Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jinhao Missile

FIRST IMPRESSION. These little pens from China are a marvel. They are probably the best bang for your buck on a fountain pen that you can find. On eBay you can get three for $9.90 with free shipping, or one for $4.90 with free shipping from China. The construction, appearance, price and performance are all very good. There are three finishes: chrome, matte black and glossy mottled red-black. In terms of design and size, they remind you instantly of the Fisher Space Pen.

NIB. The hooded nibs put down an even fine line. I tried several of them and they all worked well.

FILLING SYSTEM. There is no choice in filling system: your only option is the compression bladder. No cartridges are available that I am aware of. The bladder doesn't hold much ink and runs out fairly quickly. However, the pen is so small that I don't find it comfortable to write with for an extended amount of time.

QUALITY. Knowing what I paid for these pens, I was not expecting anything in terms of build quality. I was very surprised when I received them to see the consistent quality of the pens.
I purchased about ten pens in the three different finishes and only one had a defect, and it was minor.

RECOMMENDATION. The only other contender in this price range is the Pilot Petite, which is a fantastic little fountain pen. The Pilot Petite has a better nib and a wider girth but it is plastic. So, if you are looking for a very inexpensive and portable fountain pen that doesn't look disposable, you can't go wrong with this one. This would be a great starter pen for a child. And, for those of you who want to use only fountain pens for every writing opportunity, it is ideal for a travel journal or checkbook.

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