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Two Jinhao X450's


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37 replies to this topic

#1 Renzhe

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 03:27

Summary: I review these two Jinhao X450's. One of them has Superscript-style bent nib and a black lacquered finish with blotches of red powder; the other has a normal fine nib and a solid black matte finish. They are heavier than usual, but look good and function well for their price.






About the One in Black Lacquer and Red Powder



Body Appearance

This pen follows a classic cigar-shaped design. I suspect it appeals to the widest audience, and I'm okay with that, but if I really could choose, I'd prefer a more cylindrical shape, like Pelikan's Souverän series.
The lacquer on this pen is probably only one layer, definitely no more than two. Embedded in the lacquer are some blotches of metallic red powder, which is reflective, but not shimmery. From a distance, this pen would look solid black; at about 10 feet away, one would notice the red blotches. Below is a close-up of one of the blotches, made from a scanner.

It would appear that there is only red powder at the blotches. Actually, every inch of this pen is covered with the red metallic powder, but one can only see the red powder (besides the powder that forms the blotches) from less than a foot away.
There are two gold-plated steel bands on the cap: one where the clip attaches to the cap, and a thick band at the cap opening. "Jinhao" and "X450" are engraved on this band, with "Jinhao" centered next to the clip and "X450" opposite the clip.

The clip itself is a two-tone, selectively gold-plated folded steel sheet. The plating quality is pretty good. There is only about a half millimeter of overflow on one corner of the steel-colored portion. Upon uncapping, one sees that there are two more gold bands, on both sides of the section.

Ergonomics
This pen is the same size as a Montblanc 146, but due to the brass body, it is very heavy. At 1.6 ounces total, and 1 ounce without the cap, it weighs twice as much as a 146, and more than triple a Lamy Safari. Some might have problems with this. I myself am not bothered by weight.
The section has three patches of ridges: one under the pen for the middle finger, and two on top for the index finger and thumb. These patches or ridges do not create any sharp corners on the section, so if one doesn't use a grip suggested by these patches, the section doesn't become uncomfortable (unlike the Lamy Safari, where one is forced to grip according to the section's shape).
This pen cannot be posted. The pen is long enough that most people would not need to.

Filling system
This uses a cartridge or convertor. A convertor is included with the pen.

Nib
The nib on this pen is selectively gold-plated steel, with gold inside and outside, leaving some exposed steel between the gold. The plating quality is inaccurate; it seems that the plating was shifted down and left a little. However, the plating eccentricity is only noticeable from close up. There are some ornate engravings on the nib along the exposed steel area. In the center, "Jinhao" and "18KGP" is engraved. (Like I care what the gold content of the plating is.)
The tip of the nib is bent up like a Sailor Superscript nib, and the tipping material is flattened. The vendor calls this a "calligraphy nib."

At a normal writing angle, it writes like a normal fine point. As the angle of the pen is lowered, the stroke gets thicker. At the normal writing angle, I wouldn't call this a smooth nib. At lower writing angles, it feels too awkward to be practical. Below are writing samples. Both are made with Pelikan Brilliant Black. The first one demonstrates the increasing line thickness as the angle is lowered. The second one is my attempt to get fei bai out of this.


The ability to make fine and broad strokes from the same nib might be convenient, but I see no use for it. It doesn't emulate a brush very well either. There is no fei bai from this, unless it skips. This nib has a special place somewhere, but not with me.


About the One in Black Matte


Most of what applies to the lacquered X450 also applies to the matte one. Unlike the lacquered X450, the matte one has a textured surface, which repels fingerprints to an extent. The nib on this one is a normal fine nib, and the gold plating is much better, although not perfect.

The tip is as smooth as a post-Chartpak Pelikan, and I think that's smooth enough for most people. At first I found this to be a little too dry. All it took was some spreading of the tines, and it was perfect. Also, it took a little time for me to adjust to the long distance between the section and the tip; the nib is about an inch long. Below is a writing sample, made with Private Reserve American Blue.





About Both


These nibs are, of course, interchangeable. I'll probably never use the Superscript-style nib, but I can switch the other one between the bodies depending on how I feel.

Value
I found these two as a set on eBay for $23 plus shipping. Mmmmm…that's nice.

Conclusion
For the price, I have no complaints; except that the weight might bother some. There are aesthetic imperfections, such as the inaccurate plating, but those are only noticeable if one looks for them.
My vast collection now consists of 5 pens! (These two, Pelikan M620 Stockholm, Lamy Safari, Reform Skywalker) Either one of these Jinhao X450's nicely serves as an all-purpose pen (if I put the normal nib on it); I can take it anywhere without worrying about losing or damaging it. It wouldn't look out of place on a tuxedo either. This was the gap I wished to fill when I bought these. It is now nicely filled.





Edited by Renzhe, 18 August 2007 - 22:18.

Renzhe

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#2 bbqncigars

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 04:05

Sorry, I don't get anything other than a red-on-black (IR maybe?) picture.


Wayne
"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." A. Brilliant

#3 faustulus

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 00:50

Nice review. I recently purchesed one of these myself. The nib on mine is a bit too smooth -- I believe it is a broad. But it lays down a nice line of ink.
How about the clips on your two models? On mine it takes an act of congress to pull it away from the cap and the I haven't found anything it will slip over as there is just too much pressure.
Thanks again for the review.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

#4 Renzhe

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 12:49

The clips are very tight. I could clip them on my jeans but nothing else. A little careful pulling and they were okay.
Renzhe

#5 nigeldun

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 13:25

I have a smooth black version of the second one, and I would add only that mine posts fine, and that it's a medium -- with a very nice level of flow. Just about the best Chinese pen I've found -- and I've used a dozen or so.

#6 LouisA

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 16:22

Bought one on Ebay yesterday, $10.00. For that price I'll give any pen a try. Can't wait to get it.
I use a fountain pen because one ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to write a few reasonable words with a fountain pen.

#7 obmike

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 16:38

"all your base are belong to us"

sweet reference

#8 donwinn

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 17:14

QUOTE(LouisA @ Aug 22 2007, 11:22 AM) View Post
Bought one on Ebay yesterday, $10.00. For that price I'll give any pen a try. Can't wait to get it.

Please let me know where on eBay you purchased it, or the item number. Thank you.
Donnie

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
 


#9 donwinn

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 17:15

QUOTE(Renzhe @ Aug 17 2007, 10:27 PM) View Post
Summary: I review these two Jinhao X450's. One of them has Superscript-style bent nib and a black lacquered finish with blotches of red powder; the other has a normal fine nib and a solid black matte finish. They are heavier than usual, but look good and function well for their price.






About the One in Black Lacquer and Red Powder



Body Appearance

This pen follows a classic cigar-shaped design. I suspect it appeals to the widest audience, and I'm okay with that, but if I really could choose, I'd prefer a more cylindrical shape, like Pelikan's Souverän series.
The lacquer on this pen is probably only one layer, definitely no more than two. Embedded in the lacquer are some blotches of metallic red powder, which is reflective, but not shimmery. From a distance, this pen would look solid black; at about 10 feet away, one would notice the red blotches. Below is a close-up of one of the blotches, made from a scanner.

It would appear that there is only red powder at the blotches. Actually, every inch of this pen is covered with the red metallic powder, but one can only see the red powder (besides the powder that forms the blotches) from less than a foot away.
There are two gold-plated steel bands on the cap: one where the clip attaches to the cap, and a thick band at the cap opening. "Jinhao" and "X450" are engraved on this band, with "Jinhao" centered next to the clip and "X450" opposite the clip.

The clip itself is a two-tone, selectively gold-plated folded steel sheet. The plating quality is pretty good. There is only about a half millimeter of overflow on one corner of the steel-colored portion. Upon uncapping, one sees that there are two more gold bands, on both sides of the section.

Ergonomics
This pen is the same size as a Montblanc 146, but due to the brass body, it is very heavy. At 1.6 ounces total, and 1 ounce without the cap, it weighs twice as much as a 146, and more than triple a Lamy Safari. Some might have problems with this. I myself am not bothered by weight.
The section has three patches of ridges: one under the pen for the middle finger, and two on top for the index finger and thumb. These patches or ridges do not create any sharp corners on the section, so if one doesn't use a grip suggested by these patches, the section doesn't become uncomfortable (unlike the Lamy Safari, where one is forced to grip according to the section's shape).
This pen cannot be posted. The pen is long enough that most people would not need to.

Filling system
This uses a cartridge or convertor. A convertor is included with the pen.

Nib
The nib on this pen is selectively gold-plated steel, with gold inside and outside, leaving some exposed steel between the gold. The plating quality is inaccurate; it seems that the plating was shifted down and left a little. However, the plating eccentricity is only noticeable from close up. There are some ornate engravings on the nib along the exposed steel area. In the center, "Jinhao" and "18KGP" is engraved. (Like I care what the gold content of the plating is.)
The tip of the nib is bent up like a Sailor Superscript nib, and the tipping material is flattened. The vendor calls this a "calligraphy nib."

At a normal writing angle, it writes like a normal fine point. As the angle of the pen is lowered, the stroke gets thicker. At the normal writing angle, I wouldn't call this a smooth nib. At lower writing angles, it feels too awkward to be practical. Below are writing samples. Both are made with Pelikan Brilliant Black. The first one demonstrates the increasing line thickness as the angle is lowered. The second one is my attempt to get fei bai out of this.


The ability to make fine and broad strokes from the same nib might be convenient, but I see no use for it. It doesn't emulate a brush very well either. There is no fei bai from this, unless it skips. This nib has a special place somewhere, but not with me.


About the One in Black Matte


Most of what applies to the lacquered X450 also applies to the matte one. Unlike the lacquered X450, the matte one has a textured surface, which repels fingerprints to an extent. The nib on this one is a normal fine nib, and the gold plating is much better, although not perfect.

The tip is as smooth as a post-Chartpak Pelikan, and I think that's smooth enough for most people. At first I found this to be a little too dry. All it took was some spreading of the tines, and it was perfect. Also, it took a little time for me to adjust to the long distance between the section and the tip; the nib is about an inch long. Below is a writing sample, made with Private Reserve American Blue.





About Both


These nibs are, of course, interchangeable. I'll probably never use the Superscript-style nib, but I can switch the other one between the bodies depending on how I feel.

Value
I found these two as a set on eBay for $23 plus shipping. Mmmmm…that's nice.

Conclusion
For the price, I have no complaints; except that the weight might bother some. There are aesthetic imperfections, such as the inaccurate plating, but those are only noticeable if one looks for them.
My vast collection now consists of 5 pens! (These two, Pelikan M620 Stockholm, Lamy Safari, Reform Skywalker) Either one of these Jinhao X450's nicely serves as an all-purpose pen (if I put the normal nib on it); I can take it anywhere without worrying about losing or damaging it. It wouldn't look out of place on a tuxedo either. This was the gap I wished to fill when I bought these. It is now nicely filled.





Please provide the eBay item number. Thank you.
Donnie

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
 


#10 LouisA

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 17:54

Chinese Pen Supplier on EBay Follow this link to a seller on Ebay who specializes in this brand.
I use a fountain pen because one ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to write a few reasonable words with a fountain pen.

#11 Keng

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 19:28

Interesting pen review Renzhe. Red sparkle finishing reminds me of my mini Duke.
Mike
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
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#12 mr T.

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 11:06

QUOTE
For the price, I have no complaints; except that the weight might bother some. There are aesthetic imperfections, such as the inaccurate plating, but those are only noticeable if one looks for them.


Thanks for the review. Seen the price, they look like nice pens to me. However: these pens are made in China. The fact they are leads to the question why these pens are so cheap? Are these pens made to last? Is there anything wrong with the used material or the conditions under wich these pens are made?

#13 Renzhe

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 00:45

Donwinn, I PM'd you.
Oh, and can you not...umm...quote my entire review? laugh.gif

mr T., you asked
1. Why are Jinhao X450's priced as they are?
2. Are Jinhao X450's durable?
3. Is there anything "wrong" with brass, steel, gold, plastic, rubber (?), lacquer, and possibly other trace materials that compose Jinhao X450's?
4. Is there anything "wrong" with the conditions in which Jinhao X450's are made?

If no one's willing to do enough research to answer these questions well (I'm not.), would you do that yourself?

Edited by Renzhe, 24 August 2007 - 00:50.

Renzhe

#14 nimrod

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 03:50

Thanks for the review. Reviews of cheap pens are appreciated.

#15 Renzhe

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 09:14

Sorry mates. It looks like my image host cropped a large portion off the bottom of my pictures. I don't have these pens anymore so I can't take new pictures.
Renzhe

#16 JSorrell

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 19:18

$23 for two X450s? I got two for $1 each!

I absolutely love them. My two X450's are a "wine fog" and some sort of marbled black finish.

They write very, very, very well for $1/$10/$23 pens, in my opinion. I convinced my friend to go buy some on ebay as well. I'll upload pictures of my pens later, as it seems the X450 line has a large variety in styles.

#17 goodguy

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 22:54

Thank you for the informative and interesting review.
Yet another proof you dont need to spend a fortune to enjoy a FP.
Respect to all

#18 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 01:58

Very detailed review! Thank you.

As an aside, I got a trial cart of PR American Blue and I like the color a LOT.

#19 Silvermink

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 22:18

My gold X450, unfortunately, seems to have been crafted from pure refined suckulon - it takes forever to get it writing and then it'll stop if you leave it for a couple minutes, even capped. Considering I paid less than $5, I'm willing to give it another shot, though - pretty sure I just got a dud.

My Jinhao Long March, in contrast, has never been anything but great.

Edited by Silvermink, 22 December 2008 - 22:31.

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#20 adallak

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 00:37

QUOTE (faustulus @ Aug 18 2007, 07:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nice review. I recently purchesed one of these myself. The nib on mine is a bit too smooth -- I believe it is a broad. But it lays down a nice line of ink.
How about the clips on your two models? On mine it takes an act of congress to pull it away from the cap and the I haven't found anything it will slip over as there is just too much pressure.
Thanks again for the review.

And it takes an act of congress, and a resolution of UN to pull off the cap on mine. smile.gif

Edited by adallak, 23 December 2008 - 00:37.

“Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.” Jimmy Durante quotes (American Comedian, Pianist and Singer, 1893-1980)






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