Review of Sailor Brush-Style ("fude de mannen") Fountain Pen with 55˚ Angle Nib (Green)
Sorry about the lack of photos of the pen (my camera isn't that great) but I didn't see many reviews of this FP so I thought I would make a post on how it handles. At the end of the review I've included a couple of images to show the different lines weights possible with the pen.
Filling System: This FP can be used with either proprietary Sailor cartridges or the Sailor converter. Eyedropper conversion should be possible, giving the pen massive ink capacity, but given that the threaded part of the nib section is rather short, it'd be best to exercise due caution if you go the eyedropper route.
The Sailor converter doesn't hold a lot of ink but I find the capacity adequate for a quick sketching session and refilling the pen is easy to do. Unfortunately my first converter broke only after a few uses but the second one is holding up well. . . I'm hoping that the first one was just a dud.
General Notes on Appearance, Size and Weight: With a full converter in, the pen is a little lighter than a filled Lamy Safari and around an inch and a half longer capped/uncapped.
The cap is light and can be posted, but I found that doing so makes the pen too long and unbalanced. This doesn't matter to me since I don't post, but it might bother those who do. The cap has a small, shallow plastic tab sticking out that keeps it from rolling away, at least. This might be a design minus for some.
Detailed Notes on Nib and Performance: The tip of the nib is bent at an angle which allows for a variety of line widths depending on how you hold the pen (there's no flex). Holding it almost vertically will give a fine line and holding it at a normal writing angle (so that the full underside surface of the nib is in contact with the paper) will produce a very bold line.
Apparently the nib is intended to simulate a brush, but as the nib is on the scratchy side and transitioning from one width to another isn't exactly easy, in my opinion, it's not really comparable. If you like the spring and snap of a brushpen/brush, don't expect that with this pen.
This seems to be marketed as an alternative to brush calligraphy pens, but as far as writing goes, in my opinion the time it would take for you to learn to do calligraphy with this FP would be far better spent practicing with a brushpen or a real brush.
However! As a sketching tool it's not bad at all, quite versatile in fact. To me it feels similar to sketching with a reed pen but much more convenient on account of the steady ink supply. Personally I wouldn't say that this pen has line variation since the ability to transition from one line weight to another isn't really there as with brushes. Line variety might be a better way to put it.
I went back and forth trying to decide if I wanted The 55˚ (green) or the 40˚ (blue), and though I haven't used the latter, I'll offer up some educated guesses based on my experience with the 55˚ below.
The 55˚ has to be held quite 'high' even for the bolder lines, so the 40˚ may be more comfortable. But if you plan on mostly drawing with either pen, if you've used fineliners or technical pens before the the going vertical isn't much different.
It's hard to say so don't take any of this as a recommendation one way or another, but my sense is that the 40˚ will be easier to use, though you might be able to get a slightly bigger range of lines with the 55˚ (probably not by that much).
In sum, I'm enjoying using this to sketch but it did take me a couple of weeks to really get a feel for the pen and at times it was somewhat frustrating. Although this FP is kind of finicky, if the scratchiness is acceptable, you might find that it can also be rewarding.
- Possible to get several different line widths
- Short feed means flushing ink is pretty easy
- Good for sketching
- Low ink capacity using cartridge or converter
- Not fun to write with
In the samples (Pelikan Fount India Ink on regular 98 gsm sketch paper) you can see that the pen lays down a fairly reliable line and can change directions without too much skipping. The pen has a steady default flow and by going faster/using a lighter hand it's definitely possible to get brushy lines.