The Pilot Plumix Is the Porpoise of the Inky Seas

Any way you splash it, the Pilot Plumix is an ugly pen. So it’s a good thing I don’t judge pens by their blubber, because I’d be missing out on one of the cheapest ways to try a cursive italic nib.

The Pilot Plumix is a plastic fountain pen with unusual proportions. I’d call it “high-waisted” but a marketer would probably spin that as “streamlined.” The pen has a short, stubby cap that screws onto the section. There is no clip, and the cap has two protruding wings on either side which prevent it from rolling away on a desk. While it’s possible to post the cap, it results in a pen that looks even more comical. (You’ll see a photo of that later on.)

The barrel is long, slim, and asymmetrical in shape, much to the annoyance of every pen blogger who’s tried to photograph this critter.

This is a long pen, especially when capped or unposted. When posted, it’s the second longest pen in my collection after the Lamy Vista/Safari.

L to R: Kaweco Sport, Pilot Plumix, Lamy Vista/Safari
L to R: Kaweco Sport, Pilot Plumix, Lamy Vista/Safari
L to R: Kaweco Sport, Pilot Plumix, Lamy Vista/Safari

Like its cousin the Pilot Kaküno, the Plumix has a triangular-shaped section. However, its edges are more rounded than the Kaküno’s section, and I found the Plumix to be the more comfortable pen after writing several pages with my standard tripod grip.

In terms of width, the Plumix’s section is comparable to the Kaküno’s, which in turn is slightly wider than the Pilot Metropolitan’s. Due to the presence of cap threads, the section on the Plumix is pushed further back from the point of the nib, so those of you who like to grip your pens as close to the paper as possible might find it disconcerting. The Plumix definitely forced my grip a little higher than I’m used to, but not enough to be a dealbreaker. The pen is very lightweight, but balanced when unposted. As always, I must mention that I have smaller hands, so your experience may differ.

Like most modern Pilots, ink is stored in a Pilot-proprietary converter or cartridge. The barrel is watertight so an eyedropper conversion is possible, though I haven’t personally tried it. The Plumix comes with a cartridge of Pilot Blue ink to get you started. I used up the cartridge that came with my pen long ago, so in this post, you’ll see a cartridge I filled with Diamine Ancient Copper.

The Plumix is available with a variety of nibs, but the star of the show is the “1.0mm medium stub”, which is closer to a cursive italic in practice.

It’s a Pilot steel nib, and this one is up to Pilot’s usual excellence, as it’s a smooth writer with no flex. However, all the cursive italic (CI) caveats apply: your experience will largely depend on your grip and writing angle. If you don’t hold a CI pen just so, you’ll find the nib to be scratchy and it’ll catch on the paper. But once you find that sweet spot, this nib really sings.

I forgot to take a picture of a good writing sample before I went overseas (doh!) but here’s a partial one. The words “Packing has begun!” and “Pens are being cleaned!” were written with the Plumix. You can see a clear difference between the Plumix’s CI nib and a typical F nib.

I’ve seen the Plumix on sale for as little as $7.25, which makes it the most inexpensive entry point to cursive italic nibs I know of. Even better, the Plumix shares the same nib as the Pilot Metropolitan, Kaküno, Prera, and Penmanship, so if you have one of those pens you can do some nib swapping and try a CI nib on the pen you like.

The Pilot Plumix isn’t the cutest critter in the inky seas, but it’s a great way to get a nice CI nib on the cheap, and for that it gets my stamp of approval.

Updated Friday, Jan 19, 10:50am EET: Added Pilot Penmanship to the list of pens that the Plumix’s nib can be swapped into. (Thanks to Julie Paradise for the info!)

This Pilot Plumix was paid for with my own funds. My opinions on this blog are always my own. Please see my review ethics statement for more details.

Economical Links for 2018.01.12


Here are some links to the like-minded…

Pilot Kakuno demonstrator (via Flex & Other Follies)
Nib Newbs! Join Team Pilot Varsity
A look at the Faber-Castell Loom fountain pen (via
Berlin Notebook Review (via Office Supply Geek)
Fountain pen friendly pocket notebooks.

I’m Leaving Home For 10 Weeks and Bringing These Pens with Me

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be on a plane to Bulgaria, where I’ll spend the next 10 weeks living out of a carry-on bag. I’ll also be 9,771 kilometers away from my stationery stash, and it’s been quite the puzzle figuring out what goodies to bring with me.

I’ve always packed lightly, be it for a backpacking trip, motorbike adventure, or jaunt across the Atlantic. The whole idea of bringing a bunch of notebooks and pens clashes with my minimalist packing tendencies. As I only started bringing paper back into my life within the last couple of years, finding balance here is something I’m still working out.

First, I must apologize for reusing the following photo from last week’s post. It’s been crazy busy at Penster HQ as I’ve scrambled to prepare for my trip, and I didn’t get a chance to gather everything for a nice photo shoot.

For paper, I’m taking the Hobonichi trio I wrote about last week. This is a case where Hobonichi’s dedication to making compact notebooks really shines. Space is at a premium in my carry-on bag, and these three cram a lot of pages into some wee little books.

I was really torn about taking my Traveler’s Notebook, and ultimately decided against it. Spending 10 weeks in Europe sounds like the perfect chance to get my TN on, but due to certain particulars about this trip, I won’t have the time to do much travel journaling. I think I can get by with my Techo alone. But who knows — this might come down to a game-time decision. [Update: I changed my mind because of course I did. My TN is tucked into the last remaining space in my bag.]

When I started thinking about what to pack, I set a limit of six pens. Even six feels like too many, but I have some reviews in progress where I need to give the pens more of a workout before I can pass judgment upon them. Bringing the pens along will kill a few birds with one stone.

Here are the fountain pens I’m taking:

  • Pilot Metropolitan (F nib)
  • Lamy Vista (EF nib)
  • Namiki Vanishing Point (M nib)
  • Wing Sung 698 (F nib)
  • TWSBI Vac Mini (F nib)

The Metro, Vista, and VP are workhorse pens that I use on the regular. They’re traveling empty and un-inked. The Wing Sung 698 and TWSBI are newer acquisitions that hold gallons of ink. They’re on the flight with me fully inked because I like to live dangerously. (I also want to test the TWSBI’s ink shutoff valve.)

Mathematically-inclined readers might have noted that I’ve only written about five pens. That’s because the sixth pen I’m taking is not a fountain pen.

This sleek beauty is my everyday pen at work. It’s a vintage Pilot 2+1 multipen and I’ve never seen anything else quite like it. I don’t know much about it — not even what its real name is. I’ve been told that it’s around 40 years old. Despite its age, it takes most D1 refills.

Speaking of refills, I’ve packed a few spare D1s. For fountain pen ink, I have a nearly-full bottle of Waterman Inspired Blue, a few Lamy cartridges, a pack of Pilot Blue-Black cartridges, and a small 8ml bottle of Iroshizuku Yu-yake. That should be plenty.

If I run out of anything, I’ll just buy more. I’ll be scoping out the stationery scene regardless. If it’s anything like the bookstore scene in Sofia, I’ll be in great shape. If not, there’s always the Pilot G2 I stash in my laptop bag as a spare. And the other G2 I keep in my carry-on. And the other G2 I clip inside the top of my sock, like a shiv.

Always be prepared, I say. See you on the other side of the pond.