopefully that'll be rectified in future batches?  (In the meantime, any suggestions as to where I might find replacement screws would be good!)

 

(2) I purchased a second batch of pens, as-yet uninked - and discovered that the end cap on two of them *did* lock.  This seems to be an improvement on the original design.  

 

Almost you persuade me to try out the Wing Sung 698 and the Calliarts - I think I'll sit on them a little while longer, though: I don't really need any more Chinese demonstrator piston pens!!



#3 grainweevil

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 10:54

Thanks for taking the time to write this up.

 

I have a couple of 3008; one locks, the other doesn't, so evidently there's a mix of the two around at the moment. I'd personally add a couple of other cons to them:

 

- The metal ring on the end of the section is threaded on, and I strongly advise taking it off and sticking some silicone grease in there if you want to try and avoid ink suddenly appearing on your fingers. DAMHIKT...

- I discovered after it had happened to me, that it's a known problem that the label on the solid colour caps will remove some of the colour and leave a noticeable mark on the cap when/if you remove it.

- The nibs are really soggy steel. I had terribly trouble trying to get one to keep its tines together at all in order for ink to flow. As it happens I have Lamy nibs available to swop in, but others may have to budget for that possibility.

 

For some reason I've not really taken to the 698; possibly my own fault for purchasing the solid cream colour and not a demo. I don't know. The Calliarts has been in and out of my basket like a cuckoo in a clock at midday, but you might have almost persuaded me to decide at last. :)



#4 inkeverywhere

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 19:55

I have a couple of the WS 698's, I bought them to try after a shocker of an experience with a Twsbi Eco. They both have been in constant use since arriving and neither have let me down.

I must say I prefer the extra fine nib to the fine nib. The locking mechanism has caused no problems and is quite easy to master. At 20 bucks (AUD) it is a much better buy than an Eco which runs into nearly $60 (AUD).

I am yet to try the other two pens mentioned in your post.


Greg

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Handwriting - one of life's pure pleasures


#5 Bobje

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 20:07

This comparative post is an innovative way of handling a review of these three new pens. Nice work. It sounds like you prefer the Caliarts Ego because of the nib performance and the general feel of the pen — is that correct? I own the other two, the 698 and the 3008. I prefer the 698, but am amazed that it’s even possible to make a piston filler like the 3008 for $4 USD.

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#6 dcwaites

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 21:32

I prefer the Ego because of the overall sleek feel to the pen, and for the replaceable o-rings on the piston.

 

However, the next piston fill pen to look at might be the PenBBS one.


fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif

 

 

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And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”

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#7 AmandaW

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 23:19

I have one of each of the pens mentioned including a recently arrived PenBBS 309.

 

Both my Caliarts Ego II and Wingsung 698 have leaked into the cap.

 

The Wing Sung 3008 - actually have 3 in constant use - are the best value by far.

 

The PenBBS 309 is a little disappointing for the price. With postage mine cost almost $45 so I was expecting more. It works well, the nib is interesting, it wrote out of the box and the colour of the material is pretty (I got the Cranberry). The biggest let down is the clip: it's one of the folded metal kind, similar to the Jinhao 992. In all other respects it's a nice pen, but the clip makes it look cheap and feel like it's increased cost is due to marketing rather than better materials. (I feel the same about the PenBBS 308 with it's 266 cap band. Substitutions like that are fine on a $2.50 pen, but not on something 10x that promises better quality.)


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#8 sdbruder

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 05:17

Have some Wing Sung 3008’s and a Caliarts Ego, just bought a Wing Sung 698 to be able to do my own comparison (and I have TWSBI ECO Broad and a TWSBI ECO-T Fine, so I think a fair comparison will be possible).

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#9 Mech-for-i

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 08:19

I own both Caliarts and WS-698. Personally I prefer the Ego ( mine are the II version in solid bky blue ) ; happen also to own the all trim down OEM version of the 3008 which WSE now selling as the 3009. And try out my friend's PenBBS 309 also. Though I like the 309 for its nib and material I am not convinced of its styling.

All of them seemingly will blurp if kept in shirt pocket thus heating the ink reservoir, but in normal writing this do not happen so my choice is to keep them in my pen pouch which sit in my backpack.

I had ordered a Wing Sing 618 and will have to wait and see how it goes and I have some specialist calligraphy nib that I intend to put onto these Piston Fillers to best employ their ink capacity

#10 Bobje

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 12:10

Nice video analysis by Seele here.


Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

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#11 Danno44

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 13:55

Thanks for the reviews. Being new to the FP world the 698 is intriguing especially at the cost.

#12 minddance

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 15:34

These 3 pens are always inked :) and they seal inks very well indeed. There is no inner cap on the Caliarts but seal inks well over a couple of weeks (I have not tried no writing for a few months yet).

#13 MuddyWaters

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 22:08

The 618 looks like a Beauty. How does it write?

Link to a post about ergonomics I made: http://www.fountainp...with/?p=4179072


#14 sdbruder

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 22:17

The 618 looks like a Beauty. How does it write?

 

 

You mean 698?



#15 MuddyWaters

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 23:12

no this one:

 

but thankfully there are critical reviews here and there on the internet


Link to a post about ergonomics I made: http://www.fountainp...with/?p=4179072


#16 Stefan-Ionut-Marius

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 18:06

no this one:

 

but thankfully there are critical reviews here and there on the internet

 

I have three Wing Sung 618 : a complete transparent one and a red transparent one with chromed fittings  and a Wing Sung 618 in solid red with Golden fitings .

It's a pen that writes super ok and it is a wet writer .


Edited by Stefan-Ionut-Marius, 13 January 2018 - 18:08.

I love Fountain Pens, with hooded nib in the classic style, Parker 51/61 type .
 
 
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#17 rollerboy

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 18:29

Nicely done review. I like the format of reviewing competing pens together. But ...

 

Nibs

The nibs on these pens are not up to the standard of a proper Japanese nib, and even the genuine Lamy Safari and Pilot 78G nibs are better than what comes with these pens. However, the nibs are quite reasonable, and all wrote straight out of the box, unless you are as fussy as I am about nibs. See the last paragraph in the Ego section.

 

I'm going to disagree with the blanket nature of this statement. At least in some cases it might come down to your taste in nibs and of course luck of the draw in terms of the nib you get on your pen.  Of these three Chinese pens the only one I've used so far has been a 698 F (gold trim). If I compare it to Pilot "Super Quality" M nibs as found on the Pilot Prera (and I believe 78Gs) then for my tastes I give the edge to the 698 nib. Width-wise the 698 F nib and Pilot M nib are similar. However the Pilot M nib has the dreaded (by me) spherical grind to its tipping. That results in a very smooth but characterless feel (which is why I stick to F nibs on my Preras - the feel of the M nib bores me to tears). The 698 F tipping has a flatter grind which gives a better defined line on the page and that touch of feedback I enjoy.



#18 RoyalBlueNotebooks

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 17:02

Nice comparison review!

 

I have four Wing Sung 3008, been using them daily only with Lamy nibs, since the stock nibs are uncollaborative in having their tines aligned properly. Wetness was so-so, and the tipping was okay, but by god they felt like I was dragging something through soggy sand. Couldn't stand it. I'm so glad and grateful that the prices of the Lamy nibs are reasonably here. 4,50 € per nib, so my WS 3008 clock at 7,50 € in total each. Not bad for my first non-Pelikan piston filler fountain pens.

 

Can't wait for the WS 698 to arrive so I can draw my own conclusions about it.


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#19 magnus919

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 23:09

For giggles I just swapped on a Pilot "M" nib from a Metropolitan onto my Wing-Sung 698 (which came with a Fine nib).

The thickness of the metal on the nibs is a little different. I wouldn't expect the nib/feed to seal well if you try the Wing-Sung nib in a Metropolitan (it's a thin nib). Conversely, getting the Pilot nib (on the Wing-Sung feed) into the 698 took a little bit of a shove. Once I realized how snug it was, I tried to pull it back out again. Uh oh. This might require a dangerous amount of force to remove.

The Pilot Metropolitan nib isn't even that great. It's a little springier, gives me a little line variation. I'm certainly getting better shading out of it. But it might be on there for good.

The Wing-Sung feed certainly mates perfectly with the Pilot nib. The two seem made from the same spec. The section opening is a hair too small in diameter, I think, for this combo. I hope I like it, though, as I may be stuck with it.


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#20 old4570

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 00:25

I have a few piston fillers .. 

So far I have only tired the one going by the Name of 660 Piston Filler . 

The piston Lock seems to work fine ..

Speaking of the WS 3008 , I have 2 , and one is being touted as the 2017 model and the piston mechanism has stopped working ( Piston does no go up and down ) , so looks like that 3008 is now spare parts . 

I might be a little more impressed by Indian piston fillers ..  ( So far ) Though the 660 was ok ..  







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