If I had to choose my favourite animals, it would be penguins, ducks and sharks. Pelicans might be amongst the mix because I’m a cliché (Pelikan is my favourite brand). Penguins are cute and ducks are also really great (I suppose swans are cool too), but I have always been fascinated by sharks and I’m not entirely sure why. I have always fantasised about going into a shark cage one day, whether I have the guts to do it is a completely different matter. I am yet to find a penguin or a duck pen, but thankfully Jinhao have shark pens sorted. Which isn’t the only animal that Jinhao have a pen modelled after – there are a number of dragon ones. My second pen in my entire collection was actually the Jinhao 1200, which I shall be reviewing soon too.
This is a relatively new release. There’s not really much announcement when a new pen from a Chinese brand drops – it just sort of appears and you get wind of it on various social media platforms by whomever searched “Jinhao” most recently and stumbled across the new product. I first found out about this pen sometime in July and I ordered it straight away as I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to own a pen that looks like a shark for £5 inc. shipping. A pack of 3! (that’s a pack of three with an exclamation mark, not 6.. Kudos if you get that).
The pens arrived, and actually in a relatively good time frame. I hastily inked one of them up and then gave one to my girlfriend last time I went to visit her (she has the lilac one). Below I shall explain the design, how the pen feels & writes and what my impressions are of it throughout.
This can be summed up pretty quickly: it’s a pen that looks like a shark. If you don’t think that’s cool then either I’m a bit odd or you’re missing out on something.
The cap is designed to look like the head of a shark. I’m not sure if Jinhao was going for anything specific, but I think it looks most like a lemon shark. The nose is too flat for a great white. Regardless, it’s not a hammerhead shark. That much is certain.
For a cheap pen, quite a bit of detail has gone into it. The gills are cut out, there’s a mouth cut out too. There’s even a dorsal fin. This is in replacement of a clip – so it’s a clipless pen, but you can use the fin as a sort of hook if you’re keeping it in a pen case or something of the sort.
There is a bit between the cap and the end of the pen, which I’ll just go ahead and call an abdomen. This is translucent – if you have a lighter colour then the window will be more translucent. This is really handy because it means that you’ve got an ink window as you can see the converter. Like.. Blood or something (I have just searched, there’s a white one with a fully transparent ink window. Gonna get one of those and ink it with Red Dragon which is my ‘blood ink’. That would look so cool).
The pen is cartridge converter. However, if you want to do that cool effect (or any other one for that matter) with the ink window then there is a possibility that this could be eyedropper. I tried it with water in the barrel as well as blowing on the end (behave) and it seemed air tight; usual disclaimer, however – try this at your own risk. I’m not saying 100% it will work, but from what I’ve tested it seems it could.
After the abdomen, the pen tapers down, which gives it a very streamlined look. It would be cool if there was a caudal or a pectoral fin on the pen, but that would make it incredibly impractical. It’s important to remember this is a pen – not an anatomical model of a shark.
The pen is a screw cap, which I find interesting. For some reason I have a slight bias about screw-caps being credited to more expensive pens (same with how some people feel about piston fillers). The cap comes off in 2.75 turns (oddly specific, I know). When the cap comes off, you discover that what I called the abdomen is actually the section (bamboozled!). Instead of the threads being at the top of the section, they’re actually at the bottom. In my opinion that’s fairly innovative as it eliminates the worry about harsh threads (though, I have never once experienced uncomfortable threading, and I hold my pens in such a way that means I almost always touch the threads). The section has slight indentations in it, which is similar to the triangular grip that you get on (but not limited to) the Lamy Safari/Al-Star. It isn’t as pronounced though, thankfully. Which I like because personally I hate the grip on the Safari.
There are two models of this pen. One with a hooded nib and another with a, for lack of a better term, normal nib. I bought this pen about the time I was doing my Attack of the Clones review and was worried about becoming sick of these nibs, so I bought the normal one.
This is a light pen. It’s also a fairly lengthy pen; you can post it but you can most certainly get away without doing so. It’s perfectly balanced and rests nicely in my hand. Of course, when you hold it you don’t have the threads which I know can annoy some people. On the flip side, you have the grip indentations that might also irk users.
I have never had a problem with a Jinhao nib, only their feeds which can often be hit or miss. Though, if you’re buying three of these pens then chances are at least one of them will work – if not all three (as is in my case). This nib writes perfectly smoothly. The feed keeps up, even during fast writing. Though, I do find the nib to be very dry and what line variation you can squeeze out is hampered due to railroading.
Reverse writing is possible. The dry nib becomes even drier and finer, but you could get a sentence or two out of it.
All the nibs on these pens are stock Jinhao nibs. Depending on what eBay seller you buy from, you’ll probably hear them advertised as “extra fine”, but I would call this a fairly standard medium (though, take this with a pinch of salt as I’ve been using a lot of Japanese fines lately). But you can find a comparison with my TWSBI Eco below, which is a medium European nib.
My experience might differ from yours, as I said above, I love sharks. You might hate sharks, but personally I think the design is fantastic and I am so excited thinking about getting one of these with a clear ink window and put some red ink in it. Come to think about it, you’d probably be able to eyedropper this pen to make the aesthetic seem even more macabre (happy Halloween, folks).
Like sharks? Get this pen. It writes well, feels and looks great and it’s cheap. There are 12 colours, collect them all. I know you want to. Do it.
PS – This doesn’t belong anywhere else in the review, but megalodons. Search them up on Google. Size comparisons of these beasts gives me such an amazing and scary feeling.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to drop me a message. You can find me on most social media platforms by searching “7heDaniel”. Alternatively you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is a handwritten sample of the review
Handwritten writing sample using Caran d’Ache Chromatics ‘Hypnotic Turquoise‘ on Fabriano 90gsm dot grid paper.