Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bazik 'Mileno' Fountain Pen Review

I'm a bargain-hound at heart, and so I from time to time visit the dollar store, especially if I'm out to get some cheap tools, wrapping paper, and other odds and ends. Some dollar stores have interesting stationery items from time to time - erasable highlighters, three-packs of Sharpies for a buck, and other ones that will be the topic of future posts.

But under consideration are these little gems:

They are the 'Bazik' branded, 'Mileno' model fountain pen. And, they were a whopping $1.29 each, including three ink cartridges apiece. What a deal! But were the fountain pens usable? Because even a $1.29 bad pen is, well, a bad pen.

Let's take a closer look at the pens (in the packaging):



They came in a dark blue and a maroon, and I picked up one of each. The packaging looked decent enough, and on the back, there's some Spencerian-ish script, directions on how to use the cartridge, and decent descriptions about the fountain pen (it got cut off in the pic but it mentions a feed, a nib, and so on - so the people who made this weren't totally clueless regarding fountain pens, thankfully!).

Here are some pics of the maroon pen, out of the package:


As you can tell from the pics, the construction seems very decent, and even though everything is plastic except for the nib and the clip (and the clip may be chromed plastic, even), it feels solid in hand, if a bit light (to be expeced), and frankly the Dollar brand pens from India don't necessarily have anything on these pens, from a construction standpoint. The cap is a pull-top one (not screw-in), and it pops open and closed with a reassuring 'click.'

Alright, by now you're wondering how it writes. Well, the long and the short of it - it writes perfectly fine, the two I have are very smooth and almost no scratchiness, and they flow well. Here is a writing sample:

 As the sample notes, the line width is about a medium-fine, and the included ink is a bit grayer than my Noodler's Heart of Darkness, but it is perfectly acceptable, though it required a bit of a good pinch on the cartridge to get the juices flowing the first time around. Another neat thing is that the third cartridge was inside the pen (the packaging looks like there's only 2 carts), upside-down - i.e., already in the standard position used to store the spare as well as help keep the installed cartridge from falling out.

One surprising thing was that the nib is slightly semi-flex! You can see it in the sample above; the nib tines actually do widen. It takes a lot of pressure, but it's neat to think that a $1.29 pen does this.

Here's another pic demonstrating the flex:

Here are a few more pics - the feed; a breakout shot; a posted pic; and the blue and red combo:

Overall verdict? A dang nice backup fountain pen, and one that you could use to load up with your less frequently used inks that you just can't bring yourself to get rid of (because we can't all have several copies of our favorite pen!), yet you'd like to use once in a while. The pens write nicely, and frankly as well as even $30~50 pens I've seen. Sure it doesn't have the cachet of a brand name (though, "Bazik" has that gourmet flair yes? ha.), or precious materials, but it flows smooth and works well, and you can afford to get a few of these for rough and ready use.

Not sure where all this pen is available, but I might just go ahead and do a couple giveaways on them soon. Keep your eyes peeled =)

One more last pic - here's a pack of refills, 12x for - you guessed it! - $1.29  =D


  1. Great review! You found these in a dollar store? Always great what you can get at them. I had to buy mine off eBay. :)

  2. Thanks for reading, dianeb! =) Yup a dollar store (actually one of those "dollar and maybe a little over" stores). Love the mystery finds!

    For situations that require larger script and line width, this cheapy pen actually does really well. Surprising what you can get for a dollar (twenty-nine)!

  3. I'm enjoying these reviews, have you considered posting them to Twitter as well via I would definitely follow. ;-)

    I'm on twitter as:

  4. Cool Speedmaster, good idea! I will try that out =D Thanks for the feedback!

  5. wow! That's awesome! I wanna get a fountain pen someday soon. What's the best starter pen, under $10?