Teal, Dear: The Pilot 78G Broad

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Pilot 78G Fountain Pen with Broad Nib
+ De Atramentis Black-Green
+ De Atramentis Pigeon Blue

Dimensions: 13. 5 cm capped, 12 cm uncapped, 15 cm posted.

This pen was something of an impulse buy. I read a rave review of it and it was only $10.50 at JStationery, after all, and I’ve been wanting to try an italic nib for a while. This seemed like a safe place to start. Although marked as “bold,” this nib is definitely an italic, albeit just under a millimeter wide. It comes in four colors: black, red, teal, and green. I got the teal version, which I’ve enjoyed trying to match to various ink colors. De Atramentis’ Black-Green is not a good match, but their Pigeon Blue is passable:

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An example of Sütterlinschrift in Pigeon Blue.

On this Rhodia paper there’s some nice feedback, and actually it’s pretty noisy — but smooth, not scratchy at all. I’ve used it on Tomoe River paper with great success (and got a couple of compliments from pen-pals to boot).

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Posted, the pen is quite a bit longer than my usual Sport, but it’s made of thin plastic so it doesn’t feel unbalanced. I’m not too keen on the Con-20 squeeze converter that comes with it, and it’s really a no-frills pen — one could construe that as “cheap,” but I knew that when I bought it! Still, it has the profile of a truly classic pen, which I think is a selling point.

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My other quibble is that the feed sometimes has trouble keeping up with the nib, which I suppose isn’t uncommon for a broad or italic. And it’s given me a couple of false starts while writing this. Par for the course. I’d still recommend it as a starter pen, or for on-the-go writing, or for someone who wants to experiment a bit with their fountain pen but doesn’t want to put a $60 TWSBI on the line. The fact of the matter is that you’re paying for what is actually a pretty great nib, and that’s what matters. The italic is just broad enough to give anyone’s handwriting a makeover.

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Excuse my nib-creep.

I also had the black, fine-nib version, which I’ll review next.

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