the fuliwen dragon retails for around $300, with street price of 200. the metal portion of the body is made of zinc, depicting a dragon clutching a pearl in bas relief. the rest of the pen is marbled pearlescent amber and brown celluloid. there are some unusual design elements to the pen. it's clipless, and the cap is quite small. in fact, the cap cannot be posted, and given its dimunitive size, can potentially be easily lost. many won't like this unusual feature. if you look closely, the ends of the pen, including the section, gently taper outwards. this makes for a slightly unconventional, but ultimately (for me) comfortable grip. in fact, this is much more comfortable to hold than its cousin, the fuliwen eight horses, which had too skinny a section. i originally purchased the eight horses model due to its more conventional postable cap with clip. that pen was quite substantially heavier (too heavy for me) since it had more zinc cladding. i ultimately returned that pen due to a leak.
the packaging is elaborate. the inner pen box is of metal and faux wood, and holds the pen, a zinc pen canister, and a box of 5 international size black cartridges. the outer pen box inner lid, inner pen box inner lid, and pen canister are all imprinted/engraved with a dragon motif. fancy schmancy.
the dragon's eyes are painted in a red plastic, which fell off within a week. it nevertheless looks ok. it would have been real cool if the eyes were tiny embedded rubies, even though i normally hate gems/jewelry in watches, and men's jewelry in general. a simple wedding band is enough for me, thank you.
the nib is 14k yellow gold, medium point. it's simply engraved with the fuliwen logo, and is fairly small, but still in proportion to the pen. there is some springiness to the nib. i'd say that the feel of the point to paper is semi-smooth - definately not glassy smooth, but also not scratchy like a fine point. the line is generously wide for a medium, and the flow of ink is average. it skipped like an arrythmia when filled with waterman red ink, and now skips only once in a while filled with aurora black. it'll skip maybe once every four sentences, usually on a downstroke, like when writing an "a".
the filling system is typical cartridge/convertor. it takes a little over two complete revolutions to fully uncap. total length is 13.7 mm ( 5 3/8 in), uncapped is almost the same size. section circumference is about 37 mm (1 1/2 in). the pen is heavy for its size due to the metal body, but is ideally balanced as the ends of the pen are of lighter celluloid. as mentioned above, i think the section is comfortable, but it may not be for those who grip the section far down, close to the nib - there's quite a sharp dropoff at the level of the threads. the relief sculpture provides for tactile enjoyment, and is not so bumpy as to interfere with comfort or be a nuisance.
this pen represents pretty good bang for the buck. the dragon relief is traditional and classical in appearance. in fact, the body of the pen is reminiscent of the imperial palace pillars in the recent action/period movie hero starring jet li, which was on cable as i was shooting the pictures. although i'll probably never use the pen canister, it's still a nice bonus and stunning to look at. although dragons are quite common in japanese maki-e pens, the cost of admission there is at least a grand for a decent example. (i think maki-e and italian celluloid will ruin me). when i feel overwhelmed or sorry for myself, i turn this pen slowly around and slowly a smile appears on my face. this pen is not for everyone, and some will hate the small cap, lack of clip, and unpost-ability. i carry this pen in my piquadro single pen holder, and hold onto the cap with determination when i use this at work. if this pen had ruby eyes for the dragon and didn't skip, it would be one of my favorites. nevertheless, it's quite an unusal and exotic pen, at a fairly acceptable price.
ok, so now time for ratings. why? well, it seems that everyone loves them, despite the fact that they're so personal/subjective, and ultimately meaningless to many. but who cares, it's fun. remember, ymmv.
cap and body (12/20): cap is small and clipless, can be easily lost. eyes fell off. fit and finish not on par with the big boys
section (7/10): initially strange form, but i got used to it
nib performance (12/20): some feedback on smooth paper, skips occasionally
writing comfort (17/20): not light nor heavy, balanced
design (7/10): interesting dragon motif, celluloid color matches well with zinc body
value (8/10): $300 retail ($200 street price) is good bang for the buck
filling system (6/10): typical c/c. no big whoop
total: 69/100 (100 would be the perfect pen, which as you & i know, doesn't yet exist)
next review, conway stewart doctor's pen...
Edited by davyr, 16 November 2005 - 19:23.