Pen Review: Platinum Preppy–the FREE Pen

That’s right, FREE. Noodler’s gives away the Platinum Preppy with their inks.

Alternatively, you can buy the Preppy on its own for $4.50 or a seven pack, in all the colors of the rainbow, for $16.

As for my review, it’d be tempting to say “what do you want? it’s a free pen.” But the fact is, this pen over-delivers in every way and outperforms most pens under $50.

The Writing Experience

…is awesome. I’m gonna be controversial and say this writes better than everyone’s favorite budget pen, the Lamy Safari. But it costs five times less than the Lamy.

platinum-preppy-fountain-pen

The nib isn’t overly springy but it doesn’t feel like writing with a nail either (cough cough –Safari–cough cough.)   Like other Japanese nibs, this one lays down a fine line. There is an “05” (medium) option but that’s harder to come by. The default is a western fine.

There’s no line variation whatsoever. So the preppy is not a budget option for fine writing.

Design and Looks

The barrel is covered in Japanese writing–at least on mine, which I bought in Japan–this is kind of fun, but it definitely marks it as a cheap pen. Like the Varsity, there’s a barcode on the barrel.

On the plus side, the barrel is transparent, so you always know exactly how much ink you have left.

The best feature of this pen–the one I wish other manufacturers would copy–is the air-tight cap. I’ve picked up my Preppy after many months of neglect and disuse and the nib was still wet. This makes it no more temperamental than  a ballpoint pen.

Ink

The Preppy uses a proprietary cartridge that has a tiny metal ball in it. Not sure what that’s for, but it means This is to break the surface tension of the ink and improve the flow, but it means there’s  a slight rattling in your pen.

I haven’t tried the Noodler’s option, but the Heart of Darkness, that includes this pen, is one of the most praised inks out there. It’s made in the USA and it’s permanent.

The coolest option is to convert your Preppy into an eyedropper pen. With a simple modification, you can fill the entire barrel with ink. Doing it this way gives you 2-3 times the capacity of a cartridge or or converter. The Noodler’s bottle comes with an eye dropper for just this purpose.

This video from Goulet Pens shows you how to convert your preppy:

How to Eyedropper Convert a Platinum Preppy

One of the best values in the fountain pen world is converting a Platinum Preppy fountain pen into an eyedropper pen, and here’s how. All you need is an o-ri…

The Bottom Line

Get yourself a Preppy, no matter who you are:

New to fountain pens? Start with the Preppy, it’s the perfect first pen.

So into fountain pens that you don’t want to write with anything else? Make the Preppy your everyday beater, fill your cup with Preppys.

Can’t justify an expensive pen but don’t like throwing your Varsities away? Get a preppy for $2 more.

Gifting a fountain pen? Buy a dozen Preppies and give them to all your friends. That’s what I did when I was in Japan.

Want to modify your pen or covert it to an eyedropper? the Preppy’s price means your experiments will never be too costly if they go wrong.

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. All Amazon prices and availability are subject to change, and only current as of the time of publication of this review.

Pen Review: Pilot Varsity

The Pilot Varsity is a disposable fountain pen. I have to keep reminding myself of that fact as I review it.

It’s a disposable fountain pen, I don’t need to go too in-depth…

It’s a disposable fountain pen, maybe I should hold it to a different standard…

It’s a disposable fountain pen, isn’t that an oxymoron…

The Writing Experience

I mean, it’s designed to end up in the trash. That said, the Varsity is not an awful writer. Pilot seems to have made up for the cheapness by designing a very tolerant nib. It’s basically a ball that allows you to write from just about any angle. This is probably helpful for a newbie who’s used to holding a ballpoint pen vertically. I’ve given these to friends who write with the nib upside-down (metal facing the page) with no trouble.

pilot-varsity-fountain-pen

But a nib that doesn’t care which way you hold it doesn’t give you much of a writing experience. There’s no line variation even when you practically press it through the page. Based on feeling alone I don’t know that I could tell the difference between a Varsity and a gel pen.

Design and Looks

Not too bad, considering it has a barcode printed on the barrel. The lines are super clean and it’s much more balanced that the Pilot Metropolitan, which costs eight times as much.

Pilot-varsity-fountain-pen

This feels like a fountain pen, not just a cheap pen with a nib at the business end of it, which is more than you can say for a lot of the more expensive models.

The Ink

I’ve owned a ton of these and I’ve never had one run out of ink. But then again, I’ve never been attached enough to write one dry. There’s a lot of ink in there, I know that much. Whether it’s enough to be cheaper than buying cartridges for a non-disposable pen–I doubt it.

The Bottom Line

There’s two kinds of people who will love this pen:

Someone who thinks $2 is expensive for a pen.

Someone who refuses to use anything but a fountain pen, even for grocery lists and whatnot.
You can buy the Pilot Varsity in bulk. A seven-pack goes for $12 and a set of three is $8. You can find these at Rite Aid and Staples.

 

Pilot-varsity-fountain-pen-seven-pack

 

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. All Amazon prices and availability are subject to change, and only current as of the time of publication of this review.