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  1. So, this is an interesting pen. I mean, for <$5 shipped (ebay), there is nothing to complain about at all. I had to seat the nib/feed a little tighter in the section, and other than that, it's surprisingly nice for the price (like everyone says about them)... But what in heaven's name am I going to do with this pen? haha Once I figure out a writing style that works consistently with it, I can see it being fantastic for greeting cards and envelopes and fancy things like that... but for the most part? I suspect I will end up putting a "plain" #6 nib on it, so it gets used more than twice a year. Anyone else using one of these fun things on a more frequent basis? I've seen that some folks use them for sketching, but I think that would drive me insane until I get a better handle on controlling the line width. Excuse the handwriting... it looks absolutely terrible when I try to use my normal writing style. The fact that I'm left-handed doesn't help, because the nice sharp 'swoosh' effect a fude achieves at the end of strokes in Chinese calligraphy is pretty much limited to right-handed use.
  2. This is the third part of a series of reviews I’m doing on Chinese Boss inks. So far I’ve found this brand of ink to be the most prevalent in China, but totally unknown in the West. They are great cheap inks and all are scented as well. Boss Enterprise “Laoban” ink (not to be confused with the Boss line of inks made by Ostrich in Tianjin) is produced in Guiyang by Guizhou Boss Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. More information about the company can be found here [http://www.made-in-china.com/showroom/gzboss/companyinfo/Guizhou-Boss-Enterprise-Guiyang-Boss-Chemical-Industry-Co-Ltd-.html] and their descriptions of their inks here [http://www.made-in-china.com/showroom/gzboss/product-detailsxmJCnEToQlW/China-Handwriting-Ink.html]. Boss inks are available in the following standard colors: 1. Black 2. Carbon Black 3. Blue-Black 4. Blue 5. Red Close up of ink comparisons taken in natural light: Close up comparing Boss Carbon Black and Noodler’s Black (B = Boss, N = Noodler’s): As you can see, it's completely waterproof: Boss Carbon Black is deep, dark and permanent. It also flows well and lays an excellent line. The only drawback to this ink what's typical for carbon pigmented inks: its ability to stain refilled cartridges or converters and potential clogging if left to dry in the pen. This ink requires regular use and cleaning of whatever pen it is in. If you need a decent permanent black and can find this ink for sale, it’s worth your consideration. Boss inks are only 4 RMB (US$0.62) per 52ml bottle in China. Thanks for reading!
  3. Pen World magazine gave me kind permission to 'reprint' Barry Gabay's article on Chinese fountain pens. You can read it here. The pens pictured in the article are from my personal collection.
  4. chromantic

    Deli S668Ef Budget Fp

    I came across these Deli fountain pens on eBay when they popped up while I was doing a search for 'dark red metallic fountain pens' (hoping to snag another Jinhao 611 in that color). Anyway, this red Deli caught my eye; it's not a really, really dark red like the Jinhao (which is the color of Levenger Claret) but a slightly deeper red than a metallic red Platinum Plaisir. The Deli also comes in shiny black, which I also bought (two other colors are returned in searching, neither appeals to me). The other thing that caught my eye was the minimalist shape, plain cylinder with a very slight taper on the barrel and the cap is slightly wider than the barrel. The clip on both red and black is metal sandwiched between two flat plastic pieces matching the pen color with an open slot on the upper half. Size-wise, we talking roughly comparable to a Plaisir or a Waterman JIF, just a smidge over 5 1/2". One thing that surprised me, as it wasn't really obvious in the eBay pics, is that both the barrel and the section taper from round to triangular; the angles are very rounded, however, and I don't find it at all uncomfortable, like I do the Safari. The flattened sides on the barrel do help a little in keeping it from rolling around too much on a flat surface if you lay it down unposted. Posting is quite solid, with only gentle pressure needed. These pens are plastic, btw, cap, barrel and section (the shiny black section is common to all four colors of the pen). The black pen is shiny and smooth, the red has a metallic look and a little more tactile feel to it - it's smooth but not slick, like the black. The black is quite attractive in a quiet, unassuming, understated way. The red, though, is absolutely stunning. Whereas light reflected off the black is bright, sharp and hard-edged, light reflecting off the red is soft and diffuse, as if the pen is glowing. You can see it in the photo, especially on the cap. So, how do they write? Well enough, in my opinion. While you won't mistake them for a Parker or a Pelikan, they're pretty smooth on the BnR spiral paper, with some toothiness on cheaper paper but certainly not what I'd call scratchy, by a long shot. The nibs are marked EF but I would hesitate to describe them thus; not as fine as my Plaisir fine, thicker than a Baoer 388 fine but thinner than an 801 fine, slightly thicker than Vector fine, thinner than some of my P45 Ms but thinner than others, and way thicker than my Sailor Clear Candy MF (the finest writer I have - it's like spider silk). The feed seems good. I loaded the red with Oku-yama and it's wet enough to allow some sheen on the BnR, not nearly the excessive coating the Baoer 801 I also have loaded with it provides but some, enough to be noticeable. The pen comes in a nice plastic box, solid white base and clear upper cover, similar to a Plaisir box without the hinge. Two short international cartridges and a converter are included. The converter has a metal collar around the opening so it flush with the sides of the ink chamber but I just double checked and a standard int'l. converter did fit. This converter is one of those that the rear metal collar around the twist knob unscrews from the chamber to enable more thorough cleaning. The black and red Delis cost $11.33 with $1.99 shipping (from Hong Kong); they arrived in just under 2 weeks. I'm quite pleased with these pens and may order a couple more of the red ones. edit: changed topic heading, pen is S668EF, not 688, my bad
  5. HisNibs.com update -- New Jinhao Dreadnaught & Duke Harlequin colors Greetings all, http://www.hisnibs.com/HisNibsOlympicInspired_small.jpg Watching the Olympics has inspired me to work out again! Click the link below if you'd like to see my latest Facebook Live video -- mistakes and all. Dreadnaught & Pen World video The next batch of pens from China -- and a few domestic ones as well -- have been restocked. As in the past, there are too many models coming in to point them out individually, so again I'm linking them on the homepage http://www.hisnibs.com/ near the top, with a 'back in stock! ' label. There are still more coming, which will be mentioned in the next newsletter. I'll list a few of the many models that have returned, in this newsletter, but again -- just going to the homepage http://www.hisnibs.com/ is the easiest way to see what's available -- and I'll be updating you with more in short order. As this newsletter goes out to a mailing list of thousands of customers, please understand if there's a delay in answering your email queries or orders after one of these is sent. We will respond in order received and as soon as possible! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~in this issue * Jinhao Dreadnaught new colors * New Duke Harlequin Colors * New Python pen cases * Jinhao Wooden Chariot restocked * Duke Ruby * Baoer Over-the-Top2 * Bookworm Yellow Filigree (western or Chinese nib) * Jinhao Pagoda * 'His Nibs' page on Facebook ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jinhao Dreadnaught new colors http://www.hisnibs.com/JinhaoDreadnaught7GroupCapped2_small.jpg "The pen arrived yesterday. It looks great, a bit heavy though. And it writes magnificent, the point really slides over the paper. I also have the original mb149 meisterstück, but i would not know which one of them writes the better. Thanks for the very correct handling and shipping. Kind regards," J. V., Belgium "The Dreadnaught FP arrived today . . . it's perfect! The wide girth, nice center of gravity (even when posted), and smooth-writing medium-to-broad (always my preference!) nib makes it my favorite writing instrument. It's every bit as good-if not even better-as you-know-who. . . I might have to purchase another color to have two in my collection. Definitely a superior pen!" C. H., Twinsburg, OH "Hi Norman, I received my Jinhao Dreadnaught and Silver Chain Dragon fountain pens. I prepped them and inked them up with Diamine Oxblood ink. Wow! What a wonderfully smooth writing experience with each of them! I write with the pen unposted. Along with the smooth writing, I truly enjoy the weight and balance of each pen in my writing hand, but especially that of the Dreadnaught. Thank you for not only providing such a pleasant writing experience, but also for the care that you give to each and every nib, and the special personal touch that you added to my order. This was my first purchase from you, and am looking forward to my next one." T. L., Jamaica, NY More photos here... - http://www.hisnibs.com/dreadnaught.htm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ New Duke Harlequin Colors http://www.hisnibs.com/DukeHarlequinGroupRandom_small.jpg See more here... - http://www.hisnibs.com/duke_116.htm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ New Python pen cases http://www.hisnibs.com/PythonGrayPenCaseClosed_small.jpghttp://www.hisnibs.com/PythonBrownPenCaseClosed_small.jpg Read more here... - http://www.hisnibs.com/pen_storage.htm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jinhao Wooden Chariot restocked http://www.hisnibs.com/JinhaoWoodenChariotCapPen2_small1.jpg See more photos here... - http://www.hisnibs.com/wooden_chariot.htm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Duke Ruby http://www.hisnibs.com/DukeRubyCapNib_small1.jpg More here... - http://www.hisnibs.com/ruby.htm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Baoer Over-the-Top2 http://www.hisnibs.com/BaoerOverTheTopPairCapPen_small.jpg See more here... - http://www.hisnibs.com/over-the-top2.htm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bookworm Yellow Filigree (western or Chinese nib) http://www.hisnibs.com/BookWormYellowFilligreePenCap_small.jpg See more here... - http://www.hisnibs.com/yellow_filigree.htm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jinhao Pagoda http://www.hisnibs.com/JinhaoPagodaPairRandom3_small.jpg See more... - http://www.hisnibs.com/pagoda.htm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 'His Nibs' page on Facebook Join us for daily news updates from around the world about fountain pens, ink, handwriting and more! Click here to visit our Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/HisNibs1/ -- Regards, Norman Haase www.hisnibs.com www.facebook.com/hisnibs1
  6. Davjohn

    The Simple Jinhao 611

    The Jinhao 611 is one of the several pens that I bought from ebay. They came to me shipped in a padded brown envelope rather than "coffins" or boxes. If I remember correctly, I paid no more than $7 for each pen + shipping. I purchased 3 of them because I was attracted to the simple streamline shape. I wanted a pen that would be very comfortable for someone who uses mechanical pencils because they are so straight and plain. https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/uploads/imgs/fpn_1447577001__jinhao_611.jpg I liked the barrel colors that were shown in the picture of the ebay auction. One is a solid color in the red, rosy, cyan range, the others are a russet and a blue that appear to be acrylic with the depth of color that sometimes goes with that sort of plastic. All three are straight, uncharacterized barrels. They are .65oz/18.42g; 5 1/8 inches / 156.2 centimeters in length capped; 6 1/4 inches / 190.5 centimetrs posted; and .39 inches / 10 mm in diameter. The nib appears to be stainless steel. The ones that I have are fine nibs. They come with standard Jinhao converters. I had hoped that they would take international cartridges because I do not use fillers or bottled ink. I removed the plunger filler and inserted an international cartridge. It took a lot of fussing about with it to get anything to flow. The first thing I noticed was the tines of the nib were tight together. I had to use a syringe to pump water through it. It really didn't take any pressure to get the water to flow through it, just a quantity enough to fill the grip and the nib. When I finally did get the water to flow through it, the pen leaked from every possible joint. The grip is in 2 pieces and it leaked through where they are pressed together. After I got the ink flowing through it, I began to have hopes that it would work better, which it did for a short time. By the time I finished writing one full page, the pen was leaking from where the barrel threads on to the grip as well as from where the grip is pressed together. All together, I'd give the pen a 2. Perhaps it's a chance I took in buying these pens. It's possible that some are better perfomers than others. They are nice in appearance, and seemed at first impression to be of at least fair quality, but when put to the test they did not rise to the occasion. It is possible that using the filler is the answer. That remains to be seen.
  7. RULES: Shipping to CON USA Paypal $6.75 Ends Sunday 8th for Studentsnewbiesseniorsexperimenterscreativesanything in betweenif you... are new to fountain penshave been in the forum for more that 3 monthshave more than 10 poststhis will be one of your first 5 pensYou.. have a better possibility of having this PIF sent to youwill be happy to use it if you winIf this is a first pen attempt, I would love to send both pens to the same person... http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i82/anangeli/JINHAO__%20450_zpstcjlkfh4.jpg
  8. Tailbiter

    Kaigelu 382 M

    Ah, time for yet another cheap pen review! This time it's one of my favourite Asian fountain pens ever - the Kaigelu 382 (intl. c/c) (Manufacturer's website entry http://www.kaigelu.net/Z.asp?ID=16&SID=170&ZID=62 in Chinese). I had previously bought this model quite some time ago and thought of writing a review but long-story short: party, pen got given away. However, today, I received my second order from eBay! Wohoo. Today, I will be reviewing the blue model. The pen also comes in a red and a black finish (all with gold trim) and I purchased it off the seller jewelrymathematics on eBay (no affil.) for $8 with free intl. shipping. My parcel arrived very well-wrapped (ridiculous amounts of bubble wrap) and within two weeks. Looks The finish is glossy with the golden trim shiny. It's not a flashy pen but it's not a dull pen either. I find it to be a simple and elegant design with no overdone bands or gaudy, large and misplaced logotypes. The cap has a golden band with two black lines framing the word KAIGELU on one side and the model number 382 on the opposite side. http://i.imgur.com/yFsI0Aw.jpg The overall look is very stylish and the tolerances on my pen are excellent, better than pens many times more expensive, such as say, my Conklin Duragraph. http://i.imgur.com/g8BM2HK.jpg Construction The pen is solidly built out of some metal (brass?), like most other Kaigelu pens. The section is black plastic and provides a nice grip, although it may look a bit slippery, I've not had this issue at all. It's a very decently weighed pen - not heavy enough to feel clumsy but not light enough to feel flimsy. Clumsily enough, I have already dropped this pen from a height of ~ 1 metre onto a hard rubber floor. It hit itself on a few things after it hit the ground but it remained whole, capped and without any damage. The cap is made out of the same material and lacquer as the rest of the pen and is quite heavy. It also comes with an insert of sorts inside made out of what looks like plastic. It does snap on pretty securely however. If anything, it is a bit too secure for my own taste. The clip is extremely stiff out of the box but I know from experience it gets slightly better with time and use. It comes with the standard Kaigelu twist converter which to me feels much less flimsy than any Jinhao converter I've ever received. It works pretty good and sucks up the ink easily. To access it, just unscrew the body while holding the section, which takes 3-4 turns. Dimensions Fully capped, the pen measures 137 mm (~ 5.4 in) of which the cap is 57 mm (~2.2 in) and the body with nib 122 mm. The nib looks to be a 5 mm nib (measured at base). http://i.imgur.com/dKvCxVD.jpg The pen weighs 30 g ( ~1 oz) capped and inked; 19 g without the cap and inked. Like many other chinese fountain pens, the cap is a bit heavy in proportion to the rest of the pen. Does it post? Yes, the pen posts very securely.The good old thermometer shake does nothing to it. The pen does however end up being around 160 mm long and just a sliiiight amount of top-heavy which kind of kills it for me personally. It's not directly uncomfortable but I get the quick impression I'd rather not write with it posted for an extended period of time. http://i.imgur.com/yWWN5iO.jpg?1 Nib Unfortunately, like very often with these Chinese fountain pens, only one nib option is offered. In this case, a medium nib. I suspect it's a #5 nib as stated above. It is a two-tone gold(?)-plated steel nib with the adorable Kaigelu kangaroo logo stamped. There is a very decent amount of tipping material. Overall, the nib looks pretty decent. There is no flex on this nib. You can force it a tad and get a B, but this feels cruel and you can tell the nib isn't very happy. As for disassembly - I've had no luck. If it's a friction fit, it will take a much stronger person than I to pull it apart. If it's not, (oh god I'd feel terrible), I can't seem to unscrew it in any direction. http://i.imgur.com/YwWFH7S.jpg It is a lovely nib. It writes extremely smooth with little feedback at all and the feed has no issues keeping up with even really fast writing. Caveat: I have only tried it with Montblanc Königsblau and Waterman Serenity Blue. It has worked super well with both. Here is my little corner paper where I tried out some of my pens for comparison. As you can see, the Kaigelu M is quite comparable to the modern Waterman M. http://i.imgur.com/paEXIb2.jpg Filling / Maintenance Filling is easy with the included converter and the pen takes standard international short and long cartridges. The converter is not threaded, holds a not huge amount of ink (~0.6 ml ± 0.1ml) but it works pretty well. I am a tad concerned about possible nib and feed maintenance since I have so far been unable to disassemble those. If anyone's had any success, I will gladly take any tips or suggestions. It's possible I just got a dud that's very, very stuck. Anyway, for $8 and a so-far very nice experience, I'm not willing to risk damage-from-curiosity to it just yet. Cost The pen cost me $8 with free shipping on eBay from the seller jewelrymathematics, who also sells many other Kaigelu models. The MSRP on Kaigelu.net is 79 RMB which for 2016-03-30 equals 12.22 USD or 10.79 EUR per Google's currency converter. I have not found it being sold for cheaper on eBay. I own a few other Kaigelus and this is basically my favourite. This was a new pen and I have to say, it's one of the best value-price pens I've gotten. It's really just pleasant to use. Final remarks I love this pen. It has superseded my expectations and I would totally buy it as a gift for someone. I was carrying the previous pen of the same model I had as a daily carry, and I will continue carrying this new one as well. The only major issue I find is that the nib doesn't seem to disassemble too easily, beyond that, I'm a fan. If Kaigelu makes the cap less heavy and solves the nib disassembly bother, this would be an excellent, excellent pen both for its price and its quality. It punches way above $8. Final score? 9.5/10. Final photo: here it is with a few other beloved fountain pens. Bottom-to-top: Pelikan 400, Kaigelu 382, Montblanc Classic, Jinhao 500 http://i.imgur.com/E8cC4GM.jpg PS.I was unable to get the forum software tags to resize the pictures. If anyone can point me to the correct way of doing it in fpn-approved BBCode, I will adjust.
  9. This is the second part of a series of reviews I’m doing on Chinese Boss inks. So far I’ve found this brand to be the most prevalent in China, but unknown in the West. They are great cheap inks and scented as well. Boss Enterprise “Laoban” ink (not to be confused with the Boss line of inks made by Ostrich in Tianjin) is produced in Guiyang by Guizhou Boss Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. More information about the company can be found here and their descriptions of their inks here. The scan of my review doesn’t capture the color properly, so I’ve also included some photos taken in natural light. Close up of ink comparisons taken in natural light: A writing sample comparing Boss Red and Platinum Pigment Rose Red (I didn’t have the Platinum ink when I wrote the review): Close ups comparing Boss Red and Platinum Pigment Rose Red (Boss on top and Platinum on bottom): Boss Red has a pinkish hue similar to Hero 201, but is more saturated than the Hero ink and Platinum Pigment Rose Red. Like Hero 201, it flees at the sight of water. It is very easy on the eyes and some might consider it less “offensive” than a screaming bright red for grading. I like it for quick editing of documents that will soon be thrown away because it is not only cheap, but behaves well, dries quickly, and stands out on the page more than Hero ink. If you need a decent non-permanent soft red and can find this ink for sale, it’s worth your consideration. Boss inks are only 4 RMB (US$0.62) per 52ml bottle in China. Thanks for reading!
  10. I received my Kaigelu 316 from Hong Kong earlier this week (seller: hq.market, AKA You Gain More!) It's a reasonably faithful knock-off of the Duofold, visually at least. A handsome pen (mine is the white with black veining), it's improperly balanced toward the back end, but not a deal-breaker. I inked it up with Diamine Sapphire and it wrote beautifully. I decided to take my lovely new counterfeit to work with me, and on my way out the door, clipped it to my pock... UH-OH. With this gentle action, the clip, retainer ring and cap came off the pen. No biggie, I'll just screw the top back on, right? I've read here many times that Chinese pens have issues with quality control, so I just assumed someone didn't tighten it down properly. Nope. The threads refuse to catch, even when tested without the clip or retainer ring in place. It's defective. eBay has a process whereby you can resolve an issue like this one. Communicating with the seller (hq.market, AKA You Gain More!) that the pen is defective has resulted in the kind of runaround those who hide behind a language difference love to employ. "The pen is not smashed" they replied after receiving a photo of the loose clip assembly. (The only way I could think of to photograph threads that don't engage; see below) Of course, each message exchange with seller hq.market, AKA You Gain More must go through a 24 hour cycle, presumably because of the time difference. I've heard that other Chinese sellers are really good at reimbursing or replacing; that has not been my experience with seller hq.market, AKA You Gain More! (Maybe they're referring to my blood pressure reading?) Caveat emptor. James
  11. What are your favourite Chinese pens that have a larger section diameter? Most of the inexpensive pens I have tried have a small section that cramps my fingers together. My favorites that are comfortable are: Jinhao x450,x750, 599, Hero 100, 616 and Wing Sung 590. Any others worth trying?
  12. Hello there, It's been a long time since I've made a review, but yesterday I picked up a new pen. The packaging was inconspicuous, it was at the local supermarket, on the bottom most shelf. It looked like a cheap (well... it was cheap ) no-name, brown fountain pen in a little plastic bag. When I took a closer look at it, I saw four numbers printed on the side, and when I bought it and took it home, the converter that came with it (a piston, Parker like converter, but with a standard tip) had Hero embossed on the back. I washed it, inked it up with Parker Quink black, and tried it out. It's a joy to write with, although it was a tad scratchy on the up stroke and needed a little smoothing. It writes like an F, and ink flow is very good, not too wet so the F becomes more of an M but enough to make it glide. Sorry for not having any writing samples, my handwriting isn't a thing of beauty anyway. Pictures:
  13. butangmucat

    Three Nos Chinese Pens

    I am back to China for my summer holiday And I had a chance to get some NOS Chinese pens which costs less than a dollar. All these brands have disappeared except Wang Sung, and NOS pens are probably the best Chinese pens you can get now days. http://img.vim-cn.com/75/971c0428b51f2216db2b68c2bfd7425cbb053b.jpg Three NOS pens: - Wang Sung (Lit. Long Live) 500 - Zuanshi (Lit. Diamond) 861 - White Feather 700 The Wang Sung 500 was made in the 1980s and 1990s and it was for both domestic and export markets. It comes with an aerometric converter and can also take the cheaper all-plastic Parker converter (I do not have the more expensive or "luxury" version for a test) or Parker/Aurora cartridges. It is currently using a Quink Blue cartridge which comes as a gift when I bought the Parker converter when I visited the local office supply shop. http://img.vim-cn.com/8d/b65ab31c1a6a4815e4264397104c612ff770c1.jpg http://img.vim-cn.com/fe/dd18513adc2771b732938e71d053c4e4a9ae6d.jpg The Zuanshi 861 is not very good from my perspective. It is too dry and a bit scratchy. http://img.vim-cn.com/b4/41f1e720b0effe750c38cb9543bdcd0dee96e8.jpg http://static.inky.ws/image/5250/WP_20150523_011.jpg The White Feather 700 must have borrowed some ideas from Sheaffer. Nevertheless, it writes smoothly and seems to be durable. http://img.vim-cn.com/91/362b479507d6e870e229447638540bd0027f37.jpg http://static.inky.ws/image/5249/WP_20150523_003.jpg These pens do not have nib sizes labeled, but I believe they are (by western standards) either F or EF.
  14. So, after penvangelizing my mother, she quickly went and bought herself a Noodler's Ahab. The very first day she took it to work, she dropped it on the floor and bent the nib. Heartbreaking, I know. But the way she bent it reminded me of a Chinese calligraphy fountain pen nib. It got me thinking: Is it possible to successfully mod an Ahab to make it write like a Chinese nib? I know it wouldn't write exactly like it, but would it be able to approximate the line variation? I'm very curious to see if anyone has ever tried to mod an Ahab in this way. On a side note, how hard would it be to fix the nib? She's not nearly as curious about the potential as I am.
  15. So I've been using fountain pens for about six months. I started with a Sheaffer Viewpoint 1.1mm that I found at Staples. Since then, I've picked up a couple Metropolitans, a couple Ahabs, a Monteverde Invincia, and a Plumix (love that nib!). Recently, I went a little berzerk with eBay and picked up a (bleep)-load of Chinese pens. As they come rolling in, I'd like to share my thoughts with everyone on their performance. My first contribution in the Pen Reviews section is for the... CROCODILE NCR64 Green Marble Celluloid Fountain Pen Price: $18.50 Nib: Medium, Steel, 22KGP/two-tone Country of Origin: China Filling System: Piston / Cartridge (International Standard, I believe) http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_01.jpg Appearance: 10 / 10 Immediately upon seeing this pen on eBay, I fell in love with it's looks. The Green Marble looked beautiful, and although somewhat tacky, I thought the crocodile styling of the clip and finial looked cool. When the pen arrived, it didn't disappoint...at least not in that regard (more on that later). The green marble of the cap and barrel is, in my opinion, stunning. It has a shimmery/iridescent quality to it that glows and sparkles in the right light. The finial, section, and end cap all have a similar marble pattern, but they're all black. It's a subtle detail, but one I really appreciate. The crocodile clip is pretty tacky in person, too, but I love it, rhinestone eyes and all. There is also a gold crocodile emblem on the top of the finial. Not as tacky as the clip, but fits the motif of the pen to a tee. I absolutely love the way this pen looks. http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_02.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_02b.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_02c.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_04.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_05.jpg Build Quality: 4 / 10 The NCR64 seems fairly weighty at first, but all the weight is in the cap, which must be made of some sort of metal. The rest of the pen is mostly plastic. The threads inside the cap are metal, but the coupler on the barrel is plastic, so it feels cheap to screw the cap on and off. When the pen arrived, there were some tiny black plastic pieces in the converter. I fished them out, but wasn't sure where they came from until I washed the pen. The little black pieces were from the post inside the section that the converter installs on. Only a small portion of the post remained, so the converter would attach to the section, but not tightly. I had to fill the converter with a syringe, insert it, and tape it to the section to keep it in place. It's a kludge, but it's working. After I got the converter in place, I did some writing, and when I went to screw the cap back on, it didn't stop turning. The threaded coupler came unglued from the barrel, so I had to glue it back in place and let it dry overnight. For a pen that cost $18.50, I find these defects absolutely unacceptable. http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_09.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_07.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_08.jpg Nib: 4 / 10 I wasn't sure what to expect from the medium nib. I know some Chinese companies fall in line with Japanese companies and their medium nibs are ground finer and compare to western fine nibs. I hoped that was the case with Crocodile. It's not. The nib is pretty fat, even for a medium. I have small handwriting, so I prefer a fine or extra fine nib. Writing with this pen is like writing with a crayon. If I force myself to write larger letters, it looks decent. There are random hard starts, but they're few and far between. The only other complaint I have is that the line is not consistent. The nib seems a little mooshy and will "mash" the line every once in a while. For example, in my writing sample below, look at the "o" in Algernon and the "ac" in Blackwood. I don't like that. I like a nice, consistent line. I will say, though, that the nib is super smooth. There is practically no feedback at all. The nib just glides along the paper. If it wasn't for the fat, inconsistent line it puts down, I'd love this nib. I always like to check out the imprints on these nibs. This one has another crocodile on it, but I'm not sure about the words engraved. Either I'm going blind, or they botched the letters. To me, it looks like it says this: 22K GP CR0Co ROMEDILE http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_03.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_03b.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/ncr64_10.jpg Comfort: 10 / 10 I've done quite a bit of writing with this pen, and it's very comfortable. My hand didn't cramp up once. The pen is easy to hold despite the smooth, plastic section. The pen posts securely, and it's comfortable to write with it both posted and unposted, although I have small hands, so I prefer to write with it unposted. Overall Score: 28 / 40 I think this is a really beautiful pen, but for $18.50, I expect better build quality. If I can ever find another one on eBay for cheap, I may buy it for parts (to replace my section). And once the current ink runs out, I may try to find an EF nib for it. I could probably turn this into a pretty nice writing instrument.
  16. At least, I classify these as beginner pens! From left to right: Leonardo 'Silver Check' fude-nibbed pen that takes standard international cartridges or a converter, light weight. If you were ever curious about writing with a fude, this is your chance to find out. Duke 2008. Ribbed silvertone barrel and red cap with cloud design. Dryish, medium-fine nib. C/c filler. Xfountainpens/Bulow/Jinhao 450 in soft brushed gold. Wet, wet, medium nib. Heavy. C/c filler, shaped section. Reply with a bit about yourself and pen likes and dislikes. Will ship to CONUS only, and announce winner at random. Thanks!
  17. a_m

    Crocodile 215

    I thought I would find a dragon from the land of dragons. But a dragon was not available. So, I ended up buying a crocodile http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/3.06b.jpg "3.06b" by Joxerra Aihartza - Nire argazki-bilduma / own picture. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons. Sorry... wrong image... its not as dangerous... This one was really a cute looking crocodile that I could hold in my hands http://cl.jroo.me/z3/3/8/7/d/a.baa-One-happy-crocodile-D.jpg Source: http://www.jokeroo.com/pictures/animal/1031991.html This one was a really happy crocodile...and also made me very happy. I could not understand why crocodiles were considered so dangerous. Besides, it had glittering and shining eyes, was slim and really easy to hold. I was sure it was not going to give me any slip or run away. It was wild and brought with it the wilderness one could hardly imagine. Its easy to understand why we get scared - sharp tooths, biting, scratching - anything that would hurt! But what if it was smooth - indeed very suave, very cultured and well behaved - even ready to get tamed - not just understanding you but even ready to follow you with every move? Ah everyone would then love to have such crocodile ! So my little crocodile - here you see: I had never thought I would be writing with the tongue of a crocodile who is perhaps basking in the sun. But I finally decided it was time to do that ! And I cant stop my amazement (and bewilderment) as to how fine and smooth its tongue is. It writes fine and no feedback ! Those who use fine nib, know that experience, where they would reject the scratchy types but write with the smoother ones. But even the smoother ones have that "feedback" thing on the paper. But this FP feels like as if I am writing with a broad nib - the nib itself writes the Chinese fine. The FP as such is very well made, well balanced. Its on the slimmer side. Gets posted well and is well balanced. The trims have the characteristic crocodile images that is characteristic of the brand. And did I forget the glamour element in the shinning and glittering eyes - thats lovely and enticing. The filling system is the standard cartridge/converter. The FP comes with converter. Excellent FP if you are looking at something on the wild side.
  18. Mister John

    Duke/uranus Snakeskin

    About six months ago, I discovered the amazing treasure trove of cheap Chinese pens available on eBay. While suspicious of the quality on offer at such low prices, I thought it worth plunking down fifty bucks of fun money to find out. I had heard the Duke was one of the more reputable of the Chinese pen manufacturers, so I spent $7 of the Duke/Uranus snakeskin. At that time, the Pelikan Lizard had just come out and I wanted to compare the Chinese and Pelikan versions of lizard/snake scales. It goes without saying that, in all ways artistic, the Pelikan blows this pen away, so this review will only examine the pen on its own merits. I've now had the piece for six months and used it off and on during that time. It's been in various rotations three times, or about 6 weeks of reasonably intense usage. The pen arrived in a nice blue Duke labeled gift box or approximately the same dimensions as a typical Waterman pen box. Inside, the pen was enclosed in a narrow plastic bag. It came with the converter pre-installed and, from first appearances, looked pretty good. Like most Chinese pens, this one features a brass body with a silk-screened pattern and then a clearcoat layer of varnish on top. The pen itself is of moderate weight, approximately that of a Sheaffer Prelude. It is a thin pen, but not obnoxiously so. A close inspection of the pattern reveals no disastrous defects, but the screening is certainly imprecise and incomplete in places. The design looks much better from a distance than up close, where the sloppy craftsmanship is more readily apparent. The pen does have some nifty features that elevate it somewhat. The cap band is handsomely inscribed "URANUS" in a Roman font, together with some stars and some Chinese script. Uranus is, I believe, a sub-brand of Duke. After 6 months, it has held its luster and looks quite nice. The clip features a lovely compass rose design, and the tassie features an ivory circle in a sea of black. These details are all well executed. The nib is a nice design too, featuring a crown logo with rays splaying out toward the end of the nib. At the bottom is the word Duke inscribed in san serif all-caps. While the design elements are good, the craftsmanship of the stamping is less so as the imprint is weak. Holding the pen side by side with a Pilot 78g, the difference in the quality of the nib inscription is striking. All of this is to say that you do, to some extent, get what you pay for. A large part of the difference between a $100 pen and a $7 pen is in the quality of the materials and craftsmanship. I would say that, for the price, Duke has done a very creditable job on the design and execution. The cap snaps on and off and posts securely. Many Chinese pens feature snap on/off caps, presumably for cost reasons, but getting the correct amount of force to hold the cap on seems to be a challenge for many. Most err on the side of way too much force. Baoer, in particular, seems to suffer from this problem a fair bit. Some, like certain Hero pens, employ too little force. Duke, however, has found the "butter zone" for the force needed with this cap. It's easy to remove, but does not remove itself. One also worries that, even if the force is correct initially, wear and use will lead to a situation where it's no good. After 6 months of use, however, there is no sign of any problem. On to the writing. (See attached written review.) This pen is perfectly fine. I'm glad to have satisfied my curiosity about Chinese pens, but I do not see myself getting any more of them, at least at this price point. The $30 Kaigelu pens that are an homage (copy) to the Parker Duofold Centennial are rather nice, but these very inexpensive pens have to make too many sacrifices in the name of cost reduction to be inspiring. In a way, I'd prefer the more honest approach that Pilot and Sailor have taken with this market. The Platinum Preppy and Plumix cost about the same or less. They do not try to pretend to be a high-end pen, even from a distance. What they do well is to produce an interesting writing experience with a number of options. Duke/Uranus, on the other hand, provides a reliable writing experience, but not an interesting one. I would recommend passing on these unless you are in the position of needing a reliable pen with a more upmarket (at least from a distance) design. Even then, I would say that springing for a Pilot 78g is probably still a better bet as these can be had for around $15. By the way, if anyone wishes to trade for this or other inexpensive Chinese pens I own, I would happily take most deals. Please PM me.
  19. I seem to have a growing collection of inexpensive Chinese fountain pens that share three things in common: they’re black, with chrome and/or gold trim; they’re comparatively heavy (composed primarily of brass or aluminium); and they’re surprisingly inexpensive. The Bookworm 679 very much fits that bill – so why am I bothering to review it? Well, for a couple of reasons – apart from the fact that this was supplied to me by JustWrite Pens (www.JustWrite.com.au), free in return for an impartial review. First of all, because no-one else seems to have reviewed it yet – but secondly, because it turns it out’s a pretty nice pen, especially for the price. If you’re a fan of the Jinhao x450, especially, you may find this pen is right up your alley – though it has a couple of advantages over the x450, which I’ll discuss in the review below… Just so you know, as with a number of other reviews I’ve done for lower end pens, I won’t be ‘scoring’ this one out of ten – to my mind, it’s just not fair to compare some of these lower price point pens to their pricier counterparts. ______________________________________________________________________ Appearance & Design – Sleek, glossy black – with classy looking faceted cap and barrel I don’t know why it is that so many pen manufacturers seem to favour the colour black – but as far as I know, that’s the only colour this pen comes in. Black, with gold trimmings on the cap and barrel… and a duotone (gold and chrome) nib. What marks this pen out a little is the fact that it’s not a pure cylinder – the cap and the barrel (apart from the last 1.5cm) is faceted – 12 straightish edges in all. That, and the fact that the clip ends with what (only) appears to be some kind of wheel – though sadly, unlike some other pens, the wheel is soldered to the clip, and doesn’t turn as the pen is clipped into or taken out of your pocket. A slip-on lid covers a smooth plastic grip section. The cap is clearly designed to post, and fits snugly onto the stepped-down ending of the pen barrel. This is one of the pen’s advantage over the Jinhao x450 – I’ve already cracked the inner cap on one of those suckers, and no longer dare to try and post them. http://i.imgur.com/dWU6VAw.jpg http://i.imgur.com/aNnQOhx.jpg My first impressions with this pen weren’t overly favourable – mainly because it was one of several black pens I received at the same time. But as I’ve spent time examining it more closely and using it, it’s grown on me. I guess this is subjective, but I like the fact that it’s not a straight cylinder – and the clip, though its ‘wheel’ doesn’t actually spin, nonetheless seems to be easier to slide into a pocket than the very stiff clip on the Jinhao x450 and x750. http://i.imgur.com/2MzfGXT.jpg Construction & Quality – Well-made, not flawed or blemished, seems pretty durable The cap and barrel of the pen are made of brass – they’re heavy, and don’t seem too prone to denting. The black lacquer surface seems to adhere pretty well to the pen, but only time will tell whether it’s prone to peeling or scratching away. The end of the barrel is plastic – it reminds me a little of the ending on a Parker Vector, though obviously the diameter is larger. Weight & Dimensions – A pretty substantial pen in the hand The first thing you notice about this pen when you pick it up is its ‘heft’ – it weighs around 41.5g, or 25.5g minus the cap. The diameter of the cap and barrel is around 12mm; the grip section tapers from 11mm down to around 9mm – which I find pretty comfortable, especially if I’m holding it well back from the nib. Capped, the pen is 140mm long; uncapped it’s a shortish to 119mm; posted, it extends to 160mm. Though it’s designed to be posted, I find it a little more comfortable if I leave the cap off – simply because of the weight, there are no problems with balance either way. Nib & Performance – A very pleasant writing experience A close inspection of the nib revealed that it seems to swoop down towards the tip – as if to stiffen the nib and provide for a finer line. And certainly, compared to the nibs on the Jinhao x450 and x750, this one lays down a finer line (which for me is another advantage of this pen – the Jinhaos I tend to replace the nib with a Goulet EF, F or 1.1mm stub). Aesthetically, either you’ll like the nib and the ‘finless’ feed or you won’t – I didn’t mind the look of the nib (gold, with a chrome ‘swirl’, and the word ‘Bookworm’ inscribed along its length) – but I tend to like the underside of the feed to be at least a little bit less bland. Then again, how often does anyone write upside down? The nib and feed are friction fit, and can be removed for cleaning purposes. I’d guess this is around a #5 size nib. http://i.imgur.com/Dam0eZi.jpg http://i.imgur.com/6jJCuUE.jpg More important than the nib’s appearance is its performance – and I found this to be very pleasant. It’s a nail-like nib, but you can get a little line variation if you want to force it – and it lays down a fine-to-medium line. The nib was fairly dry when I first inked it up, but with a bit of sustained downward pressure (to force the nibs apart – see Steve “SBRE” Brown’s videos for more info on ‘how to make a dry nib wetter’), I found it began to write really nicely, and lay down a not-too-dry, not-too-wet line. Apart from that small adjustment, the nib provides an enjoyable writing experience. http://i.imgur.com/rCcWHgI.jpg Filling System & Maintenance– Standard International Cartridges – Converter Supplied The Bookworm 679 takes standard international cartridges, if that’s your preference – but comes with a cartridge converter supplied. The converter looks very similar in design and construction to the cheap plastic converters that come in most of these Chinese pens – but with a black band around the top of the converter, inscribed with the brand name ‘Bookworm’. http://i.imgur.com/yvUE0J6.jpg Cost & Value/Conclusion – Full marks from as far as I’m concerned! The Bookworm is not a high-end pen – but at AU$12.95 from JustWrite (you can probably find it cheaper, but for Australian buyers this comes with a 2 year warranty) it’s a really good buy – especially if you’re trying to introduce someone to the fountain pen habit, and want to give them a classier looking pen. I’d be very happy to recommend this as a pen that looks, feels and writes a fair way above its price point. Thanks to Kevin from JustWrite for providing it for me to review.
  20. Hello all, I think that chinese pens can give a good writing experience for not that much money, and as considering a new pen to underline, I looked first to the Jinhaos x750 + Goulet EF nib. I don't know a lot about other chinese ones that would be suitable, but I can tell that I like the look of the Jinhao 500, even if I'm afraid by its size/weight. Does it accepts goulet/#6 nibs ? Does the nib is swappable or not ? I really have to know more about these kind of FP, I heard about Baoer, Kaigelu etc but there are surely more.. For ~20-25€ (all included), I don't know yet what to choose and I'm still searching for what would the more pleaseable to use, first to underline and then also to write some definitions, notes (at school). → I think I will use a red ink like PR fiesta red. Recommandations ? Thank you !
  21. I admire the marbleized plastic (or celluloid) that has been used for pen bodies for many years, particularly the greens, so when I stumbled upon this Chinese pen with the mile-long generic name for $4.50 (shipping included), I said, "Why not?" My luck so far with Chinese pens has been exceptional; at prices lower than the cost of mailing pens within the US, I've enjoyed a variety of sublime escritorial experiences. Then came the FSSFSSC SS-1: I know everybody says this, but photos really don't do it justice. (Forgive the photos; this was hasty work in the bitter cold.) When the pen is moved around in the light, it has more depth and dimension than I ever could have hoped for in a fine hardwood. The marbling shimmers, it glows and darkens, it captivates. The finish is smooth but not perfectly so; up close, a slight orange-peel texturing is evident on the surface. I like the chrome clip. It's mounted directly into the cap material, about a 1/4" from the top. Its design and placement are reminiscent of some 1920s pens I've seen. It takes a firm, secure grip of a shirt pocket. The cap is topped with a chrome button, flush with the surface. Below the clip is a chrome band, just shy of 1/4" wide, with black curlicues painted on it that mumble, "Asian afterthought." This detail deftly destroys the illusion that the pen is anything other than a cheapo Chinese model. Parallel rings incised into the metal would have preserved the vintage look, but this recommendation obviously comes too late.The section is chrome, comfortable but slippery. Its metal threads mesh with those cut directly into the cap material. When the cap is mounted, the barrel is crooked - about 3 or 4 degrees out of whack. Even though I've never had writing issues with other Chinese pens, with this one I figured I'd better follow the advice to flush before filling. A cartridge was supplied, but no converter. After much pushing and grunting, I finally handed it over to Dwayne Johnson to have him install the thing. Getting ink to feed was even harder; I tweaked and wiggled and shook. (The nib says "Germany" but we probably shouldn't leap to the conclusion that it was made there.) It finally wrote, but continued skipping like Rhoda Penmark, with a heart full of evil.
  22. Well, thought I'd try my hand at a review. I've bought (and used) countless pens from different manufacturers and recently have been on a kick of buying Chinese pens. I decided to dedicated a small amount ($20 CDN) to see how many inexpensive Chinese pens I can buy and just what you can get for your dollar these days. I'm up to 7 pens purchased and I've got $3 left, so, well, you can at least get bulk. Of the pens that have arrived so far (Jinhao 599, Jinhao 250, Baoer 517, Hero 369), the Hero 369 has easily been the most surprising, as not only is it the cheapest of the lot at the princely sum of $1,45CDN shipped, but has some really interesting features. Scores are out of 10 Appearance/Finish (7/10): The Hero 369 has a very classic, slim appearance in brushed aluminum with chromed metal accents. The cap has no finial or jewel, just a flat section of brushed metal. The clip is chromed metal, and the the Hero logo and model number (369) appears around the bottom of the cap. http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r181/jekostas/Hero2_zps69b9bcc0.jpg There's a small centre band in chromed metal, and the body tapers down slightly to the end cap, also of chromed metal. I quite like the looks overall, a very simple, elegant and modern pen. Fit and finish on the outer body is quite good with no marks on the matte finish of the body or scratches on the chroming. Here's the first big surprise, the clip is spring-loaded! It's firm, but with more than enough play to comfortable pull it out of your pocket. http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r181/jekostas/Clip_zpsc701a70a.jpg Opening the cap we see a black plastic section with a shiny finish (pretty common) and two chromed metal rings near the nib that act as the holder for the cap. I quite like the nib, it's small, first, and secondly it's not hooded, which is pretty rare for these low-end Heros. I know some people prefer hooded nibs, I don't. I like to see the nib. The nib is quite interesting as well, being very narrow and in shiny stainless with a good ball of tipping material included. http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r181/jekostas/Hero_zpsa19e7b4f.jpg I quite like the looks, personally. Where it falls down (a little) is the finishing. The cap has a fairly sharp edge at the bottom, and the threading of the section is somewhat rough and some plastic shavings came out when I first removed the section from the body (not a great sign, generally). One last nice point on the finishing is the cap - there's no white plastic inner cap that endemic to low-end Chinese pens, instead the cap has four metal springs that clasp the section when closed and the end cap when posted. The pen posts very securely with no rattle. Size and Weight (6/10): Let's not beat around the bush - this is a very slim pen. The thickest part of the body is 9mm wide, and the body tapers down from just below the centre band to the end cap at 7mm. The section is, of course, very small as well. The thickest part of the section near the body joint is 8mm, and tapers down to 7mm by the chrome clutch rings near the nib. Despite being very skinny, the pen is decently long. Capped, the pen is 133mm long, uncapped 119mm, posted 144mm so at least in length it should fit just about everyone's hand. I don't have a scale to measure the weight, but the pen is (as you could probably imagine) very light. It's comfortable enough to write posted or unposted but let's be honest - you probably don't want to be writing essays with this sucker. It's just too thin. As a quick note-taking pen or something to keep in your cheque-book I imagine it would do very well. Nib Performance (9/10): Now we get to the meat and bones of it. Does the pen write well? I'm happy to say yes, yes it writes extremely well and even has a few surprises up it's sleeve. After a quick rinse with warm water and filled with Higgins Fountain Pen India (a very "wet" ink) the pen started up immediately, and wrote with a smooth, medium-wet line. The nib size is probably somewhere between a Western F and XF and has a reasonably large sweet spot. The feed keeps up well with fast writing (as it should with such a small tip). Full disclosure - the nib was a little scratchy when I first got the pen but about 5 minutes with a little micro-mesh and it's smooth as butter. The tines came perfectly aligned out of the package. Now for the big surprise: There's some line variation! Not a whole lot mind you, but it's definitely there. Check the writing sample below and you'll see some of what I'm talking about. http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r181/jekostas/Scan0001_zps5eb4a098.jpg http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r181/jekostas/Flex_zps04e785a0.jpg Paper is sugarcane, ignore the awful handwriting. There is a little feathering visible but that's likely a combination of wet ink and (not great) recycled paper. Filling (8/10): The 369 uses a permanently attached aerometric converter with the metal cover/squeeze bar. I didn't expect it to work well, but I have to say it surprised me - this filler did substantially better than aerometrics I've used in cheap Hero pens in the past like the 266 and 616. It seems to have a shorter breather tube than other Hero pens I've used with aeros, and 3-4 squeezes will fill the sac a good 3/4s full. The feed is reliable and keeps up with fairly fast writing but it will railroad if flexing the nib constantly, a little bit of which can be seen in the sample above. Value (10/10): Did I mention that this pen cost me $1,45 shipped? And that the nib has some flex, it's an aluminum body, with a sprung clip and a (surprisingly usable) aerometric filler? I've used some great low-cost Chinese pens but for me, this one takes the cake. Conclusion (8/10): An absolutely solid pen and very fun. Perhaps a little too thin to use every day but it's super fun to play with. The only negative that I can think of that can't be overlooked for the price is the thinness, but that's a function of the design.
  23. Figured what better way to get into fountain pens than to start inexpensive, fortunately had a couple friends who were able to get me some recommendations on favorable ones. Most were about 10USD or less, the most expensive 'single' pen was the Uranus KSF-301 w/ Box for about 17USD. My favorite of the pack is the Jinhao X750 with the Goulet Extra Fine nib, followed by the Jinhao X450 which I replaced with a Goulet 1.5mm Stub Nib (I put the 2-tone Jinhao M nib from the X450 onto my Nemosine Singularity). On the thin side it's a toss up between the Kaigelu 363 and Jinhao 611. The Hero 616 is probably the least favorite of all the Chinese ones I've tried. Baoer 507 "8 Horse" (one of a three pack I got, I kept the silverish one) http://static.karlblessing.com/pens/intro/baoer_507_8horse.jpg Jinhao 611 in blue, aside from the Hero 616 I have, probably the finest on the nib size I have. http://static.karlblessing.com/pens/intro/Jinhao_611.jpg A Kaigelu 363 and Haushilai 2111, bought them as a pair, I like the Kaigelu better of the two. http://static.karlblessing.com/pens/intro/kaigelu_363_huashilai_2111.jpg A Duke Uranus KSF-301 (~ Medium Partially Hooded Nib) http://static.karlblessing.com/pens/intro/uranus_301_full.jpg Jinhao X450 in "Distressed Black" http://static.karlblessing.com/pens/intro/x450_closenib.jpg Jinhao X750 "Shimmering Sands" with a Goulet 2-tone Extra Fine Nib. Currently my favorite of the chinese pens. http://static.karlblessing.com/pens/intro/x750_ef.jpg Most of them side by side (the non-Chinese ones shown being the Sheaffer Snorkel, Nemosine Singularity, and the unbranded green one in the front) http://static.karlblessing.com/pens/intro/chinese_colection.jpg
  24. Sky Fountain Pens

    Broken Nib?

    Hi everyone, I recently found a Fountain pen and the nib looked broken. I asked someone and he said it was supposed to like that. I was wondering if actually supposed to be like that or it's broken. Note that it is a Chinese pen if that helps. Thank's
  25. The next entry in my "Cheap Chinese Pen I got from eBay" series is the... Duke Uranus M25 Fountain Pen Price: $5.90 Nib: Extra Fine, Steel, Hooded Country of Origin: China Filling System: Piston (push type) http://gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_01.jpg Appearance: 8 / 10 The first thing I noticed about the Duke Uranus M25 is that it's a really tiny pen, similar in size to a Jinhao 611. It's short and thin, and probably fits in with the bullet/missile style of pens that have been popping up. Its design is simple and classy, if not slightly understated. The top of the cap and end of the barrel are tapered to a rounded end that culminate with a small chrome button, which I think is a nice touch. The clip has a simple design, but it's extremely tight and won't clip to a shirt pocket without a fight. The pen's design is not a flashy one, but there are two things that I really like about it: I love the Chinese writing down the side of the cap. In general, I think Asian writing is beautiful to look at. I have no idea what any of it says, but I think it's pretty.I like the nib and section. It has this shark-like shape to it...I think they call it a cayman mouth style. I think it's kind of cool looking.http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_02.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_05.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_03.jpg Build Quality: 8 / 10 The cap and barrel seem to be made of some lightweight metal. It could be brass, but I think it's more likely aluminum. The section is mostly metal, too, I think, but the coupler threads that attach to the barrel are plastic, so it makes screwing and unscrewing the section feel slightly cheap. The pen comes with a push-type piston converter. It's very common among inexpensive Chinese pens, but it's the first time I've ever used one. Seems cheap, but it works fine. It includes a small ball (glass or plastic, I can't tell) in the reservoir to agitate the ink to keep it from settling at one end of the converter or the other. It's a very nice touch. Because the nib & section are so small, I had no problem filling it from a sample vial. The converter worked perfectly to fill the pen. http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_04.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_08.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_09.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_10.jpg Nib: 10 / 10 The nib was supposed to be Extra Fine, so I expected it to be on par with the Fine nib on my Pilot Metropolitan. But the line put down by the M25 is a little heavier than the Metro. I'd probably classify it as a Fine. My handwriting is very small, and I hoped for a true Extra Fine, but I was somewhat disappointed in the line weight from this pen. It's possible that the ink I'm using (Diamine Oxblood) is contributing to that. Other than the thicker-than-desired line weight, the nib performs wonderfully. It's a SUPER smooth writer. Most F and EF nibs give some feedback (or are downright scratchy), but this nib glides over the paper with ease. It's also a pretty wet writer for an EF (which might also contribute to the thicker line weight). I encountered a few skips, but nothing too out of the ordinary. BUT WAIT...on a whim I attempted some reverse writing (flipping the pen over and writing with the back side of the nib). Holy cow...it's perfect! The line weight is super thin, and because it's a wet writer, it never runs out of ink. Writing like this has its cost though: it's pretty scratchy. I may whack it with a little micro mesh to try to smooth out that side of the tines...but the nib isn't replaceable, so if I mess it up, I'm stuck with the results. Because the section is hooded, only the very tip of the nib is visible. There is no way to remove/replace the nib (there are probably special tools that might allow this, but you can't just pull it out if you need to give it a good cleaning or to swap it for another nib). http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_06.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_12.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_13.jpg Comfort: 8 / 10 I've written several pages with this pen today, and I've had no hand cramps. The open end of the barrel flares out a bit, and if you run your finger over it, it feels a little sharp. But, when writing, it's not noticeable at all. The finish of the cap and barrel is a little slick, and the pen has slipped out of my hand a few times. Because of this, it's probably not a great pen for travel. As I said earlier, this pen is tiny. People with larger hands might not find it comfortable. You can post the cap, but it's not a secure fit and the cap will come off while you're writing. I have small hands, so I have no problem writing with it un-posted. If shorter pens don't work for you, you won't like this pen. For the sake of comparison, here's the Duke Uranus M25 (second from the top) alongside a Noodler's Ahab (top), a Pilot Metropolitan (third from top), and a Monteverde Invincia (bottom): http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/duke_m25_11.jpg Overall Score: 34 / 40 At first, I considered the Duke Uranus M25 to be a decent pen. But now that I've discovered how well it writes when reversed, my satisfaction with the pen shot upward. It's a nice, classy pen that is capable of writing as a Fine (normal) and as an Extra Fine (reversed). The nib is butter-smooth under normal use and puts down a pretty consistent line. This little $6 pen performs very well, and is an exceptional value. Other reviews in my "Cheap Chinese Pens I Got from eBay" series: Crocodile NCR64 / 806 Green Celluloid Fountain Pen





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