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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pilot 78G

Hur hur...had to start off blogging again with a pen review didn't I :P.

I've been hearing a lot about the Pilot 78G from the FPN forums and how great they were and all that. I had previously seen a few in my secret pen lair (stationery shop, shall remain unnamed :P ) But was put off by the fact that the only nib size they had was a BB (double Broad). After an extensive review reading session, I decided to get myself one. Meanwhile, someone was offering a 1959 Sheaffer Snorkel trade in the FPN forums for a BB 78G. So, I roll up to the shop and I get myself a Black BB (to trade with) and amazingly found a maroon F nibbed 78G which I promptly grabbed. They look like this by the way:

So, pens in hand, I got home and looked the pen over. Unposted (without the cap on) it measured about 12.5cm, Posted (the cap on the end of the barrel - do this carefully, some pens won't take too kindly to this kind of treatment. Cracks in the cap lip are common specially when you cram the cap on the barrell) the pen measures about 15cm. The cap is a screw on type, the pen itself is made of plastic. Rather light weight but not as light as the China made copies of the Parker 51 (Hero and Youth pens).

This review by the way, focuses on the Maroon F nibbed pen as I want to keep the BB for trading purposes (either for the Snorkel or for a bottle of Noodlers or something) As far as decorations are concerned, the clip is squarish,metallic and gold in color. Not sure what its made from tho. The word "Pilot" is imprinted on the clip. The pen itself is colored uniform maroon without any marbling (unlike my Sheaffer No-Nonsense Vintage) and 2 gold bands are imprinted on the cap itself with the word "Japan" breaking one band.

Ok, the nib itself is gold with the words "Pilot. Super Quality. Japan. printed on it. A closer look with a jewellers loupe, revealed perfectly aligned tines (that the point of the nib) and a feed section that was dead center to the nib. Interestingly tho, the feed (that black section beneath the nib) had vertical instead of horizontal slits that I'm more used to. Moving on the inking system, this Pilot sports an aerometric style converter (them squeeze type fillers that you would find in older pens - lazy to go find a pic :P) I am told however, that this pen can take International cartridges.

Filled it up with Pelikan's Brilliant Brown (my new bottle of ink as voted by the good people of Plurk) and grabbed my usual generic notepaper to start scribbling some lines. A very fine line developed on the paper and this is the place to explain an important distinction in nib sizes as far as Western and Japanese are concerned. Both Japanese and Western have the same designations for nibs. They run from BB (double broad) stubs to XF (extra fine). Japanese nibs however are actually a size smaller from what is advertised. So a B (broad) will write like a M (medium), M like a F and so on. So my F 78G writes like a XF.

I was very disappointed that instead of evenly colored lines, the 78G started to write rather erratically. The ink looked like it was being spread very thinly. I attribute this to one of 2 reasons:

1. Paper was crap. Most paper these days are not made for FP use.
2. The Ink. Pelikan Inks are known to be 'dry'

So, I tried writing with other type of papers but I got the same results. In the office this morning, I unscrewed the barrel and noticed that the filler was not very snug with the main section. Pushed it in, grabbed another notepad (yes I have many notepads) and presto! It wrote like a dream! The pad was made of heavier paper (think somewhere in the region of 80gm). I've yet to try this on my 100gm paper journal but for now, I totally love this pen! For RM18, its not too bad actually.

Writing Sample (no apologies for penmanship):

Image seems to be blurry cos, scanner was crap. (Click on the image for a clearer pic.)

First Line: Pilot 78G, Pelikan Brilliant Brown (F)
Second Line: Youth 303, Parker Quink Solv-x Vintage Blue Black(F)
Third line: Rotring Core Coridium, Pelikan Violet (M)

Side Note: Pilot also has another division called Namiki (named after Ryosuke Namiki - Pilot's founder) that makes gorgeous pens sold at very high prices. They specialize in the maki-e type lacquering that goes on their pens. Drool at this:

PS: This entire blog post was written in long hand with the subject of this review, the Pilot 78G :)
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