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Pelikan 400nn


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37 replies to this topic

#1 bdngrd

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 14:53

Pelikan 400nn

I obtained this pen in a trade that had initially gone bad. It was not the pen promised, but the person I was dealing with did go out of their way to make things right. I decided to keep the pen, yet because I was looking for a 100n, my perception of this one might be a bit skewed. I have not been able to decide if I want to keep it- but because our review section lacks one, I thought I would write it up.

First Impressions:

The pen is sort of a blending of the old 100n style and a modern m400. I was surprised at how small and thin the pen was, although I guess it compares with other vintages, and it seems like many moderns have gone big and fat. This one has the well-known green stripes, gold clip, and has classic pelikan looks. It has a tapered end and finial cap, so it seems a little different than my others, vintage or modern.

Appearance/Finish
The one I have is in very nice shape, desk or pocket wear only, I would say, with one small flea-bite in the filler cap. The transparency of the barrel is still quite clear. The cap unscrews with a little less than one turn. Its capband reads, Germany Pelikan 400. The imprint of the bird and two chicks is interesting as it is not on a flat surface, it is on a domed point. It seems very business-like and I don't think it would not attract much attention, however, any Pelikan owner would recognize its heritage.

Design, Size Weight
This is a small pen, measuring 5 3/16 inches capped, and 5 ¾ posted. I normally don't post. The Pelikna's balance works well that way, and it seems to be sized right when posted. I feel the same way about the 200 - m400 size. I would like it to post more securely, it would fly off pretty easily as there is little friction to keep it on the end.
I think it is celluloid, please correct me if I am wrong. It has the classic bird-beak clip which is a bit more narrow and pointed than the moderns I have. There is not else much to say about the green and black bird's look. I should also say that it feels like a light pen. The whole experience reminds me of my Parker vacs when it comes to the feel of the pen in use.

Nib design and performance
The nib seems sized correctly for the small nature of the pen, it is engraved with the Pelikan logo, and 14C 585, and an F for its size. I do not know if the nibs on these screw out like M series Pelikans, perhaps someone who knows can chime in. I tried to gently unscrew it but was unwilling to put too much pressure into my attempt.
It is a bit scratchy, and I have so far resisted attempts to smooth it out, worried that I might mess it up. It seems to be consistent with a modern Pelikan Fine. The nib has a down-turned profile to it, I am not sure if that is how it should be or if it has been bent. There is no flex. Nonetheless, it is a reliable starter and has worked well with the Waterman BB I have filled it with. If I were to use it for a long writing session, I would need it to be smoother. The feed has vertical fins which give it character. Other than my 100n, I have never seen a feed like this.

Filling system
It is your typical Pelikan piston filler, and it works nicely and holds a good amount of ink, given the pen's small size. Pistons are my favorite filling system because of they hold a lot of ink and are integrated with the body of the pen. They may be more of a trouble to clean, but I don't mind the maintenance. The piston knob turns a bit stiff, I don't know if it will get lubed by the ink and start to turn more smoothly in the future, I hope so.

Cost/Value
I wish I could say. I got this one in the above mentioned trade, and am not sure what it is worth. I'm not sure I am keeping it so you may see it on the marketplace soon. Who knows, though, just in the writing of this review it has started to grow on me.

Attached Images

  • pelikan_400_005a.jpg

Edited by bdngrd, 13 January 2008 - 16:35.

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#2 dwmatteson

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 16:03

Thanks for the review, bdngrd. I believe the nib does screw out (at least it does on my nearly identical 400nn). Perhaps some time soaking would help loosen it up and make it easier to remove.

Mine has a KM (ball medium) nib, and I find that it writes a tad fine for a medium (which suits me just fine). I imagine a little tweaking for flow and it would write more like a true medium.

The piston in the 400nn is plastic (as opposed to cork), so you should be able to unscrew the nib and apply a dab of pure silicone grease to get the piston going. Mine was a bit stiff when I received it, but the silicone grease has it working beautifully.

Don

#3 jbn10161

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 16:43

Gorgeous pen bdngrd!
JN

#4 errantmarginalia

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 20:08

The nibs on these do indeed screw out, and the threading is identical to that of modern Pelikans. Best,
David

#5 andyk

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 21:12

Nice review, nice pen, but if you are going to unscrew the nib, try soaking in warm water for a while, tried it with mine a while back the nib seemed to be unscrewing but the nib and feed came out leaving the collar firmly stuck in the section.

Eventually managed to get the nib and feed back in and got it working, but flow is a bit temperamental now, but with a bit of priming not too bad.

The vertical feed is what it should have in a 50s pen, so sounds like an original nib.

Enjoy your pen, but be careful if you do try to unscrew the nib.

Andy

#6 bdngrd

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 22:19

Thanks for the info, does that mean I could could screw a m200-400 nib into it and it would work?
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#7 andyk

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 22:26

It should do, that's what I was trying to do when I had a problem with mine.

Andy

#8 piembi

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 18:33

QUOTE(bdngrd @ Jan 13 2008, 11:19 PM) View Post
Thanks for the info, does that mean I could could screw a m200-400 nib into it and it would work?


You can try but don't use too much force.
Any vintage nib I had so far fitted nicely into a M400 but not any modern nib could be srewed into a vintage 400/400NN.
Don't have an explanation for it.

Actually I would try to fix the vintage nib before you replace it. They can be wonderful writers.
I am not a fine nib person and so I am not so happy with some fine nibs in my vintage 400s - but this is not the fault of the nib! I have some wonderful medium or broad nibs I like much better.

#9 bdngrd

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 01:57

Update:
I spent some time aligning the nibs, when I checked with a loupe, it was clearly out of alignment, so with some careful tine adjustment and switching to Waterman BB, it now is as smooth as can be.

I have come to the conclusion that one should check any scratchy nib with a loupe, and always use Waterman BB or FB as the first test run.

Oh, and just for fun, no one has named the text yet from the background. Just throwing it out there, it is a great adventure classic!

Edited by bdngrd, 18 January 2008 - 01:59.

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#10 dwmatteson

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 02:23

The text was one of the first things I noticed! Not too many Jack London fans, I guess. smile.gif

Glad to hear you got the nib squared away.

Don

#11 piembi

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 21:54

QUOTE(dwmatteson @ Jan 18 2008, 03:23 AM) View Post
The text was one of the first things I noticed! Not too many Jack London fans, I guess. smile.gif


Don't know the English title. Back then when I read it, it was German and called Der Seewolf.

#12 Aysedasi

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 17:57

Just resurrecting this to say thanks - very useful. I picked one of these up on flebay today for £35. Does that sound a decent buy? It was described as in excellent cndition and full working order. Perhaps my thoughts can follow when I've received it and tried it out. It will actually be my first Pelikan.........

I see now (should have looked before.....) that the nib on my 400NN is a KF. Now I've looked this up in various places, so I know what it is, but is that something to be pleased or disappointed about, do you think?

Edited by Aysedasi, 26 May 2008 - 18:51.


#13 MYU

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 20:32

Nice review! The Pelikan 400NN is a classic design, especially with the rounded tapered ends. And one of the key aspects is that this model is late enough in Pelikan model lineage to benefit from nib interchange with the M400, so there are many nib sizes available. I replaced my stock vintage nib with a modern fine, to preserve the original.

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#14 dwmatteson

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 22:37

QUOTE(Aysedasi @ May 26 2008, 01:57 PM) View Post
Just resurrecting this to say thanks - very useful. I picked one of these up on flebay today for £35. Does that sound a decent buy? It was described as in excellent cndition and full working order. Perhaps my thoughts can follow when I've received it and tried it out. It will actually be my first Pelikan.........

I see now (should have looked before.....) that the nib on my 400NN is a KF. Now I've looked this up in various places, so I know what it is, but is that something to be pleased or disappointed about, do you think?


Sounds like a pretty good deal to me; that's about US$70, right? Well done!

My 400nn has a KM nib. It's a nice nib with some decent spring to it. I can't say I notice that much of a difference between the KM and a standard nib, but maybe I'm missing something. smile.gif I don't think I'd be particularly pleased or disappointed in the nib; you've got a great pen!

Don

#15 simonrob

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 22:52

QUOTE(MYU @ May 26 2008, 08:32 PM) View Post
Nice review! The Pelikan 400NN is a classic design, especially with the rounded tapered ends. And one of the key aspects is that this model is late enough in Pelikan model lineage to benefit from nib interchange with the M400, so there are many nib sizes available. I replaced my stock vintage nib with a modern fine, to preserve the original.


I suppose it's nice to be able to do that, but doesn't that rather defeat the purpose? For my taste, the point of buying vintage Pelikans isn't just that they're so attractive but that their nibs are marvelous to write with - superior to their current counterparts. Through various ebay sellers I've been lucky enough to buy Pelikans from the 50s with nibs that are both oblique (fine through BB) and have real semi-to-full flex (not just the slight springiness that some modern Pelikan nibs have). Not only is this combination unavailable with current Pelikan nibs, but vintage Pelikan nibs offer far more line variation than their modern counterparts (they tend to be wetter writers, too).
Simon

#16 Aysedasi

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 10:10

QUOTE(dwmatteson @ May 26 2008, 11:37 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Aysedasi @ May 26 2008, 01:57 PM) View Post
Just resurrecting this to say thanks - very useful. I picked one of these up on flebay today for £35. Does that sound a decent buy? It was described as in excellent cndition and full working order. Perhaps my thoughts can follow when I've received it and tried it out. It will actually be my first Pelikan.........

I see now (should have looked before.....) that the nib on my 400NN is a KF. Now I've looked this up in various places, so I know what it is, but is that something to be pleased or disappointed about, do you think?


Sounds like a pretty good deal to me; that's about US$70, right? Well done!

My 400nn has a KM nib. It's a nice nib with some decent spring to it. I can't say I notice that much of a difference between the KM and a standard nib, but maybe I'm missing something. smile.gif I don't think I'd be particularly pleased or disappointed in the nib; you've got a great pen!

Don



Well my 400NN finally arrived this morning - nearly a fortnight from Germany - and my feelings are del;ight and disappointment at the same time. Delight with the pen itself, which is in fantastic condition - barely a mark on it. Fills beautifully, looks gorgeous. But the nib...... I guess my feelings are brought about by the fact that I tend not to get on with fine nibs. It's also the most flex I've ever encountered (I'm quite an amateur really, when it comes to FPs) but although the ink flow is good, it just seems thin and scratchy. With the KF nib, I suppose I was expecting to seem some evidence of a 'ball' of some kind at the tip of the nib - there is nothing. It just looks very flat. No obvious damage - is it just worn away?


#17 NABodie

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 13:03

I picked up a Tortoise 400nn with an EF nib a cpl of weeks ago from the market place. Absolutly beautiful pen with a great feel to it. The nib puts down a F/M line which surprised me but is much to my liking. I think it will be in my collection for some time to come. Its good to know I can try some different modern nibs in it. I might have to look into some of Mr. Binders nibs to try out. The one I have has a + in front of Pelikan 400 on the cap band. Anyone know if that is a standard mark or what it stands for?

#18 Aysedasi

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 13:57

QUOTE(NABodie @ Jun 10 2008, 02:03 PM) View Post
I picked up a Tortoise 400nn with an EF nib a cpl of weeks ago from the market place. Absolutly beautiful pen with a great feel to it. The nib puts down a F/M line which surprised me but is much to my liking. I think it will be in my collection for some time to come. Its good to know I can try some different modern nibs in it. I might have to look into some of Mr. Binders nibs to try out. The one I have has a + in front of Pelikan 400 on the cap band. Anyone know if that is a standard mark or what it stands for?


I thought I read that modern nibs don't always fit the 400NN?

#19 simonrob

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 14:20

QUOTE(Aysedasi @ Jun 10 2008, 10:10 AM) View Post
Well my 400NN finally arrived this morning - nearly a fortnight from Germany - and my feelings are del;ight and disappointment at the same time. Delight with the pen itself, which is in fantastic condition - barely a mark on it. Fills beautifully, looks gorgeous. But the nib...... I guess my feelings are brought about by the fact that I tend not to get on with fine nibs. It's also the most flex I've ever encountered (I'm quite an amateur really, when it comes to FPs) but although the ink flow is good, it just seems thin and scratchy. With the KF nib, I suppose I was expecting to seem some evidence of a 'ball' of some kind at the tip of the nib - there is nothing. It just looks very flat. No obvious damage - is it just worn away?


Is the nib marked KF? If only the barrel of the pen is so marked, the nib may well be something quite different (or is it marked EF?) (I have vintage Pelikans whose nibs don't come close to matching what's on the barrel). A KF nib should look as shown on the top chart here:

http://www.thepengui...ry/history.html

It certainly shouldn't be flat and (I may be wrong) probably isn't as flexible as you're describing. Have you looked at your nib under a loupe or magnifying glass? If it's scratchy (no Pelikan nib should be), this may mean the tips aren't properly aligned or that the tipping material has come off.

Simon

#20 NABodie

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 15:38

[/quote]
I thought I read that modern nibs don't always fit the 400NN?
[/quote]

What I saw early in this thread was the threads were the same on the new nibs which suggests to me they will interchange. I also seem to recall from Richards site that they will fit as well.

Cheers,
NB






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