Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen – Fine 03 Nib – Purple Ink and Green Ink

23 01 2011

I'm not quite satisfied with how the colors came out on this scan, and no amount of Photoshopping has changed this. I'll throw in a link to a really crappy picture of the review, and hopefully, going forward, I can work out something to give us a little more color fidelity here. Like, say, a new scanner. That would help.

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.

This pen. These pens.

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.

The color-matched nibs are a cute touch.

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.

Spring-loaded, the better to make irritating noises when you idly twist the cap around

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?

I would ask for an actual fine nib, is what I'd ask for.

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.

Have something beautiful, for the road

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen – Fine 03 Nib – Green Ink at JetPens

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen – Fine 03 Nib – Purple Ink at JetPens

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15 responses

23 01 2011
Larry Marshall

You seem to be in a negative mood, first over your scans and photos and then over this pen. Nothing wrong with either your scan or photos, by the way.

And in my experience, there’s nothing wrong with the Preppy either. I carry a couple of them with me daily. One is still drinking from cartridges while the other has been converted to an eye-dropper pen. Both are .03 and write very fine.

I’m a lefty and have experienced no pooling problems, no bleed through, and no feathering. You didn’t mention what papers you tried but I use mine in a Moleskina notebook and a small Clairefontaine pad.

As for the plastic shell, yes, it’s plastic… like most pens. I haven’t used mine for opening cans of beans or levering the top off a pickle jar but I’ve been carrying mine for months, now, and nothing has broken and the top hasn’t loosened up.

Oh…and no I don’t work for Platinum :-)

Cheers — Larry

23 01 2011
No Pen Intended

I’ve been dissatisfied with my scanner for quite a while, mostly over other artwork I do and now, I’m noticing, over my written reviews. The scanner completely washes out my red tones, and I’m just not handy enough with Photoshop to fix this :p The photos I’m only unhappy with the picture I took of the written review…and I’m only unhappy because I took the picture in such poor lighting (totally my fault, easily correctable, completely silly, but I digress).

I stand by what I said though; the Preppy pens I used write like medium-nib pens. Maybe I’ve been spoiled with some of the fine nib fountain pens I’ve used, but I’d say this pen writes at a thickness between my Kaweco Sport Classic Medium Nib and a Pilot Varsity Medium Nib. I don’t know if this is a nib thing, or an ink thing, or just an inconsistency in production thing–I do think the green pen wrote a little finer than my purple pen. I would like to try this pen with a better ink, and see what matters that helps with.

The paper I used for the review is a Behance Dot Grid Journal, which in general tends to be very absorbing paper–thus a lot of bleed-throughs with a lot of pens. But because it is absorbing, ink dries a lot faster (making for more legible reviews). On Rhodia paper, the ink smudges even after 10 seconds of waiting for it to dry. Same story with some generic tiny notebook paper, and on Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid paper (with teensy occasional feathering and some near-bleed through). On Moleskine writing paper I get feathering and bleed through (but it was dry by 10 seconds). My writing looks like it has a bunch of tiny purple hairs.

I mention the cracking because, well, mine did crack :p And reviews on JetPens seem to indicate this is a common problem with this pen. Should I post pictures of the cracks? They’re not insignificant, and I’m pretty sure they will one day be the reason this pen is rendered inoperable. There’s just something about the consistency of this plastic–very hard, very brittle–which I think makes the pen extra susceptible to cracking, moreso than other plastic pens.

It’s a decent enough pen, especially for anyone curious about trying fountain pens, but it occupies no niche for me other than being cheap and always writing. It’s a disposable-level fountain pen in terms of price, but has a leg up on actual disposable fountain pens with its refillable and interchangeable ink cartridges. I don’t mean to be so down on this pen. :) Only truthful…

23 01 2011
simplytrece

Oh, your review cracked me up!! I got the green Preppy, with the Medium nib. I don’t like how “fine” it seems to write, to me. It is scratchy, but – CHEAP!! So I will enjoy it for what it is, especially since I keep buying other pens!!!

25 01 2011
Heather

I’m not a big fountain pen user, but I have tried the Preppy and have been very happy with it. The ink rarely bleeds or feathers for me (and I’m not using it on super fancy papers either). Although the plastic on my pen has not cracked (yet), now that you mention it and I am looking at it more closely, it does appear to be made of a more brittle, crack-prone plastic than the softer plastic that is found in my other pens. Interesting. Great review – I enjoyed it!

25 01 2011
Jay

Hmm thanks for this nice review. Although I’m more of a rollerball user since good fountain pens seemed to be very expensive this review definitely made me wanting to give them another chance ;) One of the major problems of fountain pens is their messiness when it comes to dealing with the ink but this doesn’t seem to be the case here ;)
Well done – keep up the good work :D

25 01 2011
Tweets that mention Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen – Fine 03 Nib – Purple Ink and Green Ink « No Pen Intended -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott Sprich, Liz. Liz said: better late than never, oops! Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen – Fine 03 Nib – Purple Ink and Green Ink: http://t.co/VVnMqb0 […]

31 01 2011
Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel Pen – White Ink « No Pen Intended

[…] barrel of the pen is made of that same hard, crack-prone plastic I complained about with the Platinum Preppy fountain pen–and my pen is already showing cracks along the barrel, running through and perpendicular to […]

4 02 2011
Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen in Black, Blue, and Purple « No Pen Intended

[…] hindsight, I was too harsh on the Platinum Preppy (but the fact that its fine nib is equivalent to a Kaweco Medium nib still stands), another thing […]

5 02 2011
Peninkcillin

The Preppy is pretty good for what it costs. The cool thing is that you can convert it to an eyedropper with huge capacity. I wouldn’t go higher than the F (or 03) nib because even the F isn’t that fine.

24 03 2011
The Right Fountain Pen: 5 Tips to Consider before Buying « Notebooktivity

[…] Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen – Fine 03 Nib – Purple Ink and Green Ink (nopenintended.wordpress.com) […]

30 12 2011
BIC Disposable Fountain Pen « No Pen Intended

[…] might be the crack-prone kind….the only reason I’m so worried is because the cap on my Platinum Preppy cracked, wouldn’t stay on, and the pen dried out. Maybe the BIC plastic is thicker, perhaps […]

4 04 2012
Mini Review: Another Look at the Platinum Preppy « No Pen Intended

[…] been wanting to do a follow-up on the Platinum Preppy for a while now. Was my initial review too harsh? I don’t know about that—it accurately reflected my feelings at the time. But […]

21 04 2012
Akashiya Bamboo Body Brush Pen – Red Body « No Pen Intended

[…] pictures, is the barcode), the two cartridges this pen comes with are exact clones of the typical Platinum Preppy cartridge; word on the internet is that the Platinum converter is a perfect fit—and […]

4 04 2014
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen – Apple Green Body – M nib | No Pen Intended

[…] I moved up from my beloved disposable Ink Bar to the Sailor A. S. Manhattaner’s and the Platinum Preppy and all other manner of fountain pens but I can confidently say that the Safari’s […]

7 04 2015
Zebra V301 Fountain Pen | No Pen Intended

[…] this pen to buy a working low end fountain pen from another company (for example, Pilot Varsity, Platinum Preppy). Zebra, you need to take this pen back to the drawing board because whatever you’ve […]

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