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Sailor Koshyu (Kou-Shu) Shitsugei Series Hirame With Cobra Nib


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Hi everyone! I would like to contribute with a review. As I was taking pictures of the pen that I reviewed I realized that taking a good picture requires skills and possibly means... apparently I lack both. I am reluctant to post this review, but I welcome feedback on how to improve.


I decided to review this unusual Sailor pen because I did not find any past review on FPN and other online spaces. Also, the pen comes with a Cobra Nib, that is quite an unusual nib in the Sailor line up.


The pen is part of a maki-e collection commissioned by Sailor to urushi artist Koushu Nishihara that has created five designs using urushi lacquering methods in combination with a variety of of maki-e and Negoro Nuri techniques. Depending on the source, the series is called Koshyu or Kou-shu or even Koushuu (so if you google it, try alternative spellings). My model is called Hirame and consists of several layers or urushi mixed with gold powder. The artist's signature is present. The main reason that I ended up with this pen is that I wanted the Sailor Cobra Nib to enrich my Sailor nib collection and this is one of the few Sailor models on which this elusive nib is available.


Let's start with the presentation box:








This is a pretty much standard presentation box for Sailor high end pens (well, King of Pen series enjoys a much more impressive box). The wooden box comes with a "pen kimono" that is nice, a piece of polishing cloth, a couple of cartridges, a converter, instructions and a leaflet describing the Cobra nib. I would have expected a more distinctive presentation with a bottle of ink, but what I got is not a problem, I bought a pen and not a box.


Let's now describe with more details the pen.








Now things get more interesting. The pen is based on an oversize version of the well known Profit 1911 (large). It is a huge pen! A comparison with a Profit 1911 Large can put things into perspective:




If the Profit 1911 is a large pen at 14 cm (5.5 inches), this en-longed model comes close to 16 cm (6.3 inches). The pen is built with a matte black material and only the central body is covered in urushi. The urushi gives the pen some extra millimeters in the diameter of the central body. All other details mirror the standard design of the Profit 1911. As you might expect, this pen is a bit heavier than the Profit 1911, around 25 grams as opposed to 21.5 grams of the large Profit model.


While the idea that the urushi/maki-e decoration is limited to just one section of the pen might not be so appealing, it has some unquestionable advantages. First, the pen can be posted without prejudice to the urushi (well, not that you really need to post it!). Second, and most important, the nib section can be unscrewed and replaced...


The pen is a standard converter/cartridge design as most Sailor pens. What is particularly interesting is that the nib section is compatible with the Sailor Profit 1911 Large nib section. They are interchangeable! This means that if you own other Profit pens (I tested this only on the large model) you can play with the nib section and move nibs across your collection. Personally it is exactly what I did. While the Cobra Nib is great, it is impractical for daily use. In the picture below you can see the swap between the Cobra nib and another specialty nib (Emperor) coming from my 1911:




I was unable to take usable close-ups of the nib. However, a fellow FPN member took some gorgeous close-ups of the Cobra Nib (and the King Eagle one) and posted them here. It is worth taking a look. The name is a perfect reflection of the design of the nib that does look like a cobra head. It is an incredibly wet nib capable of huge strokes. Honesty, I do not see anyone writing with a Cobra Nib on a daily basis, even signatures could be excessive with this kind of super broad strokes. Admittedly it is a very special nib, a small work of art per se. Here a fountain pen enthusiast shows how the nib performs and can provide a bit of line variation.


A final note on price and availability. I do not know the exact issue date of these pens, but they are quite recent. Looking around on line you can find the basic model with a Togi nib (the entry level in Sailor family of specialty nibs) for 670-800 usd. It is not clear to me if the on line stores advertising them have the pens ready to ship or have to special order them to Sailor. They are sometimes advertised as limited editions, but they are not: there is no limitation number and nothing indicating a limited run. However, given the price tag, I would not imagine too many of them out there. The pen with the Cobra Nib of course costs a lot more, close to 2k.


Final evaluation. With 20/20 hindsight this was not a very smart purchase. In the same price range, there are lot of very attractive urushi pens that can make it as a daily writer. However, I am relieved by the fact that I can easily swap nibs between this model and other Sailor pens I own. It is a small consolation, but at least I can use it and I do not have to relegate it in a drawer. The oversize pen is very well balanced and with my unusual grip actually it works perfect, like a glove. This was kind of a discovery for me. I really like slim long pens now and I hope soon to be able to get a Nakaya long.


I hope that these notes (and lousy pictures) can be useful for other pen enthusiasts that are curious about this Sailor series or might consider a purchase in the future.



Edited by katanankes
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  • Polanova


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katanankes "While the Cobra Nib is great, it is impractical for daily use"


Well, if you`d like to get rid of it….I`m sure I could use it on a daily basis :P


Even though I probably will never be able to afford this nib (although one should never say `never´), I`d still appreciate some writing samples, especially in light of the fact that there hardly aren`t any writing samples of the Cobra nib around. The Leigh Reighes link you gave only suggests a very broad nib. Surely it is a bit more versatile than that?

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Thank you Polanova for asking for a writing sample. I had some fun preparing one including some comparisons.


I do not have any premium paper with me (like Rhodia that I see commonplace when it comes to reviews), so I used a sheet of standard copy paper (80grams) from the office. The paper is not so bad, with one of the inks it even shows some shading.




Yes, it is a very broad nib as expected. You can see the comparison with a Pilot Broad nib from a Custom 823: it is a pretty broad nib to me, but it looks a tiny fine nib when shown next to the King Cobra line.


King Cobra does offer some line variation, but not in the usual way. Vertical and horizontal strokes are identical. You can get variation changing the angle of writing. The smaller the angle, the more ample the line. By the way, this is pretty much standard with Sailor specialty nibs. If you keep the pen almost 90 degrees on the paper, the line looks a medium. It can write on reverse and it looks like a fine line. The main issue is that to get legible cursive writing with enough spacing you need to write really big. In my writing sample, my usual angle when writing is between 35-40.


I will try some more experiments when I can access other types of paper.

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Thanks so much for the writing sample!

I`m extremely happy myself with my Cross Music Emperor nib & understand that these Sailor specialty nibs are basically variations of `Broad on one side´ & `fine on the reverse´.

I bought mine exclusively for drawing & believe that that is where those nibs shine (if you`re not into asian calligraphy).


The Cobra nib looks to be a lot of fun, esp. if you like broad & juicy nibs! It`s also possibly the coolest looking of the bunch!


Sigh ...


PS: The nib looks sooo broad, I`d expected an even thicker line (2mm +) at a certain angle

Edited by Polanova
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