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Maker: Wing Sung.

Like the 3008, the Wing Sung 3013 is clearly under the influence of a TWSBI pen; in this case, the Vac 700. Apart from the lack of a cap jewel, the 3013 could be mistaken for the TWSBI from just about any distance, possibly including holding it. It is not, happily, anything like as cheap-feeling as the 3008.

One can, though, find other points where the cost of production has been reduced substantially. The 3013 can be disassembled into the same major components as the Vac 700, but once it’s reduced to those major structures, you’re finished. This is fine for basic owner maintenance– in fact, it’s easier on that point than the TWSBI because no tool is required to undo the filler unit– but apart from re-lubricating the seals, there’s not much else that can be done.

For example, the nut which attaches the blind cap to the filler shaft appears to be a one-way press-fit. If something goes wrong with the seals inside the barrel seal unit, I don’t know how to get at them short of taking a hammer to the blind cap, and that sort of destructive dismantling renders seal replacement slightly moot. The point unit too is non-serviceable, appearing to be glued together. I can’t even get the point free of the feed, so a bent point will stay bent.

Of course, one can ask how much any of that matters in a pen that is so very inexpensive. While less obviously cheap than the 3008, this 3013 appears to cost exactly the same amount, which means that if it lasts for more than a year the purchase cost drops to under a penny per day. If my example is anything to judge by, this is a pretty good value. The writing performance is similar to the Pilot Metropolitan (and indeed the point and feed look much the same as that pen’s), with the somewhat flimsy steel of the point giving a hint of springiness unusual in this generally firm-pointed end of the market. Do not, of course, press too hard. I say “flimsy” for a reason. Like the 3008, the cap is well-sealed, so it can be left sitting for long periods without much fear of drying.

In slavish adherence to the model of the Vac 700, the cap really does not post on this pen. You can drop the cap onto the back of the pen, and the retaining ring will stop it when it makes contact with the threads inside. At that point, the cap will rattle around loosely until you either take it off and set it to one side, or it pitches off the pen on its own.

I should also offer a word of warning to those who proceed with taking out the filler for lubrication of the big seal: there is a subtle keying on the tail unit. This means that it is not only somewhat difficult to pull out, thanks to the tightness of the o-rings, it is extra difficult to re-seat because there’s tight o-rings and the possibility of trying to fit a round peg into a squared hole. It’s not very hard, once you know what’s going on, but I wish someone had told me about it.

This pen is also sold as the Paili 013; the difference appears to lie in the colours, because they’re often side by side in the same eBay listings.

UpdateI may have stumbled upon a failure mode of the 3013. I made it my weekend pen for the duration a fill with Skrip black lasted. This was a good long while, as the point is fine and the reservoir large. Eventually the time of cleaning rolled around, though, and with it came a surprise– the shaft of the filler, which necessarily lives in the ink, was discoloured and slightly pitted.

This leads me to think that it’s not stainless steel, which it should be. It also makes me think that the durability of the seals is not what will determine the lifetime of this pen. Skrip is a pen-maker’s ink, after all, and Sheaffer has no interest in making good on any warranties so their writing fluid is made to be extremely mild in its effects on the materials of a pen. If that stuff is giving the filler trouble after a single (admittedly protracted) filling, then regular use will see the shaft dissolve to the point that the tail seal stops working.

I won’t say I recommend against buying this pen, though. It is, after all, amazingly cheap, and probably worth the minor investment for someone contemplating the purchase of a pen with the same style of filler yet concerned about how it works. Vacuum-filler training wheels, as it were.

Production Run: Unknown start– I will guess broadly at c. 2018, and in current production.

Cost When New: Mine cost $3.99 including shipping from a Chinese eBay vendor.  MSRP remains a mystery.

Size: 14.2 cm long capped, 16.6 cm posted (for as long as that lasts), 13.4 cm uncapped.

Point: Steel.

Body: Plastic.

Filler: Vacuum, capacity approx. 1.5 ml (if you undertake the gyrations necessary to completely fill the reservoir, rather than do the normal single-thrust filling, it’s a little above 2.2ml).

Wing Sung 3013, in an extremely unnatural state of having the cap posted. It didn’t last beyond the click of the shutter.

With the clip around the back, the TWSBI resemblance is even stronger. Good thing it’s clearly labeled as something else.

I did a tear-down to compare to the TWSBI Vac; this one is a lot less tear-down-able. I could have undone the screw holding the clip and derby onto the cap, but… meh. Why bother?

Update: Following the “why bother?” line– this really suggests that the 3013 is not going to be an heirloom pen.



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