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Posted 08 August 2009 - 19:11
The Manuscript Dodec is a brass-nibbed fountain pen, that, in a set containing 3 nibs, the pen, and a converter, costs around $5. The body appears to be ABS polymer, but it could be a different material. The clips is flexible plastic and the ring is painted plastic as well. The pen is very small, it's about 8/10ths the size of my Safari.
I bought this pen at Texas Art Supply (not affiliated) for $5.00. This was not a clearance item. The pen came with instructions (which I discarded), a converter (which was non-functional), 3 nibs in the sizes Fine, Medium, and Broad, and the pen cap and barrel.
I bought this pen originally to experiment with the nibs, but after writing with it, I decided to keep and use it.
The Dodec's cap and barrel are both made of tough plastic. I was impressed by the quality of the plastic in such a cheap pen. The barrel and cap are both polygonal, with 12 faces. The barrel tapers slightly to the back end of the pen, which is rounded off. I loved that there were no rough spots, seams, dots, etc. that I would normally sand or scrape off. The clip is engraved with the word "England".
I don't use the clip at all. It's strange and uncomfortable. However, I was willing to put up with it, considering how cheap this pen was. It is functional, but I'm sure that not many will like it.
The cap comes off with a screwing motion, which is nice. It doesn't take long to screw off the cap, meaning that it can be taken off in just a second or two. It's quite light, but also very solid. There is no flex when I squeeze the cap. The cap itself comprises maybe 20% of the total weight (most of the weight is in the barrel).
The barrel is made of the same material as the cap, and contains a gold-colored ring that closes the gap between barrel and cap. Personally, I think it doesn't remove the "cheap" look of the pen, but thankfully it doesn't interfere much with the grip.
The barrel provides space for international short cartridges or the supplied converter, which didn't function at all in my pen. I don't think it's quite a great loss.
One note: The recommended ink for the Dodec is the Manuscript brand, which is not very good. I suggest using Pelikan 4001 cartridges in this pen - the pen writes very nicely with this ink.
The section is stamped with a guilloche pattern that is done very nicely - even, smooth, and helps the grip. I wish it could be a bit thicker and longer, but there is a lip at the end of the section that prevents your hands from slipping over onto the nib.
The nib is made of brass (I believe) and is nice and stiff. The nib on the Dodec is a jewel. All three nibs performed spectacularly on regular copy paper, Moleskine paper, and blank score sheets. All three nibs are "calligraphy" (Italic) nibs and extra ones can be obtained for about $1. So how does this $1 cheap brass nib write? Honestly, better than a cheap Waterman steel nib. (Not the nibs on the high end Watermans). It writes extremely smooth with just a hint of feedback. There is no skipping, and the ink flow is extremely even, unlike my Lamy nibs which tend to create lines that are much darker on one side than the other.
When you write with this pen, it looks like as if a calligraphy marker had made the words. The line is so even and uniform that it's hard to distinguish them from those created by my Faber-Castell calligraphy pen.
The feed on the Broad nib was a bit off-center, but I didn't notice any visible effects.
Now for the bad parts. The pen is uncomfortably light for its size, and the cap does not post at all. The finish is also slightly low-quality and something inside the pen rattles a bit if you shake it (not noticeable when writing). The threads are also not cut very well, and there is an audible squeak when I unscrew the section.
However, for the cost of $5 I would say you can't go wrong with this pen. I'd say it makes a great beginner fountain pen for anyone.
Thanks for reading.
Posted 09 August 2009 - 15:42
Posted 10 August 2009 - 02:25
This would be a good pen for introducing newbies to the world of italic nibs, and fountain pens.
Posted 10 August 2009 - 02:31
I just bought a set with 6 different nibs yesterday on UK eBay!