Kokuyo Campus B5 Notebook

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The thought of using something other than Rhodia and Maruman paper threw me for loop. I’ve been using the two for nearly 3 years now and have yet to replace them with anything else. So it took a leap of faith for me to order this notebook. All in all, while not the best I’ve ever used, it definitely didn’t disappoint.

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This paper is deceptively thin, which reminded me a lot about Rhodia paper. It was almost see through when I first brought it to class. I wasn’t confident on it’s performance at all, but was in for a little surprise. This paper soaked up ink like a sponge, but the surprising part was, there was no feathering or bleed through. When I checked the back of the page after finishing my first page, I was stunned by how little the writing on the other side showed through. While at first I used my Platinum #3776 with a fine nib, I transitioned over to the Pilot VP halfway, as I was confident that the Kokuyo Campus Notebook could handle the amount of ink it laid down.

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While it does absorb ink with little show through, I was a little disappointed in the smoothness. My favorite paper, Maruman Mnemosyne, does a great job of balancing the smoothness with the absorbency, but that was not the case with this paper. It was thin, but had a much more rougher writing surface. I was astonished by how much feedback I was getting on my Pilot VP. A pen which usually glides over any and all paper I use with it was actually giving me feedback on this paper. This was something I found I just couldn’t handle, as it took away from the kind of writing experience that I prefer. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great paper if you’re not particular about smoothness, but being one of my main critical points, I didn’t enjoy using it as much.

Platinum #3776 Nice Pur Ltd Edition

DSCF6797When I was at the L. A. Pen show back in February, I was absolutely thrilled to purchase my first pen from Classic Fountain Pens (nibs.com). I was wide awake, unable to sleep, wondering which pen to get. I was still in my developmental stage as a pen addict, so I was looking for a different experience. When I say different, I meant a smaller nib size, as I had gotten too used to my binderized VP medium nib. After my jaw hit the floor when looking at the price tags on the Sailor pens, I looked into offerings from Platinum. At the time, the Nice Pur was the latest edition in the #3776 Century models. It was a variation on the Nice, which was the previous iteration. I was briefly attracted to the Nice, but the rose gold plating made it seem a bit too gaudy for my taste. I just couldn’t bring myself to get a pen with gold hardware.

DSCF6799When I was testing the nibs, I was asking advice from John Mottishaw. I told him about my medium VP that I adored, as well as the Franklin-Christoph Masuyama medium CI I had bought that same day. My request was to recommend a nib that gave me an entirely different writing experience from the pens I already had, but was smooth at the same time. He handed me a Platinum fine nib and told me to test it out. I put the pen to the Rhodia pad and it glided across, but provided a decent amount of feedback. I asked to try the medium next, and after a couple of scribbles, decided that it felt too similar to my VP. I narrowed it down to the broad and fine. After mulling it over for nearly 40 minutes, pacing back and forth, I went with the fine. As John was optimizing the pen for me, I was giddy with excitement to test it out and review it. I thanked him for his patience and went on my way.

DSCF6816Fast forward a few months, the Platinum was lying inked up, yet unused in my desk drawer. How did this situation come about? Right after going home, I inked it up and put it into my note taking rotation. I was taking my first class in Spring quarter, and was eager to put this baby to use. I started writing and stopped abruptly. The smoothness had completely gone, leaving it scratchy as a nail. I thought it may have been a problem form the factory, so I went home, rinsed it out, flushed completely, and inked it up again. Same problem, and all the inks I had at the time made this pen seem dry and scratchy. Disappointed, I put it in my desk drawer and forgot about it.

DSCF6829After nearly 7 months of lying in my drawer, I finally spotted it during my pre-Fall quarter stationary inventory. The painful memory of it’s scratchiness surfaced, and it almost went back in. However, in a split second decision, I decided that I had to at least review it for my blog. I uncapped it and tried writing, lo and behold, it worked perfectly without any hard starts. The Slip and Seal mechanism that Platinum heavily advertises as one of this pen’s features really isn’t just marketing hype. After 7 months, it worked the moment the nib touched the paper.

DSCF6813Any bad experience I had with this pen had to be let go, to be able to review it and form an unbiased opinion. So I flushed it and inked it up with a new ink I had bought, Sailor Souten. When trying it out again, I was reminded of the buttery smooth dream nib I had tested way back when. Mystified, I tested it with my standard Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, resulting in it being smoother than the Souten. It was at that moment I realized how stupid I had been. The performance of a pen can be affected depending on the ink inside. I had completely forgotten about this, which resulted in me ignoring one of the best pens I’ve ever purchased.

DSCF6814I was never one for demonstrators, as I felt they looked cheap due to the plastic. The aesthetic of this pen completely rejects that supposition. The striated frosted plastic looks absolutely gorgeous. My only complaint is that the lines tend to dig into my skin when I try to twist the cap on and off. Other than that, it’s one of the best looking pens I’ve had the pleasure of using.

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The first 2000 pens are engraved with a number, as you can see above. Mine is #1597. The engraving is very minimal and I didn’t even notice it until I checked. It’s also very hard to capture a photo of it, as the slightest amount of glare tends to reflect off the top.

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No matter how hard you try to keep the nib free from ink, it’s near impossible. Unless it’s uninked, I have yet to see a Platinum #3776 not have small specks of ink all around the slit. I initially wanted to gripe about it, but realized that it’s not too big of a deal.

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The clip is one of the tightest I’ve ever used. When I’m sliding it into my pencil case, I have to put a bit of effort and bend the clip upwards, otherwise, it’s impossible to force it in. It has kept it’s shape and tightness pretty well over the last month. I feel reassured that it won’t slip regardless of whether you’re wearing it in your shirt/pant pocket, or a pencil case.

Platinum Preppy Review

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When it comes to fountain pens, higher price doesn’t always mean higher quality. This pen is an embodiment of that principle. The nib on this pen easily matches those above its price range. The body is lightweight, the cap posts snugly, the ink flow is smooth, its comfortable to hold, and its only $5! For a disposable pen, it has got to be one of the smoothest out of box nibs I’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. The color of the ink is vibrant, and there are a lot of choices when it comes to colors.

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I personally went with the medium nib, as Platinum’s fine is too fine for my taste. It turned out choice was correct. For my writing style and preferences, the medium (0.5) was the fit. Currently, Platinum offers this pen in EF, F, and M. It’s a good fountain pen for those who have never used one before. At only $5, it’s simplicity itself to find the nib size that is right for you.

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The see through grip provides a nice view of the feed, improving the aesthetics overall.

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The pen only the 3 sections: nib and feed, body, and the cap. It’s simple to disassemble, should you have to, and you’ll be able to do it while not being afraid of losing anything. This pen is disposable, so after the cartridge is finished, you can just throw it out. However, after taking to the interwebs, I have found out that pen enthusiasts who saw a lot of potential in the Preppy, somehow converted it into an eyedropper pen. If you’re interested, Brian Goulet of the Goulet Pen Co. put out a great video tutorial on converting the Preppy to an eyedropper. So check it out!

DISCLAIMER: I have no affiliation with Brian Goulet, or the Goulet Pen Co. I am just one of their happy customers.