Friday, 5 April 2013
After the last fountain pen post (on the Lamy Safari) it seemed like a good time to discuss another pen mentioned in that review: the Pilot 78G. This is one of Pilot's base models, designed for students in Asian markets, but although cheap, it's definitely not nasty. It is produced in four colours, green, red (actually a sort of dark vermilion), black and teal blue/green. The barrel, cap and nib section are moulded in plastic which is fairly robust, and set off by "gold" accents such as the clip and the printed ring on the cap. The steel nib is also gold lacquered to match the clip. The cap screws on securely, to go in your blazer pocket ready for another day at school.
I have two of these pens; both are pictured above and below. The green 78G is one of the first fountain pens I bought when I rediscovered FPs a few years ago. After a lot of reading up on it on Fountain Pen Network I ordered it from Norman Haase from his website Hisnibs.com. Norman checks all the nibs on the pens he sells, and it shows on this one; the nib is smooth and lays down a solid, fine line.
The red 78G is one of a pair I bought from FPN member "Samovar"; the other was black, which I gave away. This is slightly unusual in that it accepts short international cartridges rather than the proprietary IC-50 cart. Now I wish I hadn't given the black one away because although small for my large hands, it is most useful to have a pen which takes a non-proprietary cartridge.
The green 78G is pictured with the Pilot bladder adapter but since this photo was taken I have put in a Pilot cartridge, which is easily done although you need to use an alarming amount of force to pull the adapter out. I found that with the adapter, the 78G leaks slightly from the nib, which I think is a consequence of the design: ink can seep through the vents over time. This is only noticeable when the pen has sat unused for a time, which mine tend to be as I have the M90 and the Capless to use as well.
Pilot offer a three nib choices for this pen; i went with the median M nib for both. Being a Japanese fountain pen, this "medium" runs to a Western "fine". I would imagine the F nib is very fine indeed, good if you have tiny handwriting. There is also a B nib which is an italic stub which I can't say much about as I haven't tried that one, though it has its fans.
Although not one of my regular pens I do like to use my 78Gs from time to time. For a while I used the green pen filled with Noodler's Bulletproof Black to record astronomical observations, a job it performed admirably. The only reason I stopped using it was due to the screw cap, which became a faff to use at night and wearing gloves!
Although there are reports that the pen is no longer in production, and that supplies are NOS (New Old Stock), the 78G was mass-produced in vast quantities so stock is still available online at various retailers. There are numerous reviews on FPN and other websites and blogs (I know - I have just looked) which are mostly favourable. Many like me prefer this pen to the Safari, and I think every fountain pen user should own at least one, as a handy knockabout pen, for home, office or even school.