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The Super 5 Fountain Pen

super 5 plastic fountain pen value

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13 replies to this topic

#1 Jamerelbe

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 06:19

A couple of months ago now (in early October), I had to take one of my children (the youngest, and the only one who *really* likes fountain pens) for a specialist’s appointment in Sydney.  We decided to make a day of it, to lessen the angst of being poked and prodded and hooked up to a bunch of machines, so… we just happened to wander past Dymocks in Sydney, which now has a fairly extensive pen and stationery section.

 

In addition to the inks we chose together – and the 8-pack of colourful Ooly fountain pens my daughter asked to buy – I spotted a few Super 5 fountain pens going for half price.  I didn’t need another fountain pen, I *really* didn’t, and yet… within a few minutes I’d picked out the yellow version with the B nib, and headed out the door.   

 

I’d seen these pens advertised in various online stores, though not recently, and hadn’t been tempted – but this has turned out to be a surprisingly good pen. 

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Appearance & Design

The Super 5 pens on sale were brightly coloured – I had a choice between a bright red and a cheery yellowy-orange, and decided to go for the latter.  The plastic is probably similar in quality to a Lamy Safari – sturdy, shiny, and fairly durable.  You don’t feel like it’s going to fall apart in your fingers, or crack the first time you drop it.  If you look closely, you’ll find the word “SUPER”, and a sideways “5” embossed on the barrel – but it’s not very visible.  The snap cap comes off to reveal a surprisingly weighty metal grip section (coated in some kind of black ceramic?), and a proprietary steel “Super 5”-stamped nib.  In shape it’s not too dissimilar from my Jinhao 992, though the grip section is somewhat longer and girthier. 

 

7dHF5ZW.jpg

Very impressive packaging...

 

The back end of the pen can be screwed off, to reveal the bottom of the cartridge or converter.  I struggle to see the purpose of this – it’s just a weird / interesting feature.  The black-coated metal clip stands out from the yellow body – I like the overall appearance, though it’s nothing “special”, just a lovely bright inexpensive pen. 

 

KOrVmTg.jpg

 

Construction & Quality

The pen is quite sturdy, fit and finish is great, the snap cap snaps on and off without issue – everything looks pretty good.  I don’t know what kind of black coating has been used to coat the metal clip and grip section, but it’s not unduly slippery, and so far shows no signs of scratching or flaking away.  My only complaint is that the clip is quite stiff – it could be a challenge to clip it onto a thicker-fabric shirt pocket. 

 

 

6ptSzVd.jpg

 

 

Weight & Dimensions

The Super 5 sits nicely in my ‘sweet spot’ for a standard pen – 139mm capped, 125mm uncapped, or 153mm posted.  The grip section of the pen ranges in diameter from 9mm (closer to the nib) to 10.55 mm, with a ‘step up’ where the cap clips on, to 12mm. 

 

The pens weighs 24.8g capped, and 19.6g uncapped.  The one big surprise is the weight of the grip section – being metal, it weights the pen significantly towards the front of the pen.  This might be off-putting for some people, but I took it in my stride – I actually liked the substantial feel this gave to an otherwise insubstantial pen (at least in terms of weight!).

 

rFsNND4.jpg

 

zaeC6E2.jpg

 

Nib & Performance

The B nib is definitely a B nib – it lays down a fairly wide line.  It’s fairly wet and very smooth – a pleasure to write with. 

 

wDrIoXX.jpg

This is not my hand.

 

xRYtzIY.jpg

But this is my handwriting...

 

Hc5ny2T.jpg

A close up of the nib.

 

Filling System & Maintenance

The Super 5 pens come with a single cartridge of their permanent blue ink – I haven’t yet tried this.  I stuck a Kaweco standard international converter into the pen, and it worked just fine.  I own a piston filler and vacuum filler pens with much larger capacities, but for most of my writing (especially with non-blue-or-black inks) I’m happy with the 0.5-0.8mm capacity of a cartridge converter.

 

tp4ECua.jpg

 

Cost & Value

I think I paid AU$15-20 for this pen (it was half-price) – a better than fair price for the quality.  Would I pay full price for a Super 5 pen?  Not sure – though they’re cheery and functional – but I’m *very* happy with the pen, given the price I paid.

 

Conclusion

The Super 5 pens (and their accompanying inks) don’t seem to have done particularly well, at least in the American and Australian markets – but this is actually a pretty nice pen.  Worth keeping an eye out for!

 


Edited by Jamerelbe, 09 December 2019 - 06:20.


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#2 Caeruleum

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 12:59

Thank you for the review!

#3 one-legion

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 11:08

I'm glad to see that someone else liked the Super5 pens too.  I have the medium and stub nib options, and they are both really nice nibs.   The nibs are the best part of these pens.

 

I wonder if the fact that the bottom of the barrel unscrews means that a Super5 branded converter would fit down into the end, and you could remove the end cap to fill the pen without unscrewing the barrel?  Most of my converters won't work in the Super5 because the barrel has a slightly too aggressive taper.  I ended up using a short one that doesn't reach into the end cap.



#4 Jamerelbe

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 12:17

I'm glad to see that someone else liked the Super5 pens too.  I have the medium and stub nib options, and they are both really nice nibs.   The nibs are the best part of these pens.

 

I wonder if the fact that the bottom of the barrel unscrews means that a Super5 branded converter would fit down into the end, and you could remove the end cap to fill the pen without unscrewing the barrel?  Most of my converters won't work in the Super5 because the barrel has a slightly too aggressive taper.  I ended up using a short one that doesn't reach into the end cap.

 

It's *possible*, I guess, that the screw-off bottom of the barrel is designed for that purpose - but I don't think I have any converters that would be long enough for that to work!  I have to confess I'm a bit stumped.

 

I agree, the B nib on my Super 5 pen is great - I almost regret *not* buying the red M nibbed pen that was *also* 50% off, but I'd already blown my budget...  Another highlight for me was the 'substantial' feel the metal grip section gave it - even as the coating, and the slight ribbing of the section, ensures it's not slippery to hold.



#5 tamiya

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 00:24

Milligram (part of Dymocks nowadays) has nice stuff but I'm allergic to their prices :)

According to this blog the cap comes apart too
https://7hedaniel.wo...tain-pen-delhi/

#6 Jamerelbe

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 00:56

Milligram (part of Dymocks nowadays) has nice stuff but I'm allergic to their prices :)

According to this blog the cap comes apart too
https://7hedaniel.wo...tain-pen-delhi/

 

Milligram, Dymocks and other Australian retailers are all held to ransom by the manufacturers (or their distributors), who add a massive premium to their prices in return for shipping their products to Australia.  It's shameful, and drives a lot of small-time purchasers to buy from international retailers.  

 

To be fair, it's not as bad as it used to be - the weakened Australian dollar has forced them to reduce their prices if they want to sell "onshore", and has made purchasing from the US or Europe (and to a certain extent from Asia) less of a bargain.

 

I visited one of Milligram's stores in April (my first time to Melbourne in 20+ years), and found them to be very friendly and helpful.  But yes, their high-end pens (especially) were pretty pricey, so I settled for a Kaweco Perkeo, a couple of inks and some paper products...



#7 tamiya

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 01:29

Milligram, Dymocks and other Australian retailers are all held to ransom by the manufacturers (or their distributors), who add a massive premium to their prices in return for shipping their products to Australia.  It's shameful, and drives a lot of small-time purchasers to buy from international retailers.  

 
T'is an hoary old chestnut though :( but yeah the shops need a fat markup to to cover crazy high oz rent & wages.

I believe Milligram is importer/distributor of a fair few of the brands they carry... which then begs the excuse "we can't sell for less than RRP otherwise our wholesale customers would revolt) etc etc

Certain items can be cheaper though... at one point buying Nikon in Oz was cheaper than Asia. And depending on the product life cycle, Apple product pricing less GST can be cheaper than even up in Singapore... exchange rates change faster than their pricing cycles.


I visited one of Milligram's stores in April (my first time to Melbourne in 20+ years), and found them to be very friendly and helpful.  But yes, their high-end pens (especially) were pretty pricey, so I settled for a Kaweco Perkeo, a couple of inks and some paper products...


Milligram CBD opened in Emporium about late last year, didn't they? Then Doncaster shortly afterwards.

The stores aren't too bad, last Xmas they had a few goodies that I'd be interested in but these days last few times I've wandered in I haven't found anything I'd really want to buy. Wonder if they've reduced their product ranges other days.

I usually go in to have a poke around their Lamy racks and perve at the Kaweco on the wall display. As mentioned above, I'm allergic to paying RRP :) so there's zero incentive to buy anything. Spent a fair while testing out the Lamy Gem inks when they appeared Feb 2019 but I ain't paying $30/bottle for 30ml... they're nice, but not $30 nice.

Was chatting to pals in the trade, sounds like there's been some staff turnover since opening. Fair bit of politics involved and I'm hearing many of the early FP-knowledgeable fellas have since moved on. Have not bought any pen requiring service/tweaking from Milligram so I cannot judge that side of their expertise.

#8 RaviG

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Posted 25 December 2019 - 16:51

Interesting pen.



#9 tamiya

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 04:33

Whist tagging along with Xmas shopping last week, sniffed inside milligram at both Doncaster & city and didn't spot any Super5 stock. Just a small smattering of OHTO amongst their Lamy & Kaweco.

#10 Jamerelbe

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 05:27

Whist tagging along with Xmas shopping last week, sniffed inside milligram at both Doncaster & city and didn't spot any Super5 stock. Just a small smattering of OHTO amongst their Lamy & Kaweco.


That doesn't entirely surprise me - I was in Dymocks just last week, and they only had limited stocks of Super5 pens (maybe clearing out)? Only one fountain pen, with a B nib, or I might have grabbed a second...

They're owned by the same parent company, but seem to operate fairly autonomously - Milligram actively sell their stuff online as well as in-store, and have a number of self branded products, Dymocks are much more of a "bricks-and-mortar" retail operation.

#11 tamiya

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 18:29

They're owned by the same parent company, but seem to operate fairly autonomously - Milligram actively sell their stuff online as well as in-store, and have a number of self branded products, Dymocks are much more of a "bricks-and-mortar" retail operation.


Dunno... was chatting to someone vaguely involved with Dymocks some yrs back and he mentioned the Sydney Dymocks pen dept was managed by Telegram/Milligram... perhaps as their inaugural retail experiment.

Whereas none of the Dymocks down in Melb have same type pen dept, not even the big City store. Some might have a sad Lamy retail stand but never see inks. But we have the standalone Milligrams.

#12 Jamerelbe

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 00:15

Dunno... was chatting to someone vaguely involved with Dymocks some yrs back and he mentioned the Sydney Dymocks pen dept was managed by Telegram/Milligram... perhaps as their inaugural retail experiment.

Whereas none of the Dymocks down in Melb have same type pen dept, not even the big City store. Some might have a sad Lamy retail stand but never see inks. But we have the standalone Milligrams.

 

I have some vague recollection it may have been the other way around - the umbrella company for Dymocks bought out Telegram / Milligram, and decided to beef up their stationery department at Dymocks in George St on the strength of that purchase?  Whatever, there's *some* kind of relationship between the two chains, but Dymocks have (perhaps wisely?) decided *not* to sell high-end fountain pens in all of their stores.  A shame, really, since there's a Dymocks in the Wollongong CBD - which is far closer to me than the Sydney CBD!



#13 tamiya

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 04:22

I have some vague recollection it may have been the other way around - the umbrella company for Dymocks bought out Telegram / Milligram, and decided to beef up their stationery department at Dymocks in George St on the strength of that purchase?


Ya they started the big pen dept after Telegram acquisition :) the rumour I heard was that somebody at Dymocks HQ (they're in that same bldg aren't they?) wanted access to more FP ink colours ... around the time Iroshizuku arrived in oz at $45-50ea.


I wish Peters would open in Vic!! :P

#14 Estycollector

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 11:05

Thank you for the reveiw. I had not heard of this brand before. 


"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"






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