Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fountain Pen Review: Pilot Plumix

There has been a plethora of Plumix reviews out there recently, so my addition seems superfluous.  One of the motivations for this review is that I had a bad first impression of this pen, but changed after I did a simple tweak, the ink.  It is an affordable option for those who want to try out a fountain pen or italic nib, and for the price, the quality is superb.

Appearance
Plumix is definitely not an eye candy.  The body is made of hard and durable plastic, which is about right for the price (the Baker purchased it for about $7).  The screw-on cap is relatively short for a full-size pen (about 5.6 inches).  The designer probably meant to make the pen to appear sleek, so the cap has two  small wings on the side of the cap, which reminds me of the tail of a squid.  At first I assumed that I could not post the cap, but amazingly, it stayed.  There are three colors available for Plumix:  clear, light blue, and purple.  The cap color matches the body.

Cap inspired by squid??
The grip is hourglass shaped and is designed to be ergonomic.  It could be that I have been holding pens incorrectly combining with hard plastic material, it is not the most comfortable grip.  This could be a deal breaker, but in my opinion, once you are willing to take the time to become accustom to the grip, it will become more comfortable as time passes.

Clear view to how the ink travels to the nib.
Very interesting!

The barrel has oscillating spirals, which may set people off.  Again, this is not a pen that wins over people by its appearance, but at least it is making a conscious effort in soliciting interest to fine writing instrument in the general public.



Plumix as a whole.
Components

Plumix does come with one standard Pilot ink cartridge, and it can be converted with a Pilot CON-50 converter.   The quality of the ink, however, is not the best. The Baker used the enclosed ink cartridge with his Plumix and the ink was quite dry, which made a new nib extra scratchy.  Bear in mind, this is an italic nib that is approximately 1mm in width, yet it is scratchy?  Even after he used it for several days, the nib was still scratchy.  Expectedly, I was not pleased with the pen.  The fate of the Plumix took a turn when Gentian suggested using other ink to improve overall writing experience.  It just happened that I had couple empty Petit 1 cartridges, so in order to make it fit, I shaved off the two pegs on the side of the cartridge.  I filled it with J. Herbin's Poussière de Lune and like a miracle, it wrote so much better!  

The nib is made of standard steel, no bells and whistles.  It is sturdy and it gives the user the full control of the pen, which is ideal for a beginner.  When the pen is inked, residual ink does accumulate around the screw neck area.  I am afraid that the ink would leak, but it holds together like a Hoover Dam.  No leakage incident thus far.  





Here comes my favorite part:  Plumix can be taken apart, which ensure thorough cleaning and nib swapping; Plumix's italic nib does fit a Pilot Prera.


How does it write?


Paper:  Rhodia No. 8
Ink:  Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin
Just like other fountain pens, there is an adjustment period with Plumix.  One element that I am still not used to is the grid.  Since Plumix is made with hard plastic, there is no cushion of any type, so it can be uncomfortable when writing with it for a long time.  My tight grip probably exacerbates the discomfort.
The nib is a different story.  It is quite versatile, as the above writing sample shows, and it is smooth once it is broken in.  A friend of mine claims that the nib of the Plumix performs a lot better than Pilot Prera.  Since the two are interchangeable, she substitutes Prera's nib with Plumix's.  One of the observations I have is that I hold the Plumix a bit differently than other fountain pens.  I hold Plumix in a way that the tip of the nib was almost parallel to the surface of the paper, which is an odd angle but it writes a lot smoother than other angles.

Overall
Plumix is ideal for people who want to try out italic nib.  Though it is usually sold at chained stores such as Target, it might be a bit frustrating to find the right angle and to break in the nib.  Once everything is broken in, it is a fun pen.

Where can I find Plumix?
Last time I heard, Target has discontinued carrying Plumix, but you can still locate it at other fine stationery retailers, such as:

Other reviews on Plumix

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review.
    Making a pen that looks like a glass dip pen sounds like an interesting idea, but this Pilot Plumix looks rather odd...

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  2. Thank you for stopping by, Matthias. I did not put the two and two together until you mentioned it. When comparing Plumix body to J. Herbin or R&K glass dip pen, Plumix body definitely bulges a lot more. It is just not a winner on appearance, but great nib I have to say!

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  3. I found them in my local Staples! Though they were out of stock... But the store said they would be getting more. I would love to try it out.

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  4. I am glad to hear that Staples has it as well. I wonder whether places like OfficeMax or Office Depot carry it as well?

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