Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Platinum Preppy eyedropper fountain pen review

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.

Platinum Preppy eyedropper

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.

Platinum Preppy eyedropper

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.

Noodler's Heart of Darkness

Noodler's Heart of Darkness

15 comments:

  1. I think you've hit the nail on the head regarding the plastic in these pens. It indeed looks good but feels brittle, and the first one I owned cracked. Fortunately, I only had it inked with a cartridge; had I filled in in eyedropper mode, there would have been ink everywhere. If I ever use one of these as an eyedropper filler, I don't think I'd carry it around in my pocket!

    That said, I own several that I use with cartridges! They write wonderfully and are way underpriced, if you ask me.

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  2. I don't carry it with me. I keep all my fountain pens at my desk, at home so they are safe. I too am a bit worried about the plastic cracking but it's fine since I can very well use cartridges if that happens. Much less messy.

    And like you said, these pens are very good deals for the money. I just wish they had finer nibs.

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  3. The particular specimen of the Platinum Preppy review which you have given is very interesting such that it is the lowest fountain pen. I like that all.

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  4. The actually do have much finer nibs. I believe your Preppy's nib has 05 written on it, the finer versions have 03. It's pretty darn close to a Japanese Fine :)

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  5. No, actually my Preppy is a 03, which is an F. I'm not sure how well you can tell from the photo but it really says 03. Unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, that's the finest nib they have.

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  6. Dear Peninkcilin !
    Very nice review for a fountain pen which will be a gateway drug for fountain pen addiction as you said.
    In my country there is no Preppy. For that reason I imagine to order it from JETPENS or GouletPens for my future Preppy review.
    I am sharing your inspections about the eyedropper pens that they are much more beautiful with light colors such as orange, green, magenta..
    warm regards.

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  7. Oh yeah, definitely give it a try. There are so many options for fountain pens, starting below $10 to $50, $100 and up. If you love fountain pens then you definitely love inks. Try to get a nice bottle or two. If you buy from Goulet Pens, they sell ink samples so I would buy a few of those and see which one I like best, before committing to a full bottle of ink.

    For beginner's pens you could also try the Pilot Plumix which has an italic nib.

    Remember, you can fill empty cartridges with your own ink, using a syringe. So you don't even need an eyedropper pen.

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  8. I've used both the 03 and 05 versions and prefer the latter as I prefer M to F nibs. Jetpens was the only one that sold both sizes. The 03 to be a bit too fine for my tastes. I used the Platinum ink (in cart), Waterman Florida Blue and Noodler/Swisher Gulfstream Blue and found that the nib was not too wet or wide. I thought it wrote fairly true to size. Maybe it's just the ink you're using. The nib seems to stay wet for extended periods, which I attribute to the spring-loaded plastic cone inside the cap which seems to seal the nib quite well when capped. Something obviously works. I have one as an eyedropper and it holds an amazing amount of ink.

    I think it's the best cheap pen I've ever used and have several of them at work, ready to write anytime. 

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  9. I find the 05 a bit too thick for me. I have one with green ink but I think the ink is also at fault.

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  10. Good inspection. 0.5 versioın is near 0.7mm. Although I like the medium FP 0.5 is very thick for me.

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  11. I have had no trouble with the plastic. I wanted a small, inexpensive marker pen to carry around so I exchanged the metal nib for a felt tip, cut a 1 inch section out of the barrel, glued the pieces back together with epoxy glue. Filled with Noodlers Firefly it works great.

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  12. I am actually using a Preppy right now at work. Filled with Baystate Blue.

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  13. I stepped on my Noodler's piston filler by accident several times and I am a pretty heavy guy! I won't take the preppy to the office because the pen is crack prone if it falls on the floor and you roll into it with the chair wheels or step on it. My Noodler's piston filler? It is made of a different plastic that is super tough. Might not shine as much, but is sure is durable!!

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  14. Yeah, Noodler's piston filler is made from an entirely different material. Some kind of vegetable resin. That accounts for the weird smell when the pen is new. But in any case, it has less thickness than the Preppy and also the walls are much thicker, which overall makes for a tougher pen.

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  15. That picture is definately 05 not 03...

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