Appearance & Design (2/10): This pen is a small, plastic pen with cartoons on it. There is a picture of a starfish and a dog and somehow this translates to "urchin-dog". Upon reading this, I expected to see some sort of sea-creature/canine hybrid. But alas, I was disappointed. The nib is small and is hooded. I would give this pen a 1 out of 10, but it has a dog on it. Who doesn't like cartoon dogs? I know I like them. Also, the barrel has some cool glittery decals on it. So I boost it up a point.
Construction & Quality (1/10): The blue ring between the barrel and the section kept sliding down while I was writing. Also, there was a leak discussed below. The pen feels like it is made of some cheap plastic, which it probably is. The squeeze filler is very small and permanently cemented in. The plastic that the pen is made of actually doesn't resist staining by ink. When I wiped the ink from the section after filling, it actually left a stain. Another problem is that the clip was somewhat loose. But, I couldn't tighten it because the end-cap which retains it was glued to the cap. Also, the cap didn't snap securely in place when I capped the pen. The "Shell-Dog" cap did snap securely on, however.
Weight & Dimensions (1/10): This pen is small, light and thin. If you like lightweight pens, this is a good thing. But the pen is very thin and therefore tiring to write with. The goal here was apparently to use as little material as possible to make the pen as cheap as possible. A pen this then and small will get tiring to write with after a while.
Nib & Performance (3/10): The nib was a bit smoother than I thought. This may have been helped along by the Rhodia paper and the Noodler's Eel Ink. But, I use Rhodia on all of my reviews so that I have a baseline for comparison. The lines are really fine which is great for saving ink and filling out small forms. But, the problem with the nib/feed is that it constantly leaked ink while I was writing with it. Just to write the one page shown here, I had to wipe it 4x during the process. The nib is stiff as a nail, not very ornate, and very small. For this reason, I'm voting this a 3 out of 10. the only way it could be worse is if it were not smooth. But it was smooth surpisingly. I guarantee this nib is not tipped and will be destroyed in short order.
Filling System & Maintenance (2/10): The filling system is a permanently installed squeeze filler. It cannot be removed to install cartridges. It is also small and does not hold alot of ink. Furthermore, there isn't even a metal jacket over it. One has to squeeze the actual sac to get the ink to be taken in. Due to lack of flexibility and capacity, I rate this a 2 out of 10. I would give it a 1 out of 10, but I consider the Pilot Varsity to have the worst "filling system" as it does not fill and is disposable.
Cost & Value (1/10): Well, it was free and it writes. I guess that means it has infinite value to cost ratio. But, really, life is too short to use bad pens. So, I try to evaluate this on a "is this worth my time" basis. The answer would be no. Unless, of course, you enjoy wiping the nib which leaks every once in a while. Also, with a small filler, you will spend alot of time filling instead of writing. When I tried to look this pen up in the internet, I could find no trace of the company. So I'm not sure how much this pen would cost. But I would not pay more than $1 for it.
Conclusion (10/60) = 17% : I got this thing for free and I enjoyed reviewing it. It is a cheap pen and it looks really funny with some cartoons on it. Would I buy it, probably not. But as a collector, it is fun to have an extreme example of what a pen can look like if a company tries to drive as much cost out of it as possible. But, do not pity the poor chinese students that have to use this pen. You should take pity upon the American students with their Bic Disposable Ballpoints. As much as I disliked this pen, I'd rather use it than a ballpoint. At least with Urchin-Dog, I get my choice of ink.
The macro is awful on this camera, so I apologize for the following:
Edited by JonB55198, 06 October 2011 - 05:11.