The Pilot Custom 912 with the FA (Falcon ) nib ($240) is unique pen. While it’s often compared to the Namiki Pilot Falcon fountain pen, they are not the same beast. For starters, the 912 only comes in black and features a 14K gold nib with side cuts to help increase the range of flex. The Namiki Pilot Falcon is available in several colors or metal body and an unusually-shaped 14K nib. Prices for the Falcon are $180-240 depending on barrel material.
The nib shape is clearly visible in the images above and below. The side cut looks like a hole punch took a bite out of the nib.
I borrowed the photo above of the Pilot Namiki Falcon from Parka Blogs. I don’t own a Namiki Falcon Fountain Pen so I can’t do a side-by-side. But after doing my own copious internet research, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth purchasing both or saving a few dollars and buying the Pilot Namiki Falcon over the 912 with FA nib.
Inside, the 912 includes the Pilot CON-70 converter which is the pump action converter. The Namiki Falcon ships with a standard CON-40 twist converter.
The real magic of the Custom 912 with FA nib is obviously the way that it writes. There is very pleasant bounce and flex with the FA nib. To be honest, it flexed more than I expected it to do.
As a lefty, I tested the nib in overhand and side writing as well as traditional under writing. All directions worked but the side and overhand writing lost a good deal of the line variation because I was pushing the nib on the paper rather than pulling it (which is what causes the tines with open and create the desired thick strokes). At some angles, since the nib is so fine, there was some scratchiness — more so with over writing tha side writing. To get the most out of a flex nib like the Custom 912, you really need to be able to write from below so that your down strokes are thick and your upstrokes are thin.
While the 912 FA is not a “wet noodle” in terms of flex, it’s a good option for using a light touch and adding some thicks and thins to your everyday writing rather than pushing it to extremes. Part of this stems from the fact that the plastic feed will not keep up with the amount of ink necessary for excessive flax writing. As seen in my writing sample above, too much flex writing with cause the nib to be depleted of ink until gravity forces more ink into the feed fins.
To increase the ink flow, I think I will invest in an ebonite feed from Flexible Nib Studios (approx. $42). Do you own a Namiki Falcon or the 912 FA? Have you upgraded the feed in yours?
Overall, I am pleased with the out-of-the-box performance of the Pilot Custom 912 with FA nib. To be honest, I am more pleased than I thought I would be. While there are some ink flow feed issues with regular flex use, its not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Do I wish the 912 was available in other finishes? Heck, yeah I do. But for a workhorse, off-the-shelf flex nib, the 912 FA is probably the best quality for the price. I’ve had a couple other modern flex pens (Aurora. pardon the pun, springs to mind) and they have been stiffer nibs overall. If you have a heavy hand, I wouldn’t recommend the 912 FA because it is a light, fine nib but if your goal is to find a modern flex pen, the Pilot 912 FA is the best I’ve tried thus far.