Fountain Pen Review

The Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo (Limited Edition) with a soft medium nib

Today I want to introduce you to the Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo. It is a limited edition pen (2500 numbered copies worldwide). I ordered this one on behalf of a friend at a Norwegian shop which I actually never heard of before (I was quite happy to find a pen shop in a country where you not easily get fountain pens – only Lamy Safari, Waterman pens in veeery limited assortment, and overpriced Montblanc pens in fashion shops – all of them equipped with medium nibs only …). Enough complains …

Unboxing Pilot Century 3776 Kumpoo
Unboxing Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo. The pen comes in a cardbord sleeve and is boxed in a coffin-like carton.

The old friend of mine (Scotty, hail to thee :-)) pointed me to the webshop and found this limited edition pen obviously quite cheap (2500 Norwegian Crowns – ca. 250 Euro). Actually, this seems to be the normal price for this pen meanwhile. In the course of the research for this blog, I found a price span between 325US-$ (retail) and 260US-$. However, in some shops it is already sold out. Compared to a »normal« Century 3776 (such as the bourgogne/bordeaux/burgundy) for ca. 160US-$ the extra-price is quite reasonable. At least I know of limited editions from other brands or models with a higher price point.

Details of the nib and feed of the Pilot Century 3776 Kumpoo (left) and its standard counterpart (right)
Swirls on the cap and the barrel of the Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo.

What makes this pen so special? 

It is a transparent (demonstrator) version of the regular Century 3776. The speciality of it is the green-blue (turquoise) colour shade, which is quite attractive. Like some other limited editions of the Century 3776 it also bears very nice swirls on the cap and the upper part of the section. They fade out nicely toward top of the cap and bottom of the barrel respectively (in fountainpen network I read about fail production pens with lacking swirls – good for collectors). An interesting detail is involved in the end-cap: Here a Mount Fuji-shaped metal-part is built in (see pics). All other design features together with the 14ct gold nib the Kumpoo shares with its standard version. However, the designers of Platinum company put some thoughts/efforts into the design of the pen. But I don’t want to repeat here what the meaning is of all those efforts, neither do I want to copy/paste what they write on this in their hompepage. So just follow the link and read yourself if you are interested:

http://www.platinum-pen.co.jp/e_fountainpen_century_kumpoo.html

Parts of the Pilot Century 3776 Kumpoo.
Parts of the Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo. Cap, barrel, section (with nib and feed), converter and cartridge (blue) as delivered.

Personally, I find this pen quite attractive. I actually own already one regular Century 3776 and a quite similar President. The biggest plus of these pens is their relatively low price point at a solid quality. The LE discussed here is not extremely more expensive, either. It offers a solid quality together with a quite nice nib and a not too bad choice of nib-options (dependent on the shop). For the limited edition I did not find the music nib option, however. But maybe my research was not intensive enough (music-nibs are more expansive than the regular nibs (ef/f/m/b and its soft versions). The lacking option of a music nib was the reason not to buy this one for myself – I love italic/music/oblique nibs, you know).

What is in the package?

You find a white cardboard box wrapped in a turquoise cardboard sleeve. The box contains the pen, the converter, a cartridge, a user manual, a warranty card, and a credit-card-like – well – card, with some info about the meaning of the pen name and its features. The cartridge and the converter are proprietary and not interchangeable with other brands. The cartridge is filled with blue ink and covers a massive amount of 1.5ml ink. It is closed with a metal ball (2-3mm in diameter). With the converters I did not have best experience. I own three and one of it leaks. Well, bad luck.

Design

I already mentioned the main design-features. But I have to repeat the attractiveness of it. In particular the swirls which reflect (especially artificial) light quite nicely. Together with the turquoise colour it reminds me more after a caribbean beach than the sky above the Mount-Fuji. This mountain is captured within the end-cap – as the Platinum-disigners claim. Yes, after I got to know about it, I recognized it. But before I even did not payed attention. But this is since the pen is not mine (lacking focus on the details on my side). In any case, quite thoughtful and well made! 

Finial and end-cap of the Pilot Century 3776 Kumpoo.
Finial and end-cap of the Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo. The end-cap shows a Fuji-Mountain-shaped screw(?). I must admit (shame on me), I would not have recognized it without the hint written on the pilot webpage…

What also fits very well are the shiny and silver-coloured (call it platinum or chrome, if you want) trims on the cap, the clip itself and the »fake-endcap-separator« (as I would call it). Sometimes, I also wish for a trim (a ring) at the sections end. The merely plastic bulge seem to lack something, I sometimes find. Anyway, a metal trim is reserved to the pricier Platinum President.

kumpoo_wp_neue_Federdetails2
Details of the nib and feed of the Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo (left) and its standard counterpart (right). The Kumpoo is equipped with a soft medium nib, the standard versio is equipped with a (non-soft and therefore standard fine nib). The soft nib is not only broader but also thicker, more ball shaped than the fine nib.

Writing experience

The pen comes with a soft medium nib. It is the first time I had the chance to deal with a Platinum soft nib. Moreover (as mentioned earlyer), I could compare it with a fine regular nib (non-soft that is). It s a fine nib though. Therefore, the comparison is not quite fair.

kumpoo_wp_schrift_feder_details_Platinum2
Nib features of the Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo (soft medium) in comparison with the standard Platinum Century 3776 (fine nib). Both nibs can be bent to the same extent, but it is (a) more effortless with the soft nib and (b) the tines of soft nib spreads a quite a bit (the tines from the fine nib do not spread at all).

The nib on this pen (and that may vary from pen to pen) is quite smooth. The soft nib offers a more soft writing experience compared with the very rigid regular nibs. What does that mean? Well, not easy to describe, but the nib is foremost more springy. It feels as if less force is needed to bring a line of ink to the paper. Springiness is not only meant in terms of spreading the tines. Line variation by pressing the nib is also possible with the regular nib I can compare with. Actually the soft nib offers more of this since the tines do spread much more than the regular nib (but the extent is also due to the fact, I compare here a medium with a fine nib, though). Interestingly, the nib-tip is shaped differently between a soft nib and a regular nib. From all soft nibs I have seen pictures from in the internet, the tip of a regular fine nib is flat and the soft nib-Tip is ball/shaped (see self-made pics of available nibs below). Well, subjectively, the soft nib is in terms of springiness (and the nice writing behavior along with it) somewhere close to old (pre-90ies) Montblanc nibs (not the dedicated flex-nibs, however). That does not tell you much, I guess. But it is anyway subjective, I am afraid. The regular fine nib is a real nail in comparison to the soft nib and a bit more rigid than other modern gold nibs from Pelikan or MB or Cross.

A matter of marketing is the durability of ink flow when used after a long time. Well, yes, this is true. I didn’t left a Platinum pen longer than 2 month unused (I rarely do this with other pens, too), but after two month Platinum Centuries just do what they are supposed to to: writing. However, I did not check this with the current model, but I have no doubt it would work.

kumpoo_wp_writing
Writing sample of the Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo. Very good color match with the Pelikan Edelstein Jade ink.
comparison
The Platinum Century 3776 Kumpoo in comparison to other pens – from left to right: Kumpoo, regular Century 3776 bourgogne, Platinum President, MB 146 burgundy, Pelikan M800, Lamy Al-Star.

Overall

The Platinum Century 3776 in general and its incarnation as the Kumpoo a very attractive pen. In particular with the soft-medium nib! I can only recommend this pen with this nib. Well, yes, this depends for sure also on the preferred size/girth and the size of your hand etc. The weight is by the way on the light side (26g) but quite comparable with other same sized fountain pens (consisting of mainly plastic).

It is clearly cheaper (and easier to get and buy) a regular Century model but those ones really do miss the certain something: the very attractive swirls (at least this is valid for the translucent versions). From the perspective of writing experience also the soft nib makes a difference.

Would I buy this pen for me? May be … or I wait for another limited edition with swirls.

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