After my purchase of a trio of 616 Jumbo’s earlier (which have already been reviewed), I was pleased how such cheap pens can give high levels of user satisfaction and so decided to buy more. I had won an auction for a Hero 100 (not really win, since the past winning bids were all at around the same price and so the USD28 price was defacto market price) and then placed a buy-it-now offer for a Hero 1000 with another retailer.
The Hero 1000 was the first of the two Hero’s to arrive. Here I must commend the retailer yespen (from whom I had purchased the 3 616’s previously) : his pen took only two working days to arrive because he sent them by EMS instead of the regular air-mail. As a bonus, he even threw in a standard 616 as a gift.
I expect the Hero 100 will arrive in a few more days and I look forward to comparing the duo.
Appearance & Design (8/10)
The Hero 1000 is a rather attractive pen. Its lines are sleak and have a kind of retro look. The 1000 is sufficiently different from a Parker 51 to stand out in its own right. The cap is brushed metallic substance – I am not sure whether it is plating or metal – that is very shiny and adorned with a biggish clip that is engraved with the brandname “Hero”.
The body is made of deep black plastic (“resin”) on metal (probably brass) that is actually very glossy. The sheen on the plastic actually matches that on my Montblanc 149 and surpassed the few Japanese pens that I had (Sailor 1911’s and Platinum 3776). The blackness of the barrel is separated by a plated ring where the section screws onto the barrel.
Due to the sheen on the cap and barrel, this pen needs to be polished quite often to remove finger print stains.
Construction & Quality (8/10)
The pen feels as if it is solidly built. It has quite a bit of heft since the body is metallic.
The clip fees very sturdy and will probably last quite a long time. There is no scratchiness on the clip at all, as opposed to the cheaper 616’s, and I would have no concern with clipping the pen to a shirt pocket.
The cap snaps onto the body very securely and there is a definite click to denote the closed position. One negative note is that the inside of the cap has a set of four metal strips for clamping or guiding the body onto the cap : I hope that these strips would not cause any scratches.
It takes about 3 full turns to unscrew the barrel from the section. There is some coarseness here compared to the Caran d’Ache that I had but the movement is definitely precise since the screw mechanism is metal.
Weight & Dimensions (8/10)
The pen is about 142mm in length. Without the cap, the length is around 121mm from tip to tip. I do not have any scales so cannot measure the weight. I guess that this pen weighs slightly less than a Caran d’Ache Leman. Overall, this pen is one size smaller than a MB 146 and similar to Sailor 1911 Large.
Overall, the pen has very good balance. Pens of this type of design have sections that are similar in diameter to the barrel and so feel quite broad.
Nib & Performance (8/10)
The 10kt gold nib on this pen is very stiff. There is no flex at all and hence no line variation can be observed. The line width is narrower than a European fine but slightly wider than Japanese fine.
I have inspected the nib under a 15x loupe and have not noticed any misalignment of the tines. The nib feels smooth with just a small hint of tooth. Overall very acceptable considering the fine line put down. The sweet-spot on the nib is also quite broad.
Overall, I am very pleased with this nib. It is a superb performer out-of-the-box and allayed my fears of the hit-and-miss nature of Hero nibs.
Filling System & Maintenance (4/10)
Like the 616’s, the 1000 pens are sac-filled. I do not like these at all since they look they can puncture and take quite a few pumps to fill. The 1000 version feels as if it is better made.
I have not tried to disassemble these pens yet and so cannot comment on how easy it is to maintain them but I think that these pens would be difficult to clean and rinse.
Cost & Value (10/10)
At USD39, this is my cheapest pen (apart from the 616’s and Noodler’s Flex that are more like toys than collection pieces that have right of storage in a pouch rather in tin cases!). Cheaper than the TWSBI 530 which I dislike so much that I have not written a review for it despite having bought it more than 5 months ago.
The box for this pen is also quite attractive and spacious. I have not included photos here but they can be viewed on ebay.
This pen is excellent value for money.
These Hero 1000’s prove that cheap pens can be attractive and have excellent nib characteristics. I would recommend these pens to newbies and hardcore addicts alike.
Looking forward to see what the Hero 100 will be like.
Edited by APHK, 23 November 2011 - 03:36.