Aesthetics. Whilst the Parker 51 "Special" was meant to be a lower-end version of the P51, the Hero jumbo 616(Doctor) was going to be A LOT cheaper that any parker 51 version, while retaining the overall design of the original pen. At a first look, these 2 pens are almost identical. The shade on the parker is a bit darker, the barrel of the hero is slightly longer and sharper towards the end, the cap on the hero has small horizontal line running acros- just like in other variants of the parker 51, but not seen on the P51 special. Again, the clip on the parker is slightly shorter, more flexible than the hero`s.
The hero has a pleasant metal "jewel" on the top of the cap, whilst the parker has a translucent plastic one(miising on my pen).
The clutch ring is slightly different. The hero has two narrow rings and between them there is a small ink window, the parker has an all metal clutch. Both clutches perform well, the grip is slightly better on the parker. The aerometric converters are very similar.
Quality of construction. Again, the pens are pretty similar. The plastic of the hero doesn`t match parker quality, nor does the ink sac. The parker is heavier. Still, the difference is not exactly what i would call huge. The main difference is that the type of plastic used in making the P51 is tougher than the one on the hero. Despite this, i happen to know that these chinese replicas can, if taken care of, last up to 20 years of use before the barrel starts to crack near the clutch ring. But the P51 can last much longer than this.
The caps are very similar(and interchangeable), both are solid, but again the parker has an edge- nothing remarkable, though.
Writing. This is the important bit. So these pens look-alike, but do they write-alike? I should start by saying that i like both nibs. The parker is fitted with a medium nib, the hero has a fine nib.
The parker nib is wider at the top, and has a noticeable ball of tipping. The hero version is narrower, and the tipping is....almost missing- Later edit: I forgot that the 2 pens had different nib sizes, but i happen to have a fine octanium parker 51 nib, and that one is almost identical to the hero nib. In writing, i have noticed 2 main differences between the clones and the real parker 51: the 51 has a better, slightly wet ink flow, and the nib provides less feedback than the hero- probably because of the tipping. Both nibs have a tolerant sweet spot and are rigid.
However, the hero has the tendency of becoming drier after left uncapped for a few minutes, which doesn`t happen on the Parker 51. Because of the better ink flow and lower degree of feedback, the parker 51 is definitely smoother than the hero`s.
Filling systems and price. The aerometric filler of the hero 616 takes a good amount of ink and is better constructed than other chinese pens, but the parker version is superior, it feels better while filling the pen. The sac on the 51 will last much longer than the one of the hero.
Price: the average parker 51 will cost about 50-80 dollars, a brand new hero 616 jumbo(doctor) sells for 4 dollars. Under these conditions, it`s only logical to assume that the parker 51 is a better pen(it has to be). But the price/quality ratio is won by the hero version.
Final Considerations: i will state here what i should have stated since the beginning of this small comparison/review. Al the credit for the design and technology of the pens i just compared goes to the parker pen company. Hero couldn`t have made such a nice copy of the parker 51 if there was no parker 51 to copy.
That being said, i don`t think there can be a real confrontation of these two pens, because the parker 51 is no longer produced, and even if it were, some people couldn`t have afforded to buy one. But many people can afford a hero 616 jumbo. Therefore, i think it`s fair to say that the hero doctor can be regarded as an unintentional homage to the parker 51. And for what they are, both pens are great pens.
Did i mention that i myself learned how to write using a 25 cents copy of a parker 51? but it wasn`t a hero 616 jumbo, the hero can be considered a luxury pen in comparison with what i had. Ah, stories...
Edited by rochester21, 20 April 2013 - 19:45.