This is mostly a personal reference for myself, but I thought it might be useful for others as well. I may do more detailed reviews in the future. I no longer have most of these, so this is to remind myself mostly of what I already tried, what was a failure, and what was a success.
Fountain Pens I've Tried
Jinhao 992: M nib, C/C. Came with converter in a pack. Only half of the pack worked. The ones that did work were scratchy. The ones that didn't work were thrown out, the ones that did were resold cheaply with the nib issues stated in the sale. 2/5 Jinhao X750: M nib, C/C. Came with converter. Had several of these at one point because they look really nice for cheap pens. Despite much reassurance from Goulet that these Jinhaos weren't shit like other Jinhaos, the one I got from them was the only one of this line that didn't work. LOL. The other ones worked, but not consistently. One worked really well, and I gave this one away when I was clearing out the pens from my Chinese cheap pen experiment. They have nice weight. If you wanted to, you could put a really nice nib on it and still have a pretty cheap pen. I didn't want to invest in customizing these, but the bodies were pretty well made despite the nibs being trash. The others were resold with the nib issues stated in the sale. 3/5 Jinhao 156A: F nib, C/C. Came with converter in a pack. None of them fucking worked. Yes, literally zero of them worked. The bodies of these are pretty ugly in person, but okay made. You could customize it if you wanted to, but jeez. All were thrown away. 1/5 Duke Ruby: M nib, C/C. Came with converter. One of the pricier cheap Chinese pens. Worked decently well, very thin barrel. I gave this one away to someone else who liked the design. Acceptable gift pens or starter pens. Nib could be a little better, but it's overall decent. 4/5 Wing Sung 6359A: F nib, C/C. Came with converter. A Lamy Safari knockoff. The nib was scratchy, but it did write. The body was pretty cheaply made, but held up surprisingly well. Could be customized for cheap with a better nib. Resold cheaply with the nib issues stated in the sale. 2/5 Penton F16: F nib, C/C. Came with converter. Another Lamy Safari knockoff. I hit ebay cheap pen jackpot with this one. It wrote very well, better than the actual Lamy Safaris I tried in a bookstore later. But I didn't really want an F nib pen by that point and something bugs me about owning a knockoff pen. Resold very cheaply for someone else to enjoy. 4/5 Kaweco Perkeo: F & M nibs. C/C. Did not come with converter. These were the pens I learned how to write with a fountain pen with. They're very sturdy, and at the time I bought them, they were the same price as the Duke Ruby, $15. They've gone up in price since then, and are pricier if you use bottle ink and need to get a converter too, which would make the Duke a better deal price-wise. However, these I think would be better for newbies and younger people. The grip is designed to help you learn proper posture for writing with a pen and while the Duke is very pretty to look at, if I were buying a pen for a kid, this would be my recommendation. These were resold cheaply with their converters included. 5/5 Ooly Splendid/Monami Olika: F nib, cartridge only. Cheap cartridge pen I got at a bookstore to try out. The nib was alright, but nothing impressive. If you needed to get a cheap pen really quick for something, this would be okay, but I wouldn't want to use it as a daily writer. Given away. 3/5 Muji Aluminum Body: F nib, C/C. No converter included. Nib was scratchy and not really switchable. I basically had to break the pen to put a different nib on it, and while I was successful in doing so, it's not worth the effort. The barrel feels so terribly made and cheap despite the price. I got mine for $15, though I see they've gone up even more since then. It writes like a $1-5 pen, not a $24 one. With no converter included, it's really not worth it. There are similar looking pens that are more expensive but at least better made out there if you really liked the look of this. I ended up having to throw this one away. TBH, the design itself looks like its a knockoff of the far more expensive Karas Kustoms Fountain K now that I look at it again. 1/5 Varsity: F nib. Disposable. Tried these out at Michaels in the pen section, and then again in a Best Buys. Horrible pens. Some of them didn't work at all. All the nibs were scratchy. Ink flow was inconsistent. At this price range, choose the Ooly or the Platinum Preppy instead. There's no point in using a fountain pen that sucks this badly when okayish ones already exist in this price range. 1/5 Platinum Preppy: F nib. C/C. Doesn't come with converter. Cheap pens that come with a lot of color options. The nibs were pretty similar to the Ooly, not stellar and a little scratchy, but not too bad. All the ones I tried at Michaels worked, and I tried every color available, so that speaks to at least some degree of consistency. 3/5 Lamy Safari: F & M nibs. C/C. Doesn't come with converter. Tried a bunch of these out at a bookstore. Most of the nibs were scratchy, though that could have been from people not knowing how to write with them. Of the ones that weren't scratchy, they still weren't as good as the Perkeos, the Penton, or the Duke pen I tried, all of which were cheaper pens. These have a very sturdy body though and a bunch of color options. I can see it as another good option to give as a first pen for a child. I'd change out the nib if I got one, but with having to buy the converter too, this pen is a pass for me. 4/5. TWSBI ECO: M & B nib. Piston filler. My favorite pens. Holds more ink than a C/C pen. To get more ink capacity than this, you'd need to go the eyedropper method. I've heard a lot of people find these tedious to clean, but I actually find them much easier to clean and change inks. So I don't know what the fuck their problem is. Color choices are limited, but you can find the special edition colors pretty easily on ebay. I'll give a full review of this pen one day. 5/5 TWSBI ECO RG: B & 1.1mm stub nib. Piston filler. More expensive than the regular ECO, by a lot, and mostly the same, but a very nice pen. I gave a full review of this pen here. 5/5
Fountain Pen Inks I've Tried
Colorverse: Gravity Wave, Lights on Ceres, Skyline, Atlanta Glistening. Brand is pricey, and the extras that come with the big bottles are childish, but the inks are very high quality. Glass bottles. Comes in various sizes now, with the 30ml ones being more for office settings and coming with none of the extras at a more affordable price. Reviews of the Atlanta Pen Show 2020 inks here. 5/5 Krishna: Super Rich Brown Pink, Vaikhari, Super Rich Orange Halloween, Super Rich Sailor Blue, RC Winter V-3, RC Jungle Volcano 2. A lot of unusual colors at very low prices, but comes in cheap plastic bottles. I've had several of these go bad on me in under a year too. Needs more quality control. 2/5 Aurora: Black. Good ink. Bought this brand just for the black ink. The shade is pretty dark, and the ink very affordable. Glass bottle. 5/5 J. Herbin: Emerald of Chivor, Bleu Ocean. Very high quality ink, lots of shimmering options. Comes in glass. Pricey, but worth it. 5/5 Pilot Iroshizuku: Yama-Budo, Ama-Iro, Shin-ryoku, Asa-gao, Momiji, Fuyugaki. Very pricey if you buy their smaller bottles, but about on par with the other brands like Colorverse and J. Herbin in price with the bigger bottles. Glass bottles. While not all of these colors have been my favorites, they are all very good quality inks and I have nothing to complain about. Even the more vibrant inks have a muted appearance to them, so if you're looking for something easier on the eyes, this would be a good brand to get some samples of. 5/5 Robert Oster: Clay Red, Astorquiza Rot, Terracotta, Summer Storm. I've tried a few of these, and while none of the inks were bad, at least to my eyes, they never match up well with online descriptions for me and I've given up on the brand. I refused to buy from a greenwashing company that comes up with horseshit reasons why plastic is better than glass. I don't give a damn about how often your plastic type is recycled. I'm not stupid. I have a degree in Biology and spent those years focusing on Environmental Biology, and know damn well the how the process works, how green it is NOT, and how plastic can literally never be as sterile as glass and is shit for long term storage because of that. Get fucked. I should have known there was a reason you were so much cheaper than these other brands. Go sit with Coke and Nestle. 1/5 Monteverde: Black Ash. Bought because I needed black really cheap. It was a pretty faded black, but good enough. Cheap, comes in a big glass bottle. 4/5 Diamine: Sargasso Sea, Shimmering Seas, Cobalt Blue, Blue Flame. Sargasso Sea put me off this brand for a long time because of how not what it's advertised it is, but I plan on giving them a second chance. Smaller bottles come in plastic, which is another negative for me, but the larger bottles are at least glass. 3/5 Organics Studio: Nitrogen Royal Blue. A lot of their inks get recommended for their crazy sheening, but I found Nitrogen Royal Blue to be awful to use. It clogged up my stub nib pen to the point I thought something was wrong with it. The ink took forever to dry, far longer than other big sheening inks. It was an absolute bitch to clean out of the pens I've put it in. Paper that usually doesn't have any feathering problems feathered to hell and back with this. Overall, awful experience. I know this one's supposed to be a bit of a bitch, but I don't see it as remotely worth bothering with. The sheen is impressive, but neither the base color nor the sheen color are anything all that amazing or interesting. They're both boring colors. I know they have more normal inks, but I just am not interested in trying anything else from this brand. 1/5 Taccia: Ao Blue. Had an alright amount of sheen, but the color didn't really match what was advertised. It wrote well though, very good quality, just not the color I wanted. 4/5 Kiwi Inks: Custom ink. I heard about this brand on r/fountainpens and decided to give the custom ink option a try. Kiwi Inks lets you choose a color by Hex code, which is interesting. You can also choose to add shimmer, which I did. They have some other custom options and inks, all in 30ml glass bottles. Before shipping out, I was sent an email of what the ink looked like and if I wanted any changes. Overall, very good service. I'll give a full review of this brand sometime in the future. 5/5
ScrapsThoughtsNotesAbout