Weighing up the Namisu Ixion

The Ixion is a love-hate pen. I don’t mean you either love it or hate it; I mean there are plenty of points on both sides of the argument.

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In case you were wondering: apparently I haven’t lost my marbles after all.

Let’s start with the positive.

Design-wise, it’s handsome. The size and proportions are spot-on for most people, similar to a Lamy 2000 when capped. The decagonal cap stands out in a sea of cylindrical (or indeed hexagonal) models, and is well executed.

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The cap is a stand-out design feature.

The Namisu branding is classy and unobtrusive. The machining, polishing, anodising, and other processes have been executed consistently well, with no sharp edges or visible flaws.

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All the bits screw together nicely.

I paid £30 for the base pen on Kickstarter in the Early Bird tier, and the Ixion is available now for £33. This is pretty good value; even at its discontinued price, the clipless Karas Kustoms Ink (a very near competitor) starts at $60. With clip it’s $100.

As well as a choice of various aluminium finishes, plus brass and titanium bodies (I chose dark blue anodised aluminium), you can choose different materials for the Ixion’s section and finials — and with a quick twist of a screwdriver you can swap them over at home, too.

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Pop a screwdriver in here and the finials are easy to swap.

I have both brass and stainless steel, and paired with the blue barrel and cap they create a surprisingly different aesthetic. The extra set cost me £15.

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The brass and blue give a nice warm feeling.

Functionally, there’s a lot to like about the Ixion. The section is long and comfortable, with a pronounced step to stop fingers slipping on to the nib. The faceted cap means the pen won’t roll away, without the interruption of a clip. The nibs are Bock units that screw in in a second. The square-cut cap threads spin off the cap quickly, and snugged down, hold it on securely.

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Compared to an M805, the section is longer.

The Ixion is just the right weight, and that weight is biased towards the nib so it feels agile on the page. If you want the pen longer or more back-weighted, the cap posts deeply and securely.

Namisu also includes a neoprene pen sleeve in the box, which is a nice touch.

Let’s move to the negatives.

I had some pretty big functional issues. Both the supplied steel and titanium nibs wrote very badly out of the box — I had to swap in my own Ti nib to get a satisfactory experience. This is not unusual with Bock nibs in my experience, but it suggests the QC at the Namisu assembly stage was poor or absent. Anyway, now you know why I’m not bothering to review the writing experience… it’s the same nib as I used in my Gist.

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This is the steel section. And my own titanium nib…

The brass section, as you’d expect, tarnishes and smells; the steel section I found really slippery. The threads are sharp, and within days the anodising was wearing off, noticeably.

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It’s hard to see, but the anodising is wearing off here, and on the points of the decagonal cap.

This all makes the Ixion a bit tiring to write with.

If you’ve checked the Ixion out on Kickstarter, you’ll have found a lot of comments about the project delays and Namisu’s communications throughout the manufacture, shipping and support phases. The project was funded in August 2017, delivery was due in October, and the pen actually only arrived in February 2018. A four-month delay is hardly huge by Kickstarter standards, but the communication from Namisu was pretty dire. Deadlines went by with no update.

I messaged Namisu on Instagram about my problem nibs, but got no reply. That seems pretty standard from what I’m hearing, and I’m writing off the £35 cost of the extra titanium nib rather than waste my time chasing a replacement.

So what’s the verdict? If you like metal pens, there’s a lot to like about the Ixion, particularly given that it starts at £33. It’s good for those who want to customise, both thanks to the easy-swap Bock nib units and the swappable section and finial. And the design is really strong. Unfortunately for me, I don’t get on well with the Ixion on the page, and the whole experience has been soured a little bit for me by the dodgy nibs I received and the poor project communication. With 20+ other pens in my collection to choose from, I rarely find myself reaching for the Ixion.

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19 thoughts on “Weighing up the Namisu Ixion

  1. Nice review – love the marbles as backgrounds in the photos. I’m not the biggest fan of metal pens and I suspect that I won’t be adding the Ixion to my wishlist anytime soon. What seems more disconcerting is Namisu’s attitude to issues with the nibs they’d supply. A couple of the reports I read suggested that the company was downright unhelpful if they did bother to respond. Not very encouraging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Neither of them wrote. Under a loupe the tipping was uneven, the nib slit was uneven, and so on. Very bad hard starting and skipping.

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  2. As far as I know, part of the delay was indeed caused by Bock not supplying the nibs to Namisu. So maybe they just did not have enough “good” Bock nibs… (but I’m just guessing, they really should have handled communications better!)
    I love my two ixions (blue/brass like yours and titanium) nevertheless. The grip-section is very comfortable, and my nibs wrote out of the box just fine.

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    • Glad that not all of the nibs were defective — pleased that you’re enjoying your Ixions! I agree with you about the section… it’s rare to find a pen with a long section like this (see my shot comparing to the M805), and it really does help comfort.

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  3. The nib on my pen didn’t hardly write at all unless I held the pen completely straight up (not a comfortable writing experience). I did email and get a response, but then the new nib never sent. I emailed again, and they did immediately mail me a new nib. Unfortunately this nib doesn’t write much better. Do you have a recommendation for a nib I could purchase that would write well?

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  4. Pingback: Open heart surgery on my collection | UK fountain pens

  5. Interesting read. I also backed this Kickstarter project. My steel nib writes okay but the titanium nib that I bought as an extra is terrible. Skips all the time. As for the pen itself, unfortunately I don’t like it as much as I expected (and wanted) too. Not sure when i’ll be using it again…

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  6. Pingback: Namisu Ixion fountain pen review | United Inkdom

  7. Pingback: Snippets: Galen, Omega, and keeping it small | UK fountain pens

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