Paperchase Wonderland Cartridge Fountain Pen

29 08 2013
If I had a lot of money, I'd buy multiples of every pen to get a better idea of quality control, then I'd give away the surplus pens. TOO BAD I DON'T HAVE SUCH PHAT STAX O CASH

If I had a lot of money, I’d buy multiples of every pen to get a better idea of quality control, then I’d give away the surplus pens. TOO BAD I DON’T HAVE SUCH PHAT STAX O CA$H

I wasn’t looking for a fountain pen when I went to Target (I’ve given up on them since the brief glory days when they carried Rhodia notebooks, Pilot Plumix, 0.38mm gel pens, and such came to an end) but as I made my way through the back-to-school carnage (admittedly not nearly as bad as what I saw in Walmart) I spotted abandoned there, on a miscellaneous free-standing product display, one lone blister pack containing a Paperchase Wonderland Cartridge Fountain Pen. As I hunted down the source, I promised myself, if it was under five dollars, I’d give it a try. I found the rest of the Paperchase Wonderland collection on an endcap over in Home Office. The pen was $4.99.

I'm thinking pair this pen with a Piccadilly notebook and some Earl Grey tea.

I’m thinking pair this pen with a Piccadilly notebook and some Earl Grey tea.

From what I can tell, the body comes in two designs: all black, and the whimsically decorated purple, covered in Alice in Wonderland illustrations. The design (the whole themed collection, really) screams painfully trendy-cute in much the same way slapping an owl or a mustache (or a mustachioed owl for radmax hipster points) onto something would, but we will forgive it for that. The plastic is of the cheapest sort, and will surprise no one should it break. The cap is snap-on, and posts easily. The grip section is easily my least favorite part, because though there is texturing there, further up the barrel the ridges for the cap collide with my grip style for a purlicue-irritating experience.

I was surprised to open the pen up and find something I had never seen before

I was surprised to open the pen up and find something I had never seen before

The pen comes with five blue standard short international cartridges: four displayed in the blister pack, and one hidden in the body of the pen. It also came with the empty bottomless cartridge pictured above left, in the pen body on the feed as though it were a cartridge in use. I suspect this was a clever little way to demonstrate by example how the cartridges are supposed to be used without having to print up any instructions.

Good nameless German steel? Possibly.

Good nameless German steel? Possibly.

The nib is labeled only with “IRIDIUM POINT M” and according to the package, this pen hails from Germany (veracity, at this price point, somewhat dubious). It’s a true European medium by my reckoning, and writes a little more wet than dry, though by no means is it what I would consider juicy. You feel the nib as you go across the page—it’s a tactile feeling, satisfying in its way, nothing scratchy about it, no unaligned tines, no skipping or problems with ink flow. I was impressed with how quickly after the cartridge was in place the pen was writing—it was ready to go as soon as I put the pen together and put it to paper. Non-fountain pen users aren’t interested in a finicky pen. This just might be the gateway pen I’ve been looking for to lure those folks in.

Shall we take bets on how long it will be before these fanciful designs wear off?

Shall we take bets on how long it will be before these fanciful designs wear off?

This pen has everything I could want in a gateway barebones beginner pen. You can find it in a common store (Target). It’s refillable with the most standard cartridges around, and has room in the body to carry a spare cartridge. It comes with a total of 5 cartridges to start you off. It writes right away without any finagling, and though it isn’t some buttery nirvana of smooth steel sliding words across the page, it writes satisfyingly well. And it’s cheap—cheap enough to be bought on a whim, to bring new people to fountain pens, and when it inevitably breaks or its owner gets tired of the cheap grip or what have you, they’ll be hooked, they’ll want more, and they’ll begin the fantastic spiral into buying better and better fountain pens.

 

I’m having trouble finding a link to anywhere suitable to buy it online, so check your local Target, or coerce someone you know who lives near a Target to check theirs and mail it to you if they find one.

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16 responses

30 08 2013
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30 08 2013
Ardis

I got this one too, for my niece who kept pawing my Pelikan and VP. She loves it, but my 2 year old broke the clip in a matter of minutes. Good thing Maria didn’t mind! She next bought a calligraphy set from Michaels, and I think I’m going to get her a Noodler’s and a bottle of ink for Christmas… Baby steps.

30 08 2013
No Pen Intended

Spread the fountain pen live to the kids! :) I had a strong feeling the cheap plastic would break, but by then it’s time to move up in the fountain pen world. Have you considered the Pelican Pelikano Jr for the young ones? It comes left and right handed, and in colors, takes standard cartridges.

1 09 2013
jasminmartinez

I bought this recently, and cannot open the pen to insert a cartridge! Is it at the top, where the ridges form a pseudo-grip? Or must I remove the nib? The body does not seem to be able to separate past the nib. I’m about to email Paperchase, to see if they have any tips :-)

1 09 2013
No Pen Intended

Open cap, pinch grip with one hand, body with the other, twist in opposite directions so that the grip is going counterclockwise, and it should separate right where the cap when snapped on lines up with the barrel. Let me know if that doesn’t work and I’ll try to provide pictures :)

2 09 2013
carolynec

After reading about this pen here, I’m suddenly seeing write-ups about it all over. But, alas, could not find it at the nearest Target (which is, admittedly, one of the worst Targets I’ve ever seen in many ways). I can’t even find it on a manufacturer’s site. This pen is like the holy grail now. The really cheap plastic holy grail that’ll break quickly but I Just Must Have. A follow up down the road to hear how it holds up under long-term use would be interesting. And I’ll still be jealous I don’t have one :)

23 09 2013
Jasmine Benfield

I am 100% completely new to fountain pens but I have been searching for one nonetheless. I found this pen on an end cap for only five bucks and realized if I didn’t buy it I would regret it later. SO here I am with this lovely pen and I don’t know to set up the ink cartridge. I know for some this may seem elementary, but I am really confused and would love some help. Thank you!

23 09 2013
No Pen Intended

Did it come with an empty cartridge in it? Unscrew the grip from the barrel, take the blank cartridge out. Take a cartridge with ink in it, and put it where the empty cartridge was, narrow end first (the narrow end if you look at it straight on will have a smaller plastic ring with like a little plastic ball in the middle). Press the cartridge into the grip section. There will perhaps be a little pop when it’s on, that’s the little ball being pushed in so the ink can get out. Let me know if this doesn’t make sense and I’ll try to take some pictures!

23 09 2013
jasminmartinez

Read my comment and the reply from above! So easy I could not believe how much trouble it caused me haha. Also, paperchase sent me a great response with step by step photos!

21 12 2013
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[…] 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 […]

23 12 2013
Rick

I bought this for $3.99 at Target recently and I found this to be nice Pen. I used a Cartridge of Private Reserve Velvet Black in it.

9 02 2014
Shaina Guiñes

My sister got me the black one from Target. I got some cool multi-colored refills from the paperchase website. http://www.paperchase.co.uk/invt/00408333/

26 10 2014
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20 02 2015
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7 04 2015
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4 04 2017
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