Although the Platinum Preppy is the lowest fountain pen on the hierarchy that is my collection, it is certainly not a bad writer and it does have its uses. This is the pen that was included with the 4.5oz bottle of Noodler's Heart of Darkness ink that I reviewed a few days ago.
This particular specimen has been converted to an eyedropper by the folks at Noodler's, by the simple process of adding an o-ring to the section and smearing some silicone grease on the section threads. The result is a fountain pen with a huge ink reservoir which looks pretty cool because you can see the ink sloshing around through the transparent body. With a bright colored ink the effect should be even more impressive.
I decided to use Heart of Darkness in this fountain pen not only because it came with the ink but also because it was the only one available for inking at the time. I do have other Preppy pens but they all have color cartridges. I will probably review those separately at a later date.
The Platinum Preppy eyedropper has no labels on its body and no markings whatsoever, apart from the nib. The nib itself is a F (Fine) nib, or 03, the way Platinum likes to call it. The nib is both a strength and a weakness in this pen, but more on that later.
The fit and finish are very good for a $3 pen. The plastic used certainly looks better than Noodler's $14 demonstrator fountain pens. The material is clear and well polished. There are no machining marks on it. There is a possibility that Noodler's pens are more durable though, because the Preppy feels a bit brittle. I haven't dropped it yet and I haven't got any cracks in the plastic yet, as some people have reported. Even if that happens, I won't care too much.
One thing I don't really like is how the cap closes. If I don't cushion it with my fingers while snapping it shut, I'm afraid it will spill ink. Likewise when I pop it off.
The cap posts well but I use it unposted. Maybe I should post it more often because the balance feels good.
Moving on to the nib, it happens to be both a strength and a weakness in this fountain pen, as far as I'm concerned. It's definitely not an F nib in the Japanese sense of the word. I would equate it more with an M or even B. Perhaps it's also the ink which influences it but it writes very wet and if I don't write quickly the ink tends to pool on the paper. But then again, I also tend to use photocopier paper so that's somewhat to be expected.
The nib writes very smooth with Noodler's Heart of Darkness. I like to say that it is butter-smooth and that's not an exageration. The nib simply glides across the paper.
As a side-effect of the above, I can write with the back of the nib just as smoothly as with the front. The line in this case is slightly thinner.
The feed seems very well designed and the inkflow is outstanding. I always keep the pen stored with the nib pointing upward and it starts up every time without a hitch. I'm sure the feed system contributes in no small measure to the nib's performance.
As you can see, it's easy to dismiss the Platinum Preppy as the cheapest of fountain pens but when you start digging deeper you'll discover a small diamond in the rough. While the pen's biggest weakness is merely the fact that it writes thicker than it is designated, I'm sure that with a different ink the feeling will improve. Noodler's Heart of Darkness is simply too dark and dense an ink to be applied with a thicker nib. After I finish the current load of ink, I will try this pen out with something different, a light and bright color such as an orange or yellow and I'm confident that the performance will improve.
A Platinum Preppy can be a great fountain pen to convert to an eyedropper and you can have several of them lying around, each of them filled with a different ink. They are cheap enough that anyone can afford a bunch of them. And for many people this could well be their first fountain pen. Hey, maybe the Preppy can be the gateway drug into fountain pen addiction!
I would also like to mention that I had my eyes set on the Platinum Plaisir line of fountain pens. I was almost going to order one but after using the Preppy I decided against it. Why? Because the Plaisir uses the exact same feed and nib as the Preppy, but it has a more "premium" body made from metal. If the nib were thinner I would have bought one but in this case, I see no point in paying so much more for a pen that writes exactly the same.
If you would like to see a sample written with the Platinum Preppy, I am re-posting the samples from my Noodler's Heart of Darkness review.