Tale of a Vandal Pen User: Made of Steel, Part 2

Earlier this year I posted about my experiment to eyedropper a Platinum Sai #3776 fountain pen. Six months into that experiment, there’s nothing pen-shattering to report.

This could go on for years, people.


The Sai functioned perfunctorily as an eyedropper. When the ink level dropped well below half the barrel, the nib wrote on the not-so-pleasant dry side.

If you’re just joining in on my experiment, in brief:  A black #3776 Century section has been sacrificed to sit in the transparent barrel of the Sai in order to see how long it takes for the ink to corrode the metal. The metal of the section is being exposed to my current ink of choice: Platinum Mix Free.

sacrificial #3776 section

Digression into Transparent #3776s

The Sai was released as part of Platinum’s “Lake series,” a tribute to the five lakes surrounding Mt. Fuji in Japan.

The first release was the Motosu. It’s made with the same acrylic as the Sai. The difference between the two:  the Motosu has rings on the cap and the barrel end.

The Motosu was released with the standard gold tone converter. A lot of folks spent hours taking the gold off the converter so that it would match the rhodium furniture of the pen. Platinum finally released a silver tone converter for the next pen in the Lake series, the Shoji.

Between the two, turns out I prefer the look and feel of the Motosu. (Go figure, ay?)

Cap ring Motosu. Sai cap is plain.

Motusu with ring. Sai is plain barrel.

Sai, Motosu

Top to bottom: Motosu, Sai

The Motosu was both the first Lake series fountain pen, and the first “Century” Platinum #3776 fountain pen. The Century introduced the “slip and seal” cap which makes the cap airtight to prevent ink evaporation.

Model names and release dates of the Lake Series:

  1. #3776 CENTURY Motosu
    Released July 1, 2011
    Rhodium furniture (converter was gold-tone not rhodium)
    2,011 pens released
    (NOTE: The Century regular black acrylic model was introduced in September 2011.)
    Acrylic: #4 Lake Crystal
    Model: PNB-15000
  2. #3776 CENTURY SHOJI
    Released July 1, 2012
    Rhodium furniture
    3,776 pens released
    Acrylic: #6 Aqua Crystal
    Model: PNB-20000
  3. #3776 CENTURY SAI (3,000)
    Released July 1, 2013
    Rhodium furniture
    3,000 pens released
    Acrylic: #4 Lake Crystal
    Model: PNB-18000
    Released July 1, 2015
    3,776 pens released
    Rhodium furniture
    Acrylic: #5 Shine Crystal
    Model: PNB-20000Y
    Released July 1, 2016
    Rhodium furniture
    2,500 pens released
    (Note: Platinum Pen’s first model in which “a method of etching has been applied to the center ring to provide a three-dimensional effect similar to that found on jewelry.”)
    Acrylic: #50 Dawn Blue
    Model: PNB-25000K

In 2014, Platinum did not release a Lake series pen. Instead the first of the “Nice” series was released; a tribute to the South of France in the form of #3776 Century pens.

There have been three Nice pens as of this writing: the Nice (rose gold, transparent), the Nice Pur (rhodium, frosted transparent, and the Nice Lilias (rose gold, pinkish transparent).

In 2017, Platinum began a new series called Fuji Shunkei. The Platinum website states the series of pens are meant to evoke “the seasonal scenery of Fuji.” A transparent red pen called the Shungyo, represents the first #3776 of the series.

I’m looking forward to see what other colors will come from the Fuji Shunkei series. Especially one invoking Autumn scenes—perhaps in a favorite amber or brown color. But the Japanese may have a different color in mind for Autumn.

The above is not a complete list of #3776 transparent acrylic pens, as Platinum has released quite a few over the years.

Has Anything Been Learned?

Not what you’d expect, perhaps.

The lure of a #3776 nib in an ED’d Sai surely captured my imagination. Yet… I had to ask myself, why did I want one?  I already have great eyedropper pens.

One could spend money on having custom nib sections made.  Yet custom pen makers queues are long these days, even if patience is plentiful. Always an option. But dunno. The world could end before then.

It turns out I already have two custom sections fitting #3776 nibs. One is my Newton Shinobi.

It was easy enough to remove the #3776 fine from my Shinobi, but the newer #3776 nibs and feeds don’t fit into that section. Only an old-style #3776 and feed would work.

The only other old-style #3776 nib in my collection belongs to the soft-medium of the Nakaya Tortoiseshell Chinkin. And, why yes, it fits the Shinobi just fine.

left to right: old-style 3776 fine nib, current style 3776 coarse nib

Letting go of pen purist’s expectations about placing the Nakaya nib in my Newton… well, putting that nib in the Shinobi has made me ever so happy. These days you gotta take your happiness where you can.

Nakaya nib in Newton Shinobi; Rhodia No. 18 paper; PMF “Peaceable Blue” ink; Walt Whitman’s words. No dryness with this nib as the ink nears its end.

The other pen that takes #3776 nibs is the custom section Shawn Newton made for my baby Danitrio Cumlaude. That section does take current style #3776 nibs.

Recently, I put the Coarse nib in the Danitrio. That was quite satisfying.

Using the Nakaya-fied Shinobi alongside the #3776-Danitrio reminded me that my #3776 eyedropper world was already real.

Top to bottom: baby Danitrio Cumlaude w/#3776 Newton stub & section, Newton Shinobi w/Nakaya SM two-tone nib.

Out of five eyedropper’d fountain pens I own, only one is transparent (the Shinobi), and only one has an ink window (the Newton Gibby aka the Banana Slug).

I don’t mind that the Cumlaude isn’t transparent or doesn’t have an ink window. When you know a fountain pen’s characteristics, you’re well aware as to when the ink tank needs replenishing. IMHE, anyway.

A pack of ED pens, top to bottom: Edison Huron, Edison Hakumin Mina, Newton Shinobi, the Banana Slug, baby Danitrio Cumlaude

While the #3776 metal section experiment continues, it’s been confined to a plastic bottle, where the metal will rest indefinitely in Platinum Mix Free ink. Because I wanna know what will happen…

black #3776 section in ink (Platinum Mix Free)

As you might guess, my interest in eyedroppering the Platinum Sai  has waned.


Round and round, circling my tail tales pens…

Can’t promise blog posts will become regular anytime soon. There was a window to write this post, and I took it!

Thanks for reading, friends. Stay kind and curious!

A Few Related Tales of a Vandal Pen User: