Here’s my attempt at taking a picture of the review. This is not better than the scan; it’s just bad in all new ways. But enough with my shoddy techniques; let’s review this pen.
Continuing in my established tradition of reviewing really cheap pens, I bring you the Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen (the purple one is mine, the green one is on loan from my friend and coworker, Betsy). This was one of the earliest fountain pens I bought, back when I was trying to figure out what all the fuss was over these fusty old devices.
I wanted a nice purple pen (which I eventually got); the color that came out of this pen, once we finally got it to work, was more of what I’d call a Fandango (a color name I have only just now learned; thanks Wikipedia). The pen was rather reluctant to write right out of the Jiffylite packaging, and I can’t recall what esoteric rituals we performed to get it to function. If you’ve ordered one of these pens and it seems dead in the water, uh, keep trying? Maybe you, too, will accidentally stumble on the solution.
The pen body itself is made of a hard plastic that is more than willing to crack–I currently have two cracks in the cap of my purple pen. At some point, they’ll surely expand enough to make the cap completely inoperable. The clip on the pen seems to be the same sort of crack-prone plastic as the rest of the pen–the sort of thing that wouldn’t hesitate to snap off if you tried to use it for anything other than keeping the pen from rolling away. There is an interesting spring mechanism in the cap, which helps to seal the nib in when closed–there’s an inner cap on the end of the spring, which the grip of the pen then pushes into. It keeps the nib safe and free from drying out. Aside from those initial starting troubles, I’ve never had this pen choke out on me. Even after months of sitting unused, this pen writes; what more can you ask for at this price point?
Maybe I got a bad pen, or maybe my early attempts at fountain pen writing were nothing but heavy-handed abuse, but this is not what I’d call a fine nib. This is medium. I can’t imagine how thick the so-called “medium” Preppy nib must be. The colors are enjoyable, but everything else about this ink is terrible. It bleeds through the page, lays down thick and wet, fuzzes and feathers, isn’t waterproof–in fact, it’s probably more water than ink (again, what was I expecting at this price point?).
But you know what? It writes. And in all the time I’ve had it, I’ve been able to count on it for that. What this pen is, is it’s a good, cheap, reliable, beginner’s fountain pen. So what if the ink is capable only of either pooling up (very left unfriendly) or soaking through the paper? It’s an easy writer, and still writes even when held at awkward and nonsensical angles (which, by the way, is the only way non-fountain-pen users know how to hold fountain pens) . And it’s cheap. That’s what’s important about this pen–it writes and it’s cheap.