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Hero M86 Chinese calligraphy pen


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12 replies to this topic

#1 Fuddlestack

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 09:31

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One thing to say up front: I am not a Chinese calligrapher. I can't use this pen in the manner intended. So why buy it?

1. It's pretty.
2. It's unusual.
3. It's interesting.
4. It's cheap.
5. I just might learn how to use it...

But given all that why, as an absolute novice, review it? Hell, why not?

OK, brass tacks. No, I'm not talking about the nib, but that is the most important feature of this pen, so here's pic of it:

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It's bent, turned up at the end like a ski-jump. Being bent, it yields a variety of line widths that vary according to the angle at which it meets the paper, from fine/medium when upright to thick as a car tyre at 45°. As a guide, the paper here is a Rhodia standard A4 notepad with Seyès ruling, and the horizontals are 2mm apart. The ink is Diamine Saddle Brown. The angles in the pic are w.r.t. the perpendicular.

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As you can see, you can also use it upside down: it feeds well and wet in all these positions, although it sometimes needs minimal starting - say a 5mm stroke - if it's been left unused for a day or two, which is perfectly honorable. Used upside down it still feeds well: the line is so fine it reminds me of 2A fusewire, or the monofilament Larry Niven had fun with in Ringworld. It's a wee bit scratchy upside down, but otherwise pleasantly smooth.

One interesting wrinkle: the slit doesn't go as far as the breather hole, which is rather unusual. I didn't notice that before taking the pics.

What else to say? It's shiny black plastic, the accents are chromed metal, the nib is what the UK police are wont to describe as "yellow metal". The cap is pretty heavy but won't stay on the end of the barrel if just slipped on. It will engage in the incised décor of the blind cap if given a slight twist, but this is hardly the intention and would probably butcher the thread. The pen would be rather unwieldy in that configuration, anyway. Unposted the weight still feels adequate to me, but with few exceptions I prefer to write unposted anyway.

This one came from the excellent isellpens.com.

Conclusion: It's fun, and in the hands of an expert might do great things. Even no-frills westerners can use it, to turn out anything from tinily-writ spidery text on a postage-stamp to big thick emphatic signs - or, with red ink, to mark homework. And at $12, why not have it in a collection?

Edited by Fuddlestack, 07 March 2010 - 13:13.

When you're good at it, it's really miserable.


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#2 shaqin93

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:25

Cool. I Got Mr Yukio Nagahara from Sailor to grind my Dunhill Gemline into something that does the same thing, and it's extremely fun to write with. Thanks for the review.

#3 Ed Ronax

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 13:37

Interesting pen, thanks for the review.
And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.


#4 mompus

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 14:42

I use these "ski jump nose" pens quite a lot (I'm in China). I rather suspect that people who write in block letters (as I generally do) will take to this style of nib. People who write in "cursive" script may not find them so welcoming.

Well, what do you know about that... post no. 200!

Edited by mompus, 07 March 2010 - 14:46.


#5 Fuddlestack

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 15:58

I use these "ski jump nose" pens quite a lot (I'm in China). I rather suspect that people who write in block letters (as I generally do) will take to this style of nib. People who write in "cursive" script may not find them so welcoming.

Well, what do you know about that... post no. 200!


Congrats on your double century! Yeah, I know all about cursive script - it's when you write three words, make a mistake, curse, and start over. I do it all the time. :-)

When you're good at it, it's really miserable.


#6 linearM

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 17:53

I purchased the pen to use for sketching and it is proving very functional. For drawing the variety of line it offers is a great advantage. Just by changing the angle the pen is held relative to the paper the line will be thin, medium, or broad. Using it for broad lines, it is great for filling large areas for shading. I also have found that using the broad line on a slightly toothed paper leads to interesting drawings.

I've been using Noodler's Polar Brown and found that it works quite well. When I first filled the pen I couldn't believe how flimsy the converter appeared but so far it works well. I don't think I'd pick the pen for general writing but for drawing and sketching it has much to recommend it. Another consideration is that it's not expensive and even if it doesn't work for you, you aren't out much.

#7 lucentezza

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 16:24

I purchased the pen to use for sketching and it is proving very functional. For drawing the variety of line it offers is a great advantage. Just by changing the angle the pen is held relative to the paper the line will be thin, medium, or broad. Using it for broad lines, it is great for filling large areas for shading. I also have found that using the broad line on a slightly toothed paper leads to interesting drawings.

I've been using Noodler's Polar Brown and found that it works quite well. When I first filled the pen I couldn't believe how flimsy the converter appeared but so far it works well. I don't think I'd pick the pen for general writing but for drawing and sketching it has much to recommend it. Another consideration is that it's not expensive and even if it doesn't work for you, you aren't out much.


I've recently seen some great drawings done with this pen, and thought I'd like to find one, so glad to see both the review and hear from a sketcher who uses it! Glad to hear it's economical as well.
thanks!

#8 lovemy51

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 01:16

thx for the review, Fudd! i have a bookworm, yellow resin pen with this nib and it's very cool!

#9 donnamcm

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 23:57

Looking for a new convertor/and or cartridge that fits this pen. The one that came with it will only fill 1/2 way. Any suggestions/help appreciated.

#10 Preetham

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 06:18

Nice review and photo's! Where can I buy this particular model in Bangalore? Any Indian friends to my rescue?

#11 bodah

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:22

I just received a pen today that is similar with the Chinese calligraphy nib and am having fun learning to use it. I actually came across this stream by trying to find some kind of tutorial on how to properly posture the pen, but I seem to be fairing pretty well on my own. Thanks for your review. This should be fun. I 'll check back in if I find anything compelling to add.
bodah christiansen
bodahchristiansen@gmail.com

#12 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:42

Looking for a new convertor/and or cartridge that fits this pen. The one that came with it will only fill 1/2 way. Any suggestions/help appreciated.


The Hero M86 uses standard international cartridges. I have one of my own, and it's a great writer.

#13 madzaxmax

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:03

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...or the monofilament Larry Niven had fun with in Ringworld.


I loved that book! (Sorry for going off-topic)
Inglourious Basterds...






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