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Hero 001 and Hero 70


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#1 Mike

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 00:58

In amidst all their various Parker-inspired hooded-nib pens, everyone's favourite Chinese fountain pen company - Hero - or more properly the Shanghai Hero Pen Company - makes a pair of pens with some slightly unusual nibs. No, I'm not talking about Chinese-calligraphy nibs; I'm referring instead to the four-way "ball" nib found on the Hero 001 and 70 pens.

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I was curious how these pens performed, so I acquired a pair of each. Here's a look at our test subjects:

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That's an all-black Lamy Safari in there, for a size comparison. The Hero 70 is the dark blue pen; the lighter blue one is the 001, sometimes also (incorrectly) called the 360. Cat hair courtesy of teh kittehs.

Both, as you can see, are fairly slim pens:

Hero 001: 5 5/16" capped, 5 3/4" posted; 3/8" thick.

Hero 70: 5 1/4" capped, 6 1/16" posted; 3/8" thick.

Both have standard non-removable squeeze fillers with breather tubes that hold a quite respectable amount of ink.

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Superficially, the Hero 70 looks quite a bit more up-market than the 001 - it's got chrome'd trim on the barrel and cap, topped by white enamel or maybe resin jewels like you'd find on pen-shaped objects costing hundreds of dollars more; the body is some sort of matte enamel or lacquer or something, over brass. It's kind of a pity, because the pen is sort of awful - the body covering wears away almost immediately when you post the cap, the trim isn't terribly well plated, and the clip is basic and not spring-loaded or anything.

The Hero 001, by contrast, looks like a cheap student pen, or something - body and cap are anodized aluminum without any real decoration, save a (chrome'd? polished aluminum?) silver-colored modernist bit on the end of the cap. Ironically, the anodizing is flawless, the plating or finishing of the silver-coloured bits is quite good, and the clip is nicely spring-loaded. Go figure.

Now that the boring cosmetics are out of the way, what's up with that nib?

The idea is apparently that you can write at any angle, without concern for the alignment of nib tines to paper, as the business end is a round ball of tipping material divided neatly into four symmetrical tines. In practice, how well this works depends on what ink you use, and the angle at which you hold the pen relative to the paper. Overwriters will probably have better luck than an under-writer like myself.

The nibs on both models are identical; steel nib with a pair of hard plastic feeds, set into a white plastic collar of some sort.

The good news is that the nibs lay down a pretty consistent and very wet medium line, regardless of how they're held. They start reliably, even after being left sitting for several days, and don't suffer from skipping or other flow issues. They also redefine what the term "nail" means when applied to nibs, having slightly less flex than a dead, arthritic octogenarian in the throes of rigor mortis. While they won't produce any interesting and over-rated line variation, they also will not be damaged by the ham-fisted, accidentally being dropped onto hard floors from several stories up, or (mis)use as a center punch. The bad news is that on all four of my nibs, there was at least one side to every nib that was horribly rough or scratchy, though this wasn't anything that couldn't be remedied with some smoothing and polishing. The design of the nib doesn't lend itself well to adjustment, either; I prefer a rather drier line, which I was unable to achieve. The nib and feed don't appear to be removable from any of the pens, though I tried.

Bottom line: there's a reason this sort of nib isn't in more widespread use; it seems neat, but in actual practice it's really pretty undistinguished. If you don't mind smoothing the nib, a Hero 001 can make a good loaner pen for heavy-handed ballpoint users, as it's nigh-indestructible. If you're comfortable doing some nib reshaping, a Hero 001 could be the basis of some truly awesome custom pens (four widths of stub on a single pen?). If you're one of those people who wants a pen that works smoothly and flawlessly right out of the box, the Hero 001 is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you'd like a strange wet medium nib on a $7 pen that almost looks like a Mont Blanc from a distance in bad light and will begin to suffer obvious and visible signs of use within hours, the Hero 70 is the pen you've been waiting for. :P

Having smoothed the nib on one of the 001s, I'll probably keep it inked at work, as a loaner to people who want to borrow pens. Even after smoothing the nib on one of the 70s, I'm unimpressed by it, to the extent that I filled it with Bay State Blue hoping that it would melt or explode or fall apart or do something else interesting. Alas, all that happened was that I took notes with BSB for several days at work, and now have one gently used Hero 70 whose feed and sac are blue. :D

Hero 70s are $7-something on eBay; Hero 001 (as the "Hero 360") are $5 at ISellPens.com . I'm not affiliated with any of the merchants, except as a sucker of a customer.

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#2 shaqin93

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:20

Interesting nibs...looks like they sort of got the idea from those Sailor Cross Emperor nibs and stuck two of those together.

#3 thomasdav

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 06:25

Interesting... I have been looking at getting a '70 for quite some time (and probably still will, you know how it is...) but his gives me something to think about when I get it. Thanks for the review!
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#4 klw

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 07:02

I've had a Hero 360 (aka 001) for over a couple of months now and it's a most unusual pen that excellently fills some specific needs.

Although I love the teal blue colour, it will never be mistaken for a hoity-toity pen. But then it only cost $5.00 from isellpens, and how much hoit, let alone toit, can one expect for that price?

It's about the same size as my Reform 1745 and, when posted, is a well balanced small diameter pen. The metal section never feels slippery and comfortably positions my fingers so that they never get smudged. It's flown with me several times (nib up on take off and landing) and never leaked a drop. It always starts without problem.

The nib truly does redefine the definition of a nail. You could probably attach it to an ice skate, or shoot it from a rifle into a board and have it survive (am I dating myself here??). I'd have no fear in handing this to somebody used to a crystal Bic. A nail, yes, but mine writes smoothly - with just a little tooth - no matter how I turn the nib. No, it's not the pen I'd choose to write the great novel, but just fine for lesser tasks, and I don't think there's a great novel in me anyway. Where this pen shines for me is when I have to fill out forms and checks - particularly those multi-part ones where one has to bear down. This could well be the modern manifold nib.

Mine is inked up with PR Invincible Aqua Blue. I've not had any flow problems. It's on the wet side, but I prefer my pens that way, and it's not too wet for the newspaper crossword puzzle. For me, this is the pen and ink for legal documents, for addressing envelopes (rain and dampness are considerations in Oregon), for NCR checks, and multi-part forms.

A lotta bang for five bucks, and with it's manifold capabilities I never have to use a ballpoint again.

#5 hari317

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 09:12

These nibs are inspired from the Sailor Trident.

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#6 gross

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 09:31

Thank you for the interesting review, Mike and thank you, Klw, for your informative addition. I never considered one of these pens for myself. Now, I think there may be a place for one (maybe the 360) in my line up after all. I guess it is due to my old fashioned, narrow minded notions of what a fountain pen should nib should be like that I have difficulty thinking of these types of pens as real fountain pens.
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#7 ZeissIkon

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 17:08

Are you sure you don't have those pens crossed up? I've got two pens I bought from Chinese sellers as Hero 70s, and they look like the one you're labeling as the 001: the slightly shorter, matte-finished body with chrome furniture and white cap and barrel jewels.

That said, I agree with everything you said about the nibs: there's always a rough spot somewhere, they don't adjust, they're almost indestructible, and they're perfect for handing to a ball point user. Mine aren't excessively wet, at least.
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#8 Mike

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 17:44

Are you sure you don't have those pens crossed up? I've got two pens I bought from Chinese sellers as Hero 70s, and they look like the one you're labeling as the 001: the slightly shorter, matte-finished body with chrome furniture and white cap and barrel jewels.


I think you're just misreading what I wrote: "Superficially, the Hero 70 looks quite a bit more up-market than the 001 - it's got chrome'd trim on the barrel and cap, topped by white enamel or maybe resin jewels like you'd find on pen-shaped objects costing hundreds of dollars more; the body is some sort of matte enamel or lacquer or something, over brass."

As klw said, they are pretty comfortable to use, if you like smaller pens; I used one of the 70s daily for about a week, filled with BSB, and had no problems. I meant to note that they really do hold a surprising amount of ink; I assume they've got a heck of a collector inside the section, as even after the sac had run empty, I still got two full pages of notes out of the pen - this with a wet-writing medium nib, remember.

#9 MYU

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 18:58

Curious pens there, Mike. Thanks for your review. :)

Yeah, the nibs definitely remind me of a Parker 180 (two different nib sizes, depending on the side you're using), and a partial echo of the Sailor trident. Sorry to hear they don't write very well... but in some ways I'm not surprised. The Chinese are well known for having ultra stiff nibs and I can't see these nibs working well without a little bit of spring to them.

Anyway, good to know about the finish issues. :thumbup: It should likely drive people to pick the 001 over the 70, if the interest is enough.

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#10 Conz

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 13:09

This guy is selling the 001 for A$49.95!

http://justwrite.com...products_id=149

And this guy is selling the P70 for US$40!

http://cgi.ebay.com....em=170458414953

#11 ZeissIkon

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 01:47

And this guy is selling the P70 for US$40!

http://cgi.ebay.com....em=170458414953


Wow. I paid $3.25 for my two Hero 70s, including shipping from China...
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#12 axe

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 13:04

I just got one from isellpens and I think its a great novelty pen and I like it because I can write my checks with it because I can press down hard and make the carbon copies. The ink flow is great, and it is a medium-fine line with Noodlers Old Manhattan. Pen is a little thin for my taste (I have the 001) but so far I am liking it.

Mine isnt toothy at all but it does tend to skip if you rotate the pen in use, not all the time, but it seems like the ink tries to flow or pull from the nib to the paper at the point that you have been writing, so a rotation of the pen while writing takes the ink a bit of time to relocate if that makes sense.

I will be using this pen a lot actually as it lets me choose the ink I want and performs well for office type of tasks.

#13 Legrosbisson

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 00:42

Mike thanks for this review. I had seen these and assumed they were a copy of a 1980s Parker pen model, which also had a flat nib projecting out straight, just as the nib units on these Heros do. I hadn't realised the Heros have a doubled nib.

#14 Sagar_C

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 05:32

I bought a Hero 360 today. I want to share my opinion. The pen is not quite like sailor trident, it is more like parker 180 --- when it is held slanted. It starts behaving more like trident when one holds it near vertical.

#15 mrloco

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 20:49

I like my 001. It comes in and out of rotation. There's not much (if any) line variation on the page so it's not an elegant writer; on the other hand if you have to smash into multiple layers of forms (less likely these days), this nib will smash. It's also a very light, thin pen which makes it a near-perfect pocket pen. The cap fits quite snugly and I've never had it pop off and is light enough to comfortably write posted. All in all a low-cost reliable and functional pen.
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#16 Sagar_C

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 08:35

I like my 001. It comes in and out of rotation. There's not much (if any) line variation on the page so it's not an elegant writer; on the other hand if you have to smash into multiple layers of forms (less likely these days), this nib will smash. It's also a very light, thin pen which makes it a near-perfect pocket pen. The cap fits quite snugly and I've never had it pop off and is light enough to comfortably write posted. All in all a low-cost reliable and functional pen.


Mine's cap has 002 printed on it. Does this mean it is different from 001?:unsure:






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