Sometimes There’s A Pen: The Ohto Dude + Noodler’s Red-Black


Ohto Dude in Silver
+ “fine” nib
+ Noodler’s Red-Black

This pen has gotten mixed reviews, and the only explanation I can come up with for the vitriol of the negative ones is the poor quality control. Because it seems to me that those who dislike the pen got duds. (And nobody wants a dud Dude.)


In my experience, this pen has been an incredibly reliable writer, not to mention hella attractive and comfortable in the hand! To be more specific:

The Ohto Dude is a metal-bodied pen with an attractive hexagonal barrel and snap cap. The barrel tapers at the end to a round profile. The section is made of hard black plastic with a silky, non-gloss finish — very comfortable. The pen’s clip is firm and grippy, made of metal. The name is the pen is branded on the cap. And the domed ends of the pen are a highly reflective chrome, a nice contrast to the slightly duller aluminum of the body.


So how does it write? Well, I confess to being originally disappointed because the “fine” nib wasn’t quite as fine as I like — actually, it seems more of a western medium. But I’ve grown to love it, especially since I inked it up with Noodler’s Red-Black for the first time.


Surprisingly, there’s even a bit — a tiny bit — of flex to this nib. I wouldn’t go crazy with it, but it’s there. Out of all my pens, this one is by far the smoothest writer and more often than not the one I reach for when I want to write a letter to an old friend.


I only have three problems with this pen. One is mostly aesthetic: the nib, while beautiful, is very, very small. It seems out of proportion with the rest of the pen, which is fairly industrial-looking; even without the pen being too hefty, the nib seems too delicate to match the rest of it.


In addition, the section, although silky-smooth, is a little short, and on top of having big hands I like to hold my pens further back on the barrel (see above), which means I end up gripping the bands of metal onto which the cap snaps — not so comfy, but I’ve gotten used to it. (If the nib were a bit bigger, I might not have to grip so far back.) Also, the threading that connects barrel to section have gotten loose, so that sometimes when I remove the cap I have to tighten them back up again. I’m not sure if this is a problem with the model or whether I damaged the threads myself at some point by over-threading.



Despite these flaws, I’m still planning on adding a second Dude to my collection soon, as well — it is available in four colors: silver, purple, royal blue, and black, and I was really on the fence between the silver and the black when I first made the purchase. Also, I gave a dear friend the purple version for her birthday, as she wanted to get into fountain pens, and I definitely think this is a GREAT starter pen for new fountain pen enthusiasts.


As a BONUS, I’m including a mini-review of one of my new favorite inks: Noodler’s Red-Black!

This is the first of Noodler’s inks I’ve ever used, and it’s already a solid favorite. It’s called red-black but on paper it seems more like a richly tinted brown. The red is definitely there, but it’s saturated by the black, giving it good potential for an every day carry note-taking ink. It goes down smooth, not too lubricated, and it shows a pleasing touch of shading in a wetter nib.


Sütterlinschrift practice.

To me, this ink brings to mind ancient manuscripts, walnut dye, and spilled tea… I feel it would lend gravitas to a handwritten letter or impressive flair to any signature.


Have you tried the Dude yet? Was your experience different than mine? Let me know in the comments….


(To be clear: I welcome any and all opinions! Lay ’em on me.)

11 thoughts on “Sometimes There’s A Pen: The Ohto Dude + Noodler’s Red-Black

  1. Aw, yay! I get an oblique shout-out. Of course I’m biased, but I DO love my Ohto pen very, very much. I now own FOUR fountain pens, and true, the Ohto is by far the most expensive of the lot, but I really love the heft of it. It is all a fountain pen should be, in my opinion — though the aluminum gleam of it, and the hexagonal shape, may not meet the classic expectation.

    That ink looks very pretty, too!

      • Heheheh, I’ve been meaning to write to you about them! Yeah, I put in a JStationery order for three pens and lots of ink refills (including bottled ink), and I think that’ll suffice for a while.

        I got the blue and green Pilot Petit pens, and then the Pilot 78G in green.

  2. Sadly, I’ve had nothing but grief from the two Ohto pens I’ve bought, including the purple Dude. I repair vintage fountain pens, so I’m not afraid of tweaking if a pen needs it. (I’m looking at you, Lamy’s and Pilots and Ahabs and Sailors and TWSBIs…) But both the Ohto’s defeated me. The manufacturing flaws have to be somewhere I wouldn’t normally look for them. I wanted so much to like the Purple Dude dud…

  3. Elaine says:

    The ink wouldn’t come out. Something was preventing the capillary action that normally draws the ink from the reservoir and down through the nib onto the paper. I couldn’t get the nib off, to see if the feed was blocked, or if there was some sort of mismatch between the shape of the feed and the shape of the nib or some other mishap. The Tasche also had horribly misaligned tines, that made the dry nib scratch on paper like fingernails on a chalkboard. I fixed that at least, but I couldn’t get the ink flowing.

    Despite it all, I keep pondering the Dudes, wondering if I dare take another shot at the Ohto pen lottery and see if I chance upon a good writer. (Because… It’s purple! My resistance is futile.)

  4. I have the Purple Dude from JetPens, and I adore it. Smooth writing inked up with Noodler’s North African Violet. I don’t even mind that the nib is petite in light of the design of the pen, although I see your point. I like your reviews a lot and ordered the Dude after reading this one. I don’t regret it one bit. It joins my modest beginners collection: Parker Arrow Flighter (from some years ago), Pilot Metropolitan, Muji Aluminum Round, Jinhao X750 and some calligraphy numbers.

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