I think an ideal gift is one where you receive something that is useful or interesting to you, but from a direction you would have never looked yourself. Such was my case with the Kuretake brush pen number 14. For personal use, I’ve basically settled on my brush pens, and wasn’t really on the lookout for another, but I was still quite glad to receive one of these little guys as a present. Let’s see how it performs.
The body of the pen is a black-flecked maroon, slightly-soft plastic that looks and feels a bit like ebonite. The cap is uniformly thicker than the barrel with a black cylinder protruding through a diagonal cutout for the top quarter-inch. From this comes a simple but functional spring-steel pocket clip. The barrel has no decoration save gold-imprinted Japanese lettering (that I can’t read) and an Arabic numeral “14”. The butt end is a similarly simple black convex disk. The section is made of the same piece as the barrel, and aside from a sealing ring for the cap, has only a single small step-down before a black plastic cone leads to the incredibly small “nib”.
The little felt tip is only two millimeters long. And, despite many of the online references I found referring to this pen as “hard”, the line produced easily moves from half a millimeter to three millimeters. The ink is fairly black but not particularly dark, and it has a tendency to fade or split during long or fast strokes. It also bleeds/separates/fades when exposed to water. It’s not super runny but most work will still look ruined (it plays nice with alcohol, though). The feel of the grip section is nothing special but I have no real problems with it, and with the cap posted it is quite well balanced (the cap does feel like it might have a cracking problem with prolonged use, but the pen is disposable). Unfortunately, despite this, I just can’t seem to shake the feeling when using the pen that I’m not in control. Brush pens don’t play well with my style at the best of times and this guy can really get all over the place quickly.
I’m not sure this pen would be useful as a serious artists’ tool: its ink doesn’t take traditional washes, the ink flow is sub-par, and the tip is imprecise. But as a portable sketcher it has a resilient body, a good clip and a wide range of possible expressions. It isn’t inexpensive, but it isn’t egregiously costed. This isn’t the be-all end-all of disposable brush pens, but id does make for a fine introductory pen or a “backpack beater” as it were.
There are a lot of technical pens out there, and I’ve only looked at a few. Today I’m going to try and remedy that a little bit by doing a review of the Zig Millennium technical pen, specifically the black 005 version.
The pen body is a bit odd. The bottom is a small, rounded piece of plastic. The barrel is silver and covered in writing. All necessary information is printed in several languages. The cap is nothing really special either: the top is flat with the tip size on what looks like a black plastic cutaway; the clip is simple, with a rounded end similar to a Pilot Precise or Uni-ball Vision. Interestingly enough, it says to keep the pen horizontal, but gives one a pocket clip. It’s the section of the pen that’s strange: it’s very small and nubby, it rounds off quite quickly and the ridges used to keep the cap in place are quite noticeable. It terminates rather abruptly into a metal end that leads to the tip. I’m not sure if one is supposed to hold the slightly uncomfortable section when writing or move back on the pen and place the fingers over the written portions of the pen, which I can feel the ink is raised up on, and will likely rub off quickly.
On to the tip. It produces a very thin line, around the same width, but perhaps a bit wider than other brands of the same size, though that may just be the paper being used. The ink is archival quality (haven’t tested) and waterproof (have tested, is quite!) though that is to be expected from a pigmented ink. The black is quite black, and a cool black, which is nice, as many blacks tend to be warm. Writing is smooth and there are no skips or bumps with a good tip, though it will wear out after some time.
Overall it’s a good little pen, and quite comparable to the other technical pens in terms of both quality and price. I can’t speak for whether or not the rest of the line is wider than its counterparts from other brands, but that might be something to consider when purchasing. Otherwise, I’d say it’s almost entirely an æsthetic and comfort choice for the user.
Looking for a porous-point pen, and none of the standard ones are doing it for you? Maybe you might want to look at the Pentel Finito porous-point extra fine pen.
The cap is all plastic, with a clip molded into it that does the job, but isn’t spectacular in any way. Inside is a small piece of plastic that covers the tip and is held in place by a spring, keeping a tight seal on the tip. This is visible through the clear plastic of the cap. The barrel is a black-covered plastic and has all necessary info on it. The grip section is clear and through it one can see the fins of the feed and a small bit of the ink reservoir. The grip section is very smooth and can easily become slippery. After a small bit of metal tapering, there is an extra-fine porous point at the end.
The ink is fairly black, and fairly standard, not really permanent or fade-proof. The point does spew a lot of ink out: in fact, I would tend to call this pen a fine rather than an extra fine point due to the sheer amount of ink it leaves on the page. This makes the line considerably wider than just the point of the pen. This gushing also leads to points of bleed-through that are not seen in higher-quality porous point pens like Sharpies or Microns.
Overall I’d say the Finito is a mediocre pen that has no purpose as an art supply. There are many pens out there that do what this pen does better, and for the same price. If you want a pen that gushes, or will not dry out for long periods of time this pen may be worth a look, but I’d try something else first.