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Natami ‘Super Warship’ clipless vacuum-filler


A Smug Dill

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I came across this while browsing AliExpress earlier tonight:

 

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One of the other marketing images claims, “6 nib can be replaced with conventional mainstream nib”, with no indication of whether it has a removable, threaded nib collar — let alone for which nib unit threading specification the pen model is tapped — and the length of the nib in millimetres, which is how Chinese pen brands usually specify the (physical) sizes of their pens' nibs, irrespective of the feed diameters they fit around.

 

Natami is the Chinese brand, with pretensions of being of Japanese origin, that brought to the market some years ago the Inception ‘The Flight of Time’ cartridge/converter-filled model, which took much of its, um, design inspiration from the original Platinum #3776 Century models with Slip & Seal. Almost all of the Natami-branded products that I've seen on Taobao and AliExpress since the Inception fall straight into the category of cheap Chinese stationery —including pens, most of which are not fountain pens. There is one other Natami c/c-filled model, Air(?), with a hooded nib; its retail packaging claims “Design in Japan”, but is clearly a Chinese-made fountain pen and uses 3.4mm-bore ink cartridges and converters (that no Japanese fountain pens use, to the best of my knowledge).

 

Interestingly, as with the Asvine V200, this Natami ‘Super Warship’ is not (while the other Natami fountain pen models are) listed on Taobao.

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, and 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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I just saw this pen randomly in a AliExpess search! It’s nice looking and $30 isn’t bad for a vacuum filler. (Isn’t that funny: I can say ‘not bad for $30’ only because of Chinese pen prices, otherwise I’d be trying to justify paying $175 for it!)

 

I went on to look at their other models and the styling was nice. And yes, I thought ‘3776’ the instant I saw that other model. Maybe a brand to keep an eye on?

 

I would like to know, however, how the pen’s designers learned what a warp drive looks like! 😂 Actually, I’m a big sci-fi fan so the spaceship conceit was also a plus! Load the EF Nib, because we’re going warp 9!

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@A Smug Dill New mystery. As with the V200, this is the second pen with no mention on the companies flagship store. 

One theory is we have the same case as those random non-labeled Jinhao copies that were so prevalent years back. Same OEM, lower quality most times, but the same mold. The other option is that there is a third avenue we have no seen yet where an independent seller is "branching" off with one off originals. It gets "tin foil hat" and none of my contacts know where these models are originating from.

 

Hero also has an entire industry of underlings and offshoots that act like test model companies to work out the kinks before their higher label models make the exact same pen with appropriate finishing touches. Basically, no idea but twice is no coincidence. 

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Prefer turned acrylic, don't care for vacuum fillers, dont like sc-fi, usually take ages to weigh up a purchase... but i bought this within 5 minutes of reading this thread 😎

 

Why? I'm not sure. Maybe because it looks so different from anything else?

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10 hours ago, Dan Carmell said:

And yes, I thought ‘3776’ the instant I saw that other model. Maybe a brand to keep an eye on?

 

The Inception was how I came to hear about the brand, years ago. I bought one, and frankly wasn't all that impressed by it. I like that its pen body is faceted, but the ridges between the facets were a bit too… defined, almost sharp (although not quite rough) in how they were finished. The plastic material of the body was ‘meh’; and of course the (F width grade, with no other choice of) nib is nothing like a Platinum #3776's F nib. I also thought the effectiveness of the imitation Slip & Seal mechanism didn't quite compare to Platinum's implementation. For the price of around US$18 at the time, it was OK, especially when there weren't as many HongDian, Asvine, Admok, etc. models in the market (although there were already too many Chinese fountain pen models to count even back then).

 

I ended up polishing the pen body with all that Novus stuff, over and over, until the ridges were softer and the plastic was shiny all over, then handed the pen over to my wife. She likes it.

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, and 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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10 hours ago, J120 said:

New mystery. As with the V200, this is the second pen with no mention on the companies flagship store. 

 

More interestingly, both of those are vacuum-filler models that sport, um, a particular aesthetic, which dare I say does not seem to be marketed to appeal to the masses in the Chinese domestic market.

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, and 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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2 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

More interestingly, both of those are vacuum-filler models that sport, um, a particular aesthetic, which dare I say does not seem to be marketed to appeal to the masses in the Chinese domestic market.

365Days on AliExpress had said they would have the V200 in a week, several weeks ago, still does not. I think its appearance on Amazon first and exclusively (is that still correct?) and your comment about aesthetics in its home market suggests a more concerted push into foreign markets?

 

(I’m finding it’s not my aesthetic either, the P36 I bought will probably be resold. It’s obviously a fine pen but not for me, so no V200 for me.)

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As the ad below notes, there’s an additional discount starting in a few hours at one AliExpess vendor at least. I have one on the way, I had some coupons and liked what Dill wrote about it—I got the darker version. 
 

I like the way the cap is constructed because it seems to visually separate the two elements of a (clipless) cap: the inner cap and the larger shell. The two components are built as if they have collided and merged (to continue the sci-fi theme). Perhaps I am making too much of it, but it caught my attention. To stretch your patience further, it appears that the threads for the inner cap and barrel are nicely executed and serve to enhance the design—when you see the cap off on the dark one in particular, those threads visually act as a cap band. 

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7 minutes ago, Dan Carmell said:

As the ad below notes, there’s an additional discount starting in a few hours at one AliExpess vendor at least.

 

Thanks for sharing that with us! I have a US$5 credit voucher from AliExpress as ‘compensation’ for a seller repeatedly failing to send orders (of something that is not a pen) that I've placed and paid for; and given this model isn't available on Taobao, i.e. I can't get it cheaper that way, maybe I should consider the AliExpress offer. Do I trust Natami as a brand to execute well, though? Hmmm. 🤔

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, and 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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16 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

<snip> Do I trust Natami as a brand to execute well, though? Hmmm. 

Fair question given your experience. I’m going to give it a chance given how much I like the design. I also like they aren’t sticking their customers for the additional cost of a Schmidt/Bock but instead have their own branded nib.

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I see I can now get three Natami ‘Super Warships’ pens for US$58.17 all up including tax and (‘free’) shipping — and without using up my US$5 ‘compensation’ credit on the order — or just one for US$21.66 (after applying the US$5 credit at the final accounting). Hmmm.

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, and 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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On 4/26/2024 at 11:08 PM, A Smug Dill said:

Natami is the Chinese brand, with pretensions of being of Japanese origin,

It does sounds a lot like a japanese brand name.  I would've been easily fooled if you didn't point that out.

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I received this pen today and am deeply disappointed.  The nib is an insanely scratchy nail.  Completely unpleasant to write with.  Friction fit, easy to remove, I will find another nib to use.  The vacuum filler rod is very loose where it attaches to the end.  It wobbles around.  When I use the vacuum filler system to fill the chamber I can not get more than about a 40% fill.  Not the end of the world, I normally syringe fill pens, and that works easily.  But the vacuum seal does not create a vacuum at the end of the chamber.  When I screw down the end cap, ink still flows above and below the vacuum seal.  So...an eyedropper with a junk nib.

 

Very light pen, and to me it feels cheap, though the fit and finish is not bad.  The cap semi-posts, apparently securely, until it pops off.   I can't believe I paid $25 for this crappy pen.

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3 hours ago, lascosas said:

Very light pen, and to me it feels cheap, though the fit and finish is not bad.  The cap semi-posts, apparently securely, until it pops off.   I can't believe I paid $25 for this crappy pen.

 

Sorry to hear it wasn't nearly satisfactory or better value for your money, but I really appreciate your letting us know! I was going to pull the trigger on one before the end of the current AliExpress promo (in two days' time), but I guess now I won't; thank you for sparing me the disappointment. Not that I haven't already “spent all my money” on Taobao on chroma-

shading inks and such the past week…

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, and 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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After reading @lascosas disappointing experience with this pen, my heart sunk and I wasn’t looking forward to getting mine with a positive spirit. So when it arrived today, I opened the little box to check it out with some trepidation. It comes in a small simple box and includes a leatherette pen sleeve. 
 

I was pleased with it visually, the dark-shaded acrylic and likewise dark-toned metal parts seemed well machined and well fitted. The cap is, as I thought from the photos, rather cap-tivating in its simplicity. It’s not the quality of the Asvine P36, but it’s better made than the Wing Sung 618, for example. 
 

The filler isn’t adequate to filling the barrel—I could only get to 50%. I think it’s an issue with the valve on the piston rod, as the pressure seems quite strong just before hitting the bottleneck. The piston rod didn’t wobble or seem any different than, say the WS 699–except for the inadequate fill. I should note my first plunger-fillers were Sheaffers, and so I don’t expect to get the ink shut off feature, as handy as it is, especially for travelers. 
 

So how did it write? Great! Good ink flow, smooth tip with a little bounce, not a nail, indeed just enough bounce to give a little line variation with a little pressure. The last photo shows a little writing sample. 
 

The pen feels well balanced in my hand and while I’m gripping it near the low-profile threads, it’s quite comfortable. It’s only 29 grams; 22 without the cap. It appears to post securely but that is the metal inner cap posting on the metal piston knob. The good part is posting doesn’t stress the bandless cap; the bad part is ink from the inner cap will transfer to the piston knob, resulting in ink on you. I do think it may pop off easily, fortunately I’m not a poster. 
 

I opened the box and played with the pen outdoors because the day was so gorgeous, but I did drop it twice from a couple feet onto concrete. The first time was directly at the end of the piston knob (where the name ‘Natami’ is stenciled) but neither drop did much damage, a tiny chip on the piston knob and ink in the inner cap. 
 

Overall, I like this pen a lot, mostly for its styling. I don’t think it’s over-priced at $28, except in comparison to the high-end Chinese pens like Asvine and Hongdian, which are unmatched these days in their quality and low price. I’d like to think it will be popular enough to stick around and get a fix to improve the filler. 
 

 

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I'm glad your experience was much better than mine, particularly with the nib.  The two positive things I could say are that as an eyedropper, where I can fill it competely, it has a large capacity, and the feed provides good flow (to the worthless nib).

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3 hours ago, lascosas said:

I'm glad your experience was much better than mine, particularly with the nib.  The two positive things I could say are that as an eyedropper, where I can fill it com

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My guess is their QA for this ambitious pen is less than perfect. If I was considering this pen, I certainly wouldn’t leap to buy it, after reading about your experience. A little too expensive for the risk!

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On 4/27/2024 at 7:45 AM, A Smug Dill said:

 

The Inception was how I came to hear about the brand, years ago. I bought one, and frankly wasn't all that impressed by it. I like that its pen body is faceted, but the ridges between the facets were a bit too… defined, almost sharp (although not quite rough) in how they were finished. The plastic material of the body was ‘meh’; and of course the (F width grade, with no other choice of) nib is nothing like a Platinum #3776's F nib. I also thought the effectiveness of the imitation Slip & Seal mechanism didn't quite compare to Platinum's implementation. For the price of around US$18 at the time, it was OK, especially when there weren't as many HongDian, Asvine, Admok, etc. models in the market (although there were already too many Chinese fountain pen models to count even back then).

 

I ended up polishing the pen body with all that Novus stuff, over and over, until the ridges were softer and the plastic was shiny all over, then handed the pen over to my wife. She likes it.

And yet the details on the Natami for me are better than on the original Platinum. For example the seam on the section from the injection molding is more pronounced on the Original pen than on the Natami🤣

I first got the Natami and just like you wasn't that impressed, But a few weeks ago I got a Platinum too and changed my mind about the Natami.

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  • 1 month later...

It has been over a month since my entirely negative review.  During that time the damn pen has been sitting on my desk, and I will pick it up and fiddle with it.  Essentially I have never been able to write one single word with this thing.  Trash goes out tonight, and before sending this to the dump I thought I would try one more time.

 

The nib & feed are fiction fit & easy to remove.  I replaced the nib with a #6 Kanwrite medium architect nib, and it immediately wrote, no problem.  So the pen came with a trash nib.  I also cleaned out the ink chamber and discovered that a surprising amount of ink settled below the plunger, and there is no way to to remove the plunger or otherwise get underneath it.  Since the plunger serves no purpose, I would have been happy to rip the f... out, but I figured the force needed to do that would destroy the end cap.  I now have a grossly overpriced eyedropper with a replacement nib that can not be thoroughly cleaned.  The only upsides are that it stores a good amount of ink and is an interesting design, and a demonstrator.

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