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Hero 616, a clone of the "51"


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#1 Arkanabar

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 05:45

Review of Hero 616 (normal sized).

Hero Pen Company of Shanghai is the company formed by the People's Republic of China to operate the plant that the Parker Pen Co. left behind after Mao Zedong took over the country.

First Impressions: The Hero 616 is based on the Parker "51", and the differences are amazingly minor. The clip is slightly larger than on my Aero "51" and the cap posts just a little lower on the barrel. Dillo tweaked this one from a pump filler to a true aerometric before selling it to me, and no doubt fixed up any problems he found in the process, so YMMV.

Appearance: Very much like an aero Parker "51". The cap jewel is steel instead of mother of pearl, and the cap is polished and incised with 8 groups of seven vertical lines (which are not of precisely equal length) instead of matte lustraloy. The clutch ring is visulated so you can see whether you have ink. Rate appearance accordingly.

Photo comparing burgundy Hero 616 to black Parker "51":


again, but closed.


Design: Nice and light, which is how I like them. The hood on the burgundy model transmits enough light that it is noticably darkened by ink. The cap clutches fiercely, more so than my "51", but the "51" was a daily user for decades. The clip is good and tight. Everything works. The hood was not shellaced to the section, but I don't know if it came that way from the factory or from Dillo's shop. Looking very closely, I can tell that the barrel doesn't line up evenly with the clutch ring all the way around. But mine is in better shape than the one Jim Mamoulides reviewed here.

Filling system: A pump filler in normal circumstances, with a visulated sac. It's impossible to get well-filled, and the pen has less write-out than I expected. Dillo dissassembled this one and added the appropriate holes to the barrel and breather tube to make it aerometric and aircraft safe.

Nib: With Noodler's Red-Black, it lays down a fine, fairly dry line, which I estimate to be .5mm wide -- narrower than that from my .7mm pencil. It is probably as smooth as can be expected from a nib so fine; again, that may be from Dillo's efforts. It can be inverted for a hairline, but it's no fun to write that way. It dries out when kept upright, and needs some time for the collector to refill before it will write. Its off-cap time is pretty impressive.

Cost: Dillo sold mine to me for $7, shipped priority mail. Available at isellpens.com for $10 +s/h, and shop.avalonpens.com for $16.

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#2 mmoncur

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 07:16

I bought a 3-pack of brand new 616's from www.cutepens.com a while ago - they have an occasional eBay deal for about $20 including shipping for three pens.

I love them - I keep one in my jeans pocket as a regular writer, something I wouldn't dare attempt with my real "51". It's a nice, reliable pen, even with the stock filling system.

My only complaint is that the clip feels flimsy. It hasn't actually broken, but it feels like it might, so I'm careful with it. Also, as you noted, the cap clutch is a bit stiff.

All three of mine are decent writers, but were a bit scratchy before I smoothed them a bit with some Micromesh.
Michael Moncur

#3 Macuser

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 15:18

I also have a 616. I love it. In fact, I wrote all day with it yesterday. I love how it never dries up, even after a couple of weeks of not using it.

I agree that the cap is not as substantial as the Parker 51, but my clip doesn't feel like it is going to break.

I highly recommend this pen.

#4 RLTodd

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 17:10

FWIW, I always have my only Parker 51 and two Hero 616s inked in the jam jar pen holder on my desk. I usually reach for one of the 616s over the 51 when I write something. I think it is because they are slightly lighter. YMMV
YMMV

#5 Waterman

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 19:30

What woudl be the difference between the Hero 100 and the Hero 616? Does Hero still make these pens?

Thanks
Brad

#6 Dillo

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 20:28

Hi,

The 100 is more prone to breakage on the hood end and it's more of a 61 than a 51. By the way, is there any brown sticky stuff under the hood? I don't remember sealing it or even opening it up. wink.gif The ink capacity of a 616 is not as much as a true "51" aerometric. smile.gif

Dillon

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Dillon


#7 Arkanabar

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 00:51

I didn't actually check under the hood, Dillo -- I've just noticed that it rotates.

#8 Tricia

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 01:16

I have two "51"s and a 616 and though they are very similar in form, the "51"s seem more substantial to me. Maybe this is just because the 616 is a lighter pen. The 616 feels fragile to me (note that I'm not saying it is fragile, just that it feels that way to me).

I've tried to get 100s, but the only one I still have is the one I didn't send back. All the ones I've ordered have been cracked (the one I kept was the fourth one, I think) and the last one I just gave up on because I had had it with sending them back. (The dealer would have accepted it back, no problem. I was just sick and tried of even trying with it. My bad. <_< )

The 616 does have a nice fine point on it, which does make it lovely for editing. I have it filled at the moment with Noodler's Ottoman Rose, a favorite of mine.
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

#9 mmoncur

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 08:23

I just picked up a Hero 100 so I can compare it to the 616.

The 100 is heavier, but that might be because I bought the metal "flighter" version. It's styled like a Parker 61, roughly, with a non-Parker-ish clip.

Quality is markedly better than the 616. The clutch on the cap is smooth as silk, the cap is very solid, and the nib is wonderfully smooth.

The cap clip is much more sturdy, it's one of the spring-clutch variety (like a Sheaffer Snorkel clip) - you can bend it quite a way from the cap and it bends using the internal spring rather than bending the clip itself.

The quality seems comparable to my real Parker 51, although I don't have a 51 flighter to compare with.

All in all, the 100 seems much better than the 616 to me, but you can't beat the 616's price. I like them both.

Edited by mmoncur, 07 January 2007 - 08:25.

Michael Moncur

#10 Arkanabar

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 17:11

QUOTE
I have two "51"s and a 616 and though they are very similar in form, the "51"s seem more substantial to me. Maybe this is just because the 616 is a lighter pen. The 616 feels fragile to me (note that I'm not saying it is fragile, just that it feels that way to me). -- Tricia
I have to agree with this. The 616 is lighter than the "51", even uncapped. And for a while I was afraid I was going to snap the 616 in two right at the section trying to uncap it. (The latter issue has resolved itself.)

#11 Dillo

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 18:47

QUOTE(Tricia @ Jan 6 2007, 08:16 PM)
I have two "51"s and a 616 and though they are very similar in form, the "51"s seem more substantial to me. Maybe this is just because the 616 is a lighter pen. The 616 feels fragile to me (note that I'm not saying it is fragile, just that it feels that way to me).

I've tried to get 100s, but the only one I still have is the one I didn't send back. All the ones I've ordered have been cracked (the one I kept was the fourth one, I think) and the last one I just gave up on because I had had it with sending them back. (The dealer would have accepted it back, no problem. I was just sick and tried of even trying with it. My bad. <_< )

The 616 does have a nice fine point on it, which does make it lovely for editing. I have it filled at the moment with Noodler's Ottoman Rose, a favorite of mine.

Hi,

Yes, I agree with you. The 100 is not as good a pen as the 616 because of the materials.

Dillon

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Dillon


#12 psfred

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 00:23

Just received my three Hero 616's from Cutepens. I've only inked one so far (because I have dozens of pens with ink in them and am trying to reduce that).

So far, it was a rather dry writer. Filled OK with Noodler's AirCorps BB, not as full as I might like, but I don't write that much on any give day, so no problem.

I tried smoothing the nib a bit on a cardboard box at work, then got smart and trotted back to the Microbiology department and took a gander with the dissecting scope and decent magnification.

Well, no wonder it wasn't smooth! The tipping is a bit lopsided on top (no inverting this nib! and the split is off center. The tips were slightly misaligned at the contact point, and wonder of wonders, when I got them lined up correctly, it is suddenly a very nice pen! Wide "sweet spot", very nice ink flow, and no scratchyness, even with the split distinctly off center.

Better than the nib in the 51 Special I got recently!

Anybody got a spare nib out of one of these? I think a Frankenpen is in order!

And where do you drill the hole to make them Aerometric?

Peter

Edited by psfred, 18 January 2007 - 00:24.


#13 Nihontochicken

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:58

QUOTE
And where do you drill the hole to make them Aerometric?


Very close to the end of the feed. I used a #74 drill (.0225"). If burning or poking a hole with a pin or needle, I recommend a hole about a quarter the diameter of the breather tube ID. smile.gif
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#14 Johnson

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 21:14

QUOTE(reada @ Feb 5 2007, 02:56 PM)
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#15 rhk745

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 02:38

I also own that two model - Hero 100 & Hero 616.

The most difference is Hero 100 is 14k nib and Hero 616 just a steel nib. Moreover, Hero 100 has own special plastic Hero 100 box. Hero 616 without special package.

Hero 100 price is around US$28 and Hero 616 is around US$15.


Jojo :bunny1:

#16 french22

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 21:14

I've just got both models brought by a Chinese colleague who was comming to Europe.
I paid an indecent amount of money : 15€ for 1 H100 + 1 M616 + 1 bottle of Doctor Ink (Chinese brand - parker bottle copy). Yes 15€

I've used the 616 for one day of taking notes : nice and comfortable but a bit dry. I'll try to improve that when I will have found in this board relevant indications on "how to"

The H100 is definitely better manufactured (no crack on mine), weights a bit more (different resin). I haven't tested it yet except for few lines after dipping it.

Definitely good pens for the price.

#17 ximhot

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:36

In China today, 100's market price is USD$14, while 616 is roughly $0.55. They are of two very different price points.

100 was Hero's flagship pen for decades. It was once made to compete with Parker, while 616 was only meant to be a school pen. I have both pens. They are very different in quality. I can't agree at all that 616 is of better quality. But if you have a fake 100, then it is another story.

You can send 100 back to Hero for repair for free, but you won't get that service on a 616. 100 is covered by REAL life quality warranty.


QUOTE(rhk745 @ Feb 6 2007, 02:38 AM) View Post
I also own that two model - Hero 100 & Hero 616.

The most difference is Hero 100 is 14k nib and Hero 616 just a steel nib. Moreover, Hero 100 has own special plastic Hero 100 box. Hero 616 without special package.

Hero 100 price is around US$28 and Hero 616 is around US$15.


Jojo :bunny1:

Edited by ximhot, 19 August 2007 - 21:18.







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