|6/1/15 Platinum Carbon ink, Van Gogh watercolors, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook|
One of my few complaints about the inexpensive (and much loved) Sailor “calligraphy” Fude de Mannen pen is that the cap doesn’t post properly, so I’ve had to resort to putting unsightly tape around the trim ring near the tail. The advantage of the Sailor Profit Fude de Mannen, its better-dressed but only slightly more expensive brother, is that it has a more conventional body shape with a cap that posts well. The two styles have identical, interchangeable nibs. The problem with both of these pens, however, is that each comes in only one body color, so whenever I want to carry several with different inks (which is always), I can’t tell them apart in my bag. My solution has been to put ugly blobs of paint on the cap tips.
At last, I’ve found a way to solve both issues inexpensively and colorfully! (OK, I acknowledge that my unsightly tape and paint blob solutions are the least expensive, but sometimes DIY is just downright tacky.) A while back I was surfing around JetPens.com and stumbled upon the Sailor My First fountain pen set, which includes a Fude de Mannen nib and a conventional nib, each of which fits onto the single pen body in the set. I was pretty sure that the Fude de Mannen nib in the set would be identical to the ones on the other previously mentioned pens, and I was right. The nibs are all interchangeable. The plastic My First pen is marketed to children, so it has a somewhat elementary school look to it (the black and red one above), but who cares? It’s lightweight and comfortable to use, the cap posts well, and it looks substantially different from my other Sailors. Issues resolved!
What’s even more interesting, though, is that the My First pen body looked vaguely familiar . . . and then I recalled the Sailor Clear Candy pen that I’d seen on J-Subculture.com. Also marketed as a starter fountain pen, it comes in a variety of bright kiddie colors. And as I’d suspected, the conventional nib on the Clear Candy is interchangeable with the fude nibs on the My First, the Profit and the “calligraphy” Fude de Mannen.
So I bought a couple of Clear Candy pens (the transparent and blue ones above), took the fude nibs off my poorly posting “calligraphy” pens and put them onto the Clear Candy bodies. They all post perfectly, and I can identify them easily in my bag.
|My family of Sailor fude pens.|
By the way, if you’ve been interested in trying out a fude nib but all my chatter about high-end grails, low-end bad posters and other talk has made your head spin, here’s what I recommend: the dark blue Sailor Profit (No. 3 in the photo at right). For 12 bucks at J-Subculture and $17 on Amazon, it has the most conventional fountain pen body, so you won’t have to get used to the “calligraphy” pen’s unusually long body or tolerate its faulty cap. If you end up hating the fude nib, let me know, and I’ll send you one of the conventional nibs that I’ve swapped off of a Clear Candy. Then you won’t have wasted the cost of the Profit.
Here are the members of my Sailor Fude de Mannen family (I actually own several of most styles, but I’ve shown only one of each) from left to right:
- My Sailor 1911 Naginata Fude de Mannen “grail” – the big daddy of the family
- The Sailor “calligraphy” pen – the poorly posting one that introduced me to the fude world
- The Sailor Profit – the better-dressed but only slightly more expensive brother of No. 2
- The Sailor Clear Candy – the younger sister available in lots of colorful outfits and conventional nibs only
- The Sailor My First – with an identical body to the Clear Candy; comes with both conventional and fude nibs