Disclaimer: Not my question personally.
I'm going to hijack for a minute because a) you have a similar pen selection to me and you also write a lot with your FPs. My Platinum Century 3776 with a 'm' nib is my gateway drug into Japanese pens and I'm eyeing up Pilot and Sailor as my next purchases, but I'm having a heck of a time trying to understand the different nib variations so this thread is definitely helping some. What I'm trying to figure out is if I'm used to a Western Fine and I'm writing a lot and I have small handwriting, does that translate to a soft fine? Or medium fine? Or soft fine medium?
All of my nibs bar my Lamy Safaris are gold nibs. I have some Platinum Plaisirs that I just got so I could test out what it's like to write with a Japanese pen with a steel nib (F and M respectively). My only other experience with steel is a Pelican P205 with a 'F' nib which I loathed because it was super scratchy. I have a Pelikan Souveran M600 with a 'M' nib and that thing is wetter than wet. I'm have to get an 'EF' to make it even usable for me. Because I'm a writer and I write every day with my pens, smoothe# and consistent for hours of writing is crucial. I really like the Platinum Century with an 'M' nib, but any thinner of a line would start to make me nervous. I was surprised by how thin a Japanese 'M' was.
That's the breadth of my experience right now and most of that is with Montblanc other than the one Pelikan, some cheap Lamys, and the Platinum 3776. I've ordered a Pilot Metropolitan 'M' nib as my first Pilot, but I'm super curious about the soft nibs, I can't deny. And again, sorry for hijacking. I really should start a separate thread.
I have eleven Plaisir and six Preppy pens – with interchangeable sections and nibs, so for the purposes of how ink flows from the cartridge or converter onto the page to form shaped marks by way of the nib, they are identical (to the DPQ-700A desk pen as well) – inked right now, and due to the distinct design of the nib-feed-collector-section, I wouldn't say they are typical or representative of writing with a Japanese fountain pen, manufactured by either Platinum itself or any of the Big Three (Platinum, Pilot and Sailor).
The Pilot MR is probably your best bet as try-out models for Japanese steel nibs, as they are often offered very cheaply on Amazon.com, compared to even the domestic Japanese market (in which they're sold as the Pilot Cocoon), if the step-down where the section joins the barrel doesn't bother you. The Pilot Prera, Kakuno, (discontinued) 78G, Penmanship (available with EF nibs only) and Plumix (available with Calligraphy Medium – in other words, italic – nibs only) all share the same type of nib and feed, as do the Pilot P-DPP-1S desk pens, if you prefer a differently shaped or weighted pen.
The cheapest Japanese pens with gold nibs are made by Platinum: the KDP-3000A desk pens (with a nominal price of ¥3,000 ex tax), followed by the PTL-5000A models (¥5,000 ex tax), if you prefer to buy and write with gold nibs.
Because I'm a writer and I write every day with my pens, smoothe# and consistent for hours of writing is crucial. I really like the Platinum Century with an 'M' nib, but any thinner of a line would start to make me nervous.
Being in the US, you can far more easily avail yourself of grinding services from nibmeisters of renown than most other fountain pen users in the world, so regardless of brand or country of manufacture, you can always just get a nib customised to be your perfect tool of the trade. It would cost someone like me far more to either attend a pen show and engage a nibmeister face to face (and have him or her look at my pen grip and writing technique, in order to adjust accordingly), or send a pen overseas with written instructions, to have a nib modified to my exact requirements and preferences.
Now that I have had one pen (out of over 150 in my personal fleet) with a nib customised expertly by Dan Smith, I've become an advocate of after-market customisation services used sparingly, to 'perfect' an crucial asset or resource that one uses for hours on end weekly. Getting a feel for, or even relishing, what each pen manufacturer intended for the writing instruments it produces is a different matter; I can dig the whole "buy a Pelikan for what Pelikan pens are like, and buy a Sailor pen for what Sailor pens are like" thing as a hobbyist, but that's a different matter from acquiring tools of the trade professionally.
I was surprised by how thin a Japanese 'M' was.
I was, more than once, unpleasantly surprised by how broad some European pen manufacturers think Extra Fine nibs ought to be, and how thick a line they should make on the page. I'm not just talking about for writing in Chinese hanzi and Japanese kana, either; now that I've learnt more about 'calligraphic' writing in English, I understand that forming each letter of the English letter alphabet with a single pen stroke, much less joining letters to form an entire word in cursive, is not the only way to hand-write in English, irrespective of what they teach in schools in the UK and the US.
Edited by A Smug Dill, 07 February 2019 - 20:00.