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Duke #2007, aka "Mini Torpedo"

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12 replies to this topic

#1 GrantC



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Posted 09 April 2006 - 23:18

Review: Duke "2007" (aka "Mini Torpedo")

Since pictures and descriptions are available on isellpens.com and hisnibs.com, I'll not waste bandwidth with pictures here.

First Impressions: After seeing this on isellpens.com, I was intrigued by its color, size, and construction. Having had good luck with other Duke products, and spurred by the reasonable price, I decided to give it a try.

Appearance/finish: This is a very good looking pen. Duke seems to be the schizophrenic pen maker - when they're good, they're really good, but when they're bad they are UGLY! This pen thankfully fits into the former category.

The design is a classic asymmetrical torpedo shape, minimalist but with just enough "extra" to make it unique. I like the rose-colored accents, as opposed to the yellow of gold or gold plate; they are distinctive, and very elegant. The cap has a little "ball" on the top, which gives it some character when clipped into a pocket. I like that look so much, I'd like to see a series from Duke featuring that little topknot!

The pen is made of lacquer over copper; the lacquer work is highly polished, and consists of tiny red metallic chips in a very dark lacquer. To see the red, you must have a bright, direct light source and be looking for them. It's not at all gaudy, ostentatious, or distracting - they just give a depth to the finish that is missing on a plain black lacquer (or resin) body. The result is a lacquer with "soul", and photos really don't do it justice. The lacquer on mine is flawlessly applied, but it is ever so slightly soft - not that you'll damage it through normal handling, but posting the cap will leave telltale marks. Because of this slight softness, I would not carry this in a pocket with any metal objects.

Design/size/weight: this is a small pen! Capped, it's only 4-1/2" long; you must post the cap to write comfortably, which makes it 5" overall. When first picking it up, you expect it to be very light, like a resin pen - but the metal construction means that it is the same weight as a larger model. I have a Cross Penatia Lexington with resin body, and it is much larger than the Duke - but the weight is the same. It's not heavy in the absolute sense, because it is well balanced. I find it easy to write with, and I do not like heavy pens! (An unposted Rotring 600 is as heavy as I like to use.)

The pen is somewhat thick, measuring 1/2" at its widest. The steep taper of the section, though, makes it handle like a narrower pen. I don't like overly narrow or overly thick pens, but I find this to be very comfortable for extended writing sessions.

The cap is a snap-on affair, and posting necessitates just a bit of a "twist" in the process. The barrel unscrews from the feed on nicely machined metal threads that don't come loose in a pocket - something I can't say for some more expensive pens!

Nib performance: Duke scores again! I've had the pleasure of using several of Duke's pens, and I always come away impressed. This nib - nominally a medium, but writing to the fine side - is gold plated, very smooth and lays down a medium-wet line with no pressure necessary. The nib has a hint of flex, the line widening just noticeably as a bit of pressure is applied.

The nib has a very small amount of "drag" on the paper; no scratching, though, and the effect is so unobtrusive that I hesitate to call it "tooth". "Drag" is a good term, and there is just the slightest amount felt. It is not as friction-free as my old Cross Century, but is a bit better than my medium-nibbed Rotring 600. Personally, I've grown to prefer this feel over the friction-free Cross nibs; I just like being able to "feel" where the nib is on the paper. (It also gives better feedback as to the amount of pressure being exerted.)

How about upside-down? Well, it's surprisingly good! It now has what I'd call just a hint of "tooth", still not scratchy but definitely more friction than normal. (In comparison, it's better than my other Rotring '600', which carries a gold 'EF' nib.) The line is now extra-fine, but still fairly wet and very uniform. I'm impressed!

Filling system: The pen uses a squeeze-type filler; the sac is black, so I don't know if it's a true aerometric. The one downside of this diminutive pen is a smallish ink capacity; if you do a lot of writing at a stretch - class notes, etc. - this is not the pen for you. It fills easily and to its capacity, it's just that the capacity is a bit less than a full sized pen.

Value: Like most of the Chinese pens available, the cost is remarkably low. Unlike some others, though, this is a real value. I've tried several of Hero's products, for instance, and while they're cheap they also feel cheap. Not so Duke - I've had three different Duke models, and all of them felt and performed much better than their prices would lead you to believe. This is a pen that looks and performs in the "over $100" class, despite costing me less than $20 from isellpens.com

Conclusion: This is one of those pens that is a joy to use, carry, and look at. Highly recommended! However, there is one thing I'd like to see Duke change: I want a full-size version of this pen! A larger rendition would be gorgeous, and I believe would enhance its appeal to those who like the design, features and performance but don't like the small stature. (Hey, Duke, if you do this remember where you got the idea!)

Edited by GrantC, 09 April 2006 - 23:46.

-=[ Grant ]=-

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#2 wimg


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Posted 09 April 2006 - 23:28

Hi Grant,

Your first review you say? Wow. Impressive. This is a great review! Thank you!

I do see you say that pictures don't capture this pen's sheen and depth of colour, but could you give it a try nonetheless?

TIA, warmest regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
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#3 southpaw


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Posted 10 April 2006 - 02:37

Superb review! Nice job, Grant.
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#4 DrPJM1


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Posted 10 April 2006 - 03:06

Good Review!

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#5 Lucinda



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Posted 14 April 2006 - 00:14

I bought three pens when I began my FP adventures. This was one of them, and it's a very nice little pen. Understated, elegant and a graceful writer. I'd had it 8 days when it slipped (capped) out of my hand onto thick carpeting, the cap came off, and one side of the nib bent at a 60 degree angle. I'd gotten it at isellpens.com, and Todd replaced the nib section for me at what I considered a reasonable price, to my great relief.

I DO really like this pen. That said, let me add two slight cautions.

1. The cap has a tendency to be a little loose, from what I've gathered from a remark made somewhere else on this board and definitely from my own experience. When I first got mine, the cap shut with a soft bump rather than a solid click, and it came off easily. Since the nib section has been replaced, it shuts with a very definite click but comes off much more easily than it goes on, although not as much as before the nib section replacement.

2. The smoothly tapered shape and the weight of the pen lend it to slipping through one's hand, if you're not prepared for it. Or maybe it's a combination of the taper, the weight, the smoothness of the material (absolutely gorgeous and nice to the touch!) and the petite size. Granted, I'm more aware of the hazard of dropping it now, since I did once, but none of my other pens are quite so quick to attempt a get-away as this one. :ph34r:

Those things said, I have to reiterate that I REALLY DO like this little pen. As a matter of fact, I've been carrying her around all week inked with Noodler's Burgundy. She's worth the extra effort of keeping an quick eye and a firm hand on her. The only reasons I wouldn't recommend her might be for someone who has difficulty hanging onto things--for arthritic hands or similar problems, for example.

The line. The line is lovely! And I agree with Grant: we need a larger version to go with this little gem.

#6 Phthalo


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Posted 08 May 2006 - 00:58

I just received my Mini Torpedo and I adore it!

Yes, the cap post is quirky, but I found it very secure and I posted it right the first time. I don't think I will always post it though - I don't want to mar that pretty deep red shimmer-finish!

My nib is OUTSTANDING. Finer than I expected - which is great, since all I tend to by are EF's, and I was worried the line would be too wet. This is such a sweet little writer! Upside down it writes like no other - utterly smooth, quite unreal. I think I scored a top, top Duke nib on this pen.

Hard to show the red shimmer, but here is a hint of it:

Posted Image

What a great pen!
Laura / Phthalo
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#7 AndyHayes


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Posted 22 July 2007 - 18:28

Nice pics Phthalo. Thanks
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#8 turbodiesel80@



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Posted 10 August 2007 - 23:24

i ordered this pen today smile.gif

can't wait till it gets here......very excited


#9 krz


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Posted 12 August 2007 - 03:19

I think Duke, Hero and other fountain pen makers in the orient add way too much falderah and mix too many motifs. The Duke Mini-Torpedo bucks that trend with a simplistic elegance that works well. Mine gets a lot of use too.

Thanks for the nice review.
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#10 agchristie



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Posted 27 February 2009 - 11:02

where can one still get this pen at an affordable price especially including shipping to Europe? I have read several other posts too where it said the pen cost under $20 even incl. shipping but the only price I was able to find was $35 without shipping!
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#11 jebib


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Posted 28 February 2009 - 21:50

I purchased one about four years ago, and found most of the above positive comments true. My only disappointment is that there isn't a full sized model. In my opinion a "torpedo" would be sensational.

#12 ladyinthemists


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Posted 04 June 2019 - 14:42

Okay, several years late but where might it still be possible to find and purchase one of the Duke Mini-Torpedo fountain pens? I'm interested.....

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#13 BillPorter


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Posted 04 June 2019 - 20:17

Okay, several years late but where might it still be possible to find and purchase one of the Duke Mini-Torpedo fountain pens? I'm interested.....

Here's the only one I found: https://www.ebay.com...SoAAOSwajRcYnbV

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