Hello! Here is the first review for The Penny Writer! Up for consideration today is a Pilot Namiki Falcon fountain pen, but with a twist: modified to extra-extra-fine and added flex, by John Mottishaw (of nibs.com).
The Falcon is well-known among fountain-pen users as a 'semi-flex' or 'soft' nib - it does indeed flex, though not quite in the same way as the classic flexible fountain pens. It has what Pilot calls a 'hooded' nib (though it is not hooded in the same way as say a Parker 51). The Falcon does produce a line of variable width with increased pressure, partly due to the spread of the tines, and partly due to a wetter line put down due to lifting of the nib tip from the feed. A fine pen from the factory, but with a little added touches, it's even better. Step in John Mottishaw, one of the best nib-meisters around!
It took a while to get used to writing with, as this was the first flexible pen I used in a daily fashion. But after several weeks, my hand's muscles have an instinctual sense of how much to push down for non-flex writing (super-fine line, no variation - suitable for Moleskines for writing with no bleed), how much to push down and at what times for Spencerian-ish writing, and how much pressure to apply for more ad-hoc 'variable-line cursive' (that is not really any style but just my own handwriting with some flex).
The combo of the original pen plus John's work makes for a wonderful pen! I use it daily for journaling, signing checks, writing cards, and many more uses. It's very versatile since you can write with it like a super-fine pen with fixed width, yet also bust out with the flex for fancy script.
As far as ink goes - I very much like Noodler's Heart of Darkness, but I had a problem with excess flow with that ink, on this pen, and also feathering and bleed. I switched to a Pilot-brand ink, the Iroshizuku line, and then suddenly the pen rocked. No feathering, no bleed, very responsive in the think to thicks, and nice, emotive shading to boot. I'm a fan of mixing things up and getting the cheapest deals on things, but using Pilot ink on this Pilot pen seems to really be the solution. I had a hard time with the thin to thick transitions with the HoD ink.
Broken out view.
Note the fine filigree work, and the beautiful text
"Namiki" and "Japan." Hallmarks of great
Verdict: This is an awesome pen, and John Mottishaw's work is awesome as well. Great buy that I am sure I will use til I am gray and old.