Luci // Pilot Lucina [REVIEW]

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pen and eggy

Pilot Lucina
F, gold coloured steel nib, yellow body
$49 CAD (amazon)
Confusingly also $80USD on other US retailer websites
Currently inked:  Noodler’s Plains of Abraham – $16.50 CAD (wonderpens)

Hello! I have been quite eager to write this review for some time now, but constantly derailed myself because I kept buying new things. I’ve calmed down a bit with the spending, and so I finally have a chance to sit down and talk about one of my favs! I haven’t found too much juice about this one on the interwebs, it’s a bit of an anomaly of quality pilot pens with questionable value price point. This is the Pilot Lucina, in yellow. I love yellow. I’ve had this pen for almost two years now, it was an unexpected birthday/graduation gift in the early days of my pen obsession, and I’ve been using it steadily and regularly since. So now, let’s finally take a look at one of the earlier pens of my collection (early being relative, since I didn’t pick up this hobby very seriously until the past year or two).

Look
Does this pen look super awesome? Not bad!

I’ll admit, this pen would not be the first thing I’d grab off a shelf if I saw it. It’s not particularly the type of pen style that is a must have for me, but it isn’t completely out of the range of pens I’d mind owning and having as part of my collection. That being said, the pen indeed looks — not bad! It’s got a more classic pen look with simple accents. It is a yellow coloured body (also available in red, blue and black), capped at the two ends in black, with some chrome gold accents along the top and bottom of the cap, as well as bottom of the barrel. Overall it’s quite elegant, and the longer I look at the pen, the more I appreciate its simplicity.  The grip section is also black and lined with more gold accents before the gold coloured steel nib. The nib itself looks a little more fancy than my cheapo pilot penmanship pens, with some light engraving and the pilot logo. The pen measures about 13cm capped, and 12cm uncapped. Using friction from the tapered end of the barrel, the pen can be posted to a total length of about 14.6cm.

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Simple packaging

Packaging wise, the pen comes in a simple flip up plastic box. It’s not super fancy or elegant, but that’s fine since I don’t do much with the box afterwards. The pen’s taken a bit of a beating since I’ve had it brushing and knocking into other pens in my pencilcase, so the black around the pen cap with the ‘Lucina’ name has started rubbing off revealing more gold colour underneath. Lastly the clip is a sturdy metal, slim with a little ball at the end for sliding in and out of pockets, pencil cases, etc. The little ball holds pretty well, but I haven’t tested this very much.

Feel
This is the part where I balance the ‘not bad!’ look of the pen, with some gushing about the solid pen performance. I noted in my intro that this is one of my fav pens to use. It’s by far, out of all the pens I own, the most smooth writing. I also don’t have a wealth of pens to compare to, but at the very least, for a steel pen nib, I’d say this is one of my best nibs to date. (I may or may not be in the process of purchasing my first gold nib…so stay tuned for some comparisons)

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The nib writes and draws really really smoothly, close to buttery smooth, depending on the ink I fill it with. I’ve tried pilot iroshizuku and noodler’s ink and both are relatively watery inks, so they flow out of the pen quite easily. So while this is a japanese F nib, depending on what ink you use, the nib tends to write kinda on the thicker F size — so you can say it ends up being more a western fine. Strange. It also doesn’t really work in reverse, so a single lineweight is all I get with this one.

In hand, the pen is lightweight, but has good balance, both posted and un-posted. It feels good in hand. I’ve had some long-ish writing sessions with it, and I haven’t felt much fatigue or discomfort. I don’t post my pens too often since the weighted end tends to throw off the balance, but I don’t notice the imbalance on this pen as much when it is posted. The only gripe I might have, is that it takes a turn or two too many twists to uncap the pen. I’m a bit of an impatient nut when using pens that I find sturdy and well made, so when I can’t access the pen asap, I lose a fraction of patience for it. Not to say I’ve lost much patience with this pen, but the added twist time to uncap the pen has prevented me from taking this pen out and about as a daily use pen. I am okay with this for the most part, as I have other more convenient options for easy uncappable pens — namely Lamy Safari. (But sometimes I like a change of style!)

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my grip styles with the Lucina

For this review, I doodled something more technical and from my line of work! I recently picked up the book Manual of Section by LTL architects (Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis). I really appreciate the care this firm takes into their drawings, and they are known for some intricate and elaborate perspectival sections for their own work. In this book though, they take existing known buildings from around the world by a number of different architects and take the single most prominent section of each building and produce a sectional perspective drawing of it. The book also divides the building sections into categories to further distinguish the feature quality of the section and its significance in the design of the building. I’m not one to book review, but if you appreciate drawing and architecture, maybe worth picking up. (amazon) The elaborate introduction and explanation at the beginning of the book provides a good breakdown of the study of section, its history and further descriptions of the categories.

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click to enlarge!

I picked out Jørn Utzon’s Bagsværd Church in Copenhagen, Denmark. Jørn Utzon designed the Sydney Opera House in Australia, one of my favourite buildings in the world. I don’t know too much about this church design, but some quick research tells me it was a notable building in contemporary church architecture, masterfully weaving natural light with swooping forms of the interior and flat surfaces of the exterior. It was completed shortly after the Opera House, in 1976

Anyway, architectural jumbo aside, I do really enjoy sketching buildings, though I could stand to do it more often. Drawing with the pen was super easy, I get no skips with the nib, and ink just flowed continuously. I do notice that this nib (and ink combo) produces an incredible amount of nib creep. The tip is almost always covered in ink. It had me a little concerned at first, but I’ve gotten used to it, and it doesn’t seem to be affecting the performance of the pen so far, so I haven’t given too much more thought to it.

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nib creep creep

Value
Here’s where the real test lies for this pen. Is it worth the price tag? From what I have read, the pen retails at just over $80 USD, but I have seen it around amazon (both .ca and .com) for $50 or less. This is an excellent pen, no doubt; it is solidly built, writes wonderfully, and looks like a classy upgrade from your typical entry level fountain pen. But is it worth $80? My answer would be no. But if you can grab it for ~$40, which it is on amazon, then I could argue it might be worth your month. While it’s not the most spectacular $40 pen you can find on the market (the TWSBI Eco is more unique looking, the Lamy AL-star is made of metal and the snap cap is more convenient), but the quality of the pen certainly speaks for itself. Maybe at the end of the day it will come down to personal preference and style. I really like my Lucina and I’m really glad it was gifted to me, otherwise I’m not sure I’d have found it on my own. That being said, it does make a nice classy gift!

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Conclusion
Pros/

  • Smooth, buttery writer
  • Classy looking gold-coloured pen nib
  • Solidly built and feels great in hand
  • Pen clip is sturdy and the little ball is cute

Cons/

  • Confusingly high price tag
  • Can look a little bland (but has a classic pen look which may be attractive to many people)
  • The black around the pen cap scratches off easily
  • A little too many rotations in the twist cap
  • Too much nib creep?

Ink

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pen with noodler’s ink and eggy

I’ve previewed this ink in the previous post and possibly teased about it from instagram posts. But now I get to finally write about it. The pen is inked with Noodler’s Blue Upon the Plains of Abraham, a Canadian exclusive ink (woohoo!). This ink is really magical without the need for that metallic-y sheen seen in other magically wonderful inks. The colour is sort of between a blue-black and grey-purple. Hard to pinpoint exactly. But the ink itself looks dark blue, but once it hits paper and dries, it goes closer to a purple grey. And when it gets wet, it tends to show a little bit of pink. Strange and neat. It’s a relatively wet ink, so it tends to upgrade my nib sizes one-up (EF –> F, F –>M). I am okay with this since when the ink gushes out and finally dries, it’s very pretty. The ink is also bulletproof, which, from what I’ve heard, will last for a good long while (or forever) once it’s on paper. Last thing I’ll add, is that although I’m fascinated with sheeny inks, I actually really love that this one dries matte and doesn’t shine at all, yet has some medium variation in tone. Very very pretty.

 

Thanks for reading, hope that was an enjoyable dip into the Pilot Lucina. Holiday season is coming, and I’m getting busy again, but I’ll be around! Haven’t decided what’s next…stay tuned!

10 Comments

  1. A great review and I enjoyed your illustrations as always. Yellow pens always stand out in a crowd. From all that you said, I might have differed from your conclusion about value but it is sensible to keep a sense of proportion and weigh up the competition. Good luck with your gold nib pen purchase!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments! You’re right, I do like how this pen writes and feels quite a lot, probably not taking that into consideration enough when it came to value.
      Thinking about the pilot VP…. ^_^;;

      Like

    1. I’m not sure! I don’t know enough about nibs and pens to diagnose the issue. At the very least the pen doesn’t leak. My TWSBI eco has exploded on me more than once >_<

      Like

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