I bought a Lanxivi® Yongsheng 052 Century Pioneer Extra Fine Nib Fountain Pen, and had it delivered for the princely sum of nine dollars.
It’s an attractive pen. The gold accent lines on the cap and barrel line up horizontally, so you will have to twist the cap after replacing it to keep your OCD from driving you crazy. If you have problems with anything like that. Like I do.
It has a solid clip that fits tightly to the cap. The cap clicks into place, and it the strongest cap to barrel mating that I have ever seen. I’ve had caps come off in my pocket before, but I guarantee that this one will never have that problem. I’m sure it will loosen up some over time, but right now it takes so much effort to remove the cap that there is occasionally ink splatter from the nib due to the sudden release of the cap.
It’s a metal pen with a solid feel. It is a little on the thin side as fountain pens go, but not extremely so. It’s feels good in my hand, and is comfortable to use, posted or not.
At first, I inked it with Franklin-Christoph Black Magic ink. They don’t say why they call it black magic. Maybe it does cool shading things on parchment paper or something. For those of us who use it on cheap paper, it is a good, solid black black. I bought Aurora black when I started playing with fountain pens because it was said to be a very black black, but this stuff is darker. I highly recommend the F-C inks. Their prices are reasonable, and the quality is excellent.
It is advertised as an extra fine nib, but it appears to use the same nib as the Jinhao 9009 that I reviewed yesterday. However, with this ink, it laid down a much wider line and uses a lot more ink than I would expect from a medium nib, much less a fine or extra fine. Also, in spite of the amount of ink usage, it skipped often. Pretty much every time I tried to write with it. Get it going, and it’s fine. Mostly. But the first letter is going to contain a skip. And it’ll bleed so much ink through cheap paper that it will occasionally mark the sheet below the one in use.
That made me sad. I wanted to love this pen. It looks good, and it feels good in my hand. But the performance of the Jinhao, which was several dollars cheaper, was orders of magnitude better.
Before giving up on the pen, I decided to clean it out and switch inks. At my suggestion, B bought me a bottle of Manuscript ink from Hobby Lobby for my birthday back in December. I refilled the pen with this stuff, figuring that since it is the cheapest ink that I have, it might be a good fit for the poorest performing pen that I’ve tried up to now. I didn’t let it dry long enough, and at first it wrote gray. Eventually, the water worked its way out, and I was able to get a fair evaluation of performance with the new ink.
I had to keep checking to make sure it was the same pen. It performed flawlessly. No skips. Fine line. Not extra fine, but a true fine. Normal ink usage. I haven’t tried the Black Magic ink in any of my other pens yet, but I have tried two other F-C colors in other pens with no problems, so I’m pretty sure there’s nothing wrong with the ink. Maybe the pen just needed a good cleaning. Maybe something about it doesn’t like the flow characteristics of the Black Magic formula. I don’t know. And I really don’t care. I will try other inks in the pen as it goes dry, and if any earth-shattering revelations present themselves, I will update this review, or post a new one.
Bottom line: I was going to relegate this pen to the back corner of a drawer somewhere after my initial experience with it. However, its second chance ensures that it will be a workhorse for me. Nine dollars. Beautiful, comfortable design. Excellent performance, at least with six dollar per bottle Hobby Lobby ink. Grumpy like.