Posts filed under Sailor

Sailor Ink Studio 442: A Review

Sailor Ink Studio 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.)

A few months ago I reviewed my first Sailor Ink Studio ink: Sailor 123. It is a fascinating color that shifts and changes before your eyes. Around the time I bought Sailor 123, I also purchased Sailor 442 from a different retailer.

Sailor 442 is a blue ink with purple tones. On my Col-o-dex card, the swab looks like a basic blue, but there is some green sheen in the splats. Shading isn’t very evident on the card because my Brause Blue Pumpkin nib was pretty saturated. You can see better shading in my other writing samples.

Sailor Ink Studio 442 Colodex
Sailor Ink Studio 442 Splats
Sailor Ink Studio 442 Swirls

I tested the ink on Rhodia dot-grid paper with three Lamy Vistas in different nib sizes and the 2.4mm Pilot Parallel (dipped). The ink is a medium to dark blue with good shading in wider nibs. The purple tone comes out slightly in the broader nibs, but is most evident in the water test. The ink dries quickly but seems well lubricated when you write with it.

Sailor Ink Studio 442 Testing

Chromatography reveals all the different shades combined to create this ink (light blue, purple, lavender, turquoise, green, and yellow). It’s a shame these colors don’t show up in swabs or shading. Unlike Sailor 123, 442 is not a shade-shifting ink. It’s quite striking in chromatography, but rather bland in the nib.

Sailor Ink Studio 442 Chromatography

Even in my Handwritmic nib, which best displays the color variations, shading, and sheen potential of an ink, Sailor 442 was disappointing. There’s a good amount of shading, but only slight hints of the color variations found in the chromatography test. On the Midori Cotton paper, sheen was not evident.

Sailor Ink Studio 442 Ink
Sailor Ink Studio 442 Color

After the magical experience of Sailor 123, I must say I was disappointed with 442. It’s not that it’s a bad ink--it’s actually a very nice blue with good shading and medium wetness. I just expected more from this rather expensive little bottle of ink. I now know that only certain Sailor Ink Studio inks have the shade-shifting characteristics of Sailor 123. I definitely plan to purchase those. I’ve read that the higher the number given to Ink Studio inks, the more sheen they have.

For an amazing overview of all 100 Sailor Ink Studio inks, I recommend Mountain of Ink’s blog. Not only can you read about the collection as a whole, there’s a detailed review of each one.

I purchased Sailor 442 from an eBay seller for around $21.00 plus shipping. Now you can purchase Sailor Ink Studio inks at $18.00 a piece (plus shipping) from Dromgoole’s (though you have to do so over the phone).


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Sailor Ink Studio 442 Bottle
Posted on September 20, 2019 and filed under Sailor, Ink Reviews.

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise: A Review

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise 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.)

I have a love/dislike relationship with Sailor fountain pens. I love the nibs. I dislike the PMMA resin bodies (which can feel kind of cheap) and the stingy converters (holding only .7 ml of ink). Obviously, many fountain pens are made of resin, so that’s not a deal breaker, and Sailor’s PMMA resin is strong and thick. But the converters seem rather flimsy.

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Converter

But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) I’ve been lurking on various Japanese pen sites like Wancher and Pensachi and discovered all the color variations Sailor offers to the larger world market. Sailor pens come in some outstanding special and/or limited edition colors. Many of the colors remind me of tropical flavor LifeSavers. Yum!

I fell for a Sailor Pro Gear limited edition called Tequila Sunrise. It was already sold out at both Wancher and Pensachi, but I found an eBay seller who had one with a medium nib, so I bought it. I ordered it July 4 from Japan and it was here on July 12.

Even though the Tequila Sunrise is a limited edition pen, it came in a regular Sailor clamshell box with a couple of cartridges but no converter. I had a spare Sailor converter on hand, so that wasn’t a big deal.

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise

The pen is gorgeous from top to bottom. The finial is clear with a cool red and gold Sailor logo in the center.

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Finial

The cap is a yellow-orange color with gold-plated trims (clip and cap bands).

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Cap

The body is a peach-orange color that deepens the closer you get to the base.

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Body

And the finial at the base is a translucent red-orange.

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Base

The pen looks exactly like the cocktail after which it is named.

From Wikimedia Commons;    original photo

From Wikimedia Commons; original photo

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Fountain Pen

The Pro Gear Classic is a small to medium-sized pen. It is 5 inches/128mm capped, 4.6 inches/116mm uncapped, and 5.9 inches/150mm posted. The grip is 11mm, and the barrel at its widest is 13mm. It weighs 25 grams inked and posted and 16.62 grams inked without the cap.

The nib is a beautiful two-tone 21K medium with all the usual Sailor scrollwork and anchor logo. I’m very happy with the medium nib, which writes smoothly and has perfectly-aligned tines.

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Nib
Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Nib Tip

I inked the pen with Robert Oster Ng Special ’16. The ink is a nice match for the pen, but may be a bit too dry for this nib. I didn’t have any skipping issues, but the ink doesn’t flow as smoothly as I would like. It may be that I need a wetter ink or that I’m just not accustomed to the Sailor nib feedback that people talk about. The last few Sailor pens I bought had custom-ground nibs, so they wrote more smoothly. I’ll try the ink with Sailor Apricot and see if they get along better.

Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Writing

Regardless, this is one Sailor I plan to keep in my collection. I love the unusual, bright colors which are happy and make me smile. Even though I typically prefer larger pens, I really like how the Pro Gear Classic feels n my hand. The grip is wide enough that my hand doesn’t cramp after writing a few pages, and the pen is light and well balanced. The only negative is I crave tropical LifeSavers whenever I use the pen.

If you’re interested in the Sailor Pro Gear (or any Sailor models), I highly recommend the eBay seller from whom I purchased my Tequila Sunrise. I also recommend Pensachi who carries Sailor, Pilot, Platinum, Namiki, and Lamy, and offers limited editions and special versions you can’t find at American retailers.

(I purchased this pen with my own funds.)


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Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise Pen
Posted on July 19, 2019 and filed under Sailor, Pro Gear, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Sailor Ink Studio 123: A Review

Sailor Ink Studio 123 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.)

Sometimes there’s an ink you see on the Internet in a review or on Instagram that you simply must have. It doesn’t matter if that ink is difficult to obtain or if it comes in a dinky 20ml bottle or if it’s expensive, or if you have to wait weeks for it to arrive from Japan--you buy it anyway. Sailor Ink Studio 123 is one of those inks.

I first saw 123 on Mountain of Ink’s review of Set 1 of Ink Studio inks. I was mesmerized by this strange and magical unicorn ink that shifts between gray, green, and purple depending on its mood.

Sailor Ink Studio is a collection of one hundred inks (out of 20,000 created!) that were blended by inkmeisters at Ink Studio events. Each number represents a unique blending code (source: Sakura Fountain Pen Gallery).

I purchased my 20ml bottle of 123 from an eBay seller who stocks the collection (although you’ll discover that 123 is often out of stock). I paid $21.49 for the bottle (including shipping). It took about two weeks to arrive.

Although the bottle is tiny, I am not disappointed with this ink. It really is unique and magical, but it isn’t necessarily the most practical color for writing since it can be very light and hard to read depending on the paper.

For my initial ink test, I used Rhodia paper and a TWSBI Eco with a 1.1mm stub. The ink shows up well on white paper and looks like a dusty purple with the stub nib. But, the swabs fluctuate between gray, green, and lavender. The ink is not waterproof, but it dries quickly.

Note: The ink is much more washed out in this photo than in person.

Note: The ink is much more washed out in this photo than in person.

In my Lamy Vistas (fine, medium, and broad) the ink looks more gray than lavender, but it sort of depends on the light and angle.

Sailor Ink Studio 123 Nib Comparison

On my Col-o-dex card, the swab looks like a summer storm in Texas, complete with that green tint that promises hail. The ink shades beautifully, but it doesn’t have any sheen.

Sailor Ink Studio 123 Colodex
Sailor Ink Studio 123 Shading

Chromatography reveals the complexity of this ink blend. I’ve never seen an ink separate out into so many different colors. This really is unicorn ink!

Sailor Ink Studio 123 Chromatography

Sailor 123 shines in great, big, juicy nibs. Just look at that gorgeous shading and color shifting on MD Cotton paper:

Sailor Ink Studio 123 Print
Sailor Ink Studio 123 Big Print Close

The only time the ink fell short of expectations was (much to my surprise) on Tomoe River paper. I don’t know why, but the ink comes out as a super light lavender, and all that miraculous shading and color-shifting seems lost. Maybe it’s the cream color of the paper, I’m not sure, but I got the same results in my Kanso Sasshi booklet (picture below) and my Hippo Noto journal (both Tomoe River paper).

Sailor Ink Studio 123 on Tomoe

Regardless, I am in love with Sailor 123. It looks best on white paper with wide to super-wide nibs so you can see the color shifts. But, even in wet fine, medium, and broad nibs, it’s usable (though it looks more like a simple gray-lavender ink). This is also a terrific ink to use as a wash.

I ordered Sailor 442 as well, which is a darker color than 123. I’ll be reviewing it sometime soon. It’s certainly a more readable color than 123, but it doesn’t show the range of shades that 123 does.


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Sailor Ink Studio 123 Unicorn
Posted on July 12, 2019 and filed under Sailor, Ink Reviews.