The point of this pen is the bent 'fude' or brush calligraphy nib. This is the only nib of this type I've used and it arrived very quickly (bought it Friday afternoon, it arrived Monday morning) from isellpens.com. I picked it over the Hero M86 because this one has a snap-on cap.
The appearance: Capped, it looks like a black enamel with silver accents. Uncapped, the section is a distinctly different texture which I don't much like the look of. (It might be aluminum.) I do not use it posted. The Chinese letters on the cap appear discreet, but if you recognize them I suppose they might be distracting. This material might get scratched up or dinged if I tossed it in a pocket with keys and so forth, but I have not tried the experiment.
As far as design, it does get messy when filling: the section has grooves in it which are hard to wipe ink out of.
Construction and Quality: The pen seems fairly solid. It is definitely heftier than I expected. The converter is plastic with a small spring in it. I don't know how long the cap will keep snapping on so nicely and it seems to rub against the nib audibly when I cap it, which is of some concern. There is a plastic inner cap.
Weight and Dimensions: Not heavy, but definitely heavier than the Pilot 78G. The diameter is fairly narrow but not too much so, though I tend to hold pens very high, where the section joins the body. If I held it further down the section it would probably be too narrow. Todd's site says it is 4 3/4" long unposted, slightly over 6" long posted.
Nib and Performance: It works okay. The line width you can get varies considerably from an angle of about 90 degrees to the page (narrow) to perhaps 30 degrees (fairly wide). It writes fairly smoothly when it works but can be tricky to hold in the right spot to get started. Varying the line width must be an acquired skill, I can't do it smoothly the same way I can with an Ahab flex, and it feels very different from using a round paintbrush, which should be expected since this is a hard metal nib.
Broad strokes seem to have somewhat ragged edges, even on smoother paper than I've used here.
It is much easier to consider this as several pens in one and hold it at a constant angle for each line, than to vary the angle within the line.
There is some variation depending on the direction you move in (parallel to or perpendicular to the nib), but nowhere near as much as with an italic nib.
It is fun! It is easy to cover large areas and make bold marks. The wetness stays fairly consistent from narrow to wide, too, so it doesn't flood the page with ink like a flexed Ahab does. It runs slightly dry (or maybe the other pens I've used are all just wet); Noodler's Black is not completely saturated, looking like a dark to very dark gray on the paper I use. This might be a downside if you like shading inks.
Edited to add: The feed does not keep up with many fast wide strokes. This could be a good thing as it creates a drybrush effect; if you don't like it, slow down.
Filling System and Maintenance: The included converter is definitely the weak point. It is a pretty small pump with the slider to move the pump on the side of the converter.
The pen did start running drier and eventually clog after a couple days when I first got it, but that could be just because I didn't flush it out before filling it. If you are using this much, I think you will need to refill sooner than that anyway.
I have not tried to remove the nib or feed, though I've heard that the nib can be swapped to other pens (perhaps one with a larger ink supply).
The converter is removable.
Conclusion: If you enjoy drawing and want a fun, different kind of nib to try, this pen has one for slightly over $20 with shipping. If you just want to write, no calligraphy, you'd best look elsewhere. I think the weakest point is the small converter.
Edited by tapinger, 14 June 2013 - 14:21.