Fountain Pen Review: Sailor ProColor Stardust

Fountain Pen Review: Sailor ProColor Stardust

When I saw the Sailor Procolor 500 Shikisai Fountain Pen in Hoshikuzu (Stardust) with Fine Nib ($60) come up on JetPens, I jumped at the chance to try it out. It looks like the Sailor 1911 regular with a steel nib and it was available in the black sparkle Stardust finish that I had wanted in the ProGear Slim but was only available as a limited edition a few years ago and is impossible to find now. I was curious if a Sailor steel nib would be up to snuff.

When it arrived, I was pleased that it was as pretty as I had hoped. It is not as sparkly as my ProGear Pink Love but not as subtle as the Purple Lamé.  It looks like stars in the night sky.

The nib looks almost identical to the nibs on a ProGear Slim or regular 1911 without the 14K markings. It has the filigree around the edge of the nib, the “1911” and anchor and the “Sailor” logo branding at the bottom.

The ProColor is a bit lighter than a 1911 standard at 18gms capped with the cartridge. My 1911 weight 21gms but it has a converter which I suspect is adding the additional 3gms. Uncapped, the ProColor weighs just 10gms. The cap does post for writing and is fairly well-balanced.

Look! A new weight chart! Pens are weighed filled with ink (in the case of the TWSBIs) or with a full converter.

Sizewise, the ProColor is identical to the 1911 regular and just a bit shorter and slimmer than a Lamy Safari/Al-Star. The ProColor is just a little longer than the ProGear Slim but the same width.

After looking at the Delike knock-offs, I can see where some of the design cues came from for the New Moon. The ProColor cap has the silver hardware all the way to edge of the cap and the clip is not as graceful as the 1911. Its definitely straddling the line between the higher end 1911 and the knock-off New Moon. Of course, there’s the plus of the Sailor steel nib.

And the nib is what I really wanted to experience and what really took me by surprise because its been years since I tried a lower end Sailor nib. Very early in my fountain pen days, I tried a Sailor Clear Candy but I had very little point of reference and I feel I should probably go back and look at that pen again now that I know what a bit more about pens. I can’t recall the specifics of my experience now other than it was an inexpensive plastic pen. The ProColor, however, was a delight. It was comparable and in many instances surpassed the experience I’ve had with similarly priced TWSBIs.

Because its a Japanese nib, it writes like a western EF (hence the error in my written tests) but its actually a Sailor fine nib. It is a buttery smooth steel nib. I was quite delighted with how well it wrote. For the price point, this is an excellent fountain pen.

After reviewing the knock-off versions of Sailors earlier this week, I love having the chance to recommend to save your pennies for the real thing. It’s worth it. This pen feels better built, the nib is beautiful and, heck, it even comes with the Sailor box, warranty and two proprietary cartridges (converter needs to be purchased separately).

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Winners: Col-o-ring Quirky Editions

Thanks to everyone who entered to win the quirky editions of the Col-orings. The random number generator was put to work and pull our winners. Congrats to Chuck and Tamra!

Emails are on their way to you both to get these in the mail to you before I head off to San Francisco next week. Happy inking to you both! And thanks again to everyone for sharing your inks!

Ink Review: Robert Oster Lake of Fire and the Serendipity Hybrid Pen

Ink Review: Robert Oster Lake of Fire and the Serendipity Hybrid Pen

Everyone at the D.C. Pen Show asked about the upcoming release of Robert Oster Lake of Fire and I had to tell them, “not until San Francisco,” knowing full well I had a whole bottle. The bottle I have is from the new series which is designed to be improved for art purposes. The colors come in 100ml bottles and has added UV protection. The only detailed information I could find about the inks was from Nick Stewart of Fountain Pen Inks and Bleach on FPN.  Bless that Nick and his inky experiments.

With the ink, I also received the new Serendipity Hybrid Pen to try. It was created as a collaboration between Robert Oster and James Finniss of Pensive Pens to create a dip-style fountain pen for ink testing and experimentation. The pen takes standard screw-in size 6 nibs. It shipped with a broad nib but I swapped in a Goulet Pens EF nib to more closely represent the style of writing that I do.

I have a similar style of nib holder that I had made for me by Shawn Newton to hold vintage Esterbrook nibs several years ago that I use for ink sampling and to use my large collection of Esterbrook nibs.  I included it in the photo above to show it for comparison. The Serendipity Hybrid Pen is just slightly shorter and has a slightly recessed area at the grip compared to my Esterbrook holder. Otherwise, they are remarkably similar in size and shape.

As for the Lake of Fire ink, there is a notable red violet sheen over the deep blue. The closest color I could find in the ink archive is Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yu which is a similar color with a similar sheen just a bit lighter overall than Lake of Fire. Other inks that might be close start to lean more blue-black or deep navy.

The writing sample shows both the ink and the nibs used with the Serendipity Hybrid Pen using a broad nib and an EF nib, a paint brush, a Zebra G dip nib, and my Shawn Newton nib holder and an Esterbrook nib holder with a #2442 nib.

I like the idea of the Serendipity Hybrid Pen but I found the grip section a bit awkward. I couldn’t figure out exactly where to put my thumb. I either had to choke up on the grip toward the nib  or move my hand back away from the  grip. I prefer the smooth grip on my Newton holder.

Lake of Fire will be available in the US at the San Francisco Pen Show in both the Signature and formulas and then through all your favorite retailers.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Robert Oster, James Finniss of Pensive Pens and Bauer Inks of Canada for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: Rare Ink Colors & Writing Notebooks?

Post of the Weird:

You can spend $100 on a fountain pen that will last you a lifetime, but those fancier pens come with hidden costs: new nibs, rare ink colors, writing notebooks, and customized ink converters.

Hidden costs? Rare ink colors and writing notebooks? What’s this guy talking about? And how are “writing notebooks” exclusive to $100+ pens? Doesn’t anyone with any sort of pen need a “writing notebook’? Pen community, go forth and comment at will at the bizzaro intro. The pen choices are relatively sound, until the Parker, IMHO. I would have put the TWSBI Eco, though it might have required some of those “rare ink colors” he so disdained, in that last slot. And, for the record, the Parker requires one of those customized ink converters.




Paper & Notebooks:

Art Supplies:

Other Interesting Things:

Fountain Pen Review: Delike New Moon (AKA Knock-off Sailor ProGear Slim)

Fountain Pen Review: Delike New Moon (AKA Knock-off Sailor ProGear Slim)

I had heard that there were Chinese vendors selling an assortment of knock-off versions of Sailor and TWSBI fountain pens on Ebay. In the name of science, and to quell my curiosity, I decided to buy a couple to see how similar, or different, they really were. I purchased the Delike New Moon fountain pens in pink and blue (one of each from two different sellers for about $15 each) that were knock-off versions of the Sailor ProGear Slim. One featured an EF nib and one had the nib altered slightly to be a F nib by bending the end up in a fude style.

While we as fountain pen consumers immediately recognize these as knock-offs, nowhere in the listings did the sellers say they were Sailor pens or hint to that. However, the similarity in looks is unfortunate in that it could confuse a newer fountain pen shopper into thinking they were getting a deal on a Sailor. So, I wanted to point out very quickly  the differences and similarities and why you might want to try these pens or want to avoid them altogether.

I purchased the pastel pink and sky blue colors with silver hardware because I did not have Sailor ProGear Slim pens in these colors. So, yeah for fun colors.

The Differences:

At first glance, the Delike New Moon and Sailor ProGear Slim are very similar. Width and length are just about identical. The New Moon has the metal hardware all the way to the base of the cap but that’s the most distinguishing difference at first glance.

Right out the the gate, I could tell these pens were not as well constructed as Sailor ProGear pens. The material was definitely more plasticky than resin. I could smell the off-gassing for starters. There is no end cap jewel.

On the clip, the end is more squared off. The Sailor clip has a rounded end. The band around the cap on the Sailor pen is engraved “Founded 1911” and the Delike says “Delike”. The Sailor ProGear has an extra band around the cap as well.

The threads on the cap are closer together and there are more threads on the Sailor. There is also another metal band on the Sailor.

Looking at the nibs, the Sailor is stamped with the anchor, “1911” and “14K” or “18K” respectively depending on your model and the decorative filigree. The Delike is considerably simpler with the globe, the Delike name and the size of the nib.

The Writing Experience:

I don’t have the exact same nibs on the ProGear Slims that are on the New Moon pens but I’m also comparing gold nibs to steel nibs so it’s pretty much an unfair comparison all the way around.

I do have to say that an EF/XF gold Sailor nib is WAY smoother than a Chinese steel nib and worth every freakin’ penny. I was asked at the D.C. Pen Show which pen was my favorite and I said the Sailor ProGear Slim Purple Lamé with the XF/EF nib and I stand by my statement here. This pen writes like butter. My Pink Love with the music nib is my second favorite so messing around with these knock-offs is humoring myself really.

They are cute and they sort of look like the real thing but they will never satisfy like the real thing. It’s like offering someone a Pepsi when they really want a Coke or a sugar-free snack when they really want sugar-laden. Close but no quite.

From the perspective of a pen for a new fountain pen user, I’m more comfortable loaning these out at a Fountain Pen Day event or at a Letter Writing Social where people may have little-to-no fountain pen experience where I might be less inclined to let my beloved Sailors loose. I’d also be willing to just give these away if someone fell in love with them as they are inexpensive, take standard European cartridges and came with converters. I also like that I could swap the caps and make my own goofball pens.

These pens also make great opportunities to learn nib adjustment and other tweaking or pen alterations.

Have you purchased any of the knock-off Chinese pens for experimentation? What’s your opinion? I waited a long time to buy any of these because I know a lot of people have very strong opinions about these pens. I just wanted to see if it was worth the wait. I don’t think I’d buy anymore if these but I definitely think it was a good learning opportunity.


Fountain Pen Review: Muji Fountain Pen

Fountain Pen Review: Muji Fountain Pen
Sometimes, we discover there are great pens that have been around for quite some time that we never got around to reviewing. This is one of them.

Review by Laura Cameron 

 I found a new pen to love. A few weeks ago at knit night, Ana handed me a pen and told me to take it for a spin.  The pen was a Muji, an aluminum round fountain pen ($15) from the Japanese company, Muji.

 The pen is a super-slim, rounded aluminum pen with a textured grip, and a stainless steel nib.  It has a snap cap that posts in sort of unique way; the edges of the cap are super thin and fit into a thin channel hollowed out at the end of the pen. Mine is a fine nib and is marked “Iridium Point.” (Editor’s Note: Pretty sure that’s a Schmidt nib)

The Muji comes with cartridges, and I decided to go ahead and use them. I skipped the black cartridge that came with the pen, and played what Ana calls “cartridge roulette” – I dug into a canister of cartridges that she had sent me and emerged with one that I believe is Kaweco Palm Green ($2.10 for 6 cartridges).

I loved everything about this pen.  The pen is modern looking, slim and sleek at 20gms, but also has a surprisingly nice weight in my hand. The cartridge took almost no time to fill the pen, and it wrote immediately without problems.  I spent a little time testing it on a Pebble Paper Design notebook (review forthcoming) and had no problems with it at all. My lines were clean; the ink didn’t bleed or feather. 

Editor’s Note: I seriously need to update this chart! These are filled and capped/posted weights.

There isn’t a lot more to say about this pen, but it’s the one I reach for every time I go into my pen case. It’s fun and I feel like I found the perfect ink color to match.

The Muji fountain pen was previously reviewed here on the blog. If you’d like to read that review, you can see it here.

Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

Fashionable Friday: Eclipse is the New Black

The Eclipse is coming!

  • Total Eclipse of the Sun Postal Stamps, Sheet of 18 Forever Stamps $7.84 (via
  • Midori Brass Pencil $16 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Caran d’Ache Chromatics Fountain Pen Ink in Cosmic Black (50ml bottle) €29,50 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Kenzie Hardcover Black-and-gold striped Journal $7 (via Sapori)
  • Lamy Aion Fountain pen in Black USD $45.93 (via Appelboom)
  • Laban Rainbow Pearl Fountain Pen in Black Pearl $109 (special, normally $140) (via Federalist Pens)
  • Sailor Procolor 500 Shikisai Fountain Pen in Hoshikuzu (Stardust) with Fine Nib $60 (via JetPens)
  • Full Magnitude Total Solar Eclipse 2017 Letterpress Print (purple silver black) $5 (via Skylab Letterpress on Etsy)
  • Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen in Clear with Medium Nib $160 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Waterman Perspective Omlum Fountain Pen with Medium Nib $94.50 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Caran d’Ache 849 Fountain Pen in Black $65 (via Vanness Pen Shop)
  • Silver Gold Small Stars Washi Tape (Chugoku) $2 per roll (via CuteTape)
  • Solar System Notebooks Pre-Order £35 for set of nine (via Backpocket Notebooks)
  • Curtis A5 Journal £14.99 (via Say Nice Things)
  • Custom InkTober + Denik Spiral Sketchbook $18 (extra 20% off with the coupon code “SUMMERSNACKS”) (via ArtSnacks)
  • Diamine Shimmering Night Sky Fountain Pen Ink (50 ml Bottle) $18.50 (via JetPens)