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PenBBS Fountain Pen Ink No.406 幽月繁星 review


A Smug Dill
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ACtC-3cP4xnxELOBpHaYY0Oa-w4FUSsR7SuSgAnNhi0ELIotVZCiz4pMJowWKYbuc5cflDpqUVuYkl1uhZlGq-Qo2uJe3ikkIJ66SG2gSrSxME79sr_Ka-7G9wOwBuCZiuYmx7BcWeYFvp7mT0jV79bH2yKR=s480-no?authuser=0
Source: AliExpress
 
PenBBS is mostly known for its pen models on English-language fountain pen hobbyist forums, but it also makes a heck of lot of different inks — including some pigment inks and shimmer inks besides dye inks — and releases sometimes ten, sometimes a dozen, or even two dozen new ink colours at a time in batches it refers to as ‘seasons’. Their relative obscurity in the Western world is understandable, though.
 
Each ink is both numbered and named, but from what I've seen, the name of a particular ink is usually given either only in Chinese or only in English, never both. There isn't any apparent rhyme or reason in the product numbering, either; the twelve inks in the 18th Season are consecutively numbered from 290 to 301, while the ten inks in the 19th Season are numbered from 269 to 278, and the twelve inks in the 20th Season from 310 to 321. Then, some come only in 60ml bottles, some only in 15ml bottles, and some only in 35ml bottles. There is just no making sense of all that, which could serve to snuff out idle curiosity in the products.
 
Furthermore, there seems to be some Customs regulations in China to prevent the export of ink by post, even though there has been some talk online about how cheap and easy it is to order PenBBS inks on Taobao. I have no idea how that works; I ordered mine on AliExpress — but, unlike for other Chinese brands of inks, there seems to be only one seller of PenBBS inks using that marketplace platform — and Customs in China intercepted the shipment on the seller's first attempt to ship my order (by EMS ePacket) and returned it to the sender. The seller made a second attempt at shipping, and the order eventually made its way to me in Australia the long way around moving through Europe.
 
Anyway, here it is:
 
ACtC-3e_ttKmi0qUHIov8g-EOT-2mx1pIx5VV9FS
 
PenBBS Fountain Pen Ink No.406 幽月繁星 is a shimmer ink from the 29th Season, and comes in 60ml bottles (with the labels stating “60±5ml”).
 
幽月 = dark moon; faint moon; pale moon
繁星 = myriad stars; metonymically a starry sky
 
The marketing image for the ink depicts the colour and complexity of the ink pretty accurately, and I wasn't disappointed.
 
ACtC-3cwruniJTe62R-mbUjZFfrg6c43cjQqU8kK
(Scanned image of the writing sample sheet, downsized to match my MacBook Pro screen's pixel density of 114dpi)
 
Sometimes sheen will show up even in scans; but not for this ultra-sheening ink!
 
ACtC-3f7kwL2ZylnWxbQnppVNQCk01cES5Z4VYVd
 
On Rhodia Dotpad 80g/m² paper:
  • Drying time: If the ink mark is wet enough to exhibit sheen, then 20 seconds is just short of what it takes for the ink to dry
  • Smudging after drying: It (turned out, after I had occasion to handle the the test sheet a fortnight or so after writing it, that it) can smudge, as the sheen component can be reactivated with just the microscopic beads of sweat on one's fingertips, but not quite as readily or badly as some Diamine ultra-sheening inks (e.g. Skull & Roses, Iridescink Herbert)
  • Feathering: Not observed
    ACtC-3czyOO48KUZKbzhiEV2batPViX7X7WLVgpV
  • Show-through: Low to nil
  • Bleed-through: Not observed
  • Shading: Very little that can be observed, because when it's wet enough to show shading, it's also wet enough for sheen to manifest and cover up the darker shade(s) of blue-black
  • Sheen: A crazy amount of bronze sheen, even on extremely fine hatching linesACtC-3d8WKQNxqx6LXusfg2Gh9kaz-AuMgz3o7aU
  • Shimmer: There appears to be at least two, if not three, different colours of shimmer particles in this ink: light metallic blue, silver, and perhaps (more sparsely) gold. It's pretty hard to tell, because I think the sheening component of this ink is so dense, it's outright obscuring some of the shimmer particles, and possibly making some others close to the surface appear to take on a different hue. It might not look as if there is a lot of shimmer in the writing in the photo above, but:
    ACtC-3cmLx_D6F7c9bcqzzentme3hWkK7ajysfrm
    shows a bit more, and then, once some of the colourants in the ink have been washed away:
    ACtC-3esMIZUx1xyo_qHAdz_mIY4Q1BPZPwwH2tz
  • Water resistance: poor
 
I think this ink certainly gives the sheening-and-shimmering inks in Diamine's Inkvent (aka Blue Edition) range some stiff competition.
 
Unfortunately, this ink also makes my Sailor Fude de Mannen pen hard-start a lot, if I just pause for 30 seconds without capping it. You can see the letter l next to ‘20s’ in the drying time test being thin and pale, compared to the letters o and (more so) t next to it on the opposite side. I had to scribble on a scrap piece of paper and get the pen writing again, before putting down ‘lot’ next to ‘25s’ on the line below that.
 
(How this came to be not quite a ‘lazy’ review: I put the remainder of the fill of ink into an F-nibbed Sailor pen later, by moving the converter across, to see if it has more of a problem with hard-starting or less. But, unless I can prove that the pen won't hard-start after a 60-second pause, I'll have to relegate this ink to the list of fun inks to use for calligraphy practice and/or writing on greeting cards, but not something I can use for putting my thoughts in a journal or jotting down notes on a notepad.)
 
Putting PenBBS ink No.406 in a Sailor pen with a steel F nib, the colour looks remarkably similar to Diamine Iridescink Herbert, although the latter exhibited rather more sheen:
 
spacer.png
 
spacer.png
 
and I was only able to get a tiny bit of shimmer from writing with the ink using such a fine nib:
 
spacer.png
 
I still got far more hard-starting with the F nib than I would like; it would write after a 60-second pause, but resuming after a 90-second pause was an absolute struggle. I've since swapped a Sailor steel Music nib onto the pen, and it performs a little better in that regard.
 
Still, this just isn't going to cut it as a general-purpose ink.
 
Edited by A Smug Dill
Fixed inline images; rewrote the pink bits; found some PenBBS inks labelled with names in both languages

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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No more lazy reviews? ;)

This is great one as usual. The colour, looks especially nice with the flash on :)

Maybe if you let the glitter settle and ink a pen without them, it'll have less hard start problems?

 

BTW the less the 3 images have not attached...

 

 

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I see some big circular minus marks on my page that I can't get rid of. What is that all about?

Also, why strike though the pink paragraph when it could just as easily be deleted? I'm confused.

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43 minutes ago, yazeh said:

No more lazy reviews? ;)

 

This one was intended to be a lazy review as well, but turned out not to be so (because I ended up testing the ink with two different pens).

 

43 minutes ago, yazeh said:

BTW the less the 3 images have not attached...

 

Thanks for letting me know. Strange… they're showing in Safari on my Mac, but not in Safari on my iPad.

 

14 minutes ago, Dione said:

Also, why strike though the pink paragraph when it could just as easily be deleted?

 

Precisely to give context, to those who are used to seeing my ’lazy’ reviews, why this one wasn't a ‘lazy’ review. The review was originally posted (elsewhere) in two parts, on two separate days. I managed only to retrieve the text of the first half, when ended where I wrote what I was going to do next.

 

When I re-posted this ink review here, I decided to reproduce/rewrite the obliterated second part into the same post for coherence. I trust the text would make sense irrespective of whether the struck-out paragraph was read in the normal flow.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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