Pilot Plumix Fountain Pen – Medium Flat Italic Nib – Black Body with Blue Ink

3 03 2011

The sketches were a bit uninspired. They were...despired. Perspired. Not even spired.

I can’t leave a big-box SuperStore without checking their pen section, and a recent prowl of Target’s pen aisle did not leave me disappointed. For the first time, physically before me in a store where arguably normal people shop, an affordable fountain pen!

Baby, for $6.37 you can take me home any day of the week (provided you have that aforementioned $6.37 plus local tax rate)

The somewhat garishly designed packaging enthusiastically proclaims in sunshine-daycare yellow, “Real Fountain Pen!” …Unlike all those fake fountain pens you’ve had to contend with, Pilot delivers a finely-crafted stick of plastic veracity and unparalleled integrity. Thank goodness Pilot’s on top of these things. And that they’re telling you about it–I would have surely mistaken this for another one of those confoundingly meddlesome fake fountain pens if it weren’t for this astute packaging.

The pen cap is a squid-head. There, now you can't unsee it.

The body of the Plumix is lightweight plastic, but seems well thought-out.

This is not to say that the design of the Squid leaves it completely clean of ink

The cap unscrews from the body (snap-on caps, especially if snapped on with the pen pointing down, encourage the ink to come out, leaving beads of ink on the nib and in the cap. Very wasteful) but posts on the end just by pushing the cap on.

The barrel unscrews from the grip and nib section, and the nib itself is easy to remove so that you can align the grip and nib to be conducive to your hand’s writing posture, a fact I did not figure out until after I’d dropped the pen from my pocket, knocking the nib loose, necessitating my fiddling with the nib.

Deliciously smooth writing on some fantastic Clairefontaine paper, done mostly when the nib was knocked loose. Still wrote!

Having never really removed a nib from a pen before, I found it a surprisingly simple task (“AUGH! UAAGH! THE METAL PART FELL OFF! OH CRAP LET’S JUST WASH EVERYTHING OFF AND HOPE IT’LL ALL GO BACK TOGETHER”), and my original problem with the angle of the nib relative to the positioning of the grip became a moot point–I could angle the nib however I wanted!

Since there isn’t much weight to the body, it’s hard to comment on the balance of the pen, but nothing feels off about the way the pen sits in the hand. Above the grip, the barrel has a slight bulge outward that fits perfectly into the web over the thenar space (thanks, The Internet; I was just going to call it “that fleshy web crook space, you know, the one between your thumb and forefinger, whatsitcalled, you know”) and then tapers off into a slender end. The barrel has these strange parabola-shaped grooves, the purpose of which I cannot discern beyond being merely decorative, and the cap has two modest little anti-roll protrusions that effectively render the cap a convenient squid-shape.

These are all small, simple touches that make a pen unique, and I appreciate them. This is what I feel so many common American pens are lacking–an appreciation of pennovation.

My first comment when I unscrewed the cap: "Where are the little balls on the end??" I did not realize the nib was italic; neither did the packaging.

Before we move on to the nib, the grip needs a little more appreciation. Note how the the bottom of the grip arches up to rest comfortably atop your finger. Carefully discern the subtly cut out concave panel–there are two of these, one for the thumb to grip, the other for the gripping finger of your choice (I rest the pen atop my ring finger, and grip with thumb and middle). The grip is entirely smooth and entirely hard plastic, but it’s comfortable. It’s a carefully designed molding of plastic where I was expecting something bare-minimum. My apologies, Pilot. The grip you designed here is an unexpected delight.

I know we've had some problems with cheap Pilot Medium fountain pen nibs before, but this, this one is different. This one has the power of SUPER QUALITY JAPAN.

The nib, I’m happy to report, is not like other cheap Pilot fountain pen nibs. Granted, I don’t really have any other Pilot italic nibs for comparison (or any italic nibs for comparison), but this one seems to put out a decent but not excessive amount of ink, and it writes so smoothly (especially on Rhodia and Clairefontaine paper) that I can’t stop writing in cursive with this pen. The mere act of cursive writing is so fun! I just keep writing nonsense even when I have nothing of substance to write. And my handwriting asymptotically approaches being pretty!

At the end of the day, this is a fun and cheap (AND REAL!!!) fountain pen that you can (provided your Target has them in stock) get with instant gratification, ripping open the package the moment your transaction is complete, and it makes writing fun. Isn’t that what a pen should really be for?

 

A pen should also be for use as a weapon in an emergency situation or a dramatic scene in a television drama.

You can’t order them online from Target, but they do have a link to find it at a Target store: Pilot Plumix Refillable Fountain Pen – Blue at Target

 

And, because I love JetPens, they get a link too:Pilot Plumix Fountain Pen – Medium Flat Italic Nib – Black Body at JetPens

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25 responses

4 03 2011
Peninkcillin

Great review! The Plumix is a must-buy for me and even more so after reading your review. From the looks of it, it has the same feed and nib as the much more expensive Prera, with the added bonus of an italic nib.

Hmm I think I might pay Target a visit soon enough. I’ve heard that they have lots of stuff for us stationery lovers.

4 03 2011
No Pen Intended

I’ve been impressed with some of the things I’ve seen in Target lately–Rhodia notebooks, Pilot G-2s in 0.38mm size…and now a fountain pen? :) I hope they keep this up

4 03 2011
Douglas Wolfe

.
I ran right out to Target and bought one. There is a learning curve, but after fifteen minutes the grip seemed to fall into place and the line out on the paper grew strong and assertive.

The cartridges will be a problem. Only Pilot brand will fit, and you can only get them online. After 3-4 pages the first cartridge is half empty, or half full. The ink is still there – a lot of it gets stored in the reserve area between the cart and the nib. Still, it won”t be long.

I am a long-time,exclusive fountain pen user, and I have long since learned the trick of refilling cartridges from a bottle of ink using a medical syringe. You can buy them at stores that sell saddles and bridles and other horsey stuff.

4 03 2011
No Pen Intended

You’re right about the ink–it does seem to be running through pretty quick. I’ve thought about getting a converter for this pen so I don’t have to worry about cartridges…It does seem kind of silly that Target would sell this REAL! REFILLABLE! fountain pen, but not the refill cartridges for it (at least, that was the case at my Target). JetPens carries Pilot converters; if I remember correctly, they’re pretty inexpensive. Of course, refilling cartridges on my own would be even cheaper :D

:) I’m glad you’re enjoying the pen! I’m excited that Target brought the Plumix in…maybe, slowly, hopefully, the tide of popular opinion regarding fountain pens is turning and we’ll see more fun, entry-level fountain pens in big-box stores…? I can dream

16 08 2011
Jrlah

I am using a Plumix (called Pluminix in Europe), and it is not true that it requires Pilot cartridges – it works with standard-size cartridges from any manufacturer. After I used up the blue cartridge that came with it, I switched to Rotring ArtPen black ink cartridges. Looks even better on paper.

27 08 2011
No Pen Intended

Wait, really? It can take normal cartridges? Like the short international standard cartridge?? The logical thing to do would be for me to take the converter out of mine and try a cartridge on it…but I’m half tempted to go to the store and buy a new Plumix to test it on…but that would just be wasteful….but then I could compare cartridge to converter at the same time….

4 03 2011
Pilot Plumix Fountain Pen – Medium Flat Italic Nib – Black Body … | Pen Portal

[...] post:  Pilot Plumix Fountain Pen – Medium Flat Italic Nib – Black Body … Tags: aisle-did, arguably-normal, not-leave, people-shop, physically-before, portal, [...]

5 03 2011
Jill

I love my Plumix! FYI, the nib lines up with the words on the barrel. A favorite thing is that I can write fast with it, which not all FPs will do.

I was lucky enough to get a European one that takes international cartridges. Have you thought about refilling cartridges?

28 03 2011
No Pen Intended

I’ve thought about refilling cartridges on several pens now, but still have failed to actually do so. :-/ I *did* buy a converter for this pen though, so once this cartridge runs out, I can try some new ink. My nib is definitely not lined up with the words on the barrel haha. But I think that’s okay; it fits my lefty-grip better now–it’s a better angle for writing.

5 03 2011
JoniB

Very nice review. I own three of these pens. Pilot makes a nice converter to use in them and they really are flattering to my handwriting, too!

28 03 2011
No Pen Intended

I recently got a converter for this pen…any inks you recommend?

7 03 2011
Weekly Wrap | PencilWrap.com

[...] Pilot Plumix Fountain Pen-Medium Flat Italic Nib – No Pen Intended [...]

17 04 2011
Miami Hotels Family

Wow what a nice pen how much did it cost you, can i get one on ebay?

24 11 2011
Holiday Gift Guide — AND GIVEAWAY! « No Pen Intended

[...] I dropped it on the nib (ARGH WHOOPS)). Also comes in medium nib. I’d recommend getting the Pilot Plumix as well (currently cheapest at Target, I believe); the nibs are interchangeable. You (like me) can [...]

11 12 2011
t0715

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18 04 2012
Pilot Prera Clear Body Fountain Pen – Plumix Medium Italic Flat Nib – Translucent Blue Accent « No Pen Intended

[...] But not better enough. That’s when it clicked—this feed is exactly the same as the Pilot Plumix feed, and this nib is exactly the same line of “Pilot Superior Quality” found on the [...]

11 09 2012
Anonymous

[...] [...]

20 10 2012
Ink Drop Soup: The Pilot Prera-Plumix Switcheroo « No Pen Intended

[...] of you curious about swapping out the nib of your Pilot Prera for the lovely italic nib on the Pilot Plumix. Possibly you want to make your handwriting fancier or maybe you dropped the nib on a hard tile [...]

23 06 2013
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27 08 2013
No Pen Intended

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9 07 2013
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27 08 2013
No Pen Intended

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21 12 2013
Ink Drop Soup: Expensive Fountain Pens Just 30 and Below | No Pen Intended

[…] There are all types of pens under 30 when you look at mostly plastic bodies. The advantage of plastic: bright colors. Stand-out in this category is the Lamy Safari (which apparently I haven’t actually reviewed yet, in spite of owning…several; for link purposes it’s similar to the Vista),  but I’ve enjoyed all of the pens pictured here. There’s the Paperchase Wonderland Fountain Pen, the Chelpark Terminator (and similar, yet unreviewed Conqueror), Noodler’s Ahab Flex and Noodler’s Piston Fill Fountain Pens, the Sailor A.S. Manhattaner’s (which is no longer available, but pretty much identical to the Sailor Clear Candy, and comes in a zillion colors), the Lamy Safari, the Pelikan Future (as yet unreviewed?!), and Pilot’s Penmanship and Plumix. […]

21 03 2014
Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen – Medium Nib – Black Crocodile Body | No Pen Intended

[…] in its ability to fuzz and feather on nearly any paper); the Super Quality style used on the Plumix, Penmanship, and Prera; and the gold Vanishing Point nibs). This nib is new to me, and it’s […]

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