Zebra V-301 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen

Up for a look this time is a brand-spankin’-new fountain pen offering from Zebra, which was kindly sent to me from Canada by Halden J., a Twitter acquaintance! This pen is due out for US release some time in the Spring of this year, but I guess they had an earlier release date in Canada, where it can be found at Staples.

So, as for my opinions of the pen. I took some photos, opened the package, then took some more photos before actually loading an ink cartridge in the pen. s with all the fountain pens I use, I turned it up on its end (nib down) and left it for five minutes in order to facilitate ink flow. The ink is fed through a wick nib feed (which may present some difficulties when it comes to flushing it out and using another ink color) which, I was soon to discover, did not feed ink quickly at all.

After five minutes or so, I posted the cap only to find that the cap does not post firmly  and rotates and bounces on the end of the barrel (although this may be a fluke) and that the pen would not yet write. So, I thought the feed might be a little slower, so I left it turned upside down for another 5 minutes or so, and finally, after some furtive scratching on a piece of Rhodia paper, ink flowed from the nib.

I thought this might be the end of the problem, but I was soon to discover that this happened every single time I stopped using the pen for more thn a few moments. It was almost as if the ink was drawn back up the wick feed into the cartridge, leaving me with a dry nib each and every time.

The ink itself is decent. It’s a grey/black ink that dries very quickly (a little less than 5 seconds, which is great for lefties) and doesn’t bleed through the paper. The nib is a medium stainless steel nib, which is a bit more broad than what I’m used to and lays down a good amount of ink. The grip is a bit of a disappointment, since it’s made completely of a hard plastic with bumps and no rubber coating, which promotes the “death-grip” while writing. The barrel and cap are made of stainless steel and are actually just a copy of Zebra’s stainless highlighter range that came out last year.

So, we have a decent refillable (although only with Zebra’s cartridges. So far, converter/international cartridge attempts have failed, at least by what I’ve seen around the web) stainless steel fountain pen at a relatively decent price (I believe it was about $3.89 Canadian, which equals out to $3.94 US). Although there are several issues (ink feed problem and loose cap), and I can’t really see myself personally using it everyday, it might work well for others.