Metropolis Night // Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen [REVIEW]

Pilot Metropolitan – Black
$19.50 USD (Jetpens)
Currently Inked: Pilot Black ink cartridge

Hello with another review! And this time with an affordable classic. Being in the hobby so long, those of you who know, we can sometimes get wrapped up in all the fanciness of those high-end pens and brands and forget that there are some extremely well-put-together pens that you can get plenty of bang for your buck for and not break the bank. The Pilot penmanship is one of those pens for me, as can be recounted in my very first review. This is another one of those Pilot gems that is on pretty much everyone’s list of top affordable pens on the market. I picked this one up (partly because I needed some money to fill an order) because it’s a black pen, which fit my 2022 resolution to only buy pens if they’re black. I’ve been doing decently so far, with the rule broken very very few times.

Let’s get to it!

Look
Does this pen look super awesome? It’s nice!

This pen is a classic bullet or torpedo-shaped pen with a flush cap to barrel edges, and a simple clip on its snap cap. From the outside, the body and cap are both matte black with a small section in the middle in gloss black. When uncapped, the grip section is also that same glossy black housing a classic pilot feed and nib.

It is fairly known that several pilot pens have interchangeable nibs. That means I can easily take my EF nib from the Penmanship or Kakuno (which is not available on the Metropolitan) and use it on this slightly more upgraded pen! That was part of the plan initially and more on that later. The pen is made mostly of metal, hence there being some slight weight to the pen compared to their resin or plastic body pens – Penmanship, Kakuno, Lucina. The pen comes in a nice metal tin with plastic viewing window, foam supports inside, an ink cartridge and some papers.

I have to say, this is a very un-flashy pen, yet it’s also not a tasteless one either. It’s extremely modest and classic looking, with simple and very functional features. The clip easily slides and grasps any of my pen rolls I have tried, and the snap cap makes for pretty convenient use on a regular basis. So it’s hard for me to really say I don’t ‘like’ this pen, but it’s also not a pen that I dislike either. It remains in a very safe neutral zone of ‘great pen but not for me’. The unfortunate part is that I don’t know if I can entirely describe why either, but perhaps as I unravel my thoughts in this review it will come to me.

Feel

Click to Enlarge

The pen is, unsurprisingly, excellent to use. Pilot pens have always been very reliable and writes straight out of the box. And not only do they write straight out of the box, but they also write really WELL straight out of the box. Ink flows out flawlessly and until the ink runs out, it’s a well-tuned and well-oiled machine to the end.

I’ve found with this pen and doodle for the review, I was gripping the pen way farther back than usual. See the comparisons. Usually, when I pinch grip the pen, it’s to get some more control, but when I’m just loosely sketching, I have found that holding the pen further back actually felt better. In this particular case, part of the reason was that the ink wasn’t drying fast enough, and this was one way for me to prevent my hand from smudging the ink (which it still did) while continuing to doodle without stopping.

I drew a wonderful underwater “metropolis” that I copied out of the manga One Piece. Oda’s world-building is just beyond next level and always has inspirational backgrounds to copy and learn from. Since I was using black ink, I figure it just felt appropriate to doodle something from a manga that I really like. My go-to backgrounds for practice and copying are Oda Eiichiro’s One Piece, and anything by Kiyohiko Azuma.

From a weight perspective, the pen is well balanced, and doesn’t feel too heavy, especially being metal, nor too light. I have a feeling that for doodles and more intricate inking, I prefer a lighter pen – hence my loyalty to the penmanship. I have a bit more control, and the strange grip that is so close to the nib actually kind of helps me. That being said, as mentioned earlier, the original intent was to get an F nib Metropolitan and swap in an EF nib to ‘upgrade’ my penmanship as my permanent doodle pen. Instead, over time, I think I just found that I still enjoyed using the penmanship, and the snap cap vs. the twist meant that ink does dry out faster in the Metropolitan.

Value
Is this pen worth it? Absolutely, 100% no question. A quality pen for less than $20USD that works straight out of the box and has a slightly more refined non-plastic look to it? It’s perfect for what it does. Ultimately, it’s a great writer and doodler. I COULD use it for everything and it’s a reliable pen from all perspectives. But is it good enough to replace some of my higher-end jewels in the collection that I prize so dearly? Unlikely, despite some of those gems sometimes not writing as smoothly as this one does. I actually prefer my Lucina, also a pilot pen, over this pen and it’s a resin twist pen without an interchangeable nib. It’s also way more expensive, relatively, but it suits my hand better. The Metropolitan also falls short of my own personal standard of use-case for my every-day doodling workhorse, which was really what the motive was when I purchased the pen.

In the end, I think it depends on the end-user. What are you looking for in a pen and what do you want it to do for you? Do you want something extremely affordable but you don’t really want to get a $5 or $10 plastic pen that looks semi-professional? This pen would definitely be on my recommendation list and I haven’t seen it missed in many other lists out there either.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Great value for a metal pen
  • Writes perfectly out of the box
  • Interchangeable nib with other pilot pens.
  • Simple and elegant design

Cons

  • May not suit all personal taste/style despite its value
  • Snap cap means ink will dry out faster than a twist cap

Ink
I decided to use the standard pilot cartridge in this pen. Mostly because I haven’t tried it yet! No qualms with this ink, other than it doesn’t dry too quickly on the paper I was using, and I ended up smudging part of my drawing. It’s a smooth flowing ink, medium viscidity – not too watery and not too thick. It’s quite a stark black as well, which is always appreciated.

Thanks for joining me on another review! I thought I’d end with a little sharing on my mid-year mark of my 2022 resolution. What was that resolution again? A rule for myself to only buy pens if they are black – to try and curb my spending. It’s a resolution that I have stuck to quite adamantly, but it’s also a rule that did not curb my spending. There were two instances where I did not adhere to my rule, and I will probably end up writing about those times, so I’ll leave them out of here for the time being 🙂

Here’s a little bonus picture of the black pen collection thus far (fountain pens only, regular black pens not included but were also purchased). I have been quite happy with all of the choices so far and they’re also very different from each other, which I do enjoy having in the collection. If you ever want first peeks at any pen pick-ups throughout the year before I post reviews about them, you can follow me on Instagram! I usually end up saving the story post under “Tools” and when a review comes out it will go under “Reviews”.

Pictured here from bottom up:
– Pilot Metropolitan
– Leonardo Momento Zero in Matte Black
– Tom’s Studio Spark
– Platinum Century 3776 Shape of Heart

Thanks again for reading and following along, I’ll see you in the next one!

2 Comments

  1. This was my first pen and it’s still picked up pretty frequently, even with pens like the Lamy 2000 and Sailor PGS sitting next to it. It’s weird, but I find that the M nib has a slight stubbish line to it too. Anyway, can I just say that your drawing is awesome? Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words! It’s definitely one of those pens that are so easy to just pick up, especially when the writing experience is completely unfailing!

      Like

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