Pilot Falcon SF Review

Pen: Namiki Falcon SF nib with Rhodium trim

Ink: Iroshizuku Kon-Peki

INTRODUCTION:

I was introduced to the Namiki falcon while perusing YouTube for calligraphy videos. I stumbled upon one which showcased the Falcon with Mr. John Mottishaw’s Spencerian customization. As of this blog post the number of views on the video has gone past 4 million. Here’s the link if you guys are curious Custom Namiki Falcon. Anyway, by the time I watched the video and decided that I wanted one, Pilot was debuting the new rhodium version of the falcon, so I jumped at the opportunity and got one. I opted for the resin version, but there is another full metal version of the same pen which runs on Pilot’s CON-70 converter which holds a lot more ink than the CON-50, which is what the resin version comes with. I was tempted to get the metal version, but a $100 more in asking price, I decided against it.

APPEARANCE:

Namiki Falcon in Rhodium trim

Namiki Falcon in Rhodium trim

I guess it’s a personal preference, but I feel that a gold and black color scheme makes a pen look much more gaudy than it needs to be. Silver, (or in most cases, rhodium) and black have a very subtle contrast that really grabs my attention. A silky, svelte black with a few pops of shiny silver really appeals to me in a way a black and gold pen never can. This smart looking pen looks like it would be perfect for any occasion, whether you’re taking notes in school, or signing autographs at a black tie dinner.

Falcon hooded nib

Falcon hooded nib

Underside of the nib

Underside of the nib

NIB & PERFORMANCE:

Despite the numerous compliments I gave this pen for it’s appearance, I have little in the way of praise for it’s performance. I really looked forward to using this pen as a quick note taker. I had asked Brian Goulet of the Goulet Pen Company (no affiliation) on what nib size I should look into after he did a promo video for the incoming Falcons. I wanted a quick note taker, but didn’t want to consume too much ink. He recommended I get a soft fine, and almost immediately, I pulled the trigger. After the pen arrived, I inked it up and took it to school the following day. The first few lines were velvety as the nib glided across the page, laying down a relatively thin, yet visible line of ink. 5 lines in, the experience took me straight down the gutter. The smoothness had lessened considerably, and the nib couldn’t keep up with my writing speed. Now I DO NOT write fast, in any sense of the word. At least not as fast as most people think. I tend to take my time when I form the letters to ensure the legibility. The frustration I experienced as I tried to keep on writing cannot be described in words. (Well it could, but then I’d have to censor everything past this point) After that first day, it has been sitting in my drawer collecting dust until I dug it up for this review. Even as I was making the handwritten review, I was running into problems, as you can see for yourselves.

IMG_0019IMG_0018

OVERALL:

This is one of the best looking pens I own, but I am not at all satisfied with the performance. I know it can’t be a problem with the nib as Goulet Pen Company ALWAYS checks the nib before sending out an order. Any suggestions on how to improve the experience? Should I send it to a nibmeister and ask for improved ink flow? Should I sell this pen and get another one that will make me happier? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

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21 thoughts on “Pilot Falcon SF Review

  1. Maybe trying an wetter ink with better flow? I have an 912 FA nib which performed similarly and even worse with Noodler’s Apache Sunset, but it has no problem with Iroshizuku inks. I added a tiny needlepoint of detergent in Apache to break the surface tension and now it writes very wet.

    • Needlepoint of detergent? Never heard of that method before. Definitely will try it out. Thanks for commenting. Been trying to get people to give me some feedback for ages, and you’re the first person to do so.

      • Yes, just a tiny little bit of detergent like liquid soap in the ink (a convertor’s volume) and it’ll make the ink flow better. Not too much detergent though, or else the ink will flow so well as to be dripping out of the pen.

  2. Mike Masuyama of Mike-It-Work told me he’s frequently had to help Pilot Falcon owners with skipping problems. Although the only flex nibs of mine that I’ve sent him to work on have been vintage (and I know they’re a different animal than modern soft nibs). I’d trust definitely trust that he knows what he’s doing and send it his way.

  3. I really like mine . . . now, but I also have to admit it was not love at first write. As Bill says, a different ink could help a lot. I also just kept trying, and either I got used to it, or it accommodated to me; now it’s a favorite, and always inked (with Namiki Black).

  4. I bought this pen a little bit ago and had THREE different pens sent to me from Brian and had the exact same issues. They initially thought it was the way I wrote but then kept it around a day and tried it and got the same skipping. I tried all manner of different inks and nothing helped. I loved the pen beyond belief but it just kept skipping. And this isn’t even while flexing, just normal writing and not overly fast. It was mostly on down strokes. I ended up sending the pen back for a full refund.

    I had always held out hope that I could get a nib adjusted by a nibmeister and just recently attended the DC pen show where John Mottishaw had a few of the namiki falcons he had worked on. Initially when I First got there and tried them they seemed to write very wet and awesomely. I went back later to try them and suspect when the initial fill of the ink died down I got skipping on most of the pens. At that point I wiped my hands clean of the pen and consider that it’s just not going to work out. If I ever find a nib that writes well I’ll get it but until that time I’ve let the dream of it performing well go to rest.

    • I feel the same. I initially got this pen to get the Spencerian customization that John Mottishaw does. I tried my friends modified falcon for 2 weeks, and I experienced problems very similar to yours. I love the look and the feel of this pen, but the performance just doesn’t do it for me. Thanks for commenting. Hope to hear about your experiences in other posts going forward.

  5. That’s too bad you’re having a bad experience with the Falcon. I hope Mike can get the nib working for you. The Falcon’s easily my favorite pen in my collection, but after trying the Falcon with the Spencerian customization at the DC Pen show, I was completely blown away by the line variations I was getting. An extra-fine point flexing to a bold line, which is a degree of flex I haven’t seen in any other fountain pen currently in production. And I also went to the Nibs.com table at the DC Pen show and tried the Spencerian customized Falcons. I went back a few times (I was deciding whether or not to get one) and each time the pens wrote beautifully. I write all of that to say don’t give up on the Falcon. It can be a fantastic pen.

  6. Pingback: Link Love: Inkapalooza & DC Pen Show | The Well-Appointed Desk

  7. I just received my Pilot Falcon (Black and Rhodium – soft/fine). I’m still on my first fill (Iroshizuku), and have to say I am very disappointed with this pen. Admittedly I was pretty excited and immediately inked it up upon opening it, so I haven’t yet cleaned or flushed the pen. I’ll do that tonight and hope for better results.

    I get constant railroading and skipping, for both printing and cursive writing.

    I’ll try a different ink after I clean the pen and hope for the best!

    • I’m sorry to hear that. I was also a bit disappointed too, but then I tried Bill’s suggestion. A tiny needlepoint’s worth of detergent to go along with the ink. I never had the same problem again, be careful not to add too much though. Hope this helps. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      • Define “needlepoints worth”. Is that a drop of soap? And specifically what type of detergent (dish soap)? I’d hate to wreck a bottle of ink.

        Do you put the soap in the bottle of ink, or mix it in the cartridge of the pen?

        Thanks!

      • This is what I did:
        1. Secure an ink sample bottle/ small cup works too make sure to put enough ink so you can properly fill your pen (if you have a syringe then that’s fine too)
        2. Place a drop of liquid detergent (dish soap) on a paper towel
        3. Gently dip the tip of the pen in the soap (only the tip of the nib should have soap on it)
        4. Insert the nib into the ink sample bottle/ cup or whatever you used and fill the cartridge like always
        5. (syringe) If you use a syringe to fill up a cartridge follow the same process as above

        DO NOT put the detergent in your ink bottle! Depending on what ink you’re using it might react badly. In my experience, Iroshizuku worked fine, but I only put detergent into a small sample.

        Note that only a smidgeon of dish soap is necessary to break the surface tension of the ink. If you use too much, the ink will flow like the Amazon River, and you’ll have a huge mess on your hands. Whatever surface you do this on, clear it completely, if you spill the ink, it gets on everything (I learned this the hard way). Hope this helps, update me on whether it works for you.

    • When I tried some soap, I must have added too much, and the ink gushed out…. I contacted the Pen Chalet, where I purchased the pen. They promptly send out a replacement nib. Fingers crossed that the replacement nob works better than the first.

      • I’ve done extensive testing with my Falcon SE(sef) and the soap is indeed the absolute solution for this situation… Here’s visual proof! I made this video of my dry writing Falcon after adding soap:

        But I must stress this point > USE A TINY AMOUNT. A TINY, TINY AMOUNT. Use so little that you don’t think it will do anything… Literally just a toothpick TIP amount. A tiny microdrop. I use Dawn Liquid Dishwashing Soap – the kind you clean dishes with. (Not machine detergent.) To be clear, a “drop” would be 100 times too much. You can always add more, but if you add too much your pen will become a gushing mess. I’m talking about a night and day difference!!! And this fixed my Falcon to the point I just ordered a second one with a different nib size!

  8. I had the same skipping problems with any ink I tried. I am currently using the Kon Peki . I put a slight amount of dish detergent on a toothpick and inserted the toothpick in the cartridge. That has helped to reduce the skipping immensely . I really love how the pen writes, however I hated the occasional skipping.

  9. My Pilot Falcon/Elabo has a soft extra fine nib, and it has always worked well. Iroshizuku ink should be no problem. Keep the pen capped when you are not actually writing so that ink does not dry in the nib; at home, you can refresh a dry nib using an ink bottle, but this is not practical in a classroom. Fine nibs are better for writing traditional Japanese/Chinese characters, but medium nibs have greater flow and are okay for English cursive and printing. You might consider packing a Pilot Varsity which would be less sensitive.

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