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.
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12 comments / Add your comment below
The Pilot Custom 912 is likely to remain out of reach for me so I have spent considerable time trying to find my Holy Grail pen on the cheap(ish). For the budget-conscious, Fountain Pen Revolution (fprevolutionusa.com/) carries a 3-channel 6.3mm ebonite feed for $3. I have been very satisfied with their flex nibs and, thanks to FPR, have several outstanding frankenpens.
Beautiful! A work of art.
I’ve been trying to sort out the nib naming nomenclature Pilot uses. So is the Pilot Namiki Falcom supposed to be more flexible?
Not according to my experience. However, when most people discuss modern flex nibs, the Pilot Namiki Falcon is usually the first mentioned. And seldom is the the Pilot 912 FA mentioned. So, I’m just hoping to shed a little light..
Such a timely review. I was looking at Pilot pens available with the FA nib. My most expensive Pilot pen is a Prera. It’s so good to see the writing samples. So far, any review I’ve read about the FA nib mentions what you did. That writing with flex is a challenge to the feed to keep up. I like the looks of the Pilot Custom 74.
I have the Pilot Falcon pen with a soft extra fine nib, and I am left handed as well. I have been wondering about the FA nib, whether it would give me a different writing experience. The extra fine nib can give a lot of flex, but I am a side writer and the nib has a tendency to dig in to the paper and is a little scratchy feeling. I was warned of that in a Goulet video. I came here looking for a comparison of the two nibs and I got the bonus of the insight of a fellow lefty! I have found that flex nibs (I also have the FPR flex and the Omniflex nibs) do not work well for me because, as you say, I don’t have much down stroke in my writing style. Still, I enjoy my Falcon and I may add the FA nib to my stable. Thanks for the insight, Ana!
For side writers and over writers, the flex nibs will definitely pose a challenge to use. But I’m glad you’re finding ways to make them work for you.
I agree with your assessment, entirely. I prefer the 912 SF to my Falcon SEF any day of the week. The flex is very comfortable to write with, though the flow on my 912 is a bit excessive, TBH. The flow on my Falcon is far drier, and almost provides too much feedback. I may try to locate someone willing to modify my Falcon to increase the flex, perhaps taking a bite out of the sides of the nib, a la 912.
The same brand Pilot,
pilot custom urushi is also a nice selection,
Jumbo pen very smooth writer
I bought the pen, and it truly is lovely for those who like line variation. I also bought the ebonite feed and that improved the pen dramatically. For sketchers, this pen is indispensable. It’s expensive though, so personally, I do not carry it with me, but it lives at my art desk at home.
MIne just arrived. It doesn’t write. False starts and just stopping and starting flow. SOmetimes it writes a line but it is just the OUTLINE of a line, the middle part is missing. Am I doing something wrong? Most of the time it does very little. What a waste of money. What should I do???
That is called “railroading” when the outline shows but the center does not. The issue has more to do with the feed rather than the nib, particularly if you are pushing it to flex. There are some after-market feeds available from Flexible Nib Factory that will help increase ink flow to the nib.