Moonman M5 EF Fude Mini-Review

Okay, maybe not so “mini” after all!

Stats:

  • Weight: 24-25g total, 11g without cap (yes, the cap is 13-14g!)
  • Length capped: 12.7 cm / 5″
  • Length unposted (body+nib): 11.5 cm / 4  1/4″
  • Length posted: 15.3 cm / 6  1/16″

2018-05-24 08.20.41

Nib:

Quite small, seems a bit smaller than a normal #5 nib.  After corrected for mildly misaligned nib tines, a pleasantly smooth writer, a little on the wet side, with a touch of pleasant feedback.  The Fude (bent) nib improves performance at high writing angles and offers broader horizontal strokes when held at the right angle, like the reverse of an italic.  I was slightly disappointed by the fude, because it did not offer as much line variation as expected – only a bit more than a PenBBS Waverly (upturned) nib.  It helps to use a quite low writing angle for maximum results.  Despite this, I am overall very happy with the nib — it’s a very enjoyable writer.

2018-05-24 08.19.56

Experience & Pen Body:

Pleasant to use – the wood feels nice in hand, with a pleasant warmth and texture.  This pen is quite light and short un-posted, too small for comfortable use with my large hands, but those with smaller fingers might appreciate it.  When the cap is put on the back of the pen, it will attach solidly but does not insert deeply.  Given that the cap is actually heavier than the rest of the body, the result is quite back-heavy.  It’s not as much of a problem because the pen is fairly light (unlike the Yiren 827), but is enough to be irritating.

Overall the body feels well-made — until you try to unscrew the section from the barrel.   It is extremely hard to unscrew initially and squeaky thereafter – annoying but something you’ll experience once per filling.   The cap screws on solidly to the section just behind the nib, which is an unusual touch and I like – it works well.  To avoid unscrewing the section when you remove the cap, they have reversed threading directions.

Can we talk about the clip for a moment though?  Generally clips are the last thing I care about, but  the clip on the Moonman M5 is outstanding in several ways.  First, it’s nicely spring-loaded – a touch that you’d expect from higher-end pens.  Second, it has the most gorgeous wavy pattern and texturing on it.   The photo below really does not do it justice.

Aesthetics:

Creativity pays off.  In the Chinese pen market, where imitation is sadly still common, Moonman did something original here, and it pays off: the pen’s design overall just works.  The dark wood grain is quite pleasant and the styling curves on the clip as I’ve mentioned are unusual and lovely, and they add just enough flair to the design.  I will say the cap seems a little too bulbous and ungainly to me, but that was apparently an intentional choice.   The biggest surprise in my opinion is that this manages to avoid the inexplicable and jarring design elements that mar many otherwise-excellent Chinese pens. For example, the sunburst finial on the Wing Sung 698.  This is a harmonious and well thought-out look, and while I think there’s room to iteratively tweak it, the result is good.

2018-05-24 08.19.26

Overall:

I think Moonman (Lecai) is overall onto a very good thing here.  They just need to do one more iteration to fix a few flaws and they’ll have a hit on their hands.  Specifically, the nib, wood, and overall design are excellent but the dimensions and balance are just not right for my hands (and I suspect for many others).  Un-posted it might work for very small hands.   In my ideal world, they would add about 2 cm onto the pen body, reduce the outer diameter of the cap slightly, allow the cap to post more deeply, and add a little more weight to the section while making the cap lighter.  A balance of 15-20g for the body and 7-10g for the cap would be idea. This would allow the pen to work well with the cap both posted and un-posted, to accommodate a variety of hands.  It’s a very reasonable value at $20 though – especially for the nib.

 

2018-05-24 08.18.43
Writing sample and initial rough review

2 thoughts on “Moonman M5 EF Fude Mini-Review

  1. Can’t agree more with your tales of its design, one that “manages to avoid the inexplicable and jarring design elements that mar many Chinese pens“!
    Also thank you for this hands-on review which reveals some potential real life issues this pen might cause——great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! To clarify: I think it’s a generally really well-made pen — maybe this draft reads a little overly harsh (I might edit it a bit) — the dimensions/balance are just a bit off. I really, really like what they’re doing with the body and clip though, and would like to see Moonman iterate on this design a bit more, because I think they’re onto something.

      Liked by 1 person

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