Review: Sailor My First

The Numbers:
Weight: 14g
Length (capped): 135mm
Length (uncapped): 121mm Length of cap: 60mm
Price: SGD$32 from Tokyu Hands
Material: Plastic
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge (Included) / Converter (sold seperately)
Colours: Available in Black/red, Black/blue and Black/black

Intro:
Tokyu Hands is a japanese retailer selling all manner of livingware including fountain pens and inks. They launched their first Singapore branch at Westgate recently. I visited and got myself a Sailor My First. I think that's the name since it is printed on the packaging. It's a really dd name. I guess it would make more sense if it is Sailor, My First.

Name aside, I purchased the Sailor pen set because it came with a fude nib! No, the nib isn't bent. No, I didn't dropped the pen nib first onto the floor. That's the way a fude nib is supposed to look. The design allows the user to alter the line width based on the angle the nib write on the paper. It is supposed to work better with chinese or japanese characters than roman characters.

Packaging:
Sailor My First fountain pen set comes in a large clear box. The white foam cut outs holds the pen, the spare regular nib unit and 3 ink cartridges securely. I would imagine the plastic case would make a nice pen case once the white foam is removed. It is actually a more useful packaging than most others.

Appearence:
Sailor My First's design is meant to appeal young children. It comes in 3 different colours combination. I picked the red on black version. The red accents are bright against the black plastic barrel. The colours make it a striking pen.

The plastic pen is lightweight, maybe slightly too light. In a way it feels just as heavy as its price, if you get what I mean. The pen has rounded ends. The barrel is mostly just a straight plastic rod, flaring up slightly towards the grip section. It tapers down slightly at the rather short grip section. The cap unscrews smoothly from the barrel and it posts easily and securely onto the end of the barrel. The threads on the grip section is smooth and they don't bother me even if I had to grip over them.

Performance:
This is where the tyre hits the road. This section is split into two portion. The first part is before nib smoothing and the second is after nib smoothing.

Before nib smoothing
There is no way I can mince my words. The nib is just horrible. I hated it. Everytime I pick it up to write with it, I put it down as soon I complete my sentence. Then I put it aside and had to remind myself to use the pen otherwise I wouldn't be able to write my review. The cycle just repeats itself. I did consider getting rid of the pen without writing this review.

I inked it up initially with Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses. It writes well but the experience is cringe worthy. The nib is scratchy and medicore. It's a medium fine but my Pilot Metropolitan F nib lays down a finer line with a smoother experience out of the box. Why oh why, Sailor is your entry level fountain pen giving me such a horrible experience. I had all but given up on it. Then, I found a buff stick (a present from a fellow SFPL) and search for SBRE Brown's Youtube video on how to do some nib smoothing. What harm can I do to the nib?

After nib smoothing
The nib is much much better after a couple of rounds on the buff stick. Even with my medicore skills I dare say I have improved the nib and it writes much much better after that. I filled it up with Noodler's Golden Brown after that but it writes strangly with the ink so I swapped in Pilot Iroshizuku Kon Peki. It writes well after that. The difference is almost heaven and earth.

Fude nib
Interestingly, the fude nib writes smoother than the regular nib. I don't have much experience beyond my rudimentary chicken scratching. Even my chinese characters doesn't seems to be improve with a fude nib. If you are curious about fude nib, do check out Ed Jelley's Hero 9018 review

Conclusion:
If I have to do it all over again, I would not have purchased this pen set. Yes, it isn't expensive but it shouldn't be that bad out of the box. Even the Pilot Metropolitan, a cheaper pen that comes with a metal body and a converter, performs so much better out of the box. Why can't Sailor can't do the same? I had expected more from one of the big 3 Japanese pen manufacturer. I am glad this isn't my first experience with Sailor pens. If it was, I think this experience would have put me off Sailor fountain pens.

I can't recommend this fountain pen to beginners because of the horrible experience. I can't recommend this to more experienced fountain pen users even though they might be able to smooth the nib. They shouldn't have to do that.

Pros:
- Light
- Comes with 3 cartridges
- Cheap-ish
- Post-able

Cons:
- Doesn't come with converter
- Feels cheap
- Horrible nib out of the box
- There are better entry level fountain pens available

Posted on April 3, 2015 and filed under review, Stationary.