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$10 Retractable Nib Pen, Reviewed by Chrisrap52



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Lanbitou is now making a "clone" of the Platinum Curidas retractable nib pen for slightly under $10 on eBay or Aliexpress. Here is Chrisrap52's review:

 

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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Mech-for-i

Lanbitou and its parent brand Laoshi do made some decent entry grade pens, but this one is not one of them , in any case even the Platinum original are kind of wanting

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grainweevil

I saw these the other day and decided to give one a run in lieu of being able to see a Curidas in the flesh - an EF in a solid colour described as turquoise.

 

Not unexpectedly the ink evaporates very quickly - my fill of Diamine Eau de Nile in the afternoon was looking like Lamy Petrol by the morning. But the EF nib is okay with a sweet spot at quite a high angle of grip, ink flows and it's started up every time thus far. Personally I wouldn't use any inks with high dye loads or that wouldn't wash out readily because you're just going to make trouble for yourself, and using it regularly is a must. I find it too fat at the grip for my tastes, and my middle finger inevitably ends up rubbing against that trap door relief nub underneath, so it's done the job I got it for and saved me from a disappointing potential purchase. All in all, it writes, it functions, and it has a bit of novelty factor. Can't complain really. 

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Aysedasi

I had a red Lanbitou 3088 arrive today.  Not very impressed.  Design wise, I quite like it, but the build quality seems fairly poor.  The nib retraction works erratically.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it just totally sticks.  For a cheap pen I could forgive it that, but the F nib is really horrible.  OK, it's batting on a sticky wicket anyway as I hate fiddly little fine nibs, but I found it almost impossible to write with it, scratchy and unpleasant.  It was just a punt to try one out - sometimes you make mistakes.....

http://www.aysedasi.co.uk

 

 

 

 

She turned me into a newt.......

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cherrymerry

I have one. Mine EF nib was not perfect, but after polishing it bacame just a normal EF nib. The mechanism works well after a drop of silicon grease. Initially I faced a big problem with drying out: I guess that after filling the pen the only available ink was on the end of the feed, but there was no transport between converter and nib. I think this problem was due to too tight fastening of the nib to the feed. And I solved it with applying pressure to the pen, I mean I just wrote some circles with force and after that the flow became normal.

 

It's too hard to predict will the Curidas fit in your hand, so the 3088 is good for such test.

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I’ve had a much better experience with mine. I’ve had it a couple of months and used it perhaps about 10 times. Yes, it does dry out if left for a couple of days and requires priming to get it going again. But once it is writing, it is very good indeed, quite smooth and wet (using Diamine Teal). Not quite to the standard of one of my better Japanese fine nibs (Namiki Vanishing Point gold F) maybe, but certainly as good as a Wingsung 698, Pilot Prera/MR/Metropolitan/78G etc. I guess maybe I got lucky and got a good example.

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Too bad about the evaporation issues,"couple of days" is still pretty bad imo, especially for a pen that is meant for note taking (and that seems to be kinda inconvenient for refilling on top of it).

 

Does anyone know how it does with sealing against ink? When the nib is retracted can this pen be trusted to be carried around in a bag without having to worry about ink stains?

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Aysedasi

In all honesty, even though I have no evidence, I wouldn't trust it in a bag....

http://www.aysedasi.co.uk

 

 

 

 

She turned me into a newt.......

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mcgeechan

This pen has got to be that rare occasion where I actually want to put it in the bin it is so bad. I would have rather have spent my money on a ballpoint pen.

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On 9/1/2021 at 12:01 AM, mcgeechan said:

This pen has got to be that rare occasion where I actually want to put it in the bin it is so bad. I would have rather have spent my money on a ballpoint pen.

 

I totally agree.  Really poor.  My worst purchase for quite a long while.  You live and learn....

http://www.aysedasi.co.uk

 

 

 

 

She turned me into a newt.......

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grainweevil

It would seem to be a Clint Eastwood pen purchase. i.e. You have to ask yourself "Do I feel lucky?"

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46 minutes ago, grainweevil said:

It would seem to be a Clint Eastwood pen purchase. i.e. You have to ask yourself "Do I feel lucky?"

 

Yep.  The 'punk pen'......  ;)

http://www.aysedasi.co.uk

 

 

 

 

She turned me into a newt.......

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bugsydog55

Once the curiosity factor went away, so did the desire.  I usually steer clear of gimmick pens but this one made me break my own rule.  Getting the real one was out of the question and this thing was about 8-9 dollars on Ali Express, probably cheaper now.  Since I am retired, it will be something to play with and to tickle the fancy of non pen people.  I may even put ink in it.

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Jamerelbe
7 minutes ago, bugsydog55 said:

Once the curiosity factor went away, so did the desire.  I usually steer clear of gimmick pens but this one made me break my own rule.  Getting the real one was out of the question and this thing was about 8-9 dollars on Ali Express, probably cheaper now.  Since I am retired, it will be something to play with and to tickle the fancy of non pen people.  I may even put ink in it.

 

As long as you keep your expectations, suitably low, I don't think you'll be disappointed: this is a cheap facsimile of the Platinum Curidas, but the mechanism is still pretty impressive, and fun to explore.  I've found that applying silicon grease to the edges of the "trap door" with a Q-tip has resulted in the nib drying out more slowly - though you still can't leave it more than a few days.  I'm kinda tempted to buy the real thing now...

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A Smug Dill
4 hours ago, Jamerelbe said:

I've found that applying silicon grease to the edges of the "trap door" with a Q-tip has resulted in the nib drying out more slowly - though you still can't leave it more than a few days.  I'm kinda tempted to buy the real thing now...

 

That just kills it for me. I passed up the opportunity to get some of these for <US$5 each (including tax and attributed shipping charge) recently, as well as that to get a genuine Platinum Curidas at a reasonable discount (and no marginal shipping cost by tacking it onto a larger order), and a Lamy Dialog 3 (in my preferred finish, too!) at a steep discount. A fountain pen that cannot be relied upon to write immediately and properly as soon as its nib touches paper for the first time in a fortnight is not just flawed in my book; it's downright unusable.

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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Jamerelbe
5 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

That just kills it for me. I passed up the opportunity to get some of these for <US$5 each (including tax and attributed shipping charge) recently, as well as that to get a genuine Platinum Curidas at a reasonable discount (and no marginal shipping cost by tacking it onto a larger order), and a Lamy Dialog 3 (in my preferred finish, too!) at a steep discount. A fountain pen that cannot be relied upon to write immediately and properly as soon as its nib touches paper for the first time in a fortnight is not just flawed in my book; it's downright unusable.

 

Given those choices, I'd probably want to try the Dialog 3 (though it would depend how steep the discount!).  I'm genuinely interested in the Curidas too though.  Unless they remanufacture it to higher production standards, the Lanbitou is probably only worth trying out as a novelty - and to decide whether the Curidas will work for you before outlaying the bigger bucks...

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A Smug Dill
7 minutes ago, Jamerelbe said:

Given those choices, I'd probably want to try the Dialog 3 (though it would depend how steep the discount!).

 

It would have ended up costing me <US$160 all up. A long time ago, EndlessPens offered the pen on several occasions for US$170 (plus delivery, waived for orders ≥US$500). I came close to pulling the trigger this time, but because of the nagging doubt whether the Lamy Dialog 3 would perform better than the Pilot Capless Vanishing Point when it comes to preventing ink evaporation, I gave it a miss after all. I loved Pilot Capless Vanishing Point pens, but because even they aren't good enough, these days the half a dozen I have just sit unused almost all year round. (I still have a brand new 2020 LE model sitting in its retail box among my ‘surplus’ pile of pens, and gave away my 2013 LE earlier this year after keeping it unused and never inked all these years.)

 

17 minutes ago, Jamerelbe said:

the Lanbitou is probably only worth trying out as a novelty

 

I figured as much.

 

18 minutes ago, Jamerelbe said:

and to decide whether the Curidas will work for you before outlaying the bigger bucks...

 

That, I was never really going to buy for the asking or street prices anyway; the see-through body (which, in my book, cheapens any design), the seemingly excessive number of parts, the issue of the bump at the bottom near the opening, the long throw of the push-button shaft, etc. makes for an aggregate that just does not appeal, even though I like both novelty and Platinum as a brand.

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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Jamerelbe
1 hour ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

It would have ended up costing me <US$160 all up. A long time ago, EndlessPens offered the pen on several occasions for US$170 (plus delivery, waived for orders ≥US$500). I came close to pulling the trigger this time, but because of the nagging doubt whether the Lamy Dialog 3 would perform better than the Pilot Capless Vanishing Point when it comes to preventing ink evaporation, I gave it a miss after all. I loved Pilot Capless Vanishing Point pens, but because even they aren't good enough, these days the half a dozen I have just sit unused almost all year round. (I still have a brand new 2020 LE model sitting in its retail box among my ‘surplus’ pile of pens, and gave away my 2013 LE earlier this year after keeping it unused and never inked all these years.)

 

Hmmm, that would have been tempting - though I'm not up for that kind of outlay right now.  I *did* get to have a look at the Dialog 3, though, the last time I was in Melbourne (at one of the Milligram stores), and to talk to the guy there who does all the Lamy repairs.  He assured me that Lamy has fixed its dry-out problems with the pen - and that he'd been specifically trained to trouble-shoot this when it does crop up.  It wasn't enough to convince me to buy one on the spot (they charge nearly AU$500), but I was reassured that this is no longer a 'thing'.  So maybe, one day, if I see a really good special - and as long as I can be fairly certain it's not older stock.

 

1 hour ago, A Smug Dill said:

That, I was never really going to buy for the asking or street prices anyway; the see-through body (which, in my book, cheapens any design), the seemingly excessive number of parts, the issue of the bump at the bottom near the opening, the long throw of the push-button shaft, etc. makes for an aggregate that just does not appeal, even though I like both novelty and Platinum as a brand.

 

I hear ya, but I don't mind see-through pen bodies (especially if there's a cool mechanism to see!) - so the Curidas stays on the list for me.  And I now know (having played with the Lanbitou rip-off) that the size and shape won't be an issue for me.

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A Smug Dill
19 minutes ago, Jamerelbe said:

He assured me that Lamy has fixed its dry-out problems with the pen - and that he'd been specifically trained to trouble-shoot this when it does crop up.

 

I read several reviews and discussions about the Lamy Dialog 3, when I saw the special and was seriously considering it; and they did say Lamy has fixed the drying out issue in a second release some time ago. Nevertheless, I wasn't sufficiently convinced, given that most fellow hobbyists here don't seem to share my view that a pen should not dry out if left unused for three months (and there's a fair amount of ink left in the converter or cartridge, and not just two drops left with plenty of empty space in the plastic tube into which to evaporate without building up too much vapour pressure); some even try to tell me it's user error or lack of maintenance to leave ink in a pen for that long. No, leaving ink to dry out in a pen intentionally or neglectfully is user error; whereas expecting a pen to prevent ink evaporation sufficiently effectively so as not to dry out in under three months, and deliberately putting it to the test to see whether it exhibits a critical flaw in failing that criterion, is not user error, unless the product specifications make express mention of having lesser performance in that regard.

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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Jamerelbe
2 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

I read several reviews and discussions about the Lamy Dialog 3, when I saw the special and was seriously considering it; and they did say Lamy has fixed the drying out issue in a second release some time ago. Nevertheless, I wasn't sufficiently convinced, given that most fellow hobbyists here don't seem to share my view that a pen should not dry out if left unused for three months (and there's a fair amount of ink left in the converter or cartridge, and not just two drops left with plenty of empty space in the plastic tube into which to evaporate without building up too much vapour pressure); some even try to tell me it's user error or lack of maintenance to leave ink in a pen for that long. No, leaving ink to dry out in a pen intentionally or neglectfully is user error; whereas expecting a pen to prevent ink evaporation sufficiently effectively so as not to dry out in under three months, and deliberately putting it to the test to see whether it exhibits a critical flaw in failing that criterion, is not user error, unless the product specifications make express mention of having lesser performance in that regard.

 

I have a fair few lower-end pens that fail on this criterion - starting with the Noodler's pens (Ahab and Creaper) that I bought when I first started collecting fountain pens.  I'm probably a bit more forgiving than you in that I still hang onto these pens, and even ink them up from time to time - but to be honest the fact that ink evaporates so quickly in them is such a disincentive that I tend to use them less and less.  The Lanbitou 3088 I suspect will face the same fate, once I've written it dry: destined at best to be a pen I *might* ink up a second time, but maybe not a third...

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