I’ve been looking for a refillable pen body that can hold my favorite pen refills- PaperMate InkJoy, Uniball Signo, and Zebra Sarasa. I did some heavy research into this by asking questions in the RSVP Stationery Podcast group about favorite refillable pens. Part of my interest is that I blow through pens at my workplace and it is just not environmentally friendly. I saved the empty pens for a month and I had a dozen. A dozen empty pens is too many. I’ve used quite a few refillable pens in the past but none of them fit any of the gel refills I wanted to use.While I really love my Baron Fig Experiment I really don’t want to lose it at work by leaving it on a desk, and I’ve learned the hard way that keeping it in my pocket leads to stains.
In my pursuit of such a refillable pen, I purchased the Pentel Energel Alloy. Of the gel pens out there the Pentel Energel is not my favorite. Past versions of the pen have always felt plasticky and flimsy. I’ve managed to snap the pen at the point where the grip screws into the body. Breaking won’t occur with the Alloy. The metal body of the Alloy feels much sturdier than the plastic bodied Energel. Though it is made of metal and has a substantial feel it is not too heavy. I’ve spent a few weeks writing with it, blowing through a few refills at work and working on my novels.
The refills I’ve used have been the Energel, InkJoy, Sarasa, and Uni Signo. They have all fit well. There is no rattling or noise. Each refill clicks through and provides enough of a point to write. The grip section is tactile and grippy, and though it is all metal it doesn’t get slippery. The clip is substantial and grips tightly to whatever it clips to, which generally is my lapel or my current notebook. Thus far I have not stretched out the clip.
The one thing I do not like is that the nock is somewhat soft and spongy with a very long distance from press to the point being deployed. The click is satisfyingly loud.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the Alloy thus far. It feels sturdy and though it is not a super heavy pen, it feels substantial, especially after using a Sarasa or other of the plastic bodied gel ink pens. I like it but it is the first step on the journey for an affordable refillable pen body.
I have been coveting a pocket brush pen for awhile. I have a brush pen but it has a incredibly long handle and is a pain because of that. I was comp shopping Michael’s when I came upon this pen. Imagine my horror when I got to the counter and found I’d left my 40% off coupon at home… I put the pen back and came back later. With my 40% off coupon I snagged this pen for a measly $10.83, which is less than I could find it online.
It’s sold on a blister pack like most other markers and pens are at Michael’s. Once out of the packaging its a nice looking shiny black pen. It’s comparable in size to most pens on the market. It’s very light weight even with the cartridge plugged into the pen. After wielding a TWSBI 540 for an extended writing session earlier in the day, this is like writing with a cloud. The pen is all black except for a Kanji character on the cap near the clip and the pentel name on the opposite side of the cap.
After installing the cartridge the ink descends into the brush rather quickly, the brush was fully loaded with 60 seconds of installing the cart. The tip is soft, flexible but springs to a point immediately after pressing it down fully. It is capable of giving a hair thin line or a swath of ink 5mm wide. The ink flow is generous and kept up with some very quick line work. The line variation is quite nice and relatively easy to control.
The ink in the cartridges is reported to be in water resistant. Something that I found interesting is that the back proclaims that the “fittings” are leak proof. This tells me that with some silicone grease this pen could EASILY be converted to eye dropper fill. For me, this is a VERY VERY interesting thing. In my testing I found that the ink is water resistant once dry on paper and when wet gives a very nice wash effect with a nice even gray tone. In effect you could take just this and a water brush sketching and you could do the sketch, allow it to dry, add more ink, add water and get a nice gray tone for your shadows. The ink is not water resistant on acrylic paint until it is FULLY dry. It writes without issue on acrylic, no skipping or beading up. It does take quite some time to dry on acrylic paint- to get to the fully dry point it needs a few minutes.
This pen is a very good price when 40% off but at full price at Michael’s I’m not sure. I’d rather put together a $25 order with Jetpens.
I'll probably do an update to this review once I run through the 2 carts that came with the pen and convert it to eyedropper style. (See update on eyedropper fill here.)
Reg $16.99 at Michael’s $14 at JetPens