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  1. This stupid site; you can't spend any amount of time on it without deciding that you really need an urushi pen. So...that's where I am right now. I've had a little time now with my new Platinum Izumo Sora tamenuri pen and I've decided to write a little review. Obviously, I am not in any way affiliated with Platinum or anyone who sells pens or services them etc etc. http://s24.postimg.org/zdeto75ad/IMG_4717.jpg The Platinum Izumo has been around for a few years now. It is named after a certain prefecture of Japan where they, apparently, make really nice paper. The pen intended to compete (to some degree) with the Namikis, Sailor King of Pens (Kings of Pen?) and Nakayas of the world. It comes in ebonite in four urushi finishes (black -kuro-, red -aka-, greenish -sora*-, and maki-e -yamonoguri-). It also comes in a wooden version (tagayasan) which is apparently much bigger. *as far as I know, sora means 'sky', but the color is pretty green. Go figure. Packaging I don't particularly care about packaging. I would just as soon buy the pen if it came in a blister-and-card package. However, this pen comes really nicely packaged. A textured paperboard outer sleeve contains a nice paulonia wood box with some Japanese writing on it. Inside the box are the usual accoutrements like paperwork I will never read, a cartridge I will never use, and a converter. There is also a nice scroll of blank mulberry paper for your calligraphy projects. The pen itself is in a cute little "pen kimono". All in all, it looks like as much care was taken in packing the pen as in making the pen itself. http://s10.postimg.org/7lbvem2uh/IMG_4714.jpg Dimensions Length, capped: 155mm Length, uncapped: 137mm Length, section (not incl. nib): 32mm Width, at threads: 13mm Width, max.: 18mm Weight, capped (not incl. cart or converter): 33g Here it is in comparison to a Pelikan M800 and a Platinum #3776 Century, two relatively common pens. http://s8.postimg.org/6ngqenjnp/IMG_4722.jpg http://s9.postimg.org/941pfd70v/IMG_4724.jpg Impressions & Design No way around it. This is an enormous pen. That hit me first. However, it's very light, since it's made of ebonite (hard rubber) and has very little metal in it. It's nice and wide at the section and is comfortable to hold. The metal threads are far enough back that they don't interfere with your grip. It is very nicely balanced and hours of writing do not yield any appreciable hand fatigue. (I didn't post the pen, since there was a warning in the box not to do so; plus, if you need to post this pen, you must have hands like Johnny Bench.) http://s21.postimg.org/z3xcuxlbr/IMG_4715.jpg The shape of the pen is superficially like a traditional cigar shape, but it has smooth, dare I say, sensual curves. The body is a deep brown-black with greenish coloring appearing at all the joints and edges. The color is like a much darker version of Nakaya's heki tamenuri finish. The clip is very uniquely shaped and says 'Platinum' on it. It is of moderate stiffness and is made of folded metal. Par for the course for Japanese pens but it would feel cheap on a European pen of this price range. The section and barrel have a metal-on-metal interface with precise threads. http://s7.postimg.org/6qb1mcz57/IMG_4716.jpg The cap screws on and off with a single twist and feels secure. The threads on the section are metal while the threads in the cap aren't. It does not appear to have anything like the Slip-and-seal system. The section and barrel interface with precision-cut metal threads (so no eye-dropper conversions). There's a nice long metal sleeve that the converter or cartridge slips into so you never have to worry about inserting the converter off-kilter. Overall, there is a great feel of a piece that was made with care and precision. Nib The Izumo series uses the nib and feed from the Platinum President series. A plastic feed supplies ink to an 18k gold, two-toned nib. (Mine is a fine.) The nib is stiffer, but it is both wetter and smoother than other Platinum (particularly the 14k #3776 Century) nibs I have used. I read in an article once that the President nib was designed for Western writing, not Japanese writing, but it didn't say how. I don't know exactly they did that, but I can assure you the President nib lays down a nice, wet line and it never has a problem with hesitating or skipping. http://s22.postimg.org/dmkodpkpd/IMG_4720.jpg I can also point out that my Izumo's idea of "fine" is noticeably wider than my 3776 Century's "fine" with the same ink. http://s21.postimg.org/jh63hk7jr/IMG_4725.jpg Straight out of the box, this nib performs better than any Japanese nib I have ever experienced and equals the performance of an OMAS in terms of smoothness and precision. (I am almost at the point where I'd say it actually is better than a lot of nibs I have had tuned by nibmeisters. It is that good.) Its smoothness feels like a cross between the glassiness of a European pen and the feedback-y smoothness of a Sailor. http://s27.postimg.org/6bu9s6rhv/IMG_4721.jpg Filling System You know that converter that Platinum pens come with? Yeah, it's that one. How do you feel about it? Just pretend that I am transcribing in this section of the review what you're thinking about that converter and that you totally agree with me. I like you too. http://s15.postimg.org/z5rz27ajf/IMG_4719.jpg Value This is not a cheap pen. It costs about what a non-custom Nakaya would cost. Is it the most sublime writing experience ever? Of course not. It's just a pen. That said, it's very nice to look at and comfortable to write with, with a truly brilliant nib. If you want to get the same nib for a fraction of the cost, buy a Platinum President. Final Thoughts This is a pen that does not get a lot of love on the forum. Perhaps that is because when you can afford one of these, why don't you get a Nakaya? A lot of pens fall into that trap: if you can afford X, why didn't you just buy X instead of something that costs the same? Personally, I love this pen. It's the best all-around Japanese pen I've ever owned and certainly one of the prettiest regardless of place of origin. Its enormous size makes it a little impractical for taking to the office, but I write more at home anyway. How does it compare to a Nakaya? If you didn't skip ahead, you probably asked yourself this anyway. I've been asked this question more than a few times already. Now, I'm not going to say one is better than the other because that's not fair and there are so many subjective things that go into an opinion like that it would render the answer pointless. However, I will say this. They write differently. The Nakaya uses a tuned #3776 nib and feed, while the Izumo uses a tuned President nib and feed. If you like one over the other, then that difference will be magnified comparing a Nakaya and an Izumo. Nakayas are obviously far more tailored to the individual. That's their point. The Izumo is not. The Izumo is meant to be a flagship pen from a large company. Personally, I like the President nib and the sensual curves of the Izumo more than I value the customization options of the pen body that Nakaya offers me. You may be the opposite. In either case, you are going to be getting a hand-made ebonite-bodied fountain pen with a wonderful nib and lovingly- and expertly-applied coats of lacquer. (And it's STILL just a c/c) You're really choosing between Rolls Royce and Bentley and you can't go wrong. http://s15.postimg.org/aqjr15bmj/IMG_4718.jpg





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