Sailor Manyo Inks

Sailor Manyo Ink

Yo, Manyo. Looks like Sailor is giving us even more new inks. This Manyo collection is coming later in the fall, to pen and ink dealers outside Japan (per my own ink dealer, Dan Smith, the Nibsmith).

The Manyo inks come in Sailor’s new square bottle, the 50 ml size, at the MSRP of $24. Now the Nibsmith is listing them for sale at $19, which in the new world of premium ink prices, isn’t bad. It’s 50 ml. The price is better than my new Penlux inks ($26 for 50 ml, albeit limited) and much better than Sailor Ink Studio inks and Bungubox inks in 20 ml bottles.

And, I hate to say this, but, I kind of … like them all?

Well, of course I would. But they are a nice range, like the Pilot 100th Anniversary inks. They look nice individually and together.

Now, I’m not clinically insane. I’m not going to buy the Yamabuki (Saffron), because I just don’t use yellow-gold inks to write. But it does look nice; I could see artists wanting it. Personally, I can resist the three inks in lavender, magenta and interesting purple/burgundy shades, because as lovely as they look, these aren’t colors I use. But they look good. In fact, the lavender one (Nekoyanagi) is so captivating I almost want it. And the burgundy one (Kuzu) could prove to be a lower-priced alternative to Bungbox Sweet Potato Purple.

But my sweet spot is blue and blue-ish inks, so I’ve preordered the four on the left. I predict the one I like the best will be Haha (Glacier Blue), be still my heart; and the one that will be most popular will be Yomogi (Cerulean Blue), because it’s in the teal range that everyone loves.  Sumire is like Sailor Sky High and Sailor Souten, so it’s bound to be pleasing. Lastly, Kikyou (Mariner Blue) looks perfect to me as a work ink that I’ll use often. I love a blue-black with a greenish tint.

Here is  a closeup of the swatches, just flagrantly stolen from the Nibsmith site.

Sailor Manyo Inks

Sigh. Sailor is just unstoppable. I want them to stop, intellectually. But maybe not deep inside.

Mo Ink, No Mo Problems: Penlux Mò Tangerine and Plum

Penlux Mo Plum and Tangerine

My two Penlux inks arrived, and they are just lovely.

Obviously I’m over-inked, but I have to say, I’ve enjoyed the presentation of these just as much as the ink. The Plum, as I mentioned the other day, is a not-annoying shade of purple that purple fans are bound to really enjoy, since I, a purple foe, don’t mind it at all. The presentation, from folding box, to square Sailor bottle, to attractive label, makes a beautiful object that I’ve kept on my desk just because I like how it looks.

Penlux Mo Plum box

Tangerine is a very nice orange ink, not a color I use very much, but a color I love to see in  demonstrators, and even in the bottle.

Penlux Mo Tangerine

I put Tangerine in my Vibrant Orange Pelikan M600, and can attest that it’s a nice orange ink. This one I’ve actually been using. It’s good to circle the really important part of notes. No nib crud (so far), good flow and no hard starts.

I like a lot of orange inks, especially from Caran d’Ache and Sailor. But among orange inks, this is a very usable one. It’s mixed by Sailor, so I think I see Sailor’s lovely tints of yellow and blush pink in there, but it’s also darker and shades only a little. It’s easy to read and not even a little eye-searing.

Penlux Mo Tangerine writing sample

Even though I mostly use blue and black inks, and pens that are “good users,” it’s nice to also have some things that are less utilitarian than visually stimulating. I’ve gained much enjoyment from this lovely package.

Penlux Mo Tangerine

Truth in Advertising: A First Look at the Sailor Professional Gear Fire

Sailor Professional Gear Fire

The new Sailor “Fire” Professional Gear special edition is aptly named: it’s “fire,” in the sense of “excellent.” I think it’s gorgeous.

This is the fourth in a line that began with the Sky (transparent light blue), then continued with the Earth (translucent brown), and the Ocean (translucent blue-green). I’ve liked them all, very much, and I own an Earth. Here are the Fire and the Earth together.

Sailor Professional Gear Fire and Earth

Fire’s color is not standard red, and not orange, but definitely red-orange. I’d call it a mandarin red. It has the same translucence as the Ocean and Earth.

Sailor Professional Gear Fire

Dan Smith the Nibsmith sent me a full-size Professional Gear to review, because that’s my favorite size. The price of the full-size is $312. The pen is also available in slim (small) for $200 and King of Pens (large) for $816.

In real life, the Fire looks much nicer than it did in any Sailor photos I’ve seen online.

So here are some comparison photos. First is the Fire between my Earth and Kanreki Professional Gear pens.

Sailor Professional Gear Earth, Fire and Kanreki

Now here is the Fire Professional Gear between two Lamy Safaris, which are standard, crayon-color examples of red and orange.

Sailor Professional Gear Fire with Lamy Safari red and orange

The big array: from the left, the Pelikan M600 Vibrant Orange, Safari in orange, Sailor Fire, Safari in  red, Sailor Kanreki, Pelikan M600 Ruby Red, Sailor Earth.

Sailor Professional Gear Fire with comparison pens

Great color, great concept, great execution by Sailor.

Sailor Professional Gear Kanreki, Fire and Earth cap medallions

One Minute Ink Review: Penlux Mò Plum

Penlux Mo Plum writing sample

Penlux Mò Plum. I don’t like purple inks, so explain why I ordered this one right after trying it yesterday at my pen club? It’s really attractive. And, because it’s made by Sailor for a store in Taiwan, it’s somewhat limited.

The color of Penlux Mò Plum is a dark plum. With just a hint of shading, it looks good in a fine nib and is dark enough for work. Penlux Mò Plum is like a darker, more saturated, and, I’d wager, slightly bluer, version of the wonderful KWZ Brown-Pink. That probably also helps explain the instant appeal to me.

Pen Review: Sailor 1911 Large Ringless Epinard

Sailor 1911 Large Ringless Epinard

That is the Sailor 1911 Large “ringless” Epinard, a special US edition, that Dan Smith the Nibsmith sent me, and probably wishes he had back now. Unfortunately for both of us, this pen is hard to give up.

It has really grown on me. In fact, now I think I like it best of any Sailor I’ve seen over the past two years, except for the blue Professional Gear I bought in Chicago this year.

The Epinard 1911 Large is one of Sailor’s many fountain pen releases, this one limited to North America. What sets it apart are the color, a very dark army green, and the lack of a cap band. It’s the first full-size Sailor 1911 for the US without the cap band, or “ringless,” to use the official term.

Well. Normally I’d be against that.

The Epinard color is very dark, and hard to put across in photos. Think “dark army green.” Its darkness is accentuated by the black-plated trim rings and clip, and the lack of cap band. And that’s the whole effect.

At first my reaction was, “Okay that’s nice. And?”

But now, after living with it for weeks, my reaction is, “Okay, that’s nice. Damn.”

This pen is a grow-er, not a show-er. It’s anti-bling. Which makes it fairly different, in fountain-pen land. It doesn’t try to impress. It’s sure of itself. It’s quiet. If it were an actor, it would be Sam Elliott.

Sailor 1911 ringless Epinard clip and nib

But there are two things I don’t love about the Epinard 1911, and one is right up there in that photo. The nib is rhodium-plated, not black-plated. You can see the difference between nib and clip.

I kind of wish Sailor had given this a cool, black-plated nib. That seems like a lost opportunity. But maybe there were reasons. And maybe one reason is the cost, since price is already my second quibble.

The Ringless Epinard is $360. That’s higher than others in the 1911 Large line. $312 buys the 1911 Large in US special colors Fresca Blue and Key Lime. Or you could buy a 1911 Large in one of the regular color for $272. So $360 is pricey.

But maybe this costs more to manufacture, or maybe they are making fewer. In any event, the price is the price, and there’s nothing for it.

The thing is, it’s a very cool pen.

Pen Review: Pilot Kakuno

Pilot Kakuno blue

I bought a gray and blue Pilot Kakuno with a fine nib, used, from someone in my pen club who didn’t like its narrow fine nib.

Well, I love the narrow fine nib. It’s my favorite part of the Kakuno. For the rest of the pen, my verdict’s more mixed.

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