Review: Sailor Special Script Calligraphy Pen

The pen comes in a simple and decent paper box. Inside the box is the pen and 3 cartridges. I almost threw away the box with the cartridges. They were in a hidden section within the box, so take note. (The cartridge inks were nothing special. Just simple black ink. Not very dark. Not waterproof)

The pen has 3 basic parts. The cap, barrel, and nib section. No convertor is supplied so you may want to order a convertor separately when ordering the pen.

The body of the pen is made of plastic so, at first, I thought I could fill ink directly into the barrel and the screw threads would keep it from leaking. But I was wrong, it leaked all over my hands after shaking around in my bag. So you DO need a convertor OR you can just refill the cartridges using a syringe and needle.

If you are familiar with pens, you would have guessed that this Japan-made Sailor pen would be similar to the China-made Hero pen function-wise just by looking at that bent nib. And you would be right. It follows the same idea as the Hero pen where line variation is controlled by the tilt of the pen, and not by adding pressure to the nib like flexible nib fountain pens. Since pressure does not play a part in the line variation, it also does not dig into the paper like most pens. Instead it glides over it smoothly. Although it produces line variation, that does not mean it creates the same type of line variation as flexible nib pens. There is no spring action, so creating line variation within one single line takes some skill and effort. But, holding a fixed line width and creating line variations IN BETWEEN each line is easily done (It's like you are quickly switching between thick and thin pens without switching pens). If you like owning a variety of pens, owning both flexible nib pens and a bent nib pen would add variety to the kinds of pens lines you could produce depending on what effect is needed most.

Sailor nib:

Hero nib:

Here is a simple comparison of the Sailor vs Hero pen:

NIB- The Sailor pen has a flat nib while the Hero pen has a more balled nib. This affects the smoothness of the nib when it contacts the paper. The Hero's balled nib is smoother. And the Sailor's flat nib is slightly rougher. But the flatter nib allows the sailor to produce a thinner crisper line than the hero.

WEIGHT- My hero pen, like most hero pens, have a metal body and so it is much heavier. The sailor pen has a plastic body. So it is very light. That can be an advantage if you don't like added weight in your bag when you want to travel light. But it takes some getting used to after using a heavy pen, I must admit. You've have to adjust your brain to use a lighter pen again. It is possible though. I've gotten used to it.

FLOW- Many people have complained that the flow of the Hero is inconsistent from pen to pen. One person may get a Hero pen with great flow and no skipping. Another person, buying the same pen model would be cursing and swearing because it keeps skipping. My personal experience? Only 1 out of my 3 Hero pens work smoothly. The others keep skipping. As for the Sailor, I've had it for a month now and the flow has been smooth with no problems. Some of my friends think the flow is "crazy" (in a good way.) I'll let you decide. If you trust Japanese quality standards and consistency, then you might want to get a Sailor pen over a Hero. Oh, when starting up a sailor pen after not using it a while, it might take 1 or 2 strokes to get it started. I believe that has to do with getting the ink onto that flat nib again. But after it starts, it works fine.

LINE VARIATION- It's about the same. The Sailor produces a thinner line because of its nib. But which is better? It all depends on personal taste and how much you have gotten used to controlling the pen. The Hero's balled nib is smoother so you might have to draw faster. The Sailor's flat nib has a bit more friction and that allows me to draw a bit slower and more carefully. In a way, I can craft my drawings a bit better with a Sailor. But again, that could be subjective depending on your skill level and how well you've mastered each pen.

If you are new to these kinds of pens, here is a quick demonstration of how the tilt of the Sailor pen affects the line widths. As you can see, the most upright angle produces the thinnest line and a low angle (to a certain degree) produces a broader line.

And here are some drawings I've done while testing the Sailor pen. I've used Diamine Golden brown ink in my tests. You can use other fountain pen inks, but I would personally not use Hero ink in it. I heard that hero inks have pigments in them. That's why my hero pen used to clog.

Where to get it? I got mine for US$40 from Pen Gallery in KL. Shipping is cheaper to Singapore from Malaysia, especially if you ask them to send it to you by over-land mail. It's called Sailor Profit Calligraphy Script fountain pen on their site. You can also get the sailor convertor from them for US$8…

Check out other fountain pen reviews at

I ordered this pen based on your review and received it today. I love it, very smooth! Great line variation. I have found these sailor cartridges to be waterproof, thought you might like to know. Here is a US link. At least you can see the box.…

Thanks for the review. I love the pen. Nice to have a pen that I don't have to fill to get a waterproof ink for my drawings.

How much was the overland shipping? It's USD11 normally isn't it.

I could not get HERO M86 in Singapore. Literally extinct. However thanks to your Blog, my Sailor Calligraphy pen arrived after the very next day I ordered sent via the reliable DHL Express. Yes, I ordered the Converter. Now ... to get the Noodler waterproof ink. With so much computerisation, many have 'forgotten' or 'forsaken' the fine art of writing, drawing - on paper!

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.