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