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Sailor Sapporo Mini


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13 replies to this topic

#1 AndyHayes

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 22:02

First Impressions
The box comes in a white cardboard sleeve. Open the box and you realise that they should have put this pen into a smaller box. It really is dwarfed by a normal sized pen box. My son described it as a perfect handbag pen. I especially love him for his cutting wit. One day he may draw blood with it. You never know, it may be his own! The pen comes with one cartridge, the same as a cheap Lamy. I would somehow have expected more from Sailor especially as this is the same price as the full size Sapporo.



Appearance
I chose the black model with rhodium plated nib trim, but it is available with gold nib and trim. I preferred the understated choice. I have to say that it looks very strange with the normal size cap and short body. The cap band is particularly bulbous for a pen so short. It looks like this pen may have escaped from Frankensteinís lab.


Sapporo Mini, Pelikan M205 Demo, and Pelikan M850 all capped

Design/Size/Weight
I am not aware of too many really small fountain pens and this is my first. The design grows on you (hopefully). Compensation is in other areas of the pen. For a small pen it is erm... small. 105mm capped, 93mm uncapped and 135mm posted. There are no inches on my ruler! I donít have my scales to hand, but I would suggest that it probably weighs within a few grammes of a Pelikan 200. I will check it out and let you know with this pen. Discomfort will soon set in for me using this pen as I prefer something with more weight and girth in my hand. My favourite pen, the Pelikan M805 measures 140mm capped, 128mm uncapped and 165mm posted and is probably twice the weight.


Sapporo Mini, Pelikan M205 Demo, and Pelikan M850 all posted

Nib
I chose the broad nib. This is fitted with the H-B nib (hard broad allegedly). The nib is incredibly smooth. It is as good if not better than my Pelikans. If you havenít tried a Sailor you really must. The nib has a a certain amount of spring to it, but as it writes with such a light touch I donít feel the need to press at all on the nib. This is one of those nibs that is happy being stroked across the paper.


Sapporo Mini, Pelikan M205 Demo, and Pelikan M850 length comparison

Filling System
Cartridge only filling system on this pen. I didnít imagine that I would ever buy a pen that was cartridge ONLY. A convertor will not fit in this pen at all. Cartridges from my supplier are £2.75 for 12 and it will hurt me when I have to buy some. I will have to put that day off as long as possible or just bite the bullet and buy them. The choices are, black, blue, blue-black and red. Oh joy, what a range!

Cost and Value
The pen cost £69 from The Writing Desk in the UK. It would have been £60 from Pen Gallery in Malaysia. Sometimes it is worth paying the extra to avoid the risk of import duties. At the same price as the standard Sapporo it loses a point on value. Surely it should be slightly less?

Conclusion
If you have a definite use for a small pen and nothing else will do then I would say get a Sapporo Mini, otherwise I would say you might as well have the full-sized Sapporo for the same price. I should have bought the full sized version or just bit the bullet and gone for the 1911 that I really wanted, but I have to admit this pen writes well. Would I buy another? No, itís a novelty pen really and the cartridge system is a real drawback for one like me who prefers to use a wider range of inks than Sailor offer in their cartridges. I had hoped that I would be able to get around it, but it looks like syringing ink into the cartridges is the only way.

Edited by AndyHayes, 08 August 2007 - 15:26.

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#2 saintsimon

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 23:13

Thanks for the review of the Sapporo Mini. As I'm interested in this tiny pen, which has it's predecessors in the Pilot Elite long-short pens and its Sailor and Platinum copies from the 60s and 70s, I'd like to know:
- how is the balance (posted, of course)
- how easily does the cap screw on for posting and how stable is it in that position?

As the Sailor black ink is really black, the blue is a medium-dark true blue and the blue-black is a nice blue-grey, I don't mind the cartidge-only limitation on this one. In Japan (only now, since cyberpens dropped their Japanese brands) there is also a wider Pro Gear Mini with 21k nib available, which is a tiny bit longer.

Edited by saintsimon, 07 August 2007 - 23:14.


#3 Phthalo

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 23:28

Aww... the Mini is a great little pen! I know Taki and I love our Sapporo Minis - but the diminutive size simply means it's not a pen for everyone. smile.gif

The cap posts easily on the back with a 3/4 turn, and is very stable and secure. I use the Mini both posted and unposted, but when the cap is posted it makes a very nicely balanced writer. When the cap is posted, the Mini is about 10mm longer than an unposted M400. I use cartridges in almost all of my cartridge-converter pens - converter capacity is always smaller than a cartridge, so I just refill with a syringe.

Here's a little photo of the regular and Mini together:



Interestingly, and I think I've mentioned this somewhere before, but the Black resin isn't actually Black - it's actually a translucent Black-Red resin! If your hold your Sailor up to a light source, you'll be able to see through it. smile.gif

Apologies for the bad photo:



This is true also for Sailor 1911M's - the end jewels are this same Black-Red resin. A friend told me this was also true for the Black Aurora 88 they own... funky! smile.gif

Laura / Phthalo

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#4 artaddict

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 23:42

QUOTE(Phthalo @ Aug 7 2007, 07:28 PM) View Post
Aww... the Mini is a great little pen! I know Taki and I love our Sapporo Minis - but the diminutive size simply means it's not a pen for everyone. smile.gif


I certainly want one!
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#5 Dillo

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 23:50

Hi,

These pens are actually my favourite pens for fitting a converter into because of the way the barrel is constructed. smile.gif I still do have a bunch of those plunger converters for the short Sailor pens on hand and I make then from Sailor standard screw converter.

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#6 adair

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 00:13

Dillon, do I understand correctly that you have developed s short converter for the Sapporo Mini?

It is a pity that the Mini uses cartridges only. Size should not be the excuse: the tiny Pelikan mini Souveran uses the classic plunger system and holds an impressive amount of ink. The old Pilot Elite and even the incredibly small Birdie all have converters.

One neat feature about the Sapporo Mini that I think should be used on all other Sailor pens is the threading on the end of the barrel for the cap so as to avoid the scuffs and scratches of posting.

#7 Taki

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 00:43

Thanks for your detailed review, Andy! Although I LOVE my Mini I can see it may be too small for people with larger hands. I usually use my pens unposted, but Mini is an exception. I do post, as it is meant to be. I could use it without cap posted for quick scribbling, though.

Like Laura I refill carts, and I don't really mind doing so. I can get more ink in and easily see how much ink is left, too.

The price of Mini in Japan is a little less compared to the U.S. In Japan you can get it between $70-$85 at today's exchange rate. I paid approx. $70 shipped to U.S. (the exchange rate was even better at that time), so to me it was a very good price for a gold nibbed pen.

Edited by Taki, 08 August 2007 - 10:28.


#8 Shelley

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 00:45

Nice review, pity you don't really like the pen, it would be too small for me too, try the marketplace and then you can get the 1911 like you really want...nice avatar by the way...where did it come from?
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#9 saintsimon

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 00:56

QUOTE(Phthalo @ Aug 8 2007, 01:28 AM) View Post
...

Interestingly, and I think I've mentioned this somewhere before, but the Black resin isn't actually Black - it's actually a translucent Black-Red resin! If your hold your Sailor up to a light source, you'll be able to see through it. smile.gif
....

This is true also for Sailor 1911M's - the end jewels are this same Black-Red resin. A friend told me this was also true for the Black Aurora 88 they own... funky! smile.gif


So I took my Mag-Lite Solitaire and stuck it into a Pro Gear cap. Of course it shines through very weakly, but clearly with a reddish hue. Seems to be a property of the plastic used, a kind of infra-red transparency. MBs black "precious" resins are also slightly translucent.

#10 playpen

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 09:04

After having just been jarred awake by a seriously fierce thunderstorm, I naturally immediately turned to FPN to make sure it was ok......(believe that one and I have a bridge here somewhere to sell you)....What did I see, featured in this thread but my beloved Sapporo Mini, except I have this pen with gold furniture.

If I could sing, it would be praises of this adorable little pen but no need, I am hoping the secret doesn't get out so that I can buy up the remaining supply and have it all for myself!

It is smooth, it is adorable AND it is my pen of choice when I zip off to the gym with my trusty pocket journal. It fits into the small bag I carry while I go through the motions...er...exercise. It is smooth, never skips and is smooth....did I already say that?

I use a syringe to refill it and can easily put any color I choose into the cartridge. So far I have only filled it with black ink since it somehow demands this very sophisticated color!

It is my belief that everyone should be happy, especially with their pen purchases. I would rather not buy a pen and save for one I REALLY want, than buy one and wish I could have another (but don't take my advice as I often buy the pens I REALLY want and then weep while writing the bills...(where oh where is that waterproof ink?). Andy, sell the pen and buy the 1911. If that's the one you really want, why wait until there are no more left? I am sure you will recoup your loss in no time if you put the pen on the Marketplace here (or on Pentrace). I've got my stopwatch out and I'm counting....

#11 AndyHayes

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 16:43

SaintSimon: Posted the balance is OK, but don't forget that I am struggling a bit with the diminutive size of this pen. I wrote 3 pages of A4 this morning and it was a tad uncomfortable. The cap screws on the back easily and is secure, no wobble at all.

Shelley: I have no idea where the avatar came from. It is called Mac Zealot. There are other ones for Linux and Windoze etc.

PlayPen: I have never owned a Sailor nor would ever have the likelyhood of trying one on this relatively remote island. Having bought this pen I have now decided that I ought to buy a 1911. I will clean out the Mini once I have drained the ink from the cartridge and put it away somewhere. It will serve as a nice gift to someone somewhere into the future I am sure.
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#12 AndyHayes

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 20:49

Being the sort who hates selling things, preferring instead to give them away, all ends well as I have found a recipient for the pen. Their smile is worth more than I would have got for the pen!
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#13 J-san

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 21:58

Gah! And just when I was trying to talk myself out of ordering a Sapporo Mini, you had to go and post up this nice review. How many turns does it take to unscrew the pen? I much prefer the snap-caps because I feel unscrewing is too slow.
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#14 playpen

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 12:15

J-San it takes fewer than two turns to unscrew the pen...same thing with the 1911M and the 1911 sterling silver snaps off.

I had the pleasure of playing with all of the nibs at the Sailor display at the show in D.C. yesterday while I was waiting to have my three Sailors customized to my particular hand angle. Talk about seventh heaven! The very beautiful Karen who was explaining the nibs to my daughter and I must have been laughing hysterically to herself because my admiration for these nibs was unbounded and appropriately loudly expressed (can't help it, I'm from Brooklyn LOL)!

When it was my turn to sit in front of the master who observed the way I held my pens, I naturally, could understand not one syllable of what he was saying to the other gentleman behind the counter. I am sure I will NEVER know what they said about my (I am sure, very inferior) hand angle but he worked his magic on the nibs and they are wonderful (as they were before). He was quite serious about what he was doing and when he handed me the first pen to write with, I wrote thank you! on the paper and then drew a huge smile. Instantaneously, both gentlemen broke into huge smiles themselves. What a moment of happiness! (you had to be there).

For any doubters out there, I really asked lots of questions of lots of people who really "know their stuff" and the consensus seems to be that Sailor is IT when it comes to nibs. Since I concur, I am quite happy with these pens. My goal, should I decide to accept it.....will be to save for one of their really serious really gorgeous "higher end" (artistically decorated) pens! smile.gif






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