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Big And Bold Namiki Falcon

06/24/2011

A fountain pen veteran once told me that in time, fine nibs would give way to broad nibs in my collection. Either he was half right or my rotation is still evolving after a mere ten years. As evidence last week two pens arrived, the tangerine Levenger True Writer with a very nice fine nib and Pilot’s resin Namiki Falcon SB with a soft broad nib. Guess which one got the most use. Okay. Did the post title give it away?

The Falcon is one of my favorite pens. The size and weight are very comfortable for my hand and my two soft fine nibs are always close at hand. They have become a bit more flexible with use and produce excellent results with a variety of inks. Sailor Brown, J Herbin Lie de Thé, and Diamine Violet are especial favorites in them.

Namiki Falcon SF, Diamine Violet, Rhodia grid paper

Namiki Falcon SF, Diamine Violet, Rhodia grid paper

However, being a fan of Pilot’s Iroshizuku line, the new Falcon SB got loaded (drunk and dazzled) on Tsuki-yo for its maiden voyage. What a fat, wet nib! This baby will never skip. On Rhodia paper a blotter helped but a different ink should tame that a bit.

The nib is very smooth but squeaks slightly which is a funny combination. The lack of drag is great when my hand is tired so it will be perfect for my end-of-the-day journal entry, often my longest daily writing session. One of the nice things about that usage is any color ink goes. No need to be all businesslike or conservative so perhaps Rohrer & Klingner Morinda or Magenta or even Solferino will fit the nib’s attributes and the paper’s willingness to accept loads of ink. A nib with this much flow will be a good match for pale colored inks like pink, apricot and pale blue.

This is a “soft” nib with a very limited amount of give though enough to produce a unique signature with a flair or two. I want to play with that a bit but my initial take is that Pilot labeling it SB is generous. Yes, it will flex very slightly but the line looks nearly identical to the non-flex line at least with Tsuki-yo and Morinda. The SF is better at flex but only after it has had some use. I’ve never used the SM (soft medium) but have read it is the nib people like the most. If it is halfway between the two, I can see why that would be the sweet spot for many users. Someday I will have to get my hands on one for comparison.

Namiki Falcon Nib Comparison Test

Namiki Falcon Nib Comparison Test

Not to put anyone off on adding the Namiki Falcon SB to your collection, but this is one pen that puts down a truly broad, wet line. Some folks will be thrilled at that while others may be intimidated. The SB is not ideal for small handwriting. It is best for big, bold statements. My handwriting suffers but my hand is happy with the ease with which I can write albeit sloppily. With practice my penmanship should improve. If not, it doesn’t really matter because when I grab the SB, writing longer will be more important than writing neater. For those times big and bold is just fine with me.

Note: My new Falcon came from Pear Tree Pens as did the bottle of Morinda. Tsuki-yo has been on my shelf since shortly after its release and is available from a number of sources including PTP. It’s a favorite amongst Iroshizuku fanatics and would be a good starting point if you haven’t tried this line of inks yet.

20 comments

  1. My favorite modern pen, I have it with me all the time!

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  2. Great review. That SB nib looks interesting, I have a SF that I am still breaking in.

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  3. Hi! I wonder what type of converter are you using with Falcon in general? I have problems with CON-50 and I’m not satisfied with CON-20. My Namiki Falcon SM is prone to skipping with both mentioned converters.

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    • Marko, all of my Falcons have CON-50 converters. Performance is meh but filling them completely seems to help. The CON-20 does not fill quite as well or hold as much ink but the flow has been more consistent from it with my pocket pens. Frankly, I don’t think any converter is great. Most need to have the ink pushed toward the nib from time to time. I have had no success with the CON-70 and do not recommend it unless you are willing to use a syringe or pipette to fill it. Even then the rubber stopper can block the flow.

      There probably isn’t any help in what I wrote but if you haven’t tried filling the CON-50 fully, give that a go. Maybe it will improve things a little.

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  4. I have a BB nib thanks to Greg Minuskin and it’s bliss! Floats nicely, yet still gives that something extra.

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    • Beth, I should’ve known you’d have a honkin’ big nib on a Namiki Falcon. Did Greg have to add tipping material to make the BB? My stock SB floats and even one of my SF nibs has that characteristic to a lesser degree. It’s quite different from my other pens and a welcome relief at the end of the day.

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  5. I started out with EF nibs and after only a year gravitate toward mediums. Hard to imagine favoring broads, but one never knows.

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    • Note Booker, you are moving in the direction of wider nibs much more quickly than I did. However, using a variety of nib sizes suits me best. That’s why two of my True Writer B nibs went to Mike Masuyama for modification. At the moment there are eight fountain pens on my desk but no two nibs are alike. Only four have wide nibs. Does that mean I am halfway to “favoring broads”? Well, that doesn’t sound right but you know what I mean.

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  6. Ah very nice. Another one of my grail pens.

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  7. It’s interesting to me that your journey has been from fine to broad. For me, I’ve gone the opposite direction. When I first started using FPs, I wanted big, juicy nibs since most of my writing consisted of signing my name to typed correspondence or legal documents. Now, however, I spend more time in meetings, taking notes and reviewing and editing the work of others. Consequently, fine and extra-fine nibs have wider appeal for me (no pun intended – ok, maybe a little. 😉 I love the look of a line from a broad-nibbed pen, but it’s simply less practical for me nowadays.

    Of course, I should add that it’s another great review!

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    • Glad you enjoyed the review, James.

      Reading your comment reminded me that there is a pen for every purpose. Big, bold pens produce big, bold signatures and that is a good thing. Fine pens produce finer, smaller letters that require less motion and use less space. That has its place, too. Matching nib to letter size is an aesthetic element but a practical one as well. With all of that variety going on, is it any wonder that fountain pen aficionados own dozens of pens?!

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  8. Very nice fountain pen and article. Thanks for publishing a good fetishes which helps to dream.

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  9. […] Pens / Writing. Big And Bold Namiki Falcon Ink Links – The Pen Addict Life’s Unexpected: Pelikano Jr. Muji’s little sketchbook […]

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  10. […] There is an excellent review on the Big and Bold Namiki Falcon over at the Inkophile […]

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  11. I always want a Falcon after I read your blog. Hmmmm. Very nice. As you stated in another comment, there’s a pen for every purpose. I’ve yet to have a purpose for bolder nibs, preferring my fine, fine, extra fine.

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    • Julie, if fine nibs suit you, stick with what works. My journal writing can be rather large so broad nibs are in keeping with my loose, end-of-the-day style. For correspondence, my fine nibs or modified nibs are a better fit. However, if an ink needs a bit of showing off, there is nothing that compares to a big, broad stroke of color.

      Most writers are more consistent with their handwriting size and style. I’m all over the map. Hence, I can use all sorts of nibs though copious flow does not work well when I write slowly. Consequently flow is my limitation. Plus I am not enamored with ill-defined broad nibs. The Falcon is testing my limits and needs the right ink to write well in my hand. R&K Alt-Goldgrun is a bit on the free-flowing side but Morinda is lovely. I see lots of experimentation in the Falcon’s future.

      Oh, it took me ten years just to begin to get the hang of broad nibs and I am still a veritable newbie. No rush to join the ranks. We’ll get you someday.

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  12. […] first three pens get daily use and I am content with each. The newest addition is the Namiki Falcon SB which is well-matched to Stipula Verde Mushiato both in flow and shading. The Levenger True Writer […]

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  13. As a student, I write a lot (!). I´ve been considering the pen for a long time, but I still feel a bit unsure seeing that the nib is somewhat flexy. Can you write fast with this pen w/o and problems?

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    • The Namiki Falcon would not be my top recommendation for a pen that writes fast unless you hold it very lightly. That slight give to the nib requires more control than a hard nib and the SB does not flow as freely as I would like for quick notes. Just looking at what is on my desk that I would grab for a long session, the Lamy Safari EF or possibly a Levenger True Writer F would be the most likely candidates. The Safari is so light-weight and flows very well that it is hard to beat. The TW is heavier but also flows beautifully. Either would do for me.

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  14. […] Big And Bold Namiki Falcon […]

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