Namiki Pilot Falcon Soft-Fine Review
The Namiki Pilot Falcon was a pen I’ve been asked to review almost more than any other. I was so excited to review this pen because of all of the great reviews and wonderful feedback I’ve heard about this pen.
My Short Video:
Namiki Pilot Falcon Fountain Pen Design
I so wanted to love this pen and it was not at all what I expected. But first, design… You first notice the traditional styling. I bought this pen as I’d only heard rave reviews and really wanted to own a flex nib. I’ve used a couple on loan for other reviews, but wanted to own one of my own. I chose this pen because it’s in a class all by itself.
Nib Width: 5mm
Nib Length: 18mm
Screw Cap: 3 rotations
Capped Length: 134mm
Posted Length: 148mm
Uncapped Length: 120mm
Total Weight: 18g
Cap Weight: 10g
Mid-Grip Width: 8mm
Cap Band Width:11mm
The Namiki Pilot Falcon comes in a nice cardboard gift box inside of a sleeve. The box itself has a clear acrylic window showcasing the pen in a lightly fleeced molded plastic surround.
I paid extra for the Rhodium trim because I wanted something a little different from the traditional gold trim against black resin on most fountain pens. The Falcon ships with one Pilot blue ink cartridge and one Pilot CON-50 converter. The CON-50 holds less than half of the ink the cartridge does so why not just syringe fill the cartridge? I plugged in the cartridge expecting to do some serious writing.
Pick it up and you’ll feel it’s well-balanced. Score one for Pilot so far!
How Does The Nib Perform On Different Papers?
This soft fine nib was anything but soft for me. The first thing I noticed when I wrote with it was that it is SCRATCHY.
I just paid $150 for a scratchy pen that I now own!
It’s so much easier to review a scratchy pen when you are just borrowing them from a manufacturer. It’s so much harder when you’ve spent your hard earned money on a pen that disappoints you.
I’d heard you have to write with a soft nib for a bit before it adjusts to your writing, so I did. I thought it was me. I thought maybe I was expecting too much. But the longer I wrote with it, the more the upstrokes annoyed me, so no, it’s the pen.
At $150 you’d expect it to at least be smooth. So I did what anyone would do… No, I didn’t send it back.
I brought out a coffee cup and went to work. It’s an expensive fountain pen to meet the bottom of a coffee cup but I figured it was worth it in hopes of proof of concept. Yes! The nib smoothing work I did took much of the teeth-clenching scratch out of the upstrokes.
It’s still not as smooth as I’d like, but it’s no longer completely scratchy either.
I think a medium soft nib would’ve been smoother, if you buy this pen, I’d recommend trying the soft-medium nib instead. Medium nibs are always a bit smoother than fine. Japanese fines are like extra-fine everywhere else. Less ink to paper also means less ink to lubricate the strokes as you write so you’ll feel that as well.
I understand that the soft nib needs to be used a lot before it gets softer. I can already feel a difference from day one, but this may need a few months before it really gets broken in and softens up.
The soft fine has fine ink delivery, but came scratchy. Not that all of them are like this. In fact I was emailing John Mottishaw (nibmeister) about something else so I asked about this issue and he told me that a fine will never be as smooth as a medium because it doesn’t get the same amount of lubrication from the ink of a medium or more and based on it’s scratchiness, there’s probably something wrong with the nib. Keep that in mind when choosing a nib for yourself.
The Cap – Screw/Pull/Post and What That Means
Three rotations gets the cap off. While we’re there, Pilot did a good job with the clip. It’s flexible enough not to catch on your pocket too much but with enough grip that it wouldn’t fall out easily. The finial on the cap is plain Rhodium. The only place you see branding before uncapping it is on the cap band where it says Pilot Japan surrounded by a sort of Greek key pattern.
The screw off cap posts extremely well and is certainly well-balanced. I have no complaints on the cap at all about the cap.
Who is the Pilot Falcon Good For? Is It a Good Overall Value?
Well I can’t recommend the fine nib because it was scratchy. BUT, I think I got a random quality control oversight because the reviews on Amazon are outstanding. But, I want to review fountain pens as I get them, out of the box and let you know not sugar coat anything. Coffee Cup Nib smoothing helped out a lot. I’m going to set a reminder for myself to update this review after two months of use to see if the nib softens up.
I review them as is because I always imagine this could be you.
What would YOU think of this pen’s performance? Well that’s why I write this blog and that’s why you read it… to save you the frustration. I can only write about my specific pen that arrived in my mailbox… which may or may not represent its brand well pending their quality control, but that’s what they chose to send me so that’s what I review.
The Namiki Pilot Falcon is available on Amazon. In fact, there are more than 175 reviews of it there with 4.5 stars! So, maybe my issues are just quality control related. Either way, I will update you when I after I’ve used this pen a couple of months. But I’m sharing my unvarnished opinion here.
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