The Sailor Fude DE Mannen is an interesting fountain pen that can be found for about $16 in the USA and about £7 in the UK if you do a little hunting. (Hint: Amazon.) It’s available in two versions, one green, one blue, each with a different nib. More on those nibs later.
The name of this pen confused me for a long time. As you can see in the handwritten part of the review, I thought it was the CDE pen for a while but it turns out that the C is actually a Japanese character. I’m ignorant, I know. Fortunately there are cleverer people than me in the world and I found this rather excellent review on Parka Blogs that explained it all to me. The set of characters before the DE says Fude, which is what this kind of nib is, and the second set says Mannen, which means fountain pen.
This is a very long pen. (You can see just how long this pen is when you look at the handwritten review.) It’s designed to be held at different angles and the length makes this easier to do. The cap screws closed and pushes on to post. There’s a little ridge on the cap to stop the pen rolling away.
Sailor pens use proprietary cartridges and this one is no exception. You can use Sailor cartridges or a Sailor converter.
This pen is, of course, all about that rather mad nib. In this green version of the pen, the nib is bent at a 55˚ angle. In the blue one it’s a mere 40˚. This gives huge line variation. Holding the pen vertically gives a very fine line. This widens as you approach holding the pen at the 55˚ angle. I found with my pen that at this widest point the line became a little ragged – I’m not sure the feed could quite deliver enough ink. Up to almost that limit, there were no problems at all.
This design is meant to facilitate Japanese calligraphy. (These pens are often called calligraphy pens.) As I have already demonstrated, Japanese is not my strong point, and so I can’t tell you how helpful it is. For my own scrawly handwriting, it’s a menace. Quite probably in skilled hands you could get a wonderful flowing script going. What I’ve found though is that this is a great pen for sketching with. Last Friday’s picture was drawn with this pen and so was a picture of Corfe Castle I posted last year. It’s a lot of fun and the line variation is very useful.
At this point, I have to recommend spending some time reading Tina’s absolutely fantastic series on this pen and many similar fude pens. She gets deep into the whole business and her art is fantastic.
This is a fun pen. I can recommend it for something a little different and for drawing with. My eight year old daughter loves it and has contributed to the handwritten review, as you can see. It was playing around with this pen that prompted her to ask for her first fountain pen. My work here is done.