Entry level pens

Why I love Lamys entry level fountain pens.

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I have come to notice in recent months how much I use Lamy fountain pens and how much I am drawn to use them. The Safari, AL Star and LX are pens I reach for every day because of how well they write and how versatile they are meaning there is something for everyone. You can choose from a range of colours, you can add/change/swap out nibs to your hearts content and you can use cartridge, or convertors and really open up the world of ink. I’m an advocate for the Lamy entry level fountain pens and wanted to share with you how I use mine.

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I use my Lamy AL Star in Copper Orange as my sketching fountain pen which I have inked up with Noodlers Black ink. I love using this bright and vibrant pen for sketching. The size and weight is comfortable especially when sketching for long periods of time. The nib is sturdy and gives good line variation with different pressures.

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My Lamy LX in Rose Gold has become a daily use fountain pen. I have this inked up with the lovely Sailor Blue Black. I love this pairing, its simple and feels classy. The LX has an aluminium body like the AL Star and comes with a black steel nib.

I have several Safari fountain pens and usually have one inked up. The Safari is the plastic barrel fountain pen that comes in a whole host of colours that have a matte look finish. I tend to swap out my Safaris a lot more but I always have one in use.

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There are so many plus points for the entry series of Lamy fountain pens. Over the years I have acquired a small collection without realising it. I don’t have a preference between any of these ranges, I am driven by colour and finding something that works for me. Because of their materials and durability I always recommend and gift these pens to people.

Platinum Plasir Fountain Pen Review

The Platinum Plasir was sent to me to review on the blog by Executive Pens Direct. The thoughts on this fountain pen outlined in my review below are not influenced by this in any way, it contains my honest views and opinions.

The Platinum Plasir is an entry level fountain pen that comes in at less than £15 putting it in the same league as the Lamy Safari, the Pilot Metropolitan and Kakuno and edging towards the TWSBI Eco. The Platinum Plasir is not a fountain pen you often see included in top entry level fountain pen lists and I think there is a good reason.

The Platinum Plasir lined-up against other entry level fountain pens, the Lamy Safari, The Pilot Kakuno and Pilot Metropolitan. 

The Platinum Plasir lined-up against other entry level fountain pens, the Lamy Safari, The Pilot Kakuno and Pilot Metropolitan. 

The Plasir design.

The Plasir is comparable in length to a Lamy Safari, it's large-ish body looks a little imposing. It has a metal finish with chrome trim round the pen cap and on the clip giving the illusion of a fancy pen. The chrome around the pen cap is really fat and bulky and feels like it overpowers the pen. A slimmer design would have been much nicer.

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Like a lot of other entry level fountain pens the Plasir comes in a range of colours. I have the green which I really like. The dark green colour makes this a little understated but still gives the pen a little flair.

All the different nibs.

All the different nibs.

The nib is where this pen gets really ugly. The nib matches the colour of the pen body, however not exactly so mine has a luminous green nib which feels like it clashes. The nib also looks very basic. When you look at this against other entry level fountain pen nibs, the Plasir is by far the ugliest.

The luminous green nib and the clear plastic grip section.

The luminous green nib and the clear plastic grip section.

The grip section is plastic and transparent allowing you to see the ink moving up the feed which for a beginner is a nice feature. I have mine inked up with Diamine Golden Oasis Shimmer Ink and you can see that coming through nicely, (including a build up of the gold flecks).

The reason why shimmer ink shouldn't be kept in a fountain pen.

The reason why shimmer ink shouldn't be kept in a fountain pen.

There is a slight rattle and noise when handling the pen when posted. I cant figure out if this is coming from the clip, whether something in there is a little loose but it's not a noise that evokes a lot of confidence.

Using the pen.

Using the pen is a little different, as you can tell I am not wowed by the design itself, but my faults and criticisms aren't deal breakers, they are just personal preferences.

Using the pen improves things a little. The nib I have on my Plasir is a 03. The fact that Platinum use this kind of grading system suggests they are appealing the gel pen users and trying to get them to make the leap into fountain pens. In real terms a 03 is like a fine point fountain pen and as this is a Japanese brand then it truly is a fine. I have enjoyed using this fountain pen with my Jibun Techo where a fine point is definitely required for the space given.

The Plasir nib is great for those small grids such as the Jibun Techo

The Plasir nib is great for those small grids such as the Jibun Techo

The nib is hard, there is very little give and flex but again I think that is a conscious decision. I have at times also found it scary when writing in cursive, for printing the Plasir has worked far better.

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This fountain pen also comes with a converter which means you can use whatever ink you'd like with it. This is a big bonus for those users wishing to branch out, or simply not be limited to standard cartridges.

Overall thoughts.

Looking at the Plasir alone it's not a bad fountain pen. There are definite plus points, the look of a superior quality pen, the choice of colours all work in its favour. But if you're looking for the first step into the world of fountain pens I wouldn't start here. I would still consider the alternatives, Lamy Safari or AL Star, the Pilot Metropolitan is a very similar pen and far superior to the Plasir.

The Plasir is a great additional pen. There is nothing specifically wrong with it but I didn't find myself reaching for it and using it non-stop. If I wanted to get a friend into fountain pens I simply wouldn't start with the Plasir because I don't think it gives the best first impression. Introduce and use this fountain pen later on, but definitely don't start here.

I'd like to thank Executive Pens Direct for sending me this pen to review on the blog.

Pilot Kakuno Review

The Pilot Kakuno fountain pen was part of my NY stationery haul. This is an entry level fountain pen designed for beginners to introduce people into the world of fountain pens and ink. 

Gimmicks or Lovely Quirks?

The Kakuno comes with a few seemingly silly details that could put off a more seasoned fountain pen user. First up is the pen design itself. The Kakuno is a cheap entry level pen, and the materials reflect that. The barrel is plastic and very lightweight. There is no pen clip but a small little protruding section on the pen cap which I presume is designed to stop the pen rolling off the desk. 

The 'small protruding section' I speak of

The 'small protruding section' I speak of

There are some rather large ventilation circles in the cap and on the bottom of the barrel itself which seem a bit odd and slightly ominous.  

The nib comes with the famous Kakuno smiley face. I have a winking smiley which is supposed to make this pen appear friendly and a little cheeky perhaps enticing you to use this pen. I quite like it, it worked on me. If anything I think it makes you look closely at the nib encouraging you to notice and appreciate the level of detail that can be found on a fountain pen. 

Hello there! 

Hello there! 

You also have a clear grip section where you can see the inner workings of the fountain pen nib and feed section. Again I quite like this. It shows you the inner workings of the fountain pens work prompting you to ask questions about how it works. 

My deconstructed Kakuno

My deconstructed Kakuno

Whilst some of these elements may seem simplistic and perhaps gimmicky, I think they work well for this fountain pen. It's a great, stripped down introduction into how a fountain pen works and this can only be interesting for new users. 

It also writes well. 

At its core the Kakuno is a Pilot fountain pen and that brings with it an expectation of quality. I have been using this regularly in a variety of different notebooks and I have found it to be a really enjoyable writing experience. To be honest I am surprised by how much I enjoy writing with this pen. It feels nice to hold and write with. There is a partially moulded grip section, similar to what you see on a Lamy Safari and Lamy AL Star, but its not as rigid. Its more of a hexagonal shape that encourages you to hold the pen at a particular angle, but also supports any slightly different writing grips. 

My written review with Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-ho

My written review with Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-ho

In Summary

Whether you are a seasoned fountain pen pro, a complete beginner or someone who is just testing the water, the Pilot Kakuno is a worthy fountain pen addition. They come in a variety of barrel and cap colour options and in either a fine or medium nib size. You can experiment and also have several fountain pens inked up at once all for a very reasonable price. What's more this pen allows you to use cartridges or the Pilot CON-50 convertor which opens the user up the world of fountain pen inks. I wasn't so convinced when this fountain pen first came onto the market purely because of its design and the materials, but just like a book, you shouldn't judge a pen by its appearance.