I first read about the Pilot Plumix while reading an article on “unposted”. I was intrigued to say the least. I used to do calligraphy some years back but I set it aside and have yet to pick it back up. So I appreciate elegant writing and I knew the minute that I saw the nib on the Plumix just what it was supposed to do. It has a broad faced medium wide nib very similar to a calligraphy nib but unlike a calligraphy nib the nib on the Plumix is designed to be pushed! A true calligraphy nib can not be pushed, only pulled, or else it chatters and spits ink! I knew that the Plumix was designed for the average person to use in their daily writing and I knew how to use it! At the time Target was about the only place the Plumix could be found, (it is now carried by JetPens), so as soon as I could I headed out to my local Target store and picked up one in Turquoise Blue.
The Plumix comes carded with a single Pilot Blue ink cartridge. But there are no instructions on how to use the pen! If you are not familiar with broad tipped calligraphy pens then the Plumix may be a strange beast to you! The body of the pen is also different than other fountain pens. Made entirely of plastic the Plumix has 3 body sections, the cap, the grip or midsection and the tail or upper body. The cap is bullet shaped, has 2 wings to aid the user in removing the cap, which screws on. The grip is ergonomically made, the bottom being rounded and the 2 sides slop upward and are curved inward. Thus the grip offers only one way to hold the pen, the correct way. The upper body screws onto the grip and meets the grip at a specific point. The belly of the body slops downward to start then back up then tapers to a blunt end. It sort of looks like a guppy! All in all I find the shape pleasing to the eye as well as to the hand. The pens are two tone with the cap and body being of one color while the grip another. Currently the Plumix is offered in Transparent Black, Turquoise Blue and Purple, with a clear grip.
Some stats…The Plumix weighs 10.6 grams with a full ink cartridge. It is 150.8 mm long capped, 151.1 mm long posted and 144.1 mm long unposted. It is 12.1 mm in diameter at the joint between body and grip. The balance point, from the nib, is 71.4 mm posted and 61.9 mm unposted. The pen is top heavy either way but it has a better balance posted. The nib is 1 mm wide.
To use the Plumix first unscrew the body from the grip and insert the ink cartridge into the grip. The cartridge has to be manually forced onto the feeding tube. Squeezing the ink cartridge a little helps aid in getting the ink through the baffles and to the nib. Reattach the body and remove the cap. I like to post, you may not. Next grip the pen as you would any other pen but using the grips shape as a guide. Tilt the paper as you would normally, as we were taught in school. When the pen nib is touching the paper it should be at a 30 to 45 degree angle to the long side of the paper. When a stroke is made for an upper case “T” it should be a very thin stroke and be at the prescribed angle. The downward stroke should be normally slanted but bold. Subsequent letters should have this thin/thick appearance. Simple, hey!? By adding a little flair you can make your handwriting come alive!
The Penmanship is a horse of a different color compared to the Plumix. While superficially the 2 pens may look very similar they are really 2 different pens. The only thing that they share in common is the fact that the caps are interchangeable as are the nibs and baffles. The grip is shaped the same only the upper body of the Penmanship does not have a belly like a guppy instead it tapers normally like any other pen. The threads on the grip are different on the Penmanship so the bodies are not interchangeable. The shape of the cap on the Penmanship is blunter and the wings are rectangular, not angular fins as on the Plumix. They are also much thicker. The Penmanship comes in two colors only, Clear and Black with red wings on the cap! Now who’s idea were the red wings?… Any way the nib on the Penmanship is an Extra Fine writing nib! This wonderful nib produces a line only 0.3 mm wide!
Some stats… The Penmanship weighs 10.1 grams with a full cartridge. It is 148.3 mm long, capped, 150.3 mm long posted and 146.9 mm long unposted. It is 11.8 mm in diameter at the joint between the grip and body. The balance point, from the nib, is 71.4 mm posted and 61.9 mm unposted. This makes the Penmanship top heavy but the better balance is with the pen posted. The nib is an EF that measures 0.432 mm wide!
This is the first EF nibbed fountain pen I’ve ever owned! In fact up until a few months ago I had only one fountain pen, a soft plastic Black and Turquoise Niji. This pen was made some 30 plus years ago, at least that’s as long as I’ve had it. It seems to have a fine nib though it’s not marked with it’s width. Then a few months a go a nice young lady by the name of Nasferatuia gave me a Pilot Petit 1 and a Pilot Varsirty disposable fountain pen. Then a short while later Nrepose over at unposted did an review of the pilot Plumix where he also mentioned the pilot Penmanship. Shortly thereafter I went to my local Target and bought a Turquoise Blue Pilot Plumix. The next thing you know I have all 3 Plumix! Then I find myself ordering fountain pens and ink from JetPens and fountain pens from J.Stationary and buying fountain pens from Staples! I have gone from owing one fountain pen and an old bottle of Black ink to now owning 17 fountain pens and 6 bottles of ink! Oh, when will the madness end!?
Back to sanity! I am torn between the 2 pens. I like the calligraphic nature of the Plumix with it’s interplay of thin and thick lines. The calligraphic hand looks so elegant! But I also like the very thinness of the Penmanship. I like the ability to write small and the Penmanship allows me to do just that! Both pens feel good in my hand. I like the ergonomically shaped grips. They leave no question as to where I should put my fingers and how to grip the pens. Both pens write first time every time but this may be in part to the Noodler’s ink that I’m using in all my pens. The Plumix is certainly the smoothest writing of the 2 pens but the sound of the Penmanship’s nib as it moves across the paper puts me in mind of a scribe toiling away late into the night in order to finish some manuscript. But if I write light, as neither pen requires a heavy hand, the Penmanship can barely be heard despite it’s needle like nib. And none but the finest nibbed gel pens and rollerballs can compare to the thinness of the Penmanship’s nib!
It’s a good thing that we live in a world where we have choices yet don’t have to choose! If I had to pick one pen over the other I would be in a mental dilemma of mammoth proportions! I can now understand the fondness fountain pen users have for their pens! For me it’s like rediscovering a fondness that you didn’t know that you had lost, or ever had in the first place, like the awaking of a buried desire, a very pleasant desire, that now has bloomed into a full blown obsession!!!… No, wait, I was already obsessed with pens! Fountain pens are only an extension of that obsession!… Oh, when will the madness end!?
Sorry for that little outburst!… So if you are in the mood to try something different then I suggest that you pick up a Pilot Plumix and get ready to produce some elegant writing. Or if you like things thin then pick up a Pilot Penmanship and tell the fat pens to step aside! Or, if you are like me (Heaven forbid!) then why not just pick up both! Both are available from our friends at JetPens!… Oh, when will the madness end!?08/03/2009 Update: There has been some confusion among others as to the "M" designation on the Plumix nib and the "Fine" designation on the package. The confusion is, is it a "fine" nib or a "Medium" nib. Well while looking at some Platinum pens I ran across a nib chart. That's where I saw the "M" designation defined and suddenly all was clear! The Plumix pen nib is a "Music" nib! The original use for such a nib was to write sheet music! It is not, as I has assumed, a calligraphy-type nib used to write with, at least not originally. But a music nib lends itself to the writer as a pen that will produce an elegant hand, much like a calligraphic pen. Only a "Music" nib can be pushed when tuned correctly, a calligraphy nib can not. The "Fine" designation is probably correct for a calligraphy nib in that the width of the Plumix nib is 1 mm.