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Baoer 507 (The Eight Horses) Review

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#1 sitnstew

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:24

Appearance & Design (8/10) – Even if this pen would have cost me 20 times what I paid for it, I would consider it a nice looking pen. The barrel has a beautiful raised copper impression with a pattern of Chinese writing and running horses. The cap is a shiny black with a copper clip and copper bands at the top and bottom. It all comes together as very classy and just flashy enough to stand out without being gaudy. I think the copper and black contrast is nice and looks like a much more expensive pen than it is. 

 

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Construction & Quality (8/10) – There is nothing about the Baoer 507 that feels cheap or poorly made. The finish is clean without any issues when it arrived. The cap is secured on the barrel with a snap-on type of fit (not sure what it’s called by it isn’t the screw-on type). When posted it is secured in the same manner and fits securely, although not very deeply. The section is made of a very cheap ribbed plastic that will probably hold up fine but is uncomfortable to hold and too small for my finger grip. Unfortunately it makes the pen fairly difficult to use for long periods of time. In my opinion, other than the nib (which I will get to in a second), the construction and quality of the pen are very nice. I know Chinese pen makers have a reputation for poor quality control but the pen itself is very well made. 

 

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Weight & Dimensions (3/10) – I don’t have extensive experience with fountain pens yet but this pen is a moderate weight – not too heavy and not too light. Unfortunately the weight is centered toward the back of the pen so it feels unbalanced even when unposted. Posting it is pretty much impossible except for short periods of time because it posts very shallowly on the barrel and since it’s already back-heavy, it makes it feel like it will fly out of your hand.

 

She sits at a length of 12.5 cm unposted and 17.0 cm posted. I have average sized hands and the length feels appropriate when unposted and too long when posted. However, when unposted it is slightly uncomfortable to hold because in addition to the awkward weight, the ledge for the cap at the back of the pen sits right in the sulcus of my hand and annoys me.

 

Nib & Performance (1/10) – You aren’t given any nib choices when order this pen online so a Medium nib is standard. The nib was the big downfall of this pen. Mine arrived in the mail with a damaged nib – one of the tines was bent down and they were spread. I contacted the seller who refunded me but I got to keep the pen anyways so I figured I’d try to work on it a bit and see if I could get it to write. I managed to get it in working condition and when I get more time I may be able to get it to write well. For now though it is a very scratchy nib. It’s not especially wet either but I think I can fix that with some tender loving care. This was unfortunately a testament to the poor quality control coming from China.

 

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Filling System & Maintenance (7/10) – The pen came with a basic international type of converter. I don’t own any high end pens so all of mine pretty much use this system and I don’t really have much to say about it other than it works fine.
 
Cost & Value (6/10) – Value is the one star feature of Chinese pens. I paid a whopping $2.82 (shipping included) for this pen to be sent to me from China care of ebay and after reporting my nib issues to the seller it ended up being free. Even with a crappy nib and currently poor performance, it is hard to argue against any fountain pen that costs as much as a Bic. I generally see them selling for more like $10 on ebay and I don’t think I’d buy it for that price given my bad nib but I’ve heard others say their nib performs beautifully. 
 
Conclusion (4/10) – It’s unfortunate that my nib came damaged because I really wanted to love this pen. It looks fantastic and the pen body is very well made. But even with a perfect nib, the pen is just too uncomfortable for long-time use. I will probably use it as a pen to learn nib working on. Otherwise it would just sit in a drawer and look pretty.

"The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.- Terry Pratchet

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#2 mhguda

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:37

I have one of these and contrary to your experience, the nib on my pen worked flawlessly from the start. I bought this pen a year ago, when I was finding out more about fountain pens than I had learned in a long life of using them on an every day basis for writing. The medium nib did not bother me then, and it does not bother me now, although I've found I am moving away from stiff medium nibs and more into stub or flex, which this pen does not have (yet).

I would agree with most of your assessment, except for the final verdict which is biased by your unfortunate experience with the nib. I think if you manage to restore the nib to its intended condition, or maybe swap in a replacement, your verdict might change... and, given the looks of this pen, I think it's definitely worth it. You might find a Bulow nib from XFountainpens (no affiliation, just a satisfied customer - NAJSC) might fit this pen. I have also been lucky in that a similar pen, the Jinhao 500, can accomodate a section from the cheap Hero calligraphy set. This set comes with three stub nibs each in their own section, and a very lightweight barrel - the pen body was too light for me in this original form, but in a heavier pen, it is wonderful.

Good luck, and I hope you can make it work!


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#3 sitnstew

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 13:41

Agreed. My review is definitely biased by the poor nib.

 

I'm going out to grab some stuff today to try to alter it so we'll see what happens. I'm not sure the pen is worth it to me to invest in a new nib if that doesn't work so I may just PIF afterward. I'm glad to hear that your experience was different! It's always a gamble with these Chinese pens. The other one I purchased from China has written like a dream (a Baoer 79 - which I'll try to review later).


"The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.- Terry Pratchet

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#4 WirsPlm

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 15:14

Too bad about the back-heavy weight (I find that often happens with Chinese FPs, sadly) and the nib. I've been thinking about this pen for a bit, but I have enough pretty pens that are back-heavy and can't be used for long periods, so now I think I'll pass.

#5 TLab3000

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 19:25

I really don't like that nib design. Every nib like that that I have is not as good as they should be, well, apart from the one I worked on ;)

Fortunately, they can be easily replaced and the feed itself isn't so bad. So If someone really liked the design, they could get the pen and a Knox nib and still pay less than a Safari costs while having a better nib.







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