1. In FP Notes 001, I complained about the Twsbi Eco’s design flaw. This morning, I discovered and ordered the Twsbi Diamond Mini Clear, which addresses the most important flaws. The Eco’s opaque hexagonal cap and piston screw have been replaced by not only a rounded cap and screw (to match the barrel) but they’re clear, too, like the barrel. Furthermore, the cap is screwed on, on both ends of the barrel, which matches my preference.
2. I won’t receive the Diamond Mini for a while, but I already have two concerns. In his video, Brown (sbrebrown) mentions a loose grip that spins easily, making writing a little difficult. Goulet, in his video review, doesn’t mention this problem. I hope this won’t be a problem for me. Goulet also demonstrates an EF nib, and it appeared to write like an M. For the Diamond Mini, I ordered the F nib. My Eco is an F, and I really like the line, which leans slightly toward an M with some wetness. Should I have ordered the EF?
3. From what I’ve learned thus far, the nib, feed, and section of the Eco and Diamond Mini are interchangeable. Not sure if this is true. Will be able to test this first hand when the Mini arrives.
4. Ordered a few mid-range ($50-100) pens to establish a broader reference base for pen reviews: Pilot Namiki Custom 74 #5 F Demonstrator, Sailor 1911 Profit, and TWSBI Diamond Mini Clear. All are in transit.
5. Also bought pens in the upper end of affordable ($10-50). Focused on ones that could serve as references: Nemosine Fission, Lamy Safari & Vista, Twsbi Eco, Pilot Prera Iro-Ai, Kaweco Classic Sport, Nemosine Singularity, Monteverde Artista, Waterman Kultur, Pilot Metropolitan, and Sailor Lecoule. Most are in hand; others are in transit.
6. My biggest disappointment thus far has been the Artista, which has a habit of skipping and dragging. Will have to take another closer look at the nib and feed.
7. The Lamys have also been a disappointment thus far.
8. The brands that seem to consistently provide quality references for pens in the affordable (<$50) range are: Pilot, Nemosine, Kaweco, Twsbi, Lamy, and Platinum. Sailor and Waterman as well as Pilot, Kaweco, and Twsbi are the references that I’m exploring for mid-range ($50-$100) pens.
10. I’ve only completed a handful of reviews for my cheap China pens, but my overall impression is that quality is a crapshoot. Most of the pens arrived as advertised, but enough were defective to make me think twice about China as a serious player in the world of FPs. They’re a great buy for those prepared to deal with the range of problems that result from poor quality control and not only expect to tinker with the pens to get them to work properly but also have fun doing it. Still, I’d hate to see this source of bargain pens with a lot of potential for tinkerers dry up. For students on limited budgets, they’re a godsend.