So a few weeks back when I was getting stuff for the family, I decided to treat myself to some cheap stationery. Took about 19 days to reach, which is not bad considering that this time I splurged on an ink too. Here’s what I got:
Jinhao 599: Two nibs for the price of… one?
The Jinhao 599 came in what looks like those multi-stationery packs you might have gotten for back to school season. What I liked about this one was that it came with two nibs as you can see in the video.
There’s a converter hidden in the pen body as well as a pretty hooded nib, which I suspect is an extra fine because of the way it writes. I liked that they included one. The non-hooded nib I think is a F (fine) nib due to the marking on the nib itself.
However, I don’t quite like how loose the converter is. My workhorse pens are Pilot Kakunos and the way their converters grip onto the pen barrel is reassuring. The Jinhao, on the other hand, has what feels like a very loose converter. It just… snaps on and can be pulled out easily with almost no effort. No ink fell out when I tipped the pen back, but still.
As for the writing experience? Surprisingly smoother than I expected! If you own a Lamy Safari, you’ll notice that the Jinhao 599 looks a LOT like the Safari, but I feel it’s much more forgiving in the hand (I recently got a Lamy Safari and I’m trying to figure out if it’s the ink or the way I hold it that’s giving me issues). It is really nice and smooth though.
Also you might have noticed the ink view that’s in the Jinhao 599. Don’t bother using it to estimate ink levels if you’re using the converter – it will always look empty. I suspect if you use a cartridge you won’t have the same problem.
Overall this I think is a pretty good buy for someone who’s looking to upgrade from cartridge fountain pens like the Pilot Petit and Monami Olika. It’s about RM8.16 before shipping (at time of writing) but if you get it with other things from the same shop they’ll waive shipping.
Glass pen for ink work
This glass pen was definitely an impulse buy. Or rather not quite an impulse buy but most definitely a “I wanted an excuse to get it” buy.
Used it with the Jacques Herbin Emerald of Chivor ink and as you can see, it sheens beautifully. The red undertone of the ink is a bit too subtle for my phone’s camera to pick up, but overall I’m quite happy with this glass pen. Now all I need is to get a proper pen rest for it.
Luck of the draw ink
So the same Shopee seller also sold these shimmering “zodiac” inks. However, the catch is that you can’t choose your ink. It’s the luck of the draw.
What I was sent is this lovely green-yellow Aquarius ink. Why is Aquarius green-yellow when it’s technically a water sign and thus more shade of blue instead of the lime-green moss water that’s usually algae and not quite safe for drinking? Who knows. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It does look really nice though, though the shade is definitely reminiscent of Pentel Hybrid Dual Metallic Yellow-Metallic Green pen. Forgot to try them on black paper so that will be on Instagram when I take this one out again.
Jinhao 992: Needs wetter ink
The Jinhao 992 came with some pre-usage recommendations (I say pre-usage because the seller’s description said so). Basically they recommended cleaning and flushing the pen before use, so that is exactly what I did. Unlike the Jinhao 599, this pen came wrapped in a simple transparent plastic bag. It also had a bunch of tiny sticky scratches on the upper half of the barrel (see image below), which makes me wonder if this was an unsold pen from another store.
In any case, the 992 seems to be modelled after those fountain pens that require you to unscrew the cap before opening (similar to the Kaweco Sport) and it is overall quite a pleasant pen in hand. Filled up, it feels heavier and more solid if you will than even the Safari, which I think was probably the heaviest pen I had.
I filled it up with the Kyoto Ink Ochiguriio, but I think this may have been a mistake as the ink itself is quite dry. First time using it and thought it’d be a nice pairing as they’re both this lovely brown. Writes a bit scratchy and isn’t quite as smooth as the 599, but we’ll see. Nib feels like a traditional Western F rather than a Japanese F.
Overall I’m quite happy with my haul. Three out of 4 ain’t bad, with the Jinhao 992 being the only “let’s give it a bit more time” wary purchase. The only reason why delivery took so long I think was due to Customs clearance – it reached me pretty fast once it reached the local warehouse.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that I’m pretty impressed with the way the nibs performed – all tests were done in the Pengallery’s Livenotes with Tomoe River paper.