(Disclaimer: The title of this post may be more dramatic than the content, but I couldn’t resist using it.)
Platinum’s Preppy is a very popular pen. What’s not to like? For around £3 in the UK ($3-4 in the US) you get a simple, straightforward cartridge pen with a really decent quality steel nib. Okay, it probably won’t last long enough to become a family heirloom, but it’s robust enough to be a good first fountain pen that writes well and puts more expensive pens to shame. You get a choice of nibs from medium to extra fine. Unlike its low-cost rival, the Pilot V series, you also get a pen that you can re-use. Straight up, you can use Platinum’s own cartridges that come in a range of colours. Spend a little money on an adaptor and you can use any short international cartridge, opening up the choice of inks to include the likes of Diamine and J Herbin. (Both provide a good range of colours in cartridges, but their bottled ink ranges are bigger.)
Cartridges aren’t the most economical way to buy ink and some inks are only available in bottles. The solution is obvious, buy a converter! Platinum handily make a couple of converters, but read the small print and you find they work with ‘most’ Platinum pens. Unfortunately ‘most’ doesn’t include the Preppy, or its more up-market stablemate the Plaisir (which uses the same section and nib assembly).
That’s OK though, because I bought an international adaptor. I’ll just plug in an international converter and I’ll be good to go, right? Not really. The space taken up by the adaptor, plus the relatively short barrel mean that most converters simply won’t fit.
Step forward Kaweco’s Mini Piston Converter. This pint-sized converter was developed for use in Kaweco Sport pens. Handily it also fits the remaining space in the barrel of the Preppy.
It’s not the biggest converter in the world, but it does mean you can use bottled inks in the Preppy. Admittedly, by the time you’ve added in the adaptor and converter you’ve trebled your initial costs. That brings you up to around £9 (US$12) – which is still cheaper than a Lamy Safari (which needs its own converter if you want to use bottled ink). If you’re prepared to spend a bit more money (around £16/$20 all in) you could go through the same exercise with the higher spec and more robust Platinum Plaisir. I prefer the Platinum nib to the equivalent Lamy, which I find too dry. When I can get my hands on an orange Plaisir (yum), I plan to repeat the exercise. The only other thing I would change is to go for fine nib instead of the medium I chose here.
What’s the worst that can happen?