When I first saw this pen on FPN, I thought it looked pretty well. Most demonstrators do when they’re filled with nice ink. The cost of the pen is rather low, so I ordered one. After using it for a while, I’m ready to share my thoughts on it.
It’s here that my head starts tu hurt. Probably I was just too lazy to make proper research. Maybe someone with good chinese market knowledge will drop here and explain things to us.
The pen comes in a plastic “box” stamped with Hero logo but it’s called Wing Sung. To complicate things further there’s a Lucky brand name engraved on the clip, WINGS letters engraved on the ring. On Taobao the pen is sold as Lucky 698 on eBay as Wing Sung 698. I think that any marketing profesionnal would moan over this brand split personality.
The pen comes in plastic blister pack. Apart from Wing Sung 698 we receive a converter filled with silicone grease in the package. It’s nice accent.
If the pen was made in black plastic, it wouldn’t look nice. The shape and overall design are rather generic and boring. Two things that many fountain pen users will find tempting are pen transparency and piston-filling mechanism. So far I haven’t hears about other chinese piston-filler. It’s almost out of character for a chinese fountain pen. Some people share opinion that Hero was trying to copy TWSBI fountain pen. I’m not sure. It’s different design.
Wing Sung 698 is quite substantial with some flair to it (take a look at the cap). Construction is a little rough, there are mold lines on some of the plastic, and the cap top seems somewhat messily affixed, but it’s not easily noticeable unless you really, really want to prove that chinese pen must have some flaws.
The cap unscrews in one turn. It’s embellished with metal end-cap. There’s also a plastic inner cap that tends to fall off from time to time. It’s not glued.
The grip section is significantly narrower than the barrel. It tapers down towards the nib. There’s a plastic rim just above the nib. The grip section is long and comfortable. On the other hand, depending on your grip, plastic threads that create a significant step up from the section may become an issue.
Length uncapped – 131 mm
Length capped – 141.3mm
Maximum diameter – 12.5mm
Weight – 23.8g.
(The ink used in the samples is my favorite blue-black - Kyonooto Aonibi)
The nib and feed are, possibly, made with ex-Pilot tooling, and superior to the usual Chinese nibs and feeds. The nib can be swapped with Pilot 78G nibs. The one that I received performed flawlessly out of the box. While it’s not the most enjoyable nib I’ve ever tried, I’m impressed by it. Smooth, wet and reliable, it started to write out of the box and keeps on doing so.
The feed is translucent so it’ll have the color of the ink you use. The nib is described as Wings Super Quality fine. So far – after a month of use I can agree it’s well made steel nib that’s a joy to use.
The pen uses surprisingly smooth piston-filler. It features a special clutch mechanism to secure piston knob – it needs to be pulled out by a couple of millimetres to free it, so that the pen can be filled. After filling, the knob is pushed back in position where a clutch mechanism engages and locks the knob in position. It doesn’t feel rock solid, it feels a little wiggly and the closure is tenuous at best. On the other hand it hasn’t failed yet. Also the piston-filling mechanism works very smoothly and it holds reasonable amount of ink – around 1 ml.
I’m impressed. The pen is reasonably priced, works well and while it’s not perfect I don’t think that TWSBI’s are much better pens. If you consider trying piston-filler for the first time, it’s a reasonable choice.