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Hero 395: Flex? Huh?


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#1 celesul

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 03:31

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Hero 395

Appearance & Design:
It's pretty unusual. The cap is so round, and I really don't understand the knob on the end. I love the look of the nib.

Construction & Quality:
Very solid.

Weight & Dimensions:
It is heavy for its size. It's about as big as my Hero M616.

Nib & Performance:
It flexes. Significantly. Enough to be too hard to write with for notes. For a long time I thought it was just a skippy pen that required an ultra light hand. Then I put Noodler's X-feather in it. Surprise!

Filling System & Maintenance:
A very stiff press bar converter.

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Cost & Value:
This was a gift from a friend. She didn't think it was very expensive. I think it's an older or rarer model though, so it's hard to find. There's currently one on ebay for $20.

Conclusion:
I'm very confused by this pen. I wonder if it was a manufacturing fluke or something. It's kind of a diva, but great fun. It skips. It dries out when you pause to think. Because it flexes so easily you have to write with the nib upside down until it wants to behave again, or kind of push it away from you. It will barely write with anything but Noodler's X-feather. You can't *not* flex it without concentrating quite hard. But how did it get this way? It used to write more reasonably, with only some flex, and was never subjected to pressure (It was always a bit of a flexy diva-pen though). Then I wrote like I would with a ballpoint. My pen learned how to flex, and actually flexed rather than getting a gaptooth. It never got a different feed to go with the flex though... So it railroads to the point of skipping without X-feather. With X-feather, it railroads only under high pressure. Oh, and it has such trouble starting that printing with it is probably a lost cause. Cursive is your only option.

(My titles I wrote pressing hard, and everything else I wrote either with moderate pressure or normal pressure. To get monoline writing, I have to write so lightly that my hand shakes, because the nib flexes under the weight of the pen).

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Wonky end. I still don't understand it. I'm 99% sure it's just for decoration.

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Pretty nib!

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This pen will give you inky fingers. It's inevitable. The section is dangerously slippery, and very short.

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Action shots!

Edited by celesul, 13 June 2012 - 05:15.


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#2 zhryj

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 04:54

Beautiful pen, beautiful handwriting. :thumbup:

#3 Uncle Red

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 16:52

Wierd, I'll bet the nib is a fluke. Thanks for sharing.

#4 nima.afsarinejad

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 16:53

Thanks for the review!
Your pen is very similar to something I recently purchased on EBay. I might do a review of it eventually but it can also be found on HisNibs.com as the Pirre Paul's Woods pen. http://www.hisnibs.com/woods.htm . My pen is exactly like the one found at the link. It says "Taiwan" on the side of the clip and is indeed made of wood. Otherwise, there are no brand markings on the pen and the seller did not specify the brand. It does say "Pirre Paul's" on the converter. At first I thought that the nib on mine had a lot of flex to it but it turned out to be partially a side-effect of the fact that the nib is extremely thin (not the tip, but the sheet metal that the entire nib is stamped from). This makes the nib on mine flexy but also prone to deformation. When I got it the tines were misaligned and it was scratchy as hell. Because the steel used for the nib is springy and so thin, it was quite hard to align and to polish the nib (the tipping was also minimal) and I actually ended up bending it out of shape once or twice before I got a handle on how to work with it and how to write with it. It started out as a very scratchy Fine nib and it's a fairly smooth Extra-Fine nib after some work. It's definitely not a good pen for note taking because it requires a deft, delicate touch to write with and considering the abuse I've already put the nib through, and the trouble that it's given me, I don't plan on flexing the nib just in-case things go awry (Extra-Fine doesnt lend itself well to flex in my opinion). Other than my issues with the nib, it's a very well made pen and I do enjoy writing with it from time to time. I guess moral of the story is that if you come across the Pirre Paul's Woods (a Hero 395 lookalike) on EBay, know that it may need some work. Alternatively, get it from HisNibs, seeing as they inspect all their nibs (no affiliation).

Cheers.

#5 celesul

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 19:57

zhryj: Thanks!

Uncle Red: Yeah, I kind of suspect that too, given that this is a common Hero nib, and it being flexy also makes it a royal pain to use. I'm hoping to pick up another pen or two with this nib and seeing how well they work. Honestly, if they act at all like this, I'd think it would hurt Hero's credibility. Imagine trying to write Chinese with this, when it can barely print English!

Thanks for the review!
Your pen is very similar to something I recently purchased on EBay. I might do a review of it eventually but it can also be found on HisNibs.com as the Pirre Paul's Woods pen. http://www.hisnibs.com/woods.htm . My pen is exactly like the one found at the link. It says "Taiwan" on the side of the clip and is indeed made of wood. Otherwise, there are no brand markings on the pen and the seller did not specify the brand. It does say "Pirre Paul's" on the converter. At first I thought that the nib on mine had a lot of flex to it but it turned out to be partially a side-effect of the fact that the nib is extremely thin (not the tip, but the sheet metal that the entire nib is stamped from). This makes the nib on mine flexy but also prone to deformation. When I got it the tines were misaligned and it was scratchy as hell. Because the steel used for the nib is springy and so thin, it was quite hard to align and to polish the nib (the tipping was also minimal) and I actually ended up bending it out of shape once or twice before I got a handle on how to work with it and how to write with it. It started out as a very scratchy Fine nib and it's a fairly smooth Extra-Fine nib after some work. It's definitely not a good pen for note taking because it requires a deft, delicate touch to write with and considering the abuse I've already put the nib through, and the trouble that it's given me, I don't plan on flexing the nib just in-case things go awry (Extra-Fine doesnt lend itself well to flex in my opinion). Other than my issues with the nib, it's a very well made pen and I do enjoy writing with it from time to time. I guess moral of the story is that if you come across the Pirre Paul's Woods (a Hero 395 lookalike) on EBay, know that it may need some work. Alternatively, get it from HisNibs, seeing as they inspect all their nibs (no affiliation).

Cheers.


I actually have some Pirre Paul plastic pens, and noticed that trend with them. The nib didn't have the correct gap, and it's thin, so it flexes, but seems like it will eventually break. Given that I got three for almost nothing on ebay, I'm not bothered by abusing them to achieve artistic effects (particularly given that I'm not fond of them as regular pens).

However, the Hero 395 has a much stronger, thicker nib, and doesn't write particularly dryly. It doesn't seem particularly inclined to break anytime soon, but I generally don't flex it til the point that it railroads. Flexing it with moderate pressure is relatively effortless (except that it taxes my handwriting skills) and seems friendly to the nib.

Edited by celesul, 13 June 2012 - 20:02.


#6 Haribon

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 23:25

Cost & Value:
This was a gift from a friend. She didn't think it was very expensive. I think it's an older or rarer model though, so it's hard to find. There's currently one on ebay for $20.


Currently available down to four! Who's been playing Russian Roulette hoping to get lucky with a Hero 395 flexie?

Good luck.
Ben

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#7 Pickwick

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 23:35

Wierd, I'll bet the nib is a fluke. Thanks for sharing.


No fluke.

I have a Haolilai 88a, Baoer 516, Yiren, and Hero 901 capable of the same feat.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#8 celesul

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 23:40

Wierd, I'll bet the nib is a fluke. Thanks for sharing.


No fluke.

I have a Haolilai 88a, Baoer 516, Yiren, and Hero 901 capable of the same feat.


Are they better behaved though? Because as much fun as it is to play with my Hero 395, I seriously shudder at the thought of writing in Chinese with it. It's not nearly dependable enough.

#9 Pickwick

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 00:19

Wierd, I'll bet the nib is a fluke. Thanks for sharing.


No fluke.

I have a Haolilai 88a, Baoer 516, Yiren, and Hero 901 capable of the same feat.


Are they better behaved though? Because as much fun as it is to play with my Hero 395, I seriously shudder at the thought of writing in Chinese with it. It's not nearly dependable enough.


Yes they are, I had to widen the feed channel fractionally to the nib on the Haolilai 88a, and it along with the others write consistently laying down a nice not too wet or dry line allowing shading. Chinese pens are improving in quality.

Edited by Pickwick, 14 June 2012 - 00:45.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#10 lovemy51

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 08:37

very nice! i own a couple of Heros with very flex (gold) nibs.

#11 Cerbeos

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 13:48

Very nice! @isellpens - if you read this - are these still in production?

Anyone else know model numbers of the other 'flexy' Heros?
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#12 lovemy51

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:49

Very nice! @isellpens - if you read this - are these still in production?

Anyone else know model numbers of the other 'flexy' Heros?


mine are the 189 and 0732.

#13 Andrew H

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:11

Does the Hero 395 post?
"I hope to add some measure of grace to the world. . . . Whether I win or lose does not matter, only that I follow the quest."

Looking for a Sheaffer Sovereign II Gray Pearl with an EF nib.

#14 celesul

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 00:57

Does the Hero 395 post?


It does, and well.

Also, I was curious and bought two 152's because they looked like they have the same nib, and they behave similarly. One of the needs the nib channel widened (or I'll just abuse it like I did the first... it makes it better for super flex!), but the other one is absolutely perfect, and gives moderate flex. Any Hero that you see with that nib is probably flexy. Oh, and the 152 also posts. I cannot stand pens that don't post. I got my 152's from Yespen.

#15 Andrew H

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 18:36

It's strange how the tines are steel. You would think gold tines would flex. I wish there was some way to check.

*Oogles Hero 373*
"I hope to add some measure of grace to the world. . . . Whether I win or lose does not matter, only that I follow the quest."

Looking for a Sheaffer Sovereign II Gray Pearl with an EF nib.

#16 Pickwick

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:20

It's strange how the tines are steel. You would think gold tines would flex. I wish there was some way to check.

*Oogles Hero 373*


Gold is not a suitable metal for flex nibs. Although some gold nibs will flex, they will eventually fail usually splitting in half. There are numerous threads on FPN testifying to the fact that only steel is suitable for making a true flex nib.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#17 Andrew H

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:52

It's strange how the tines are steel. You would think gold tines would flex. I wish there was some way to check.

*Oogles Hero 373*


Gold is not a suitable metal for flex nibs. Although some gold nibs will flex, they will eventually fail usually splitting in half. There are numerous threads on FPN testifying to the fact that only steel is suitable for making a true flex nib.

Aren't vintage flex nibs made of gold?
"I hope to add some measure of grace to the world. . . . Whether I win or lose does not matter, only that I follow the quest."

Looking for a Sheaffer Sovereign II Gray Pearl with an EF nib.

#18 Pickwick

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 03:49

It's strange how the tines are steel. You would think gold tines would flex. I wish there was some way to check.

*Oogles Hero 373*


Gold is not a suitable metal for flex nibs. Although some gold nibs will flex, they will eventually fail usually splitting in half. There are numerous threads on FPN testifying to the fact that only steel is suitable for making a true flex nib.

Aren't vintage flex nibs made of gold?


These nibs are not true flex nibs. Very few people buying fountain pens needed a flexible nib as such because what is known as Spencerian and copperplate was only taught to office clerks before the advent of the typewriter, and an elegant script was produced for commercial and legal purposes. The majority of people using either dip pens and fountain pens wrote their correspondence in their own personal style.

The main concern of fountain pen manufacturers was to produce a portable writing instrument which would be durable and hopefully reliable.

gold and gold plated nibs were made because of their corrosion resistance and appearance.

A large number of posts extol gold for flexibility, maybe they will for a period of time, but in the end they will fail.

Edited by Pickwick, 05 July 2012 - 03:50.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#19 Andrew H

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:25

You're telling me something like a Waterman 52 isn't a flex? I'm having a hard time believing that. All online literature and posts on FPN say otherwise.

Moreover, I haven't seen any posts or articles saying that gold nibs fail.

Dip pens rust, and I haven't seen any other flex pens made out of steel except for the Noodler lines.

EDIT: I seem to have found your response:
http://www.fountainp...e-vintage-flex/

Edited by Andrew H, 05 July 2012 - 06:41.

"I hope to add some measure of grace to the world. . . . Whether I win or lose does not matter, only that I follow the quest."

Looking for a Sheaffer Sovereign II Gray Pearl with an EF nib.

#20 Pickwick

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:34

You're telling me something like a Waterman 52 isn't a flex? I'm having a hard time believing that. All online literature and posts on FPN say otherwise.

Moreover, I haven't seen any posts or articles saying that gold nibs fail.

Dip pens rust, and I haven't seen any other flex pens made out of steel except for the Noodler lines.

EDIT: I seem to have found your response:
http://www.fountainp...e-vintage-flex/



I can understand the impression members get before the advent of the ball point pen that the majority of people corresponding in pen and ink wrote with an elegant hand creating thick and thin lines. I have a collection of letters written between 1836 through 1850 and there is no evidence of variation in the thickness of the downstroke. I was taught to use a dip pen at school using a script which was a derivation of Spencerian and this eliminated the necessity for having to apply pressure on the nib to produce a thick downstroke. This script was developed in the 1920s. It allowed for one to write fairly quickly and legibly. As I grew older I along with many others adopted my own style.

When one is writing what usually happens is the hand is trying to keep up with thoughts and ideas and it becomes difficult to concemtrate attempting an elegant script. If you look at Esterbrook fountain pen nibs for example who offered a variety of nib widths which will give a line variation on the downstroke but they are quite stiff.

I have a collection of Esterbrook dip pen nibs which are steel some silver plated to give a longer life and don't require much pressure to make them flex. With the advent of the fountain pen, inks were being developed to eliminated corrosion designed with the fountain pen in mind. I have some packets of: 'Gates concentated ink' probably made in the first two decades of the 20th century in tablet form which can be dissolved in water After several months of use this ink is not causing any problems.




.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick







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