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Hero 100:


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#1 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 21:50

I have noticed that there isn't as much snobbery in the pen collecting world as in the watch collecting world. Back about 5 years ago, a small revolution started there. I was one of the revolutionaries, perhaps the most adamant of them. At that time, Russian watch maker Poljot (pronounced Pol-yoat) started to achieve its 1996 decision to enter the luxury watch market. Based on an amazingly good watch I bought from them, I started fighting to help Poljot get the recognition I felt it deserved.
Others helped me but I was called, at the time, "The Poljot Kid" because of my leanings and 18 years of age. 5 years later, the brand has launched itself fully into the luxury market. The cheapest alarm watch is going for $200, the chronographs using their own movement going for up to $1000 in stainless steel. The "Made In Russia" tag, once laughed at, is, as always, worn with pride and now means, among collectors, high quality. No longer viewed as a cheap watch, it is now seen in the same light as entry-level swiss brands. Others helped them, but I was probably the biggest supporter.

Here we are now. This is relevant, perhaps. I am reviewing the Hero 100. As I said above, the snobbery connected to the hobby of Pen collecting is not quite the ridiculous joke it is with watch collecting. In that hobby, if it ain't expensive, it ain't worth owning, for some at-least. But still, is Made In China not frowned upon, to an extent? I traded one of my surplust Rotring 600s for a Hero 100 and I have been pleasantly surprised.

Is this on a level with a really expensive pen? Uh.. no. There are some rough edges and such. Lets go over what it has here.

First Impressions: 4/10
Ok, my first impression when I pulled it out of its package wrapping was sorta my girlfriends when I show her a watch, a pen, or a car: "Its a [pen/watch/car]". Nothing exceptionally bad, nothing to catch my eye. Sleek and attractive, but dull, like a Honda Accord. Inking it with Parker quink through its aerometric filling system, which is not removable, it was a very scratchy, slightly dry writer. It felt solid, but... I didn't like the way it wrote. Things changed when I started running it over the cardboard core of a paper town roll a bunch of times. It smoothed out. But my first impression was negative, admittedly.

Appearance and Finish: 7/10
I personally find the shape a little boring. That is totally a matter of opinion. Some say sleek and space-age, I say boring. Regardless, the metal is well finish and presentible. The external engravings are nicely executed, and look so even under the 14x magnification of my hand held microscope. The ones on the converter are a bit spottier, but still well done. The clips point is a bit sharp. The whole thing feels very solid, especially the clip.

Design/Size/Weight: 9/10
This pen is well designed, of average size, and fairly heavy. The cap closes securely, if not solidly, and the clip works well. The shape is quite ergonomic, and it feels good in the hand. The pen is a flighter, all metal and classy.

Nib Design & Performance: 8/10
Hard for me to rate. Its a 14k solid gold nib. It originally was as scratchy as sand paper, but when I ran it over a paper towel roll for a while, it smoothed out. When I switched to Noodler's bullet-proof black from the Quink i was using, it laid down the wet and dark line I like. It is a fine nib. My issues are: it is a nail, and the line variation is zip. Normally, I don't like this in a pen. But I need something for scrawling quick notes and the like, and for that this is well suited. Not all of my pens can be the thick, wet, flexible type. Sometimes one simply doesn't have the time to carefully form letters. This one will let you do so presentably and consistently.

The Filling System 10/10
I love it. Simple, clean, easy, and fool proof. This is my second favourite to the Pelikan piston. It works well and it seems to hold a ton of ink.

Cost/Value: 10/10
Ok, solid gold nib? Check. All metal body? Check. Built in filling system? Check. Good, consistent nib? Well not out of the box, but still: check. Good clip? Check. Good finish? Pretty much. $55 retail, available on ebay new for a lot less? If you can find this stuff in a new pen for less, buy it.

Conclusion: 7/10

The score shows the average. I really like this pen. I use it for writing notes, and other things where I need consistency and speed over the enjoyment of writing with my Rotring, Sheaffer, or Pelikan. I guess you could say, this is my "ball point"? Its a good pen for those times that you need speed. And that made in china? Dangit, this is a good pen. If you are overlooking this because it is made by Hero in China, rest your fears.

Pictures to follow.
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#2 French

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 22:04

Well done, Green maned Lion!

I've been looking at the Hero 100 as a new 'lab notebook" pen, and your review helped to push me over the edge. I think I'll be ordering one early next week.

The review was well written and I'm eagerly awaiting the pictures you mentioned.

Nice job, and, since I haven't already done so, welcome to FPN.

French

#3 Scribbles

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 22:12

QUOTE(Green Maned Lion @ Nov 12 2006, 09:50 PM)
I have noticed that there isn't as much snobbery in the pen collecting world as in the watch collecting world. Back about 5 years ago, a small revolution started there. I was one of the revolutionaries, perhaps the most adamant of them. At that time, Russian watch maker Poljot (pronounced Pol-yoat) started to achieve its 1996 decision to enter the luxury watch market. Based on an amazingly good watch I bought from them, I started fighting to help Poljot get the recognition I felt it deserved.

Slightly off topic but since you mention Russian watches...

I had a Russian pocket watch a number of years back that I bought while travelling there. It was quite nice and served me well for a number of years until I gave it away to a friend who fell in love with it.

Makes me wish I could find a replacement for the watch...

More or less on topic now...

So I guess I would be in agreement with you. For me function and quality can come from a non-famous brand. I have not tried Hero pens yet but they are definitely on my list to buy.

Thank you for the thoughtful review and related discussion.

#4 wiglaf

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 23:26

To a fellow New Jerseyan-

Good, solid review of an interesting pen; have been using mine for a little over a month and I like the pen for the following reason: it has become my pen of choice for scoring essays and editing student research- though I had a similar issue with the nib at first, it smoothed out in a matter of hours.
I like this pen also because it is rather dull, but when one is supposed to be concentrating on the work of others, I do not need a pen distraction as well. I once tried to score a set of essays using my King of Pen, but found myself staring the nib more often than the papers in front of me.

#5 chainwhip

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 00:32

Thanks for the review GML... I too recently acquired a Hero 100 (Flighter version) and am very happy with the pen. My nib is SMOOOF smile.gif

Fit/Finish is very good on mine as well.

Looking forward to the pictures.
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#6 kissing

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 01:46

They often are actually good out of the box.

Looks to me you got a faulty one that made it through China's non-existent 'quality control'

laugh.gif

But i'm glad you're still happy with it. I got my Hero100 Flighter for $26 INCLUDING shipping. The price sure is right on these pens!
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#7 RyanL27

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 03:59

Great review, GML!

I loved my Hero 100.......but just this evening, I pulled the cap off and found ink all over the section. Turns out, the section had cracked and ink was leaking out of the pen. I'm quite sad as I used my 100 more than just about any pen I've got - maybe even more than my 51. I'll definitely be buying a new one soon, but I am curious as to why the section broke. I don't remember dropping the pen or anything other abuse. Oh well, at least they're affordable!

Mine was a butter smooth writer, and I'll be saving the nib in case my new one doesn't match up - then I can just swap this one in with any luck.
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#8 sonia_simone

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 04:13

Aw, bummer Ryan. I hate that.

My devoutely loved white Lamy Safari has a little crack in the barrel--nothing that should impede the function any time soon, but it reminds me that my dear pen is mortal, and that is sad. It's been a workhorse for quite awhile, though.
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#9 His Nibs

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 05:52

QUOTE(RyanL27 @ Nov 12 2006, 10:59 PM)
Great review, GML!

I loved my Hero 100.......but just this evening, I pulled the cap off and found ink all over the section. Turns out, the section had cracked and ink was leaking out of the pen. I'm quite sad as I used my 100 more than just about any pen I've got - maybe even more than my 51. I'll definitely be buying a new one soon, but I am curious as to why the section broke. I don't remember dropping the pen or anything other abuse. Oh well, at least they're affordable!

Hi Ryan,

I introduced the Hero 100 to the US many years ago, and sold it for 7 or 8 years. It was always one of my best sellers. I ceased doing so about 3 years ago due to frequent cracking of the sections (about 25 percent of those imported). This was due to using a thinner shell than in previous years.

So, unfortunately, I'm not surprised.
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#10 RLTodd

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 06:30

QUOTE(kissing @ Nov 12 2006, 05:46 PM)
Looks to me you got a faulty one that made it through China's non-existent 'quality control'
!

That about sums it up. I hit two defective ones in a row and gave up on them. From the way the nib felt on the one that would fill it looks like you get a really great pen when you get a good one. If they every learn how to do the Q.C. they will be a market leader.
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#11 FrankB

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 08:17

The Hero 100 looks like a Parker 51, so I loved its looks right from the start. I remember being a little kid and seeing a P-51 for the first time. I thought it was part of the vanguard of the space age and I wanted one.

The Hero 100 does have its issues. I did not have a scratchy nib. Mine just didn't flow ink well. After a couple days of use, the ink flow became more consistant. I just used the pen on normal paper and wrote a lot. However, I have yet to have the pen start writing right away. Even when it sits unused just for one night, it will not start up initially.

Overall, I think I still prefer my beloved Parker 51. If my section cracks, I will definitely stay with the P-51's.

#12 Dr.Grace

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 15:28

My 100 flighter writes extremely well. But just recently it started drying out between uses. I think the blind cap is designed poorly, so that a loosening of the clip causes it not to be airtight.

Anyone know a good way to seal the blind cap?

Don
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#13 Johnson

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 16:47

The Hero 100 black was the first FP I purchased, it worked great straight out of the box. Of course, as I moved on and purchased more and more pens the Hero got pushed to the back of the drawer, figuratively speaking. Well, after experiencing some serious problems with nib creep with Noodlers Legal Lapis, I realized the solution was a hooded nib! Rather then fill my Parker 51, I reached for the Hero 100 just for kicks, filled it (such a wonderful filling system by the by), and was just tickled by the way it immediately started to write very well, actually it gave me those rare FP goose bumps I seem to get now and then. Sure, it has a little bit of tooth, but so long as I'm writing my letters smaller, its perfect.

In so far as pens from China are concerned: I own three Dukes in addition to my Hero, all have worked great out of the box. I have purchased a Pelikan m200 (green) and a Sheaffer Prelude that were both DOA. roflmho.gif
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#14 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 17:27

Actually, Kissing, since it broke in, it has written the consistantly, reliably, and starts every time. So I have a hard time seeing it as "defective"
Most important: Keep it Simple, Stupid! My Deviant Art Page!
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Dream of love, dream of me, for you are my love. I love you.
The artwork in the sig was done for me by my best friend, Corvidophile, whose work is linked to the sig pic. Avatar done by my friend Flash.

#15 Nimrud

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 02:44

QUOTE(Dr.Grace @ Nov 13 2006, 11:28 PM)
My 100 flighter writes extremely well. But just recently it started drying out between uses. I think the blind cap is designed poorly, so that a loosening of the clip causes it not to be airtight.

Anyone know a good way to seal the blind cap?

Don

Does a Hero 100 flighter have a blind cap?

Anyway, I have heard that you could seal a cap with some clear nail polish. Maybe coating the inside of the cap near where the clip joins to the cap might work.

#16 Nimrud

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 02:52

I agree with the gripe about quality control. It affects many pen makes from China. Guanleming for example.

I recently visited Beijing and bought a pretty Guanleming with a lacquer over brass barrel and a smooth calligraphy nib. Cost me 380 RMB which works out to about 50 USD. I had to change it twice over the few days I had in Beijing, once for a leaking converter, and the second time for a cracked section. The third one which I got the same day I left still leaks on occasion around the join between the section and the barrel. tongue.gif

The Hero 100 still works fine though. It does start a bit dry, but once it gets going it's fine. Not as nice as a Parker 51, I agree, but a nice pen to carry around when I need to travel. Aerometric filler works fine on the ground and in the air.

#17 LapsangS

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 20:07

Hero 100's are great! The best pen in my collection. Frontier comes next.

#18 jsonewald

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 22:39

I am kind of new to Hero's, but becoming a fan rapidly. Is the 110 a "100" variant, or is it in a different family? I have one, and it is definitely one of my favorites.

#19 Nihontochicken

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 01:35

QUOTE
I'll be saving the nib in case my new one doesn't match up - then I can just swap this one in with any luck.


If interested, here is my experience taking a Hero 100 apart. It is quite a bit different than the Parker 51. Sorry if this is a repeat of info elsewhere I haven't seen. The filler affixing collar and section both utilize left hand threading to attach to the hood, a potential point of frustration if not known beforehand. Here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/y759sm

Good fortune with your Hero dissection, if and when the time comes. wink.gif
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#20 French

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 00:46

I received my Hero 100 yesterday, I'm very impressed with the pen. It is a great writer. After some 'testing' time I'll post my own review.


French






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