Hello from Brooklyn! I am out of town for the week, but I just can’t stay away from my new project 🙂 Anticipating that I will be in the Americas, I ordered a few items from my wishlist on jetpens. I just can’t resist an opportunity to take advantage of free shipping. You can imagine how excited I was to open up all my loot (I ordered three separate times)! My friend and I immediately staged a pen photoshoot (really not as glamorous as it sounds), she dug out her awesome stack of origami paper and made quick work of showcasing the new goods.
Today I will be looking at the Platinum Preppy, touted as the most cost-effective (below $5!) fountain pen worth purchasing. It is the cheapest yet most highly recommended value beginner fountain pen available, and it is also compatible with a converter twice the price of the pen itself. And to top things off, I filled it with an even higher value of pricey ink — I was quite happy ordering this combo;
1/ a yellow pen (yellow being my favourite colour, yet awfully unfriendly as an ink…),
2/ a converter with gold accents, and
3/ shiny sparkly golden ink!
Let’s get started and see how happy with the combo after I test it out!
Does this pen look super awesome? Questionably decent.
Take the ‘questionable’ with a grain of salt, as it is certainly not an elegant looking pen at first glance, but it’s a sturdy build, it has a quality snap cap, and the design of the plastic pieces are quite nice upon closer inspection. It is also a demonstrator, which I have noted before, I really love. All the pens under the ‘Preppy’ name are demonstrator pens, with a clear barrel so you can see the ink levels of cartridge or converter. The colour accents are what sets each one apart, highlighted in the cap clip, the ink feed and the label. Otherwise the pen is pretty transparent. The clip is quite sturdy, and I like the standard design and solid grip in the clip. The cap is pretty unique in that it is built as an air-tight seal once the pen is capped. There is a spring in the top, connected to a secondary inner cap, which I have read, can keep the ink in the pen from drying for months at a time. Excellent news, as I keep way too many of my pens inked and don’t get around to giving all of them too much love. I also really enjoy the clicky feeling of snapping the cap on and off.
The length is quite standard, slightly shorter than the Lamy Safari and even more so than the slender penmanship. I like the pen posted, since the cap is probably the more exciting part of the pen, minus the coloured feed displaying my ink running through it. The nib is probably the least exciting element of the pen. In fact, it’s quite subpar-looking, but hey, it’s not meant to be a glamour pen. The nib is a little bit stubby, and has a bit of the Lamy nib look in that other than the triangular tip point, the rest of the nib runs straight into the barrel.
My first impressions using the pen to write is not bad, but not amazing. It is certainly no pilot butter-smooth nib, but its also not a scritchy-scratchy pen either. It writes right off the bat (since I drew ink from the nib), but I found that the ink skipped a bit, and required a little more pressing to get a consistent flow. Now I’m not sure if this is because I’m using shimmery sands ink and being such a light coloured ink, its hard to see to begin with. On top of that, because the ink has so much sparkly variation, I also wasn’t sure if that is a contributing factor to the inconsistent flow. I did find that drawing was a little bit less frustrating than writing words, and perhaps this is due to my drawing having larger and longer strokes for the ink to flow.
Since I was using super gold shimmery ink, I decided to draw something more ornamental to match! Plus I was at a coffee shop in the morning while the rest of new york was working the machine and I wanted to seem like a pretentious doodle snob. I am joking 🙂 On a more serious note though, I started to get a little more frustrated everytime I switched from doodle to writing, since the nib wouldn’t be consistent for me. I was also starting to get really anxious because I’m a quick doodler, and when a pen doesn’t allow me to sketch quickly, I start getting really impatient. I imagine I will have to try this pen out again after I’ve flushed out the sparkles and try a more standard solid colour ink. Perhaps the change in ink will allow for a smoother and quicker doodle experience, but that is yet to be found out. More on that sometime in the near future I hope.
In terms of holding the pen, its definitely more comfortable for me to use it posted, especially since it adds an appropriate weight to the lighter plastic feel of the pen. I defaulted to pinch grip with the pen, mostly because I was trying to ‘pinch’ ink out of the nib to get it flowing better. But once I got drawing, I used the two grips interchangeably again. I have found that leaving the pen sitting for a little bit, tends to let the ink run out better than using it consistently in one go, which I was doing while doodling this review page. Also I would say a toothier paper might pick up this ink a little better than the smooth paper in my pen sketchbook.
For $3, how is this pen not living up to its value? Not to mention, it comes with a cartridge, comes in a range of colours (with matching ink cartridge) and it is compatible with an optional converter as well as eye dropper ready. It may look like a cheaper pen upon first impression, but I would say it not only stands on the higher end of cheap pens, it is quite easily underestimated, since once it is uncapped and you see the fountain pen nib, some of its value automatically goes up (not to mention its preppiness. har har…)
It has a quality build of plastic for a cheap pen, and the snap cap keeps ink dry for a very long time. While the look and feel of the pen isn’t that of luxury or butter-smooth doodling, it still has a decent nib for some doodles, and being so cheap, I have less anxiety when bringing it out or lending to others to play with. I would also consider getting multiple colours since they are available, and I could buy them at the cost of a Starbucks coffee.
Ok, really ‘Sparkles and Bubbles‘ could have been a name reserved for a totally different kind of pen, but given I anticipated this pen and ink combo, I think it wasn’t a terrible name choice. All in all, excellent pen for its price.
– glaringly cheap
– cute look
– easy snap/seal cap
– comes in many colours
– depending on the ink that comes with it, may not write perfectly smooth all the time
– the accessories and upgrades are more expensive than the pen itself
The nib is not amazing, but its not unusable either. As I mentioned above, I had trouble getting consistent flow as well as doodling quickly because of this. Those are quite negative for me, but I’ve made note to try the pen again with a different ink with hopes for different results.
One of my friends asked me if I would talk about the ink I’ve paired with the pens as well. Probably a good idea! So as mentioned above, I paired this yellow pen with Diamine Shimmering, Golden Sands ink. It has a really beautiful shimmery sheen, and in large swabs, looks super nice. However I was hoping to avoid the perils of using super light yellow-esque ink, and this wasn’t as different as I thought it would be. When it doesn’t flow out of the pen as a concentrated amount, its actually quite light and almost illegible, but when its coming out of the pen smoothly and consistently (which does happen!), its beautiful and sparkly as advertised. I’ve tried the pen again on different paper — Leuchtturm1917 and Clairefontaine — and both allow the ink to dry very beautifully.
Overall, for $20, its a little pricier for ink, but its got some value, and the quality is quite good. As an artist, I see myself using this to add accents and embelishments to doodles, but perhaps lesso for writing letters and notes.
That’s all for now!
Perhaps a review sooner than later during my week off! — coming up, tbd…