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Jinhao Zhuge Liang Commemorative Review

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13 replies to this topic

#1 matthewst1



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Posted 28 January 2009 - 06:12

Hey all,

In accordance with the current influx of Jinhao reviews; I thought I'd contribute with a review of the only Jinhao I own, but one I love; the Jinaho Zhuge Liang Commemorative. I love the three kingdoms era of China and the characters and figures involved; and Zhuge Liang is a symbol of learning and wisdom. As a student, the significance of this representation made me want to own and use this pen throughout my studies.

First Impressions:

The pen came packaged in the standard Jinhao Orange outer sleeve; and within this was a nice wooden box filled with papers; and of course, the pen itself. Absolutely amazing presentation considering the price of the pen; excellent value for money. 9/10

Appearance and Design:

I love chinese characters, and this pen is covered in it. Definitely a plus. The gold plating and embossing/engravings are pretty well done - but there is still an air of 'cheap' about the pen. For the price, however, it is still amazingly done. Zhuge himself is gleaming in gold with his trademark fan and head gear. I also love the 8 trigrams (bagua) on the top of the cap. As a martial artist; the philosophy behind it means a lot to me. 9/10

Weight and Dimensions:

This pen is HEAVY. Solid brass construction coupled with its relatively large size has resulted in quite a bit of weight. Excellent value for money though, considering the price to weight ratio. 9/10


This is perhaps the best nib for the price I have ever used. It is one of, if not THE smoothest nib I own. Even though it lacks character (it is pretty stiff); the smoothness cannot be overlooked. I is also quite an attractive nib, and is quite large in size. This pen seems to perform well on any paper; cheap or expensive; which is great for me as a student. It writes about a medium, as you can see from the writing comparison below. 9/10

Filling system

The standard cartridge/converter affair. Pen came with the converter; which works well. I prefer piston or other 'fixed' fillers in general; but for the price - the filling system here is more than adequate. 9/10

Cost and Value

Here is where this pen shines brightest. I paid somewhere between $30 - $35 AUD for this pen, and in Australia you can't even buy a Parker Frontier for this price, and it is about the same price as a jotter! Amazing value for money. I bought it from eBay from one of the chinese pen stores. 10/10


If you want a smooth writing, impressive looking and weighty pen with a distinctly chinese flair to it, but don't want to break the bank (at all!) then I'd definitely recommend this Jinhao. A real winner in my book. 55/60



NB: Below are some size comparisons with come of my favourite daily writers. Left to right - Jinhao Z.L.C, Parker 51, Waterman Expert II, Lamy 2000, Waterman Carene, Lamy Safari, CS 388, CS 75, Parker Victory. Excuse the poor quality pics sad.gif

Edited by matthewst1, 28 January 2009 - 06:20.

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#2 SammyZadgan



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Posted 28 January 2009 - 06:33

nice review...especially like the size comparison pics.

i bought a similar Jinhao a while a go, and while agree with everything you have written...i would be interested to see if you have any ink flow problems once you start using it more regularily as i have...still for the price, one cant complain that much!


#3 matthewst1



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Posted 28 January 2009 - 06:36

Well I've actually had this pen for a few months (late review, I know) and I've used it pretty often. I haven't had any flow problems regarding skipping or anything using Waterman inks; but I did notice that the pen writes better posted, as there seems to be more weight on the nib, and it seems to flow more smoothly.
Wanted List: Pelikan M800 F; GvFC Pernambuco F

#4 lightweaver


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Posted 28 January 2009 - 16:13

Nice review and a nice pen. Jinhao make some fantastic looking pens, but more importantly, lovely smooth nibs. Just wish they would make more fine nibs available.
They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?
-- Robert Frost --

#5 romevi


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Posted 01 November 2009 - 19:33

I noticed on eBay that the same pen's name has two designs: one with the Chinese person, and one with the Chinese dragon. I asked the seller of the one with the dragon what the difference was, and he said the pen was "Dragon's Offspring," but that what made it the Commemorative pen for Zhuge Liang was an included poem written by him.

Anyone know the difference?
Esterbrook | Nakaya Cigar | Sailor 1911 | Lamy Safari

#6 tmenyc



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Posted 24 September 2010 - 17:22

I received a Zhuge Liang as a present from a young friend who recently traveled through Russia and China from west to east. He bought it in Shanghai, and told me that after much negotiation he paid nearly nothing for it. In fact, I didn't know which model it was until I reached the end of the alphabetical Jinhao reviews here, and there it was! So I'll add a quick confirmation of everything Matthew noted earlier. It's beautiful, elegant, heavy but not too heavy when unposted (although definitely too heavy to use when posted); writes an incredibly smooth, broadish medium line. Since it appears write a little wet, I think its next fill is going to be with Kung Te-cheng, Noodlers' replcation of the first royal ink of ancient China, which has tended to run a little dry.


#7 Theseus


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 14:02

I was VERY much taken with this pen based on the review here, so I ordered one from our friend comeon1788 a few weeks ago. :puddle: I received it yesterday, but I guess I should have paid much closer attention to romevi86's important observation noted above. Because while I thought I was buying the pen pictured in matthewst1's review, I actually received a pen with the "dragon's offspring" motif instead. No image of Zhuge Liang on the pen body, no "8 trigrams (bagua)" design on the endcap, plus a very different-looking engraving on the nib, and a rather unappealingly gaudy (in my opinion) dragon clip design. :crybaby: I'd swear this is not the pen pictured by the vendor when I chose to buy it, but I can't verify that since product pics from old eBay auctions are always pulled down once the auction's over. Comeon1788 has a new Zhuge Liang auction ad up on eBay now, and this new one is indeed identical to what he shipped to me.

I have not yet inked this pen to see if it writes as beautifully as matthewst1's ZL, but from a purely aesthetic POV I really could have done without that dragon-shaped pocket clip, while the trigrams-and-yinyang symbol is sorely missed! :bonk:

I had a cordial email exchange with comeon1788 about this, but he basically stuck to his guns and said "We call it Commemorative fountain pen for Zhege lian ,because it comes with a bamboo poet writen by Zhuge Lian, if you want to purchase a pen with Zhuge Lian 'pattern ,you may refer to item 150325188662 ." (sic. Hmm, I always love reading Chinese English. The Jinhao product catalog, in fact, is a real kick to read!)

No, I will not be buying yet another ZL pen in order to get this right. And it just doesn't seem worth arguing the point any further with the vendor; he's very nice but I was misled, so I guess I'll just learn to love the Zhuge Liang pen I've got now -- dragon clip and all. :(

(On a brighter note, I should add that this was a double order, and the other Jinhao pen I received I REALLY love: a Chinese Red Army's Long March FP that is, fittingly, very RED and very beautiful. B)

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#8 kuno



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Posted 14 October 2010 - 04:33

Jinhaos are really good value pens, aren't they? :thumbup:
One wonders what's in store when Shanghai decide to poach better designs from Europe and improve quality control...

#9 dewdrops777


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Posted 14 October 2010 - 16:33

Nice! For that price, the pen is really good. They make some very nice pens. I have seen them on ebay. By the way, i like that "Ying-Yang" symbol on the cap.
"Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within" Alfred Lord Tennyson

#10 Skyppere


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Posted 14 October 2010 - 16:51

Did this come with a medium nib? Are there fine nibs offered? I know often asian mediums are like our fine nibs...

#11 Skyppere


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Posted 14 October 2010 - 16:56

Oh and in looking on E-bay I see only silver versions, not the gold colored one that you have. would you mind telling me the seller you got this from?

#12 oldjock


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Posted 17 February 2011 - 23:05

On the basis of this review I have just received this pen.
I will get back to you on how it goes but so far certainly looks as you've described.
I could not resist as a new e-bay seller on the U.K. site is selling them for £10:95 Free Shipping.
Anyone interested the seller claims to have the largest Jinhao stock outside China his name is torapens.

#13 Skeet


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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:16

Wow! That's an awesome presentation box.

#14 jiamu166


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Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:05

Support the Chinese pen!!!

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