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Hero 382, 1026, 7030, And 9075


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8 replies to this topic

#1 Miles R.

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 00:37

The Shanghai Hero Pen Company makes so many different pens that I recently managed to acquire four of them without getting one that has (at the moment of writing) yet been reviewed on this site. Rather than post four separate reviews, I am offering this review of all four. The four pens are, from left to right in the photograph below, the Hero 9075, 7030, 1026, and 382. All four have metal barrels, metal snap-on caps, chrome trim, steel nibs, and convertors. But for all their resemblance of construction and appearance, they are quite different in feel and function.


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1. Hero 9075

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Point width: fine

Weight (grams): 18 (body, 12; cap, 6)

Length (cm): capped, 13.5; posted, 15.8; uncapped, 11.7

I bought this pen because I saw it offered on eBay for a paltry $5, shipping included, and could not let such a bargain pass by. I have not yet inked it, because I expect to make a gift of it to someone rather than use it myself; and that is because, while I think it is a very nice pen in its way, it is not a good pen for me. As soon as I got my hands on it, I could tell that it was too light and above all too thin for me to use comfortably. At its thickest point, it is just over 1 cm in width. The grip is even narrower than that, and has three grooved indentations for the fingers, rendering it narrower still. I believe that only someone with particularly small and delicate hands would find this pen comfortable to write with.

The pen is of a rather elegant design, at least as dirt-cheap pens go, with a simple color scheme of black and chrome. The clip is similar in shape to that of a Parker Vector. The nib is tiny, the visible part of it being only about 5 mm in width and just over 1 cm in length. Because it is also of very thin material, though, it flexes easily.

A notable attraction of the pen is that its convertor is worked by a sliding rather than a twisting mechanism. Thus one can easily fill the pen with one hand (useful when one needs to tilt the bottle to immerse the nib in the ink), and can flush it by simply inserting the point into water and sliding the plunger of the convertor up and down with one's thumb. (Perhaps I will keep the pen for the sake of the convertor alone. I find that it can be used in place of the twisting convertors of the other Hero pens, though the swap cannot be made in the other direction.)


2. Hero 7030

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Point width: medium

Weight (grams): 32 (body, 19; cap, 13)

Length (cm): capped, 13.8; posted, 17.0; uncapped, 13.4

This is a full-sized pen of moderate weight. The nib has an attractive, or at least unusual, shape, having such width in the shoulder as to look almost wider than the barrel (it is, of course, narrower). Overall, though, it has, in my judgment, the least attractive appearance of the four pens under review here. The cap shows an excess of chrome, as it displays it not only in the clip and the base of the cap, but in two rings above the base and again on the tip (though a black plastic plug in the top of the cap moderates the effect). The clip imitates not only the head of an arrow at its tip but also the feathers at its top, in a dully protruding shape. The manufacturer's name (in roman and Chinese characters), its logo, and the numeral of the model appear on the ring of the cap, not engraved, but in a series of fine cuts---a cheaper, or certainly cheap-looking, technique that I believe is called "peening." The two-tone plating on the nib shows weak contrast and, to my eye, merely adds gaudiness rather than variety.

As far as function is concerned, the pen suffers from a lack of balance, as far as the use of it posted is concerned. The cap does not slide far down the tail, resulting in a rather unwieldy length of 17 cm (6 3/4 inches). The nib is fairly stiff and its point of a moderate degree of smoothness. I did not have the pen in use long enough to be able to report on how well it starts, but I don't recall having any troubles. The convertor is of the common twisting sort.


3. Hero 1026

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Point width: medium

Weight (grams): 41 (body, 23; cap, 18)

Length (cm): capped, 13.6; posted, 15.0; uncapped, 11.4

This pen bears a considerable resemblance to the 7030, being of about the same length and thickness capped, and bearing almost the same amount of "bling." Closer inspection, however, shows it to be of somewhat more tasteful design. Although it has almost as much chrome showing in its capped state, the chrome pieces are better balanced, as three of the bands of it---one just below the tip of the cap, one just above the base of the cap, and one between the barrel and its tip (I'm not sure if one calls that a "blind cap" when it is non-functional)---are of identical thickness. Setting aside the chrome band at the base of the cap, which detracts from the effect, this imparts a certain unity to the design, as does the similarity of length between the black tip on the cap and that on the barrel. The clip, regrettably, is of a width that gives it a chunky appearance, with an arrow motif repeated over its length, making for a bit of visual clutter. But the manufacturer's name and logo and the numeral of the pen model are not only engraved rather than peened in the base of the cap but also colored in black, which, as it repeats the color that predominates in the pen, is a rather nice touch. The nib is, like that of the 7030, broad-shouldered, though not as much so as that pen, and free of the other's unfortunate two-tone plating.

The pen is also superior in functional respects. Although the cap, at least on the specimen that I got, snaps a bit too firmly on to the barrel (removing it may require extending the elbows for leverage), it fits nicely on to the tail, so that the center of gravity, when the pen is posted, lies near the web of the thumb where it belongs, rather than above it. I initially had a bit of trouble with the point: although it moved over the paper without pronounced difficulty, it made a scraping noise, almost a screeching. After enduring this imperfection for a while, I did some doodling on a sheet of Micromesh and now the point works very smoothly. With that modification, the pen has become one of my favorites among my many cheap Chinese pens. The nib is of moderate stiffness and the ink flow consistent.


4. Hero 382

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Point width: fine or extra-fine

Weight (grams): 35 (body, 22; cap, 13)

Length (cm): capped, 13.6; posted, 15.7; uncapped, 12.2

This pen bears comparison with the 9075 (no. 1 above), in that it has about the same proportion of chrome to shiny black and has a fine, or possibly extra-fine point. (I am not sure how to classify it.) Its color scheme is somewhat marred, however, by the use of two-tone plating on the nib and on the ring at the top end of the section grip. A peculiarity of its design, which some may like and some may not, is that the visible part of the feed is completely smooth, with no gills or indentations of any kind. The clip is without frills of shape or surface, other than an engraved flower---apparently the manufacturer's logo---near its top. The name and logo of the manufacturer and the model are engraved in the chrome ring at the base of the cap. If not particularly elegant, it is at least not tacky-looking.

There is one defect of the design, at least in the specimen that I got, namely that the cap does not snap on securely. It does audibly click into place, but the fit is so loose that one can make the cap fly off simply by giving the pen a sharp flick like a dart. For this reason, I would not venture to carry this pen in a shirt pocket, unless it were enclosed in a sheath of some kind.

The pen does, however, write very nicely. My initial impression of it was that it managed somehow to combine smoothness and scratchiness: the point seemed to move smoothly, but with a kind of grinding feeling at the same time, as if there were some sort of extremely fine grit on the writing surface. I gave it the tiniest bit of smoothing with Micromesh and now it moves flawlessly. I have never known a pen with such a fine point to move so smoothly. It is also a rather wet writer. So, on the one hand, if you need a fine- or extra-fine-point pen to avoid feathering when writing on poor-quality paper (as in making entries in a check register, for instance), this pen won't do well. On the other hand, if you just like to write small or in a fine line, this pen is the first that I have found that lets me do so with as easy a motion over the page as I get with my smoothest medium-point nibs.

I would also mention that, like the 9075 (no. 1 above), its convertor works by a sliding rather than a twisting mechanism.

In conclusion, I would say that the 9075 (no. 1 above) is a specialty pen for small hands, the 7030 (no. 2 above) makes an umipressive showing all around, the 1026 (no. 3 above) is a very good all-around pen (if, like me, you like a moderately heavy pen that is well-balanced when posted), and the 382 (no. 4 above) is a very attractive extra-fine point.

Edited by Miles R., 27 June 2012 - 00:39.


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#2 Gloucesterman

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 02:47

Interesting reviews more focused on the construction, visual and tactile experiences of the pens.

Just curious as to what you like for a base line, nice writing, comfortable and reasonably well made pen for less than $100.00?

Have you written with the Monteverde Invincia Color Fusion at all?

Thanks for the reviews Miles.
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“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”


#3 Miles R.

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 03:36

Interesting reviews more focused on the construction, visual and tactile experiences of the pens.

Well, I have had the pens for a long while, and have not used the first two in a long time. (No. 4, as you can see, is inked right now, and I was using no. 3 until a couple of weeks ago.) Preparing the review was time-consuming enough without the further work of inking up the pens again, doing some writing, perhaps photographing or scanning some samples, then cleaning them again for storage.

Just curious as to what you like for a base line, nice writing, comfortable and reasonably well made pen for less than $100.00?


Are you asking me to name a model, or state the characteristics that I look for? I am not sure that I can do either. I have a few fountain pens, acquired over a period of about 30 years, that were priced in the hundreds of dollars, and a whole bunch of really cheap ones, mostly priced under $20, which I have acquired since I discovered Chinese fountain pens a few years ago. I have never bought a pen that was priced over $35 but under $150 nor have I done much investigation of what is available in that price range.

Have you written with the Monteverde Invincia Color Fusion at all?

I think that one of the pens that I handled at the Boston group's last meeting was a Monteverde, but I don't recall of what sort or which of the pens that I handled it was. I've never given any attention to the brand, as I think all the ones that I have seen have been rather tacky-looking. (Please don't think, by the way, that I particularly fancy black-lacquer pens: I just ended up with a bunch of them because they were particularly cheap and came in no other color.)

#4 SmoovD

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 19:30

Thanks for the reviews. I have found the 1026 to be a steal considering its performance and its meager price tag.

#5 isellpens

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 00:02

I have found the #1026 to be one of the best of these and it’s the only one left I am currently selling at www.isellpens.com. I believe most of these other models were discontinued.

#6 Miles R.

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 00:07

I have found the #1026 to be one of the best of these and it’s the only one left I am currently selling at www.isellpens.com. I believe most of these other models were discontinued.

Hah! I guess that's what I get for taking months since getting the pens to get around to composing a review of them!

Edited by Miles R., 29 June 2012 - 00:08.


#7 Squeteague

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 09:44

Sorry for the necro, but do you think that the 9075 could be used as a semi-flex pen? The nib design resembles the Falcon nibs that flexes nicely. The only problem I can see is whether the feed will be able to keep up with flex.

Edited by Squeteague, 17 March 2013 - 09:46.


#8 lintonwang

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 13:58

Ha! I'm currently in Shanghai. Hero has quite a lot of high-end fancy looking pens as well. I find their designs especially good, regarding their relatively friendly price.

#9 Miles R.

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 14:24

Sorry for the necro, but do you think that the 9075 could be used as a semi-flex pen? The nib design resembles the Falcon nibs that flexes nicely. The only problem I can see is whether the feed will be able to keep up with flex.


"Semi-flex" seems to me a fair description of the pen as I remember it. I said in the review that it felt flexible. I no longer own it, though, so I can't verify this.






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