Champagne Supernova: Namisu Nova Review

I’m always scared of hype, especially hype bigger than Donald Trump’s hairpiece and a Delta Dolce Vita Oversize. The Namisu Nova certainly generated a lot of it across ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA. Even the mighty pen gods Myke and Brad – hallowed be thy names – over at the Pen Addict Podcast were smitten with it. So, coupled with the Nova’s resemblance to a cosmic-looking erotic pleasuring device, I was naturally wary of buying one. However, after meticulous calculation – much like a space expedition – I took the plunge, caved to peer pressure and purchased one. And…

…I’m glad I did. It has rapidly become a regular addition to my everyday carry. Welcome then, stationery cadets, to my exploration of the Namisu (Super)Nova!

MEETING MISSION CONTROL

Our space captains Namisu are an Edinburgh based company made up of budding (and probably bespectacled and bearded) designers making sexy looking stationery. The Nova is one of two of their successful Kickstarter fountain pens – the other being the Orion – that they began selling officially via their site in April. As a pre-orderer, I was impressed with Namisu’s honesty about shipping and their communication about manufacturing timescales, and I received my pen in a timely fashion. I was less impressed with their hermit approach to social media, with Instagram activity more barren than a crater on the dark side of the moon. Anyway, on with the pen…

PREPARING THE ROCKET CHASIS

The futuristic ramrod came in a minimalist box of high grade cardboard…and that was it. No space food. No converter. No nothing. As much as I loved the sleek look, I was cheesed off that the pen didn’t come with ANY ink depositing device – not ideal for complete beginners just beginning their peek into the fountain pen black hole. Nevertheless, it accepts standard international converters or cartridges, and I had a spare Schmidt converter hanging around as a self confessed ‘bummer’ of pens.

Namisu Nova - sex toy or pen?!
Namisu Nova – sex toy or pen?!

I’m a big fan of the cigar shape and gunmetal colour of the aluminium body, demonstrating exceptional build quality for a pen at this price point (£28). (If you get drunk on enough rocket fuel, you could even mistake it for a Nakaya Piccolo.) The threads on the barrel and screw cap mesh perfectly, and have that ideal balance of twists between too few turns that make the cap feel precarious, and too many turns that give you RSI. So, first impressions were pretty stellar.

FAILURE TO LAUNCH

So, what’s under the hood of our inter-galactic paper probe? The Nova came fitted with a reliable medium Bock nib, which wrote incredibly wet and wide for my taste – I have the handwriting size of a Borrower, so EF or F are normally my preference. Unfortunately, Houston had a problem as Namisu were out of stock of the EF steel or titanium nib option when I purchased my writing satellite. As a result, I ended up purchasing a separate EF Bock nib unit from Beaufort Ink for around a tenner instead; another minus point to take into consideration if a fountain pen newbie was interested in this pen.

What's under our rocket hood?
A Nakaya Piccolo…after enough drunken nights on rocket fuel.

LIFT OFF

Although it was a ball-ache to spend more money on top of the original cost, I was impressed with the overall performance of this now £38 fountain pen. I like the versatility of the Bock nib housing as it means I can experiment with new nib sizes if I wanted to, and the EF nib was relatively smooth and a very reliable writer for the price. The pen body itself is well weighted in the hand, if a little back heavy, but was ideal for long writing sessions. The screw cap and pain in the arse of the pen rolling around on the desk meant that I didn’t reach for it for quick notes (and am now seriously considering a holy grail Dudek Modern Goods pen holder). Yet, it still became a regular in my Nock Co. Sinclair as a cheap-ish workhorse pen that I’m not afraid to jet into space or hurl into cosmic debris.

img_8636
Namisu Nova – sex toy or pen?!

MISSION DEBRIEF

I like the Namisu Nova. It’s good looking, solidly made and reasonably priced for a decent, everyday writer. It also stands out amongst other pens at this price point as its styling is more akin to a much more expensive writing instrument. Top Guns to Namisu!

However, I don’t LOVE it. It narked me off more than failing boosters that it didn’t come with a cartridge or converter, and I had to go hunting elsewhere for the nib option I wanted. In all, it ended up costing £40ish, and for that I could get a trusty TWSBI. That said, that is a comment on Namisu’s business planning rather than the product itself.

Blogging in the field
Blogging in the field (credit to Makers South for awesome notebook cover!)

In sum then…

Firing on all boosters

  • Beautiful styling and polished finish
  • Balanced weight, great for long writing sessions
  • Homegrown, British brand
  • Workhorse pen with unique features for this price point

Engine malfunction

  • No converter supplied
  • Had to shop around for desired nib option
  • Rolls around on desk – no clip
  • Could have just bought a TWSBI?

So, if you are after a unique, sturdy pen that will turn heads without you needing to re-mortgage your house for a Nakaya, then you should give the Namisu Nova a go.

Over and out stationery cadets. Keep those nibs mucky!

Check out the pen porn on Instagram and stationery smut on Twitter!

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