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Brief Review Of Hero 100
Posted 19 December 2011 - 14:49
Appearance & Design (7/10)
Although the arrow clip has gone, the Hero 100 still looks very similar to the Parker 51 which is a design classic.
The Hero 100 has a sleeker profile than the Hero 1000 but the main difference (apart from the full metal body) is in the cap. To my eyes, the clip of the 1000, with its “Hero” name engraved vertically, is more attractive.
The metal surface on the 100 is brushed rather than polished and is much more resistant to finger-prints and other stains, at the expense of the shiny appearance that makes the 1000 look prettier.
Note that the section width at the joint on the Hero 100 is the same as the width on the barrel whereas there is some stepping on the Hero 1000 making the section thinner at the joint. When one runs a finger along the pen from section to barrel, the Hero 100 feels smoother whilst there is some catch on the Hero 1000. The stepping on the Hero 1000 also has some effect on the performance of the pen that I shall describe latter.
Overall, I think the Hero 1000 wins the beauty contest.
Construction & Quality (7/10)
The pen feels solidly put together. The cap does not wiggle at all. Contrary to the Hero 1000, the cap on the Hero 100 slides onto the body much more smoothly without the need for the final push.
The clip on the Hero 100 wiggles slightly and appears catch clothing more easily.
I cannot compare the materials used on the barrel but on the section, it is obvious that the resin used on the section of the Hero 1000 is much better quality than that used for the Hero 100. The resin on the Hero 100 is not as highly polished and lacks sheen and depth. Also, production blemishes are easily visible – this was a major disappointment that surfaces as soon as I uncapped the pen.
On the Hero 100, the barrel screws onto the section very smoothly whilst the Hero 1000 is a bit coarse. The sac pump guard on the Hero 100 retains the same brushed steel feel and look of the barrel.
Weight & Dimensions (8/10)
The Hero 100 is slightly shorter than the Hero 1000 at about 140mm in length. Without the cap though, the Hero 100 is around 3 mm longer at 124mm from nib tip to barrel end. They both weigh about the same.
The barrel and section of the Hero 100 is sleeker than the Hero 1000 so people preferring fatter pens would like the latter more.
Both pens have very good balance.
Nib & Performance (9/10)
The Hero 100 was labeled as a Fine nib. The Hero 1000 did not come with a label and since it puts down a slightly narrower line, I assume that it is Extra Fine.
I was very impressed with the smoothness of the Hero 100 nib as soon as I scribbled the first few words. There is no tooth or scratchiness are all on my sample.
The nib on the Hero 100 does not feel as rigid as on the Hero 1000, there is a bit of play in the nib unit inside the hood. I am not sure whether this is a design characteristic of the nib housing or because the Hero 100 nib is 14K gold rather than 10K. Writing performance does not seem adversely affected.
When holding the pens in the writing position, the Hero 100 feels better since the stepping on the section ring for the Hero 1000 can cause some slight discomfort if any of one’s fingers happen to rest on there.
Filling System & Maintenance (4/10)
Both pens share the same sac filing mechanism. Nothing much to write here.
Cost & Value (10/10)
The Hero 100 retails at USD39 inclusive of shipping on eBay, the same as the Hero 1000, but I got a small discount by a direct deal. Both pens represent incredible value.
Once again, I am very happy with this latest acquisition. The Hero 100 feels a smoother writer (maybe due to its wider nib) whereas the Hero 1000 will win the beauty contest. Both pens have a place in my collection but if forced to choose only 1, I would buy the Hero 1000.
Posted 21 December 2011 - 01:06
Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:56
Posted 27 April 2014 - 01:24
I recently purchased a Hero 100 Flighter from yespen on eBay. The pen came well packed in a presentation box and they had included a red rollerball pen as a bonus. In one of Richard Binder's blog posts (referenced in another FPN thread), he compared it favorably to a Parker 51. That's what sparked my interest. However, while he described it as a true aerometric pen, mine doesn't look or act like it has a breather tube like the 51. That means it fills with only one squeeze of the sac, and doesn't fill as completely as it could. One other difference. Richard described the barrel/section thread joint as being steel on steel, but mine had plastic threads on the barrel side. They have obviously made some changes since Richard got his.
To its credit, it is well made, and the cap fits tightly. A bit too tightly, maybe, as it takes a firm push from the bottom to get it come off. It definitely won't slip loose. The clip is spring loaded, but has some play side to side, so it sometimes doesn't line up straight on the cap. The steel barrel is brushed and uniformly finished, and the cap and barrel jewels appear to be solid stainless steel too.
The gold nib wrote very well straight out of the box. I was surprised as I had read others say that it needs some use to smooth out. Mine was fine from the start, and wrote smoothly without skipping. I did flush it out first with dilute soap solution to get rid of any oils from manufacturing. It feels like a American fine in width, not as wide as a European fine.
For its maiden run, I took it on a trip. It leaked a bit a few drops into the cap from the 5 hour flight, but nothing dramatic. That also gave me a hint that it wasn't an aerometric, which should be more resistant to the altitude change. However, throughout the course of a weeklong meeting where I admittedly didn't do that much writing, it performed well and started immediately whenever I uncapped it. Pretty reliable. That was good.
All in all, it's a pretty decent pen. Hard to generalize from only one pen. Good price for a pen with a gold nib. I still prefer my Parker 51s and it's no substitute for the genuine article, but when I don't want to bring the 51s, this Hero will do. A good everyday pen. We'll see how it holds up to longer term use.
Posted 14 July 2015 - 04:08
Great review. Sorry to realize that it does not come even close to the Real thing - Parker 51.
My money rests with me.
Edited by SUNIL GARG, 14 July 2015 - 04:10.
Posted 08 December 2016 - 05:51
“Also, production blemishes are easily visible – this was a major disappointment that surfaces as soon as I uncapped the pen.” refer to this , I would like to share some history.
Hero 100 has experienced several times of production stop, relocation of production sites, out-sourced contract production. Currently there could be no less than a few factories claiming the license of producing this Chinese Classic copy of Parker.
In the 1980's Hero a national owned enterprise captured more than 80% of the writing instrument market in China.
Before Y2k, it is a law that financial accounting vouchures had to be written in black ink from a fountain pens. Ball pens would not be accepted. Even today, China Government & institutional documents and forms with signatures written by ball pen will not be accepted. The Socialized Adminstration had actually demanded Tax returns to be supported by vouchures written with a particular designed Hero pen with extra-fine nib specifically for the purpose of book-keeping. At some time China Tax auditors would check if book-keepers were using the designated pen!
Therefore in the 1980's and 90's Shanghai Hero (the original national owned maunfactuer) could not coped with the market demands and had thus outsourced to a great many other Chinese factories. At a later stage, many of these licensed contract manufacturers were merely licienced by a Hero Pen salesman, who collected the revenue it as his little own business without reporting to his employer.
With such biased market orientation, Hero became one of the first public listed enterprises in the Shanghai Stock Exchange. But due to the inherent corrupted nature and the technological change (fountain pen replaced by the ink-based roller pen and needle pen that could do fine 0.3mm strokes); Hero's operation and business decayed and before 2013 the public listed company only worth less than US$600,000; and the whole out-sourcing and licensing system was totally out of control. Since then nobody really know a Hero fountian pen sold was made by whom. And since before then, many such licensed Hero manufacturers had also bankrupted.
There are still ample stock of Hero 100 and its parts all over China, some were actually made before Y2k. It is not uncommon to buy a Hero 100 with a rusted cap and clip. So "production blemishes are easily visible" could be very understandable.
While Fountain pen writing and classic pen collection has became popular, as a hobby, rather than a necessity; and when the Hero 100 could be sold at US$50 level, many of the old inventory has been recovered and made good. Entirly new production re-started also. But due to the fact that the pen may came from different sources of manufcatury, you could end up with a great bargain for an exceptional good pen or wasted money on a piece of junk.