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The Pilot Metropolitan

One last pen before we go back to looking at inks. The Metropolitan is a new-ish entry-level fountain pen that will compete really well with the others in that realm like the Pelikanos, Safaris, and Sheaffer VFMs. At around $15, it is the same price as a VFM, but it comes with its own converter so you don't have to refill cartridges in order to use bottled ink. The price is well below the other entry-level pens, so it's a really good place for a new fountain pen user to start with.


It only comes in three colors, but you can choose from among several detail-designs for the barrel, and I suppose that spruces it up a bit. The black and silver models look pretty classy, while the gold is a bit too much for my tastes. The Metro has an aluminum body and cap with a glossy black section. The nib is tastefully engraved with little hash marks moving towards the tip. It's a smart lookin' pen.

I've been carrying mine around in my pocket for a while, and there aren't any scratches on it yet. Granted, I don't carry around a bunch of change in the same pocket, but it's still survived a couple of months without any damage.

Nib & Performance

The nib in the pictures above is the nib of my Pilot Plumix. These two nibs are interchangeable, and the Plumix is a stub, so I bought both of them specifically to make the switch. That's not because the Metro comes with a bad nib. It doesn't. It's a very smooth nib. It's also pretty stiff. In fact, if anything, it's a little too smooth. It tends to skate a little if you're using a smooth ink, but I haven't had much of a problem with it.

The pen performs well, but it is a tad dry. The first ink I used in it was Waterman Mysterious Blue, and it was not a very good match. I've been using Noodler's Dark Matter in it for a while, now, and it's working really well. I thought it was the nib that was running dry, but I've put it in the Plumix and it works perfectly well. I think the feed could be opened up a little if you want it to run wetter, but if you're using a slightly less viscous ink you won't have a problem.

These two pictures are of the Metro's nib, but that nib lives on my Pilot Plumix now.  That's the Plumix section you're seeing there. 

If you're reading this blog, you're probably already into fountain pens. If, for some reason, you're not already a user, you should pick up one of these. They're a great value for the price, and they're great everyday carry pens. 

Pentel Oh!Gel 0.7

This is the second of the Pentel gel pens that I have to show right now, and it's the better of the two. The styling is a bit more plain, and the whole pen is one uniform diameter and it is a bit longer than most of the other pens I have lying around. It's the same length as a retractable EnerGel. The pocket clip is longer than average, and made of a stiff and sturdy-feeling plastic. The click on this pen is stiff and positive. Overall, it's sturdy, not unattractive, and functional. There aren't any weird protuberances like on the HyperG, and the grip is tacky and grooved.  

The only down side is that the ink seems to take a little longer to dry than the ink in the HyperG. It's a KFR7 refill instead of the KLR7 that the HyperG uses, so perhaps the KFR is a darker, but slower-drying ink. I'll take the darker ink over the lighter, but left-handed folk are bound to want it the other way around. 

This is the end of the non-fountain pens for now, though they'll be making a come-back in the near future as I've just gotten a handful of singles from the local pen shop this weekend. 

Also: I'll be posting a give-away in the near future, so watch out for that. (I just have to decide what I'll be giving away.)

Pentel HyperG 0.7

The next two pens are both gels from Pentel. I got both of these as singles from the local-ish Office Supplies & More. I haven't seen them in the other stores around here, but I'm sure they're available online or in store more exotic than Target.

They really went for a more futuristic style on this pen, and I think it missed the mark. I don't mind the diamond-pattern in the barrel or the clip, but the grip and the plastic bit by the tip are big misses. They are uncomfortable for me since I tend to grip near the point (I'm so used to saying "nib") because the little plastic point pokes me in the finger tip and the rubber grip section seems to be backwards. It's smooth on the top and bumpy on the bottom. Weird. I think that if they'd flipped the grip over and made that plastic ridge a bit longer it could have been a much better pen.

I'm also not a huge fan of the way it writes. The pen I'll be reviewing next appears to use the same ink cartridge, so perhaps this one is just a dud, but this one doesn't write all that well. It's not terrible, but it's just not putting down enough ink for my tastes. Still better than a ball point, but not as good as a gel ought to be.

If you have a different grip, then perhaps you'll like this style more than I did, but it's not really for me.

Uniball Signo BOLD (1.0)

I'm sure that everyone has seen and used a Uniball Signo 207. They've been around for several years, and they're really good pens. I've used them in their regular (.7) and Micro (.5?) versions, and both are quite good. This one is much thicker than the other two, and much thicker than the other 1.0 pens that I've used in the past. It's boss.

The differences between the regular and bold versions of the Signo 207 are confined to the width of the line. The pen is smooth and slightly wet, but it dries very quickly. The body of the pen is identical with the other Signo 207 pens, aside from the "BOLD" label. If you liked them, then you'll like this one.

They're gel pens, and they're marketed as being fraud-resistant which keep your checks from being forged. I can't attest that they aren't removable, but It's been my experience that gel inks and ballpoint inks are more difficult to remove than regular liquid inks. I don't usually do a drip-test on these sorts of inks, but I've done one just for fun. 

Pilot Bravo

Every once in a while it's it's good to step back from the noble fountain pens and inks that I generally talk about here. Full confession: I don't always use a fountain pen. I know. Shocking. Sometimes I use rollerballs and porous points and even ballpoints. I'll be putting up some reviews of those types of pens this week, so if you're not into that, then come back in a week or so when I've switched back to FPs and inks. These aren't pens that you'll find everywhere, but I like to pick up singles that look interesting when I get a chance to.

The Pilot Bravo is a big, bold porous point pen. Before I was into fountain pens, I was a big fan of the porous point. It's sort of the gateway-drug that leads to fountain pens. They're usually smooth pens that lay down a wet, saturated line. This one is no exception. The Bravo puts down a good amount of black ink in a thick medium-bold line. It's not as broad as some broad-nib fountain pens, but it's wider than an average medium.

The best part of the pen is the ink, though. It's dark and saturated, but it doesn't feather, spread, or bleed through papers. The paper that I wrote the review on is from a Quattro pad that I reviewed a little while ago. It's an interesting pad, but the paper is a little too absorbent for fountain pens. It tends to bleed, feather, and spread with the inks that I've tried on it. The Bravo, however, doesn't do that even on this paper. It's solid.

At 5.25" capped and 5.66" long it's about the same size as a Pilot G2. The clip is plastic, and not particularly sturdy. I don't think it's going to break off any time soon, but I'd rather it were metal. The grip is smooth plastic, but it's comfortable enough to write with.

I've seen these priced between $2 and $7 online, though I didn't take a note of what I paid for it as a single pen at Office Supplies & More. If you can find them at a reasonable price then you should pick one up. They're good for using as a marker or writing anything you'll want to be bold. My wife is usually a fan of fine tips, but she really liked using it at trivia the other night. Need some gravitas? Grab a Bravo.

March 2013 Ink Drop

Alright, y'all. Here comes the March Ink Drop. It's called "Fade to Black," and they're mostly blacks with a couple of greys mixed in. It's pretty cool to get an ink drop that doesn't include a single ink that I already have. Bravo, Goulets. Bravo. 

I've heard that black inks are the most popular inks among fountain pen folks (according to sales, anyway), but I just don't get it. They're the utility inks that probably everyone has, but they don't really satisfy me aesthetically. That said, I'm really glad to have a few in my collection. My wife likes blacks and off-blacks, so I'll probably fill her pens full of these inks for her when she runs dry on whatever she's using right now. 

Here are the close-up shots.

I have these two in pens right now (as you can see if you look at the "Currently Inked" page of the blog), and they look a lot alike. I think it might be due to the slightly dry line of my TWSBI 540 which makes the Graphite look more grey than it would otherwise. 

Lamy Black is a pretty solid looking black. It's dark, and it bled through the paper the least of any of these. Monteverde Black is more like Noodler's Dark Matter. They've both got a slightly off-black tint. 

Namiki Black looks a little green in the picture, but it doesn't have that cast in real life. It's a lighter black, but a different sort of light black than the Monteverde. I'll have to try and do a better job of capturing that when I do the actual reviews of those inks.

In other news, I've had a full cup of mostly non-fountain pens on my desk for a few months. I've been meaning to write reviews of them for Inkdependence because that's my excuse for buying them. Well, I've finally done a few of those. I'll be posting them up in the next week, and I've done some catching up on my ink reviews as well. So: Lots of stuff coming up in the near future!

Rohrer & Klingner Morinda UPDATE: Video!

It's grading time, and that makes me think about red inks. Some of the red inks that I've tried out have been kinda bloody-looking. Oxblood, Matador (that I'm using right now in my Rotring 600) and a few others make it look like I've opened a vein on my student's papers. Not Morinda.

Morinda is a whimsical red. It looks kinda like dried katsup. (Google Chrome just tried to make me spell katsup with a "c". I didn't give in. IdowhatIwant.) It's a weird color, but that's what makes it unique. I've got a fondness for unique colors, and this one is pretty awesome. There are some inks that are unique, but ugly (Rome Burning) or unique, but misbehaved (Rome Burning). This one is unique, but totally usable.

I've not used any R&K inks before, so some of you might be well ahead of me, but I really liked this one. It behaved really well in my Lamy Nexx with a fine nib, and the color is weird and different.

Here's the video water test. I used my iPad for this, and it's much less shaky.