On the topic of beginners’ fountain pens, I realised I haven’t really done up a single post about fountain pens for beginners! I shall look into this very very soon, but meanwhile, I have created a new category of posts for my blog to cater to this need. The category is called “For beginners”, and this new fountain pen that I got recently is the first to go in! I shall also review my older posts and fish out those pens that I thought would be nice for a beginning fountain pen user.
Anyway, today’s fountain pen on review is the Pilot Kakuno fountain pen, and this is one of the pens I felt would be really suitable for beginners!
I got this Pilot Kakuno from NBC Raffles City (basement level) while shopping around waiting for my mum to join me for an event. I had thought I wouldn’t get any fountain pens lately since I had been spending so much on other things, but seeing how affordable this pen was, I just had to grab it. It’s only below 20 SGD!
You can choose between fine and medium sized nibs, and of course I chose the fine. I wanted a different coloured cap but for fine nibs, there was only the blue one left. So, since I love fine nibs on Japanese pen, I just had to get this one.
In the cute pack there is the pen, the pen cap, and a black ink cartridge for immediate use.
Assembling the pen… and… done!
Not only is it good for beginners, I believe it can be good for beginners of all ages. With the cutesy font and sturdy plastic body, it looks like it could possibly withstand some violence by little kids who don’t yet know how to care well for their pens. I never put it to such a test because I care a lot for my pens! Although I can’t imagine how it would be if kids really fling it around… the ink inside would most definitely fly out of the feed and all around the inside of the cap.
And speaking of caps, let’s have a look at this Pilot Kakuno pen cap. It is a simple, standard pull-off cap which has a funny shape to it – an area near the end with an inward bump. I couldn’t figure out why the design was so strange, but I do presume it is an “indicative place” where you can grip on to, to pull off the cap. I tried removing the cap in that way and it was really comfortable to do so.
This cap does not have any clip. but having a hexagonal shape like the body of the pen, it does help prevent the pen from rolling around on your desk… or to the floor! As if that was not sufficient, Pilot has added a tiny inconspicuous protrusion at the side of the cap (which I had forgotten to get a picture of), which acts like a stopper if the pen really decided to be funny and roll away. The protrusion is really small, and I had not even noticed it, that’s why I had forgotten to take a photo of it. Yikes!
This pen is clearly very suitable for kids, as not only does it have a simple, foolproof design, the cross-section of the grip area of the pen is of a rounded triangular shape, with the straight surfaces positioned exactly in the way your fingers would rest while holding the pen with the “ideal” method. This is not unlike the Lamy Safari/AL-Star/Vista range of pens. That is a useful feature to remind kids or beginners to hold the pen the right way.
Look! Is there any other way a fountain pen can attract children to use than putting a smiley face right on its steel nib? While writing, our eyes are glued in the region where the letters are being produced, and that is no different from children while they carefully form letters, words and sentences. So that means this cute little design is something kids find attractive and make them want to use the pen again and again. Smart idea, Pilot! And being a smiley face, it can be unisex – not stars, nor little hearts, nor cars, nor robots.
Here’s a writing sample:
As written on the post-it note: “Pilot Kakuno fountain pen. Slightly scratchy nib but it is a “fine” sized nib. Has a smiley face on the nib… so I forgive it! Great for beginners: affordable! Feed looks similar to the Pilot 78G pen feed. Reminds me of the Lamy Safari fountain pens!”
This Pilot Kakuno is a fine writer – in the sense of line thicknesses – and the ink flow is on the dry side, though consistent. In fact, when I plugged in the black cartridge, the ink took some time to flow to the tip but does not blot or rush out. I do prefer slightly wetter nibs myself, but for beginners or children using this pen to write, we want the ink to have a controlled flow and to be quick to dry, so that smudges would not occur. Being a fine nib and having slightly dry ink flow may have contributed to the resulting slight scratchiness of the pen nib while writing. Yet, considering those two characteristics, the scratchiness is really minimal! There is hardly any unpleasantness while writing with this pen.
Maybe just one thing I didn’t really like about it – why is the barrel GREY in colour??? This cute and functional pen could use with brighter and more cheerful colours! EDIT: I realised the white version of the Pilot Kakuno is also available, known as the Pilot Sumino!
In conclusion: good pen, great for beginners, even greater for kids. Definitely going to hit one of the top positions in my top 10 beginners’ fountain pens list!