The Hero 801A is a delightful chinatown find, coupled with the factory hero ink makes a fine writing combination.
- Appearance & Design (5/10)
What can I say, it’s a black pen with gold accents. Body is metal, I assume brass with black paint/enamel. Not too thick not too thin the body has a slight taper. Cap is clear plastic lined and pulls off with a firm grip and caps neatly to the top of the body and stays there. The grip (for lack of terminology) is matte aluminum and is slightly jarring in contrast to the gold accents. The second, and smaller detractor is the etched model name in mandarin and English on the side of the cap, the writing will not rub off. Feel that this pen would be great sans the gold and gold lettering.
The covered nib reminiscent to the parker super 21.
Compared to a Nakimi Falcon and a noodlers pen for size.
2. Construction & Quality (10/10)
I apply a “punching above ones weight” metric here, where by price or price range is used as a comparative to other pens in this price range. Does it compare with a pen that would sign the Geneva Convention? No. But for the price range it doesn’t have to, it punches with pens costing 10 times as much. . Most pens in this range need work- the noodlers famous 20 dollar holler being one of them, maybe that’s half the fun sometimes… sometimes it’s nice to get it working out of the box. Have bought several Chinese pens, and have been mostly mildly disappointed, almost never with the threading- universally they seem to get that right with these metal body ones, the hero 801a being no exception. The clip is nicely done, very simple with a wide flare at the top of the cap with good clipping power. Paint or enamel is pretty hardy looking doesn’t feel soft like some Chinese enamel pens. Standard filler is a screw type with a reasonable size reserve, works well with the fine nib. No sharp edges.
3. Weight & Dimensions (8/10)
How a pen balances in hand is the second most important primary being the nib and writing performance.
Weight total 32.9 grams
Body 21.2 grams
Cap 11.7 grams
Prefer to post the caps, and most Chinese pens are unbalanced and heavy, my duke and duke 2000 pens being the worst offenders. This pen excels and doesn’t unbalance, without the cap the pen feels very light- ideal for a woman or the infirmed. If I had to critique maybe slightly wider, length fits nicely in a bigger hand with longer fingers.
Width: 9.5mm (approx. at thickest point) 3cm circumference.
4. Nib & Performance (9/10)
Nice very fine nib, suspect chrome plated at best. Nib hidden, didn’t disassemble.
Biggest quibble with this nib is that there is some side to side movement of the nib- somewhat affects the line but is slightly annoying if concentrating on this. Uncapped the nib dried within 20-30, a lick of the nib cleared the dryness. The flow is quite nice and surprised me, most of the Chinese pens including the noodlers tend to be dry starters until fixed. Given the fineness of the nib suspect that ink will last a long time with this one. Pretty smooth not an iridium nib find most fine nibs scratchy and like to dig into the paper. Being of the devils hand, fine nibs tend to exacerbate this, but the hero performs very well. As a lover of big fat, wet lines I gave pause to purchasing this but have no regrets thus far. Recognize handwriting sample below lacks in penmanship and stylistic flair and serves just as record of nib width. Writing done on lined rhodia paper. No puddling of ink or malfunctions.
5. Filling system & Maintenance (9/10)
Standard, easily replaceable and cleanable screw type. Cannot attest to maintenance.
6. Cost & Value (10/10)
Cost: $7.95 plus tax.
Ink 56ml: $5.95 plus tax.
If this pen had a 30-40 dollar tag on it, it would not surprise. Packaging consisted of plastic cellophane in a box of 12. By far the best chinese pen I have had the pleasure of using. Being a noodlers ink fan, I know this isn’t bomb proof but for 6 bucks I wanted to change and try some black ink and I am happy with it in this pen.
7. Conclusion (51/60)
Was expecting typical Chinese quality- that will get tossed in the back of the drawer, only to be drawn (pun) out on the rare occasion. Some lingering concern with the lateral movement of the nib, unsure if not fully seated, defective or characteristic of hidden nib pens.
All in all, incredible value for money, makes one happy to be a capitalist consumer. Would recommend to first timers or to collector that want a hooded nib pen for very little money.