Posts filed under Pilot

Bung Box Pilot Penmanship EF Fountain Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Pretty much everyone you meet has something negative to say about their own handwriting, no matter how pretty it might be. It's an extension of our personality, and some people take pride in their penmanship. Others may view it as a tool or trade, but it's one of those things that can always be improved. We never "arrive" when it comes to penmanship.

There are several ways to improve your own penmanship, and the most elemental method is simple practice. Write things over and over while slowing down and focusing on the small details of every letter. Turns out, some pens are better for this exercise than others.

That's where the Pilot Penmanship comes into play. This cheap fountain pen features an EF nib from Pilot, which is something you don't see in a lot of fountain pens from the factory. The idea behind a tiny nib is that you have no choice but to slow down and stay relaxed. If you try to press down too hard or go too fast with this pen, it will scratch the page and be uncomfortable.

While using this pen, I enter a different mindset that focuses on each letter. For one, I tend to press down more than I need to when using pens. It's an old habit from my grade school days where we learned to write with giant, ridiculous pencils. With the EF nib, you can't bear down on the nib without it sticking and scratching. What's more, since the line is so small, you have to work harder to keep the nib controlled when writing. Any mistakes are magnified when using this small nib, unlike larger nibs that cover up a lot of small mistakes.

The nib is excellent and a great value considering the sub-$10 price point. Even though the line width from this nib is a touch smaller than my 0.38mm gel pens, it's exceptionally smooth when used correctly. That, my friends, is impressive.

You can also swap this nib into both the Pilot Metropolitan and Prera. I like this grip section quite a bit. The grip is contoured to provide the "correct" finger positions. It's very similar to the Lamy grip section, but a little smaller. Like I've mentioned with Safaris and Al-Stars, if you don't use the "correct" grip, this pen might not be good for you. Besides the frustration of a pen manufacturer trying to impose a particular finger position for a pen, it's a great design that looks and feels good for me. The version I have has a nice "BunguBox" logo on the side, but that's not standard. The barrel is normally completely devoid of all branding.

The cap is comically small, but posts securely to the back of the pen. It has a couple of small red bits that stick out of the sides of the cap to prevent it from rolling around. It looks good when the cap is secured on the closed pen, but the cap looks silly on its own. Fortunately, I don't think this pen was made to win any aesthetic awards.

That being said, this is a great pen if you're looking for something that delivers an exceptionally thin line. You'd be hard pressed to find something this good that comes straight from the factory. Most of the time, you need a nib specialist to do a custom grind on a larger nib to achieve these results.

The Penmanship accepts Pilot cartridges and the CON-20 and CON-50 converters. It also comes in black and clear, so you have that choice as well. Both are a mere $8.25 on JetPens, which is hard to argue with.

Posted on April 19, 2016 and filed under Pilot, Pen Reviews, Fountain Pens.

Pilot Stargazer in Ruby Red: A Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

The Pilot Stargazer is a beautiful little pen made of lacquered brass. It comes in a presentation box with a clear plastic cut out. It's not as glamorous as some boxes, but it's nice enough that you could certainly give the pen as a gift.

The Stargazer is a small pen that requires posting to feel well balanced. Even though it's small lengthwise (120mm capped; 134mm posted), it has quite a bit of heft to it since the barrel and cap are made of brass. At 27 grams, it feels substantial in the hand.

It's smaller than a Pelikan M600 when it's capped. But when you post it, it's about the same length as the Pelikan capped.

The ruby red lacquer is gorgeous. It's a deep red with a luminous finish.

The pen boasts a number of decorative details. The cap sports a rhodium-plated clip. The bottom of the cap has a large rhodium ring, set off by engraved black rings above and below. The words "Pilot Japan" are also engraved in the ring.

Rhodium rings circle the grip where the nib is inserted and the area between the grip and the barrel. Another ring is near the base of the barrel. These details accentuate the pen quite nicely.

The grip appears to be made of plastic, not brass, which makes it easy to hold. Sometimes metal grips make for sweaty fingers and slippery writing. But not with this pen.

The nib is 14K gold plated in rhodium. It's a tiny nib, but still features beautiful scroll work along with Pilot's name, the gold content, and the nib size (this one is a fine).

The nib is fantastic. It writes like an extra-fine (Japanese nibs tend to be more narrow than their Western counterparts). Even so, it writes smoothly with no scratchiness, hard starts, or skipping. Pilot nibs are almost always trouble free in my experience.

The pen uses a cartridge/converter filling system and comes with a Con-50 converter.

The Stargazer is an impressive little pen. It is well made and has more decorative features than some more expensive pens. It would make an excellent pocket pen and/or small notebook pen. The cap snaps on securely, and the pen is small and substantial enough to be an EDC.

You can find the Pilot Stargazer in Ruby Red, Sapphire, Black, and Pearl for $152.00 at Goulet Pens.


  • The Stargazer is a small, balanced, well-made fountain pen.
  • The nib is excellent.
  • Ruby Red is a beautiful lacquered color.
  • The pen works well as a pocket pen and/or as an EDC.


  • It is a small pen, so people with larger hands may find this pen too small for comfort.
  • The Con-50 converter only holds .84ml of ink.

(Goulet Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on February 19, 2016 and filed under Pilot, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-ro Ink Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Pilot Iroshizuku inks are well-known for being great fountain pen inks, and I'm sure we've all tried our fair share of different colors from the brand. For many of us, some of our favorite inks come from this line, and for good reason.

I've long been a fan of their Kon-peki ink, which is a bright blue that pops off any page. But, it can be a bit too much pop for some moods. Another favorite color of mine for fountain pen inks is turquoise mixed with other colors to tone down the gemstone feel. Sailor Yama-dori is a wonderful ink, and I've recently come to love Franklin Christoph's Midnight Emerald. Both of these inks are dark, subdued, and expose beautiful levels of depth when writing. So, it was only inevitable that I try the Iroshizuku color that somewhat matches the same spectrum. In short, it's an exceptional ink with a beautiful color.

Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-ro is labeled as "Pine Tree Dew" on JetPens' site, which boils down to "Gray Turquoise." In this case, I think the word arrangement is perfect — it's definitely a turquoise ink with a bit of gray mixed in, not the other way around. There's plenty of color in the ink, but it's subdued enough to make it elegant and intriguing. I like inks that make you look twice or second-guess your first assumption.

If you've ever tried an Iroshizuku ink, you know what to expect. If you never have tried them, you're in for a treat. Like all other in this brand, the Syo-ro ink is smooth, quick-drying, and resists feathering and bleeding on pretty much all papers (with the exception being cheap copy paper). There's a fair amount of shading to create the beautiful level of depth in the colors, and it works well with a pen that has some flex.

I've tried some other green inks in the past that I hoped would match the characteristics in this ink. Sadly, most of them looked dull on the page after the ink dried. With Syo-ro, the color is still bright and present after the ink has dried. The color looks like it has life, which exactly what I want from an ink that I use daily.

Show-through, bleeding, and feathering are minimal with this ink. It's remarkably well-behaved in many circumstances, and it's gentle on your pens as well. Cleaning is an easy exercise.

Dry time on this ink keeps surprising me. In most cases on my Rhodia pad, I could only create a tiny smudge on the 10-second mark. This is very quick for a fountain pen ink, and something to keep in mind if that attribute is important to you. Keep in mind, though, that this will vary based on the nib and feed unit for every pen you use.

I really have nothing bad to say about this ink. Sure, the Iroshizuku inks aren't the cheapest, but that's for good reason. When you buy an ink from this line, you know that it will perform well. The only thing you have to decide is what color, or how many.

Syo-ro is available from JetPens in two sizes: a 50ml bottle and a 15ml sample bottle. With the 15ml bottle being half the price of the 50ml bottle, it's hard to justify choosing it. It might make more sense if it was a 25ml bottle to match the price difference, or if the price was more in line with a bottle that is only 30% of the larger one. At any rate, if you like turquoise and fountain pens, this is one you don't want to miss.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on February 10, 2016 and filed under Ink Reviews, Iroshizuku, Pilot.

Big Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen Giveaway

Image via Goulet Pens

Image via Goulet Pens

The Pilot Metropolitan is the best fountain pen for beginners, and it's pretty awesome for experienced fountain pen users as well. I have SIX of the latest release, the Retro Pop Series, to giveaway courtesy of the fine folks at Goulet Pens.

To win one of these pens, follow the instructions below, but add one thing in your comment: Tell me what color is your favorite Retro Pop. You can see all the colors available here. I can't guarantee you will get the color you selected, but if I have a match available I will certainly send it your way. Otherwise, enjoy the surprise when you open it!

The rest of the details:

  1. Leave one comment on this post anytime between now, and Friday night at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. You are limited to one entry. This contest is open to US and International readers.

  2. For this contest, I will pick six winners at random from the comments section of this post. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. The Random Integer Generator at will be used to pick the number of the winner.

  3. The contest winners will be posted on Saturday, January 30th. The winners will have one week to email me via the Contact link at the top of the page.

Thanks and good luck!

Posted on January 26, 2016 and filed under Giveaways, Pilot, Metropolitan, Fountain Pens.