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A Short Comparison Of The Penbbs 456 And Wing Sung 601 As Travel Pens


by_a_Lady
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Travel Pens  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. Which pen do YOU prefer for travelling?

    • PenBBS 456
    • Wing Sung 601
    • Neither/another? Tell us why!


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I have been travelling around France this past week with my new PenBBS 456 in my pocket and was very well satisfied with it. Prior to getting this one, my travel pen was the Wing Sung 601, also an extremely good instrument, albeit more understated. (By which I mean that it doesn't draw much attention to itself, and when you start writing, it sort of merges with your hand and becomes an imperceptible elongation of your arm; you don't really notice it anymore after a couple of seconds of writing.) Both pens have their advantages and disadvantages, which I quickly looked at in this comparison.

 

Disclaimer: This isn't meant to be a comprehensive review of either pen; I just wanted to provide information that is usually overlooked in reviews (most of them are first impressions anyway, not being acquainted well enough with the pen to comment on points of detail) and maybe help someone decide between when they're looking for a travel FP.

 

My main point of comparison was how they're suited for situations where you don't have much time, nerves or resources to refill or change ink a lot, and how they react to pressure changes (e.g. in an airplane, when travelling by car or train in mountainous regions, etc.). As I said, I've just returned home from a week of travelling, so the pens have just recently been subjected to practical tests regarding these questions.

 

 

Dominique

 

 

Paper: Rhodia N°19 Dot

Pen: PenBBS 456 F

Ink: Diamine Bilberry

 

fpn_1552901618__penbbs_456.jpg

Edited by by_a_Lady

Snail Mail


(fluent in SK, CZ, DE, EN


currently learning EO, JP, NL)

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I prefer the WS601 for its slip cap and hooded nib design. The reasons are obvious: slip cap for convenience, hooded nib to avoid drawing unnecessary attention, both if which I appreciate for travelling.

 

Blasphemous of me I know, but I would just bring a ballpoint for trips shorter than a month, even with frequent writing. I'm a fan for all sorts of pens.

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I prefer the WS601 for its slip cap and hooded nib design. The reasons are obvious: slip cap for convenience, hooded nib to avoid drawing unnecessary attention, both if which I appreciate for travelling.

 

Blasphemous of me I know, but I would just bring a ballpoint for trips shorter than a month, even with frequent writing. I'm a fan for all sorts of pens.

 

I forgot this. The cap on the 601 does post way more securely than on the 456. I'm generally not one to post my caps, however, when you're sitting in a conference room, trying to keep your minutes together while taking notes on a notepad balanced on your knee, it's quite convenient when you have a place to securely deposit the cap for a while.

 

 

Dominique

Snail Mail


(fluent in SK, CZ, DE, EN


currently learning EO, JP, NL)

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Thanks but I would think about taking my most reliable pen while traveling, so I'm afraid I wouldn't take a Chinese pen; never had one, but they "all" seem to have problems at some point, way beyond the usual issues with fountain pens. For trouble free writing while traveling, Pelikan, my most recent (probably m100, have't received it yet) cost the same as these!

 

That is some outstandingly clear handwriting by the way! Bilberry looks very nice too.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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Thanks for the review. I will be doing a lot of flying in the next few months and got the PenBBS 456 precisely because I thought it would be a great airplane/travel pen. I have thought to write dry the smaller front reservoir and close the valve before take off. I'll do a brief report after the flights. The huge ink capacity should accommodate a fair amount of journaling,

Do remember that the items on your bucket list have an expiration date.
 

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Thanks for the review. I will be doing a lot of flying in the next few months and got the PenBBS 456 precisely because I thought it would be a great airplane/travel pen. I have thought to write dry the smaller front reservoir and close the valve before take off. I'll do a brief report after the flights. The huge ink capacity should accommodate a fair amount of journaling,

 

The shut-off valve is great for this purpose. I recommend putting the pen in a nib-up position and gently wave it from side to side to get the ink to settle on the bottom of the barrel, so that the little chamber above the shut-off valve is emptied; then screw it shut. The feed will still hold enough ink to fill a bit less than one A4 page, enough for the odd form and signature. Closing the shut-off valve with ink still in it would leave you enough fuel for a couple more pages, I guess, but I'm yet to test this.

 

 

Dominique

Edited by by_a_Lady

Snail Mail


(fluent in SK, CZ, DE, EN


currently learning EO, JP, NL)

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Thanks but I would think about taking my most reliable pen while traveling, so I'm afraid I wouldn't take a Chinese pen; never had one, but they "all" seem to have problems at some point, way beyond the usual issues with fountain pens. For trouble free writing while traveling, Pelikan, my most recent (probably m100, have't received it yet) cost the same as these!

 

That is some outstandingly clear handwriting by the way! Bilberry looks very nice too.

 

Saying that all Chinese pens are unreliable sounds kind of prejudiced when you haven't even tried one yourself. Many of them are very good little instruments, and some will naturally be duds, but that hasn't been my personal experience so far.

Also, how did you come to the statement about prices? I just googled the Pelikan M100 and saw prices around 100€, while this PenBBS cost me 35€ including shipping (about twice as much as a Wing Sung 601 or 698 typically goes for).

 

 

Dominique

Snail Mail


(fluent in SK, CZ, DE, EN


currently learning EO, JP, NL)

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I don't have a PenBBS 456, but I do have a Pilot 823, which has a similar filling system. I've flown with it many times. Before take-off, I make sure the valve is closed, but I leave the small chamber full of ink. I've never had a problem with leaking. I also have enough ink to write a few pages, although I usually give up because of the plane vibrations. I still keep the pen tip up in a zip-lock bag during take-off, just in case.

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There is a trick to getting more of a fill on the 456 and other vac fillers, but easiest would be to use a Pineider ink pot. You can then fill it nib up and get gravity to help fill as well as air to expel upwards. I do think for a trip I would bring my PenBBS 456, 355, or my Pilot 823. But I haven't tried my Wing Sung 601 yet. I'm still in the three weeks of waiting for it to show up phase.

 

If in a meeting type of situation I don't normally post. I keep the cap in my left hand so that I can "soft cap" during lulls in the note taking. Especially with my PenBBS pens. The nibs seem to dry out easily if uncapped too long. Other pens seem to handle cap off time better. I expect the 601 would be better in that area.

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Well, if you're flying, it's a no-brainer for the 456, which can shut off its ink supply by screwing the tail closed.

 

If you're not flying and only care about a smooth utilitarian no nonsense pen that won't dry out and is light and simple and clean, the 601 is hard to beat. There's a reason it's a perfect clone of the parker 51.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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Also, how did you come to the statement about prices? I just googled the Pelikan M100 and saw prices around 100€, while this PenBBS cost me 35€ including shipping (about twice as much as a Wing Sung 601 or 698 typically goes for).

 

 

Dominique

 

That was on ebay; a pretty dramatic example, but I did also get an m205 for $60. Perseverance pays, even if there's some risk involved, I just got burned with another purchase.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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if flying is frequent then those shut off valve in Vac-Fillers are god send .. you never know when they are going to be needed or when that atmosphere decided to play havoc with you; that stated, for a long long while back then when I am traveling a lot ( say years on ) on business trip , I've had no problem with all kinds of fountain pen , even a big volume eyedropper. - Still if asked I would go for the Wing Sung 601 as the de facto travel companion. it too hold a load of ink, can be filled one handed, cap just slip off and the design and color are all pretty classic and will not look out of place in any situation. Again though that is if I am carrying this pen on myself. If I travel as usual with my back pack or sling bag I do usually carried a trio of pen in a pen pouch.

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In many ways, for flying, I prefer c/c pens. When the ink is in the c/c and the pen is nib up (as in a shirt pocket) the ink drains out of the collector into the c/c and forms a puddle at the bottom of the c/c. As there is no tube into the ink, and no air under the ink, there is no way for the ink to be pushed out of the pen.

 

Regards,

 

Richard.

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In many ways, for flying, I prefer c/c pens. When the ink is in the c/c and the pen is nib up (as in a shirt pocket) the ink drains out of the collector into the c/c and forms a puddle at the bottom of the c/c. As there is no tube into the ink, and no air under the ink, there is no way for the ink to be pushed out of the pen.

 

Regards,

 

Richard.

 

That is not entirely right. I'm sure someone who paid more attention in physics class can explain it better, but basically, converters can burp ink too, actually they're more likely to because the surface tension is bigger in the smaller reservoir and could cause a blob of ink to be trapped above an air bubble. This air then expands during ascend and descend of the vehicle and pushes the liquid above it out through the feed and into the cap or onto the page. However, because converters have a capacity of <1ml, there's not much ink they can expel, so maybe that's why they don't have a bad reputation with frequent fliers.

 

 

Dominique

Snail Mail


(fluent in SK, CZ, DE, EN


currently learning EO, JP, NL)

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True. And many modern pens have almost a convertor's worth of ink capacity in the collector anyway. Nonetheless, I have never had a problem with c/c pens burping in a plane. If Brits are allowed to fly to Europe in the future (after 29 March 2019 :wacko: ) I may take my transparent green WS 601 with me just to see what happens with it.

 

Regards,

 

Richard

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  • 2 weeks later...

From what I've seen, nib up takes care of most of the problems. Just make sure you're not flying with a filling machanism that uses pressure on a sac (metro squeeze converter, lever fillers, aerometric fillers, etc), those are basically asking for an inky mess when you have pressure changes.

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I've only ever flown with cartridges and converters installed, with ink in them, and my pens weren't even kept tip up... they are always horizontal in my bag on the floor. I've never had an issue. I suspect the leaking issue is a holdover from ink sac pens and is sort of a non-issue with other fill types... unless someone has a horror story to share?

 

I think since C&Cs have rigid walls, and are such small containers that can breath through the feed anyway, and only have really small amounts of air in them, the pressure just doesn't do much to them.

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Love the bilberry, the summa summarum, and your minuscule l and f in this handwritten account.

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