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Hero 100 (Green, F Nib)


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#1 heymatthew

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:41

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Hello all,
I will preface this with a short disclaimer: This is my first review. I'm fairly new to fountain pens, but I've started a decent little collection and have spent a good amount of time with each of my pens. You're probably wondering why I'd be writing my first review on the Hero 100. Is it my first fountain pen? No. Is it the best fountain pen I own? No. So why the Hero 100? Because it was the most surprising. Being that this is my first review, I would very much appreciate any constructive criticism some of the more experienced veteran reviewers might have to offer me. I would also welcome any thoughts you all may have on this particular model, and if you'd care to, please chime in on areas where I may have not been as thorough as you think I should have been.

So, on to the review...

PEN: HERO 100,
NIB: F


First Impression: 9/10
Upon opening the outer carton, I was immediately impressed with the packaging. It came in a rather decent box in hunter green with gold trim. No, it's not teak and it doesn't feature any gold filigree or nifty magnets, but it was a decent box. I was expecting a cardboard sleeve with some plastic wrap inside so I was a interested to see the packaging. Upon taking the pen out of the box, I was impressed at the way it felt. It had a good heft, the color was nice and vibrant with good saturation and the components fit solidly. I was a little put off by a slightly mismatched section, but at this price point, I can't say I'm surprised. The cap fits snugly and has nice detailing. The clip is firm and well-secured with no wiggle or unnecessary embellishments. I would almost venture to say that the cap fit a little too snugly as I had to give it a good pull to get it off of the pen. This is slightly reassuring, though, as I plan to carry this pen in a jeans pocket and I can carry it confidently knowing that my pants will be safe from whichever ink graces the sack inside the pen. The cap and back of the pen have a neat little tapered finial that cap off the pen nicely. Especially on the back end. The internals are fairly straight forward. It had a typical squeeze-fill mechanism (please help me with the terminology here guys) and all seemed well upon my brief first inspections of it. Perhaps my favorite part is the engraving on the cap. The Chinese characters (I'm assuming they say "Hero") followed by the number 100 were a nice touch. And it was equally nice to see them on the filling mechanism inside the pen.

Posted Image

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Quality: 8.5/10
The quality of this pen seems to be on-par with what I expected out of it, if not more so. As I said above, everything fit nicely and seems to be decent quality. Especially the cap and metal bits. I'm a little annoyed by the slight color mismatch between the section and body and I don't particularly love the little metal ring between the two, but I can live with it. The nib was a little crooked when I first got it, but a gentle nudge centered it nicely and got it right where it needed to be. Overall, this pen feels really nice and solid. it doesn't rattle or make any noise and everything fits securely. I was able to fill it easily and with just a few squeezes, I got what I believe to be almost a complete fill.

Nib/Writing Ability: 10/10
I can't find anything NOT to like. I tend to write in all-caps and my lettering is a bit small. My handwriting is not excellent (or even good, for that matter), but this pen lends itself perfectly to my writing style. The nib is very firm with very little variation in line from horizontal to vertical strokes. I like this. Because I tend to write small, excessive variation in line width tends to muddy my writing. I was extremely surprised to find that the nib on this pen is exceptionally smooth on a variety of papers. I jotted a few lines in a Rhodia Spiral Grid Notebook, some basic bond paper and a Moleskine sketch book. It wrote the minute I touched the nib to paper and never failed to start up in the couple of hours I spent with it this evening. Even while scrawling quickly, the pen held up well and never skipped or faltered. I inked it with Noodler's 54th Massachusetts and it seems to really do well with it. I rarely write in cursive, but even cursive writing was a joy. Writing with the nib upside down gave an even finer line and allowed me to get some really tiny little characters (about half the size of a Rhodia grid square). At this point, I'm giving the nib on this pen a 10. Please understand that this is a performance-to-price rating. I'm sure a Mont Blanc or Aurora would warrant a similarly high rating, but in the "Less than $30" category, this nib really deserves a 10. Maybe a 9.5 for being slightly off-center, but I took a half a point off for that in the Quality section so I can't dock the pen twice for that.

Please pardon my hieroglyphs. If you can't read it, let me know and I'll be more than happy to translate. :) Also, the dirty spots in the top right are bleed from a previous page. I didn't want to waste the whole page though. Gives it character, don't you think?

Posted Image

Comfort: 9/10
I find this pen extremely comfortable. I have pretty large hands, but they're rather skinny. Girly, if you will. My hands are about 8" from my wrist to the tip of my middle finger. Despite that and the Hero's small size, I can grip it easily and my hand didn't tire at all. The light weight and good balance, especially when posted make for an enjoyable writing experience. I can foresee being able to use this pen for extended periods of time with no problem at all. Perhaps the only discomforting thing is the cap. I find that it seats very firmly when capping the pen as well as when posting and if the clip gets in the way of my hand, it's a slight chore to twist the cap around to a more comfortable position. A small quibble, but one worth mentioning.

Posted Size: 5 7/8"
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Capped Size: 5 9/16"
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Overall: 9/10
Overall, I am very pleased. I found this pen to be surprisingly well made, decently presented and the nib exhibits characteristics of those in pens much more expensive than the Hero 100. I find the pen aesthetically pleasing, comfortable to hold and easy to use. It fills easily once you get used to the pump (I found that several quick squeeze-and-release with a few seconds in-between worked nicely to get a good fill). It's sort of a no-frills fountain pen that will get you through a day at school or the office. It would be an excellent pen to take travelling in lieu of a more expensive pen that you don't want to lose - not that you'd want to lose this one either. If you stumble upon one of these at one of the many excellent online resellers or on the great auction site, pick it up. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I hope that you all have enjoyed this review and that you have found it helpful and informative. Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts, questions or concerns. Constructive criticism is always welcomed and I would very much appreciate it so I can apply it to future reviews. I appreciate all of the wonderful resources presented to me on these forums and hope that I have, in some way, returned some of the favor in this writeup.

Kind regards,
Matthew

Edited by heymatthew, 15 January 2013 - 18:20.

No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.

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#2 wieniawski

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 06:24

Haha, that drawing is neat and so is your handwriting. Anyway, for newer models of 100 (one made after 2000) I always heard about the grip-section cracking issue (on Chinese forums, where they start to joke that the cracking is a sign that the Hero 100 is genuine)so I wonder how would it perform after a few months of normal use.
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#3 rochester21

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:13

Interesting review. I was tempted to try a hero 100 myself, but it is much too expensive for a chinese-made fountain pen. They have a problem with maintaining a certain degree of quality on their pens...

#4 da vinci

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:22

Thanks for the review. I enjoyed reading it. It is extremely through - to the point where the only comment i can make would be that I would like to see a picture of the characters on the cap. But that is not criticism - constructive or otherwise.

Looking forward to reading your next review :thumbup:

#5 AndyHayes

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:46

Good review. The only additions I would have made would have been pics of the pen uncapped and or posted.
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#6 heymatthew

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 13:11

Haha, that drawing is neat and so is your handwriting. Anyway, for newer models of 100 (one made after 2000) I always heard about the grip-section cracking issue (on Chinese forums, where they start to joke that the cracking is a sign that the Hero 100 is genuine)so I wonder how would it perform after a few months of normal use.


Thank you very much! I will try and keep an eye on the grip section for you and touch base to let you know how it's holding up. I plan to put this pen in my rotation for daily carry so it will come with me probably once a week or at least once every two weeks. I'll probably also use it at home a good bit. When I carry pens I either carry them in my front pocket or in my messenger bag so hopefully that will let me know how it will hold up. So far, though, I don't foresee that being a problem. It seems well-made. Maybe I got a fake! :roflmho:


Interesting review. I was tempted to try a hero 100 myself, but it is much too expensive for a chinese-made fountain pen. They have a problem with maintaining a certain degree of quality on their pens...


I have noticed that there are some flaws in the pen. As mentioned the grip section is a slightly different color. Also the metal has some finishing marks and blemishes. I'd say if you can get one for around $20, it's a good buy. I paid a little more than that, but I'm still happy with it.


Thanks for the review. I enjoyed reading it. It is extremely through - to the point where the only comment i can make would be that I would like to see a picture of the characters on the cap. But that is not criticism - constructive or otherwise.

Looking forward to reading your next review :thumbup:


Thank you very much! Ask and ye shall receive. Below are two photos. One is the cap and the other is the "innards" of the pen. Both engraved. They're not extremely clean engravings and there are some finishing marks and blemishes, but I think it adds character. I just really like the engravings.

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Good review. The only additions I would have made would have been pics of the pen uncapped and or posted.


I will definitely get you some photos of it both uncapped and posted. Thank you for the reply and for the suggestion. Not sure why I didn't do this before! Stay tuned. I'll update you with the photos this evening.

I really appreciate all of your feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed the review and I've got some good things to go off of for my next review (better detail coverage).

Best,
Matthew
No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.

#7 heymatthew

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 18:21

Updated with photos of the pen capped and posted with measurements.
No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.

#8 Flounder

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 18:31

Thanks for the review and your photos are just great!

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#9 watch_art

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 18:58

The only thing I'll say about your review is about your choice of paper. :(

;)

I have one of those Moleskine sketch books and hate the paper. It's almost oily. How do you find it to take your different inks?

Great review and neat pen.
Thanks!

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#10 heymatthew

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 19:03

Thanks for the review and your photos are just great!


Thank you Flounder! Much appreciated.
No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.

#11 heymatthew

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 19:12

The only thing I'll say about your review is about your choice of paper. :(

;)

I have one of those Moleskine sketch books and hate the paper. It's almost oily. How do you find it to take your different inks?

Great review and neat pen.
Thanks!


Thank you for the feedback and you're more than welcome for the review. As for the paper, I have found that the standard Moleskine paper is a little too thin and it has a tendency to be fragile (that's the only word I can think of). It tends to tear easily and bleed through easily. I also find that the fragility of the paper causes my pens (especially my Noodler's Flex Pens)to pick up paper fibers and it messes with my line variation. The Moleskine sketch book I have, which has much, much thicker paper is very smooth with just a very tiny little bit of tooth. It's not oily or slick and it doesn't deteriorate with heavy inks. It isn't exceedingly absorbent, nor does it take forever to dry. I am actually quite fond of it.

My all-time favorite paper is Rhodia though. I just love their pads. Smooth, bright white paper with very little tooth and lots of resistance to inks of all types. It takes a little longer to dry, but it doesn't tear, deteriorate or falter under heavy-handed writing or rich inks.

I'll try and use a better paper next time just for you. :D

Thank you for your feedback.
No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.

#12 watch_art

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 19:30

:roflmho:
Just for me huh?
Have you ever tried Exacompta? That's some good stuff.

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#13 heymatthew

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 19:42

:roflmho:
Just for me huh?
Have you ever tried Exacompta? That's some good stuff.

:P


I have not tried Exacompta, but I'll order one the next time I place an order with Goulet Pens. I love the look of their journals! Thank you for the recommendation.
No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.

#14 mhguda

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 19:49

That's a very good review of a pen I always found interesting and never got around to buy. However I've got an 800, which is a P45 look-alike which I think is similar to your 100 being a P51 look-alike. I like mine very much, even though I do not use it on a very regular basis (so many pens, so little time...).
The only problem I had with your review is where you mention your intention of carrying the pen in your (front) jeans pocket. While I've sometimes risked that, so far with no mishaps, I would strongly advise against that - you run the risk not only of damaging your pen, but of losing it somewhere if it works itself loose out of your pocket. I'm pretty sure I've lost at least one pen that way, and I know I almost lost several - found them, luckily enough, under my car seat...
People are always saying these pens are inexpensive enough not to worry about losing or breaking them, but I find that if I have a good pen, however inexpensive it was, I hate to lose or break it. Especially since you may not be able to find it again...

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#15 heymatthew

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 19:55

That's a very good review of a pen I always found interesting and never got around to buy. However I've got an 800, which is a P45 look-alike which I think is similar to your 100 being a P51 look-alike. I like mine very much, even though I do not use it on a very regular basis (so many pens, so little time...).
The only problem I had with your review is where you mention your intention of carrying the pen in your (front) jeans pocket. While I've sometimes risked that, so far with no mishaps, I would strongly advise against that - you run the risk not only of damaging your pen, but of losing it somewhere if it works itself loose out of your pocket. I'm pretty sure I've lost at least one pen that way, and I know I almost lost several - found them, luckily enough, under my car seat...
People are always saying these pens are inexpensive enough not to worry about losing or breaking them, but I find that if I have a good pen, however inexpensive it was, I hate to lose or break it. Especially since you may not be able to find it again...


Thank you for your comments! I'm glad you enjoyed the review. If you ever get a chance, pick one of these up. They're rather nice for the money. I'm sure the 800 is very similar. As for the jeans pocket, I tend to wear very slim fitting jeans (Diesel and Seven are my go-to brands most of the time) and I don't clip my pens to my jeans pocket, I slide them down into my pocket. I once lost the cap of a Lamy Vista while it was clipped to my jeans pocket and it ruined a pair of jeans that cost many times what that pen cost. And I was minus a cap.

I have been carrying a messenger bag more and more these days so I may just get a 2-pen sleeve or something and keep a couple of pens in my bag.

Gosh... I'm going to be "that guy" aren't I? :D
No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.

#16 mr.rage84

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 21:08

Where did you order your hero 100 from? I have been looking for one and have not been able to find one.

#17 heymatthew

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 21:13

Where did you order your hero 100 from? I have been looking for one and have not been able to find one.


I got it from eBay from a seller called speerbob. Here's a link with a couple of them on there: Hero 100 - Speerbob

He claims to have 100% authentic pens, guaranteed. I wouldn't know a fake, but judging from my research, mine is real. He currently has a black and stainless, solid stainless and burgundy and stainless available. They're priced at $40, which I think is fair. I had a few bucks leftover in my PayPal account and used that. :) I've heard you can get them a bit cheaper, but his shipping was fast, his communication was good and I think I got a good item for the money.
No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.

#18 mrul

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 21:45

Interesting pen, nice review. Thanks :rolleyes:

#19 Larry T

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:45

Where did you order your hero 100 from? I have been looking for one and have not been able to find one.


I got it from eBay from a seller called speerbob. Here's a link with a couple of them on there: Hero 100 - Speerbob

He claims to have 100% authentic pens, guaranteed. I wouldn't know a fake, but judging from my research, mine is real. He currently has a black and stainless, solid stainless and burgundy and stainless available. They're priced at $40, which I think is fair. I had a few bucks leftover in my PayPal account and used that. :) I've heard you can get them a bit cheaper, but his shipping was fast, his communication was good and I think I got a good item for the money.


Speerbob is a good seller. I've had several dealings with him, all very positive. I have four of the Hero 100 fountain pens in different colors, green, burgundy, black, and a stainless steel 'flighter' version. I bought mine several years ago, all four are nicely built and excellent writers. I will have to get a family picture of the four of them together sometime.

Very nice review, thanks.

Larry

#20 heymatthew

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 14:32

Where did you order your hero 100 from? I have been looking for one and have not been able to find one.


I got it from eBay from a seller called speerbob. Here's a link with a couple of them on there: Hero 100 - Speerbob

He claims to have 100% authentic pens, guaranteed. I wouldn't know a fake, but judging from my research, mine is real. He currently has a black and stainless, solid stainless and burgundy and stainless available. They're priced at $40, which I think is fair. I had a few bucks leftover in my PayPal account and used that. :) I've heard you can get them a bit cheaper, but his shipping was fast, his communication was good and I think I got a good item for the money.


Speerbob is a good seller. I've had several dealings with him, all very positive. I have four of the Hero 100 fountain pens in different colors, green, burgundy, black, and a stainless steel 'flighter' version. I bought mine several years ago, all four are nicely built and excellent writers. I will have to get a family picture of the four of them together sometime.

Very nice review, thanks.

Larry


Thanks for the reassurance Larry. It was my first dealing with him, but I won't hesitate to deal with him again. I'd love to see a family portrait of your Heroes!
No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.






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