Review: Pelikan M400 Brown Tortoise

The Numbers:
Weight: 16g
Length (capped): 124mm
Length (uncapped): 123mm
Price: USD$380 on Pen Chalet
Body Material: Resin and cellulose acetate Nib Material: 14k Gold nib
Filling Mechanism: Piston filler
Colours: Various

Intro:
I’ve been lusting after the Pelikan M800 Brown Tortoise ever since I’ve laid eyes on one. I love the play of light and dark colours of the brown tortoise shell finish. However the price have always put me off buying one of my own. Maybe Pelikan has heard my prayers and launch the Brown Tortoise in M400 size this year. With a quick check on the price, I promptly ordered one for myself.

I’ve previously reviewed the M205 and I went into detail about what does the various model number mean in the Pelikan lineup. Do go over there to read about it, I won’t be repeating it here.

Packaging:
The M400 Brown Tortoise comes in a regular Pelikan box that can be open by pulling on the tab at the side. It also has the standard white faux leather pouch which holds the pen. There wasn’t anything particularly more fancy in terms of the packaging for this special edition fountain pen.

Performance:
The M400 is mostly made of dark brown resin and brown striped cellulose acetate for its barrel. It is accented with double rings of gold around the end of the cap and at the piston knob. The clip and finial is also gold. The pen looks very classy but the brown stripe barrel adds a flash of character to the otherwise standard looking Pelikan fountain pen. You can tell that this is a quality fountain pen, the fit and finish of the pen is flawless.

It takes slightly less than a single revolution to uncap the pen. The M400 being a pen on the smaller end of the Souveran lineup, the cap can be posted to extend the length of the barrel. The cap securely at the end of the barrel. Personally I found it comfortable enough without posting.

The grip section is relatively short and thin. I would say the M600 would be a comfortable size for most. Those with larger hands should try it out in person before buying. I had some issues with my M205 previously. Maybe this is a special edition fountain pen or the M400 series generally get better quality control, the threads that I found sharp on the M205 are smooth here.

Pelikan Souveran fountain pens are all piston fillers. Thanks to that, they have substantial ink capacity. The resin barrel is clear, while the stripes are opaque. It makes it easy to monitor the ink level of the fountain pen when you looked at it against light. The Pelikan M400 Brown Tortoise comes with a variety of nib options, going from EF to B and special for this particular release an Italic Board nib. Me being me, opted for the EF nib. It wrote well out of the box but personally I found Pelikan nibs does nothing for me. They wrote broader and wetter than usual of their nib size so I promptly handed it off to a local nibmeister to have it ground down into a Japanese EF.

The result is a nib with delicious feedback. It writes very finely as expected of a Japanese EF nib. Though this nib wasn’t modded for additional flex, with a little pressure I can get some line variation from the nib. The feedback can be a little much so this particular nib modification isn’t for everyone.

Before moddiing

Conclusion:
The Pelikan Brown Tortoise is one of my grail pen, I “settled” for the smaller sibling but the colour of the light and dark alternating stripes is just as beautiful to admire. Plus, I don’t believe any two Brown Tortoise pen is completely identical because of the stripes. As a standard M400, this isn’t the cheapest model you can find out there, but the Brown Tortoise finish is just too hard to say no to. Though the nib modification is an additional cost but it is also what makes the pen special to me.

Pros:

  • Brown Tortoise!
  • Delicious feedback from nib modification
  • IB nib option

Cons:

  • Limited number of pens

There are affiliate links in this review. I may get a small amount of store credit if you purchase anything via the link(s). You are under no obligation to do so but if you would like to do something nice, do buy what you need via my links.

Posted on January 13, 2017 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Pelikan 4001 Dark Green

This is the latest addition to Pelikan 4001 series. Dark green is a nice strong colour. Plus it shades nicely. It goes from a deep dark green to a vibrant grass green. The most enticing thing about this ink is the price. At only $4 per bottle, this is one of the most affordable and readily available inks around. I’m liking this ink quite a bit!

Similar Inks:

Posted on January 10, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Wing Sung 698

The Numbers:
Weight: 25g
Length (capped): 145mm
Length (uncapped): 134mm
Price: USD $19.99 from ebay.com
Body Material: Plastic
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: Piston mechanism
Colours: Demonstrator only

Intro:
My thanks to Sunny of Straits Pen for providing this pen for review. Look out for more details below to find out how to win this pen.

The Wing Sung 698 is a China made piston filling fountain pen. As far as I can tell it only comes as a demonstrator. It is a no frills fountain pen that does what it is made for. The pen is well balanced and it is sufficiently long enough for me to use without posting. However you can still post the cap if you prefer that.

Packaging:
The Wing Sung 698 comes in a plastic blister pack that reminds me of the Pilot Kakuno. In fact I’ll say that the packaging is a direct copy. Inside you would find something that resembles a Lamy converter but don’t be fooled. It is actually a sealed tube of silicone grease.

Performance:
The Wing Sun 698 is not a small fountain pen. In terms of height, it is just slightly shorter than the Pilot Custom 823. However, the plastic body ensures the pen isn’t overly heavy. The clear plastic body is accented with silver finial, clip, centre band and piston ring. I like the clean cut look of the pen. Looking at the way the pen looked, it was clearly made to compete against the TWSBI Eco. It looked similar to the Eco but not entirely copying it. That’s a plus right there.

The cap takes only one revolution to uncap the pen. The clear cap makes it very very obvious if you splatter any ink inside the cap. So if you are bother by such things, it is best to avoid demonstrators in general. The clip is super stiff so it takes a little effort to slip it over thicker things. The finial is a silver sun burst pattern that I thought looked really nice.

The grip section is narrower than I had expected given the size of the pen. The grip section is narrower than the barrel plus it tapers down towards the nib before ending with a slight flare. However, the grip section is long and could accommodate larger fingers than mine. My preferred grip for the Wing Sun 698 is right on the threads but they are nice and smooth so switching to a higher grip is no a problem as well.

The Wing Sung 698 has a large ink capacity. After inking it up for at least 3 weeks I hardly made a dent in the ink sloshing inside the ink chamber. At first when I was trying to fill my pen I found I couldn’t twist the piston knob. For a while I wondered if my pen was faulty. Then, it turned out that the piston mechanism has a trick to it. It has a locking mechanism that prevents the piston knob turning by accident. All you have to do is to pull the piston knob. That will extend the piston knob slightly and then twisting it. The piston operates smoothly and without trouble once it is unlocked. I think this is an interesting design. I think it should be incorporated into more piston filler fountain pens.

The Wing Sun 698 has a clear feed to match the clear barrel. It came with a stainless steel nib in EF. The nib is slightly on the drier side but not overly so. It writes smoothly and well. The ink flow kept up without any trouble. The nib is stiff and well suited to my writing style and quick notes taking. Also, the nib and feed is interchangable with the Pilot Kakuno, Metropolitan, MR and Prera but I've not tested it for myself.

Conclusion:
The Wing Sun 698 is an impressive piston filler fountain pen. For it’s price and reliability it is a really contender against the TWSBI Eco. Pick one up and check it out for yourself.

To have a chance to win this particular Wing Sun 698 fountain pen, please leave me a comment telling me what ink you would like to fill in a demonstrator pen. Please also include your email address so that I can contact you. I won’t be sharing your email with anyone else. It is collected only for the sole purpose to contact the winner. This giveaway is only open to anyone residing in Singapore. The giveaway has ended. The winner annoucement post is here.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Demonstrator
  • Large ink capacity
  • Interesting piston knob lock

Cons:

  • None that I found
Posted on January 6, 2017 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Robert Oster Signature Burgundy

My thanks to Robert Oster for sending me this sample.

Robert Oster Signature is an Australian made ink series. Burgundy is just one of the many colours found in the line up. Burgundy is not a particularly wet ink. When paired with my Platinum 3776 Century it performed well. It shades slightly, going from a dark maroon to a muted red. Burgundy goes down bright and vibrant and dries to a darker muted shade.

Similar Inks:

Posted on January 3, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

2017 Fountain Pen Wish list

I’ve written about my wish list for 2016 when Maybelline of On Fountain Pens requested that I write a guest post on her blog.

My list has:

  • Pilot Custom 742 with Falcon nib
  • TWSBI Vac Mini
  • OMAS Milord Noir
  • Edison Pearlette
  • Nakaya - A Fox with the Harvest Moon

I’ve purchased 2 out of the 5 on my wishlist, namely the Pilot Custom 742 with Falcon nib and the Nakaya fountain pens. I’ve not gotten around to doing a review of the Pilot Custom 742 because the falcon nib just doesn’t lend itself to daily writing. It’s sole purpose is just to do flex writing on my ink reviews.

Whereas the Nakaya fountain pen was also something of an impulse purchase. I didn’t expect myself to be placing an order for another Nakaya pen so soon after purchasing my first. However the news of the price hike prompted me into action. There is no regrets buying the pen.

Technically I did buy an OMAS fountain pen just not the Noir. I had a chance to handle a Noir but I found I didn’t enjoy the finish. I picked up an Arte Italiana in Liquid Green instead but I sold it in the end because of the slippery grip.

I had decided against buying the TWSBI Vac Mini but picked up a Pilot Custom 823 instead. Also a vacuum filler just not so mini. The only pen I didn’t buy or get something similar is the Edison Pearlette. I’ve not stepped into the realm of custom pen yet but someday I will. Meanwhile I shall be contented with the pens that are already or will be available in 2017.

Update: Apparently I wrote this blog post too early in advance that I've picked up the Edison Pearlette second hand from Leigh Reyes. So, I guess I am 5 for 5?


My wish list for 2017 will be:

Number 5: Pilot pen with Waverly Nib

I’ve been interested in Pilot’s speciality nib selection especially the Waverly nib. The Waverly nib is said to be smooth regardless you are pulling or pushing the nib across the page. It might mean as a lefty, the Waverly nib might be the perfect nib for me. I’m personally not keen on the pen body options for the Waverly nib so here’s hoping that a more interesting pen body comes along.

Number 4: Custom fountain pen

Maybe next year will be the year I’ll put money down on a custom fountain pen. It doesn’t have to be one from Edison, maybe I’ll order one from Shawn Newton or Scriptorium Pens? Who knows, in the world of custom pens the world is my oyster!

Number 3: Graf von Faber-Castell Intuition Platino

I have seen and caressed one. It was a great understated and classy pen. The EF nib that came with it was a lovely and almost sensual writing experience. I would love to get one in the Grendilla wood. Plus the wood box it comes in is just on point. Good job on presentation, Graf von Faber-Castell.

Nummber 2: Montblanc 1912

Now this pen might be a lost hope. The Montblanc 1912 is an interesting pen that has a retractable nib but it was launched quite a while back and locating one in a reasonable price might be tough. However, the nib that came with the pen I’ve tried is just a great writer. If I’m able to find it, it would be my first Montblanc pen!

Update: Remember the Singapore Pen Show that happened recently? I've seen the pen sold there so I've placed an order for this pen in EF but I've not picked up or paid for the pen so can I still leave it in the wishlist?

Number 1: Nakaya Negoro “Nuro Kise” Hon Kataji

Another year another Nakaya pen, maybe? This is the next Nakaya pen I am eyeing. It is way more affordable than the one I got this year. The cracked finish has caught my eye from the start when I began browsing the Nakaya website. Maybe I’ll be able to afford one again next year?

Update: Remember the Singapore Pen Show? I've placed a pre-order for this pen but I've not fully paid up for the pen so I guess I can count it as a 2017 pen too?

What pens are on your wish list for next year? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Posted on December 30, 2016 and filed under Fountain Pen, thoughts.