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Hero '51 Clones Review


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#1 dcwaites

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 04:43

Hero Pens Review


My new batch of pens has arrived, all Hero '51 clones from iSellPens.

From the top -- Hero 100, Hero 329(old style), Hero 329(new style), Hero 616 Jumbo, Parker 51 special.


I got the 329 because I have one of the older model 329s, and Internet comments suggest that the newer ones are better built. I got the Jumbo 616 because of its larger size, and the 100 because general opinion is that it is the best of Hero's '51 clones.

Fit and finish on all four pens is quite good, especially for the price. I found only two inelegancies -- one on the 616 and one, surprisingly, on the 100. Where the clip is attached to the cap on the 616, there are little gaps in the seams. It is a strong assembly, just a little clunky. You can see it in the photo, compared to the 51 cap below. The barrel on the 100 is not concentric with the clutch ring, and there is a little step on the right hand side. However, you don't feel it as you write, as your fingers hold the pen below the clutch ring.

The caps on all four pens are push-on and fit well, at least when new. The clips on the new-style 329 and the 616 are fixed to the top of the cap, and are sturdy and solid. The 100 and the old-style 329 have spring-mounted clips, with the one on the 100 looking that little bit sleeker.

All four pens are based on the Parker 51. They have the same type of hooded nib and similar design of section, barrel and cap. Mine all have plastic barrels, but you can get the 100 with a stainless-steel barrel. They would all be classed as light pens, but all post securely if you want a little extra weight. All four pens are pretty much the same length, with the 616 Jumbo just that little bit thicker (which is why I bought it).

The old-style 329's nib is gold plated and iridium-tipped. The new-style 329 and the 616 are steel nibs, and close examination with a loupe shows they are both tipped, but it is not as obvious as the older 329. The 100 comes with a 14k gold nib and a definite tip.

The nibs on all four pens are in the very fine range, which I like. Using Jose's nib width chart, mentioned by wimg , with Richard Binder's classification from his Stroke Width Chart, the results work out like this --
chart.jpg


The new-style 329 writes with the finest line, and is a little scratchy on some papers. Its shape is simply not as good as the other nibs. The old-style 329 and the 616 are very similar to each other, and both write a very smooth and liquid line. The 100 is the smoothest writer of the lot, its nib justifying the extra cost of this pen.

Compared to a real Parker 51, you can see and feel the differences. But, they are not that great. It will be interesting, though, to see how many 329s and 100s are still around in 50 years. Of the four pens, the 100, apart from the flaw in the clutch ring, has the highest quality and is the smoothest writer. The old-style 329 and the 616 closely follow. The fit and finish of the new-style 329 is a little better than the other 329 and the 616, but it is let down by the quality of the nib, and the fact that there is stamped-on lettering on the cap.

Has anybody else compared the new- and old-style pens?

Regards,
David

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#2 Jimmy James

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 05:07

I have a new style 329 and a 132 (a gold hooded nibbed Hero that isn't a 51 clone exactly). I also own 2 Parker 21s and one 51.

I haven't done the sort of careful comparison you have, but I can say that my 329 and your new 329 sound pretty much exactly the same. The nib is scratchy but very, very fine. It's the finest of all my pens. It's not unpleasurable to use and even has some applications where I prefer it to any other pen. I'm glad to have one at $5, but I'm not sure I'd buy another.

My 132 started off scratchier than the 329, but it has smoothed out nicely. It's quite fine as well, and the only real issue I have with it comes from its short length.

I can certainly tell the difference between these pens and the Parkers I own, but they lay down ink well enough to exist. I may even buy a 100 of my own some day.

#3 dcwaites

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 06:38

QUOTE(Jimmy James @ Jan 5 2008, 04:07 PM)  
I have a new style 329 and a 132 (a gold hooded nibbed Hero that isn't a 51 clone exactly). I also own 2 Parker 21s and one 51.

I haven't done the sort of careful comparison you have, but I can say that my 329 and your new 329 sound pretty much exactly the same. The nib is scratchy but very, very fine. It's the finest of all my pens. It's not unpleasurable to use and even has some applications where I prefer it to any other pen. I'm glad to have one at $5, but I'm not sure I'd buy another.

My 132 started off scratchier than the 329, but it has smoothed out nicely. It's quite fine as well, and the only real issue I have with it comes from its short length.

I can certainly tell the difference between these pens and the Parkers I own, but they lay down ink well enough to exist. I may even buy a 100 of my own some day.

I have found that my new style 329 seems to work much better with Sheaffer Skrip Black than it did with Quink. Perhaps that ink is a bit thicker or oiler than the Quink???

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#4 Jimmy James

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 20:07

QUOTE(dcwaites @ Jan 5 2008, 01:38 AM)  
QUOTE(Jimmy James @ Jan 5 2008, 04:07 PM)  
I have a new style 329 and a 132 (a gold hooded nibbed Hero that isn't a 51 clone exactly). I also own 2 Parker 21s and one 51.

I haven't done the sort of careful comparison you have, but I can say that my 329 and your new 329 sound pretty much exactly the same. The nib is scratchy but very, very fine. It's the finest of all my pens. It's not unpleasurable to use and even has some applications where I prefer it to any other pen. I'm glad to have one at $5, but I'm not sure I'd buy another.

My 132 started off scratchier than the 329, but it has smoothed out nicely. It's quite fine as well, and the only real issue I have with it comes from its short length.

I can certainly tell the difference between these pens and the Parkers I own, but they lay down ink well enough to exist. I may even buy a 100 of my own some day.

I have found that my new style 329 seems to work much better with Sheaffer Skrip Black than it did with Quink. Perhaps that ink is a bit thicker or oiler than the Quink???


I do have mine loaded up with Private Reserve Grey Flannel, so that may have something to do with how it is working. It's a thin but not very lubricating type of ink.

I bought a bottle of Slovenian Skrip Black the other day, so I'll probably reload with that.

#5 WillSW

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 20:15

QUOTE(Jimmy James @ Jan 5 2008, 12:07 AM)  
they lay down ink well enough to exist.


Perfect criteria.

I bought a new 329 and a 616 in Chinatown a few days ago. The 329 is slightly smoother, but the 616 is slightly rotated at the nib (the center of the nib and the point of the hood aren't on top of each other), so I'm always a little slow in finding the sweet spot. I think I'm going back tomorrow to get a few more 616's because I prefer the design and need some gifts. Also, I had them inked with Hero Blue and Blue-Black, and switching to Aurora Black can make a huge, positive difference.


#6 dcwaites

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 23:04

QUOTE(dcwaites @ Jan 5 2008, 05:38 PM)  
I have found that my new style 329 seems to work much better with Sheaffer Skrip Black than it did with Quink. Perhaps that ink is a bit thicker or oiler than the Quink???

My mistake, I checked again, and the 329 is loaded with the new Quink Black from India, it is my 616 that has Sheaffer Black in it.

BTW, the new Indian Quink Black has a different dye mix than the older Quink Black.


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#7 AlejoPlay

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:51

QUOTE(WillSW @ Jan 5 2008, 08:15 PM)  
QUOTE(Jimmy James @ Jan 5 2008, 12:07 AM)  
they lay down ink well enough to exist.


Perfect criteria.

I bought a new 329 and a 616 in Chinatown a few days ago. The 329 is slightly smoother, but the 616 is slightly rotated at the nib (the center of the nib and the point of the hood aren't on top of each other), so I'm always a little slow in finding the sweet spot. I think I'm going back tomorrow to get a few more 616's because I prefer the design and need some gifts. Also, I had them inked with Hero Blue and Blue-Black, and switching to Aurora Black can make a huge, positive difference.


Is that Chinatown in NYC? Where do you get Heros in Chinatown? Are the prices ok?




#8 WillSW

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 18:06

QUOTE(AlejoPlay @ Jan 5 2008, 11:51 PM)  
Is that Chinatown in NYC? Where do you get Heros in Chinatown? Are the prices ok?


It is indeed. Our fellow forumite Betty was mentioning buying in Chinatown and I asked her, she turned me on to Oriental Culture Enterprise Inc, http://www.oceweb.com/en/index.htm , at 13-17 Elizabeth St. They have 616s, 329s, and a Parker 45-esque Hero 83, which I cannot find online. I think the 329 and 616 were $5 each, and the 83 $6. They also have a pen in the more ornamental line for $25 or something. Hero ink, in Red, Black, Blue, and Blue-Black are all $2-$3 a bottle, I rather like the blue-black.

I asked the man at the counter if there were any other pen shops around, and he said no, but that may have been because I hadn't purchased my pens yet. I haven't made it back yet, but soon.

#9 AlejoPlay

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 18:27

QUOTE(WillSW @ Jan 6 2008, 06:06 PM)  
QUOTE(AlejoPlay @ Jan 5 2008, 11:51 PM)  
Is that Chinatown in NYC? Where do you get Heros in Chinatown? Are the prices ok?


It is indeed. Our fellow forumite Betty was mentioning buying in Chinatown and I asked her, she turned me on to Oriental Culture Enterprise Inc, http://www.oceweb.com/en/index.htm , at 13-17 Elizabeth St. They have 616s, 329s, and a Parker 45-esque Hero 83, which I cannot find online. I think the 329 and 616 were $5 each, and the 83 $6. They also have a pen in the more ornamental line for $25 or something. Hero ink, in Red, Black, Blue, and Blue-Black are all $2-$3 a bottle, I rather like the blue-black.

I asked the man at the counter if there were any other pen shops around, and he said no, but that may have been because I hadn't purchased my pens yet. I haven't made it back yet, but soon.


excellent. i will have to make a trip there sometime soon.

I have an old school 329 and it's a great pen. smile.gif

#10 roboPen

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 20:47

I just received a stainless steel Hero 100 as a gift. The SS body has a nice weight to it, and the 14k nib glides well over paper. What surprised me is that the clip no longer appears to be a Parker clone. Instead, it starts narrow and tapers almost to a point. No parker flare at the end.


#11 andy1m

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 10:45

I always use this "4 Step Nail Buffer" to smooth out my new pens. It always works.

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#12 RevAaron

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 23:45

QUOTE (roboPen @ Jan 6 2008, 03:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just received a stainless steel Hero 100 as a gift. The SS body has a nice weight to it, and the 14k nib glides well over paper. What surprised me is that the clip no longer appears to be a Parker clone. Instead, it starts narrow and tapers almost to a point. No parker flare at the end.


That's been the case with the Hero 100 for a while. With the lower-end Heros there are still the Parker esque clip, but perhaps after stock is all sold out that'll change too. Hero coming into the big leagues?

I'm surprised that the OP's Hero 100 wrote like an XXF- one wonders if that's compared to modern, wide nibs like those of Pelikan and Lamy? The Hero 100s I've used are true F, though maybe an XF to many Pel and Lamy users.

*shrug*
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#13 Randal6393

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 01:41

Yes! That's the way to go!

QUOTE (andy1m @ Oct 4 2008, 06:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I always use this "4 Step Nail Buffer" to smooth out my new pens. It always works.


Yours,
Randal

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