Pilot Kakuno – Fine Nib – Black Body / Light Green Cap

12 05 2015
Don't ask me how to pronounce "Kakuno." I promise you however I'm saying it is wrong.

Don’t ask me how to pronounce “Kakuno.” I promise you however I’m saying it is wrong.

I’ve had various color combinations of the Pilot Kakuno languishing on my JetPens wishlist for a while, but it took being stuck home sick in a syrupy haze of cough suppressants for me to actually decide to order one. Which I ordered from my Amazon Prime, for whatever reason.

The reason was money

The reason was money

Although I picked everything about this pen based on what option was cheapest on Amazon at the time, I like the dark grey and lime green combo. The color is fun without feeling childish. Not that there’s anything wrong with childish—this is designed to be a kid’s pen. But the design isn’t aggressively elementary school; it’s a minimalism that holds a broad appeal.

The product description is a lie. The body is grey. Not black.

The product description is a lie. The body is grey. Not black.

There’s no clip, but the Kakuno is hexagonal and the cap has an unobtrusive little nub to help discourage the pen from rolling away. The grip is shaped in a roughly triangular hexagon, with all edges (if you can even call them that) quite rounded—the guidance from the grip is subtle and comfortable. The pen itself is lightweight, yet the plastic feels reassuringly sturdy, as far as this price point goes. It’s no luxury resin, but it’s also not some cheap, fragile crap.

Adorable, or, in the right light, terrifying

Adorable, or, in the right light, terrifying

Here’s the most unavoidably adorable part: the face of the nib. Literally. A smiley. face. (unless you have one of the soft body colors; then it’s a winky face) — it’s another point of guidance for the novice fountain pen user: if the pen is smiling at you, then you’re holding it right (or at least not upside down). Maybe not everyone is confident enough in their adulthood to rock out such a happy pen on a regular basis. I’m not here to judge you. But it’s really only noticeable to others if you point the face out. Or if they stare at your hands obsessively.

For example, if your hands were on fire or something, that might draw extra attention to the vicinity of the happy nib

For example, if your hands were on fire or something, that might draw extra attention to the vicinity of the happy nib

To be on the safe side, I probably wouldn’t take this pen as my prime writer in a Serious and Professional Meeting of Important Business, but right now it’s my favorite no-worry knockabout pen. I toted it around on a trip to the mountains. I’ve thrown it in countless bags, back pockets, and cup holders. It writes reliably, neither too wet nor too dry, and the fine nib is perfect for everyday use. The performance of the nib itself was surprisingly pleasant (not sure why I was surprised, I should have known Pilot wouldn’t let me down), a sort of tactile feel on the page without any scratchiness or sharp edges.

Impulse purchase yours today!

Impulse purchase yours today!

If you’re looking for a specific color or nib size, JetPens has the full selection. If you’re looking to save a few bucks and aren’t picky, you can likely find a Kakuno on Amazon for under $10 (right now, the winning combination is a fine nib White Body Soft Blue cap with free Prime shipping, clocking in currently at $9.46).

Pilot Kakuno — medium and fine nibs in multiple colors — at JetPens

Pilot Kakuno Fine Nib Fountain Pen Black Body Light Green Cap at Amazon





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.