Monday, December 14, 2020

Fountain Pen Review: GM Custom Pens Kusanagi Blue White Crushed Ice

In my work as a science writer and publications designer for an international non-profit, I am familiar with India, its top biotech crop which is cotton, and Maharashtra, its leading cotton producer. I have seen photos and videos of vast cotton fields and harvests in Maharastra, and they are amazing! Sometime during the COVID19 lockdown, I discovered something more amazing about Maharashtra—its growing number of fountain pen makers.

One pen maker is GM Custom Pens based in Pune, the second largest city in the State of Maharashtra. The company is run by Mr. Apurv Kulkarni and they produce unique writing instruments using a variety of materials such as acrylic, ebonite, and Urushi. Their Kusanagi fountain pen series look classy and modern, and one that easily appeals to many fountain pen enthusiasts. The fountain pens in this series are offered in resin, ebonite, and acrylic with chrome trims, No. 6 Jowo steel nib, and Schmidt K5 converter.

GM Custom Pens Kusanagi Blue White Crushed Ice fountain pen.

The Kusanagi has been made available in more than ten colors including beautiful marbles and swirls and the crushed ice series: Brown Crushed Ice, Aqua Blue Crushed Ice, Yellow Green Crushed Ice, Blue Crushed Ice, Turquoise Crushed Ice, and Aqua Blue Crushed Ice.

This GM Custom Pens fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.8 in | 14.7 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.5 in | 13.9 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 7.25 in | 18.4 cm
  • Diameter: 0.6 in | 1.5 cm
  • Weight: ~25 g
  • Body material: Acrylic
  • Trims: Chrome
  • Cap: Screw on, postable
  • Clip material: Steel 
  • Nib: No. 6 JoWo steel in EF, F, M, B, 1.1, or 1.5 
  • Filling mechanism: Cartridge or converter (a Schmidt K5 converter is supplied with purchase), this pen can also be eyedroppered.

The Kusanagi fountain pen can be filled with ink using international standard cartridges or the supplied Schmidt K5 converter. It's thoughtful of GM Custom Pens to include a converter for each pen purchase. The Kusanagi can also be used as an eyedropper fountain pen as the barrel doesn't have any holes or metal parts that will react to ink. I filled the Kusanagi's barrel to check its capacity and learned that if this pen is used as an eyedropper fountain pen, it can take as much as 3ml of ink. Now that's a lot of ink!

The Kusanagi's main parts: barrel, section + converter, and cap.

I disassembled the Kusanagi fountain pen and saw that it is well constructed. The acrylic is nicely polished and has a high gloss, the clip and cap ring are in place, and the threaded parts fit together, they turn properly and easily without any bumps. This pen also has the same material for the barrel, cap, and section.

I'm glad that I can easily take apart the Kusanagi fountain pen. I usually do that when I am cleaning my fountain pens before storage, or if I am reinking them, so it's useful that this pen's section can be taken apart and to thoroughly clean the nib and feed holder, feed, and nib. I can even take apart the converter if needed.

If I can disassemble a pen, it means I can clean it thoroughly. But please don't disassemble pens if you are not sure you can put them back again.
The Kusanagi's steel clip is simple yet functional and sturdy. The teardrop at the end makes it easier to post to a shirt pocket or pen loop.
GM Custom Pens' logo is embossed on the top part of the clip.
The White Blue Crushed Ice is the only material in the Kusanagi crushed ice series with white background. This material is nicely polished with a high gloss.

Kusanagi fountain pens are fitted with No. 6 stainless steel JoWo nibs from Germany. The medium nib in my Kusanagi is embossed with the GM Custom Pens logo, and it writes wet and smooth. Out of the box, it wrote instantly and I did not experience any hard starts. This pen is also comfortable to use even for an extended period of time.

The Kusanagi's No. 6 Jowo steel nib writes wet and smooth.

The Kusanagi is a full-sized fountain pen that shares the same length as the Esterbrook Estie. It's longer than my daily writers TWSBI ECO and Lamy Safari Al-star. This pen is postable, but I use it unposted. Posting makes this pen uncomfortably long at 7.25 inches.

The Kusanagi has the same length as the Estie.
Uncapped, the Kusanagi is longer than most of my pens here.

To test the performance of this fountain pen, I chose a matching turquoise ink. Krishna Inks Cool Breeze is a beautiful ink match to this pen. Ink flow to the nib was fast, and the medium JoWo nib wrote smoothly out of the box without the need for adjustments or tuning. I did not experience hard starts or skipping. The Kusanagi is an enjoyable pen and it writes smoothly every time I use it.

Blue on blue. Krishna Inks Cool Breeze is the perfect match for the Kusanagi Blue White Crushed Ice fountain pen. Writing sample on Endless Works Recorder Notebook.

I am happy with the Kusanagi fountain pen and will recommend it to anyone who wants to explore and know this young fountain pen brand from India. It's a lovely pen and I'm glad to have one for myself. Get one for your collection!

Rants of The Archer thanks GM Custom Pens and Mr. Apurv Vivek Kulkarni for providing the Kusanagi fountain pen in this review. GM Custom Pens is based in Pune, the second-largest city in India's State of Maharashtra, and they have new offerings including black Urushi pens and Xiphos, made from Nikko Ebonite with beautiful solid, ripple, and mottle colors! They also have a new selection of specialty nibs.

For more updates on their product offerings, follow GM Custom Pens on social media:

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting review. I had no idea about these pen makers despite living in India all my life! Thanks