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Hero 200a & @ 200c


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#1 kadymae

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 04:20

After I broke the feed off my Haolilai 801 and after I decided that I might need a gold nibbed pen to turn into a dedicated iron-gall writer, I purchased the Hero 200a and 200c from Todd @ isellpens.com.

First Impressions Both of these pens are variations on a theme. The silver metal 200a, which takes its styling cues from a classic Parker, is the cheaper of the two and comes in fairly plain plastic clamshell box.

The black lacquer and gold 200c, the fancier and more expensive of the two, comes in a slightly fancier box -- though nowhere near as fancy as the box in a box, black velvet luxury of the Haolilai 801.



Fit and Finish Both of these pens look well made as soon as you open the box. The 200a has evenly brushed metal and the understated gold trim on it is nice and bright. The lacquer on the 200c was dark and shiny with no chips. The gold trim on it looked nice and bright and satiny.

The caps on both pens seat with a nice tight click. The caps are not unduly hard to tug off, but when seated, are snug enough that turning them starts unsrewing the section from the barrel.

The sections and barrels screw together properly and smoothly. No crooked or shallow threading here.

The clips are properly mounted on the caps. No gaps which let air in to dry the ink. Nor do the clips feel flimsy or brittle.

Design, Size, Weight I can't find where I buried my ruler on my desk, but these are utterly standard sized pens. I imagine that the 200a is almost exactly the size of the Parker it copies. The 200c is about half a centimeter longer, but that's because it has a fancier, longer cap.

The 200a is slightly narrower than the 200c in the section, and while neither is "skinny", they are both narrower than I like pens to be, but not narrow like a Bic ballpoint.

Of the two pens, the 200a is noticibly lighter and the body is made either of stainless steel or anodized aluminium. The 200c is nearly solid brass, and it is a medium-light pen, where the 200a is undeniably lightweight. That said, the 200c is not so heavy that I cannot write comfortably for several pages before my hand grows fatigued.

Both pens are well balanced when used unposted, but become (to me) top heavy when posted.

Nib Design The Hero 200 series pens have 14k gold nibs; not plating over steel. At under $30 for the 200a and under $40 for the 200c, that makes both of these pens a screaming bargain. That's a "daily driver" price.

The nib itself has spartan decoration. Except for a few small Chinese characters, "14k" and the Hero logo (which reminds me a bit of an atom), the nibs are plain and have a sort of angular cut to them.



The same almost spartan aesthetic extends even to the feed mechanism.

Todd stocks only F nibs in these models, and I was a bit worried about how stingy and scratchy they might be. Both pens were smooth, wet writers as soon as I got them inked, laying down a line almost as generous as my M nib Pelikans. The design of the nib and the shortish length of the tines means there's not as much flex in these nibs as in my Haolilai, but there is a hint of give to them, unlike in a Lamy Safari or Pelikan Future.

I was worried that they might not play well with Noodlers, but they even do well with the very dark blue color of "BB Proof" ink I make by mixing Aircorp Blue-Black with Le Coleuer Royal.

Filling System Both of these pens use a squeeze bladder filling system. I'm not particularly fond of this method of filling a pen because the dark rubber precludes seeing how much ink, exactly got in there, and there's no way to see how much remains after an extended use period. However, both pens suck up a surprising amount of ink.

These pens also supposedly take international cartridges, but I haven't had a burning desire to take the ink bladders out.



Cost/Value Did I mention that both these pens are screaming values for any body looking for a gold nibbed pen? Hell, even if they were "mere" steel nibbed pens, I'd say they were good values because they write so smoothly.

(If they were fatter through the section, they'd be my daily office drivers.)

Conclusion Hero makes a lot of el-cheapo pens that are hit or miss in terms of how well they write and just in general overall quality. But in reading through the reviews here, I noticed that as soon as someone stepped up to one of Hero's 12 or 14k nib pens, the build quality improved markedly.

Don't bother with those $5-10 Hero pens. Get one of the 12 or 14k nib models for $25-30 more.

At the moment I don't happen to need or want any more pens (this will probably pass soon), but when it's time to buy buy somebody a pen as a gift, I will consider the Hero 200 line.
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#2 lovemy51

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 05:00

i have a couple of those gold nibs from hero and i agree with you about the smoothness of the points... except they are fine point! (i like med or even broad). the H189, for example is nice looking, but way too fine for me. the other, the H732, i don't even use cause' it's UGLY, although it writes better then the 189 and has some flex!!

yours seem like very good looking pens, congrats!!

Edited by lovemy51, 21 January 2008 - 05:01.


#3 srullens

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 13:43

I just order a Hero 200c

#4 Larry T

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 16:18

I bought a Hero 200a from HisNibs.com several years ago. The nib and body design reminded me of an old Parker 75 that I had lost. I couldn't believe the price, considering the gold nib. It is still one of my best writers, I can lay it down for weeks and it starts right up when I'm ready to use it. I keep mine with my planner/calendar.

By the way, very nice job on the review. Thank you.

Larry

#5 SallyLyn

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 19:55

I have to Third or Fourth on the 200A. At first, didn't think it wrote well, but the second inking and since, this is a wonderful pen. BTW now clean new pens before using. I didn't know to do that. rolleyes.gif

Thank you for the review.

#6 iuwolf

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:20

It seems Hero 200 differs a lot from Hero 100 in look.

#7 jsonewald

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 12:45

I have the 200D, which seems to have the same characteristics as your 200A and 200C. The 200D is a little top heavy when posted though.

#8 acolythe

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 13:37

QUOTE(kadymae @ Jan 21 2008, 04:20 AM) View Post
After I broke the feed off my Haolilai 801 and after I decided that I might need a gold nibbed pen to turn into a dedicated iron-gall writer, I purchased the Hero 200a and 200c from Todd @ isellpens.com.

First Impressions Both of these pens are variations on a theme. The silver metal 200a, which takes its styling cues from a classic Parker, is the cheaper of the two and comes in fairly plain plastic clamshell box.

The black lacquer and gold 200c, the fancier and more expensive of the two, comes in a slightly fancier box -- though nowhere near as fancy as the box in a box, black velvet luxury of the Haolilai 801.



Fit and Finish Both of these pens look well made as soon as you open the box. The 200a has evenly brushed metal and the understated gold trim on it is nice and bright. The lacquer on the 200c was dark and shiny with no chips. The gold trim on it looked nice and bright and satiny.

The caps on both pens seat with a nice tight click. The caps are not unduly hard to tug off, but when seated, are snug enough that turning them starts unsrewing the section from the barrel.

The sections and barrels screw together properly and smoothly. No crooked or shallow threading here.

The clips are properly mounted on the caps. No gaps which let air in to dry the ink. Nor do the clips feel flimsy or brittle.

Design, Size, Weight I can't find where I buried my ruler on my desk, but these are utterly standard sized pens. I imagine that the 200a is almost exactly the size of the Parker it copies. The 200c is about half a centimeter longer, but that's because it has a fancier, longer cap.

The 200a is slightly narrower than the 200c in the section, and while neither is "skinny", they are both narrower than I like pens to be, but not narrow like a Bic ballpoint.

Of the two pens, the 200a is noticibly lighter and the body is made either of stainless steel or anodized aluminium. The 200c is nearly solid brass, and it is a medium-light pen, where the 200a is undeniably lightweight. That said, the 200c is not so heavy that I cannot write comfortably for several pages before my hand grows fatigued.

Both pens are well balanced when used unposted, but become (to me) top heavy when posted.

Nib Design The Hero 200 series pens have 14k gold nibs; not plating over steel. At under $30 for the 200a and under $40 for the 200c, that makes both of these pens a screaming bargain. That's a "daily driver" price.

The nib itself has spartan decoration. Except for a few small Chinese characters, "14k" and the Hero logo (which reminds me a bit of an atom), the nibs are plain and have a sort of angular cut to them.



The same almost spartan aesthetic extends even to the feed mechanism.

Todd stocks only F nibs in these models, and I was a bit worried about how stingy and scratchy they might be. Both pens were smooth, wet writers as soon as I got them inked, laying down a line almost as generous as my M nib Pelikans. The design of the nib and the shortish length of the tines means there's not as much flex in these nibs as in my Haolilai, but there is a hint of give to them, unlike in a Lamy Safari or Pelikan Future.

I was worried that they might not play well with Noodlers, but they even do well with the very dark blue color of "BB Proof" ink I make by mixing Aircorp Blue-Black with Le Coleuer Royal.

Filling System Both of these pens use a squeeze bladder filling system. I'm not particularly fond of this method of filling a pen because the dark rubber precludes seeing how much ink, exactly got in there, and there's no way to see how much remains after an extended use period. However, both pens suck up a surprising amount of ink.

These pens also supposedly take international cartridges, but I haven't had a burning desire to take the ink bladders out.



Cost/Value Did I mention that both these pens are screaming values for any body looking for a gold nibbed pen? Hell, even if they were "mere" steel nibbed pens, I'd say they were good values because they write so smoothly.

(If they were fatter through the section, they'd be my daily office drivers.)

Conclusion Hero makes a lot of el-cheapo pens that are hit or miss in terms of how well they write and just in general overall quality. But in reading through the reviews here, I noticed that as soon as someone stepped up to one of Hero's 12 or 14k nib pens, the build quality improved markedly.

Don't bother with those $5-10 Hero pens. Get one of the 12 or 14k nib models for $25-30 more.

At the moment I don't happen to need or want any more pens (this will probably pass soon), but when it's time to buy buy somebody a pen as a gift, I will consider the Hero 200 line.




Can you tell me the proportions of your BB ink?
I'd like to try it
embarrassed_smile.gif

#9 kadymae

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 05:08

QUOTE(acolythe @ Jan 23 2008, 05:37 AM) View Post
Can you tell me the proportions of your BB ink?
I'd like to try it
embarrassed_smile.gif


3 parts Aircorp Blue Black
2 Parts Le Coleuer Royal

Makes a very dark Blue Black with a grey undernote.
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#10 bhassan

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 18:01

What you should have a burning desire to do, is to replace the impossible "cartridge masquerading as an aerometric filler" with the Hero piston filler that Todd also sells on his site. I bought a Hero 58 Golden Waves from Norman Haase and a Hero 200A from Todd, and both had the same pathetic cartridge/filler. It does not fill with ink. It has just enough suction to fill the feed, and that's it. Tilt it upside down, and the ink just sits in the feed and does not come down into the filler.

An actual aerometric filler has a thin tube within the filler (think Wing Sung 233/5/7, the Hero 329/30/32, etc) through which the ink comes and fills the sac. You can squeeze an actual aerometric while the nib is sitting in ink and the ink will just continue to fill the pen, like it should.

Unlike this pathetic thing, in which the ink just shoots back into the bottle.

I bought two Hero piston fillers from Todd, and they snap into the nib section just like cartridges. Problem solved, perfectly.

<steps down from soapbox>

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#11 churl

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 02:40

I have to throw my support behind the 200A as well. I bought it because I am a little chicken to take my Parker 75's to work, so I wanted something without sentimental value. Well, my 200A writes like a champ. My only 2 criticisms are that with cap posted, it's a slight bit unbalanced to me, and I loved the 75's grip. The 200A doesn't have the ridges or the mildly triangular shape.

I bought this from isellpens on a whim since I was buying some pens for presents and I wanted something for myself, but I think in the future, this will be my present pen.


Edited to include picture

Edited by churl, 12 March 2008 - 12:23.


#12 Eric072691

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 03:00

From my experience with Hero pens, there are issues with the caps, both when trying to post them and with them posted. However that's just my $0.02, and I don't usually post my caps.
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#13 RLTodd

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 03:39

I thought the Hero's used Parker cartridges rather than International format?


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#14 ethernautrix

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 05:38

After skimming through threads about Heros and reading about the XF nibs, I finally got curious enough to order a couple from Todd (yesterday) (meaning, I haven't tried them yet).

I don't know. The slight variations between models made it a little difficult to choose (on the other hand, it's better to have that kind of choice ("I'm undecided! Both sides present convincing arguments!" -- Sorry, referencing a joke by comic Anthony Hill, about picket lines)), and while I was reluctant to try what looks essentially like knock-offs, the prices were low enough to risk being disappointed.

I thought the stainless steel nibs looked cool -- the hooded ones.

We'll see.

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#15 SallyLyn

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 20:04

Regarding cartridges for the Heros that can use them. Probably the best answer is to ask Todd of isellpens, but that's too logical. A year ago got a bunch of Heros, Wing Sungs and OTHOs and had to play mix and match. My notes indicate the Hero 800 (like a Parker 45) and M58 (a really, really nice writing inexpensive pen if you can find) will use a Parker Cartridge/converter. The Wing Sung 830, OHTO Fine and Hero 200A use a Universal. With the OHTO Fine you have to find a converter without the metal ring as the space for the converter is very narrow. Have not tried these combinations extensively, I maybe very wrong. Do have a Parker Cartridge in the M58 at the moment with a Zhivago, H2O and Glacier Blue mix. No leaking after a couple weeks.

#16 His Nibs

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 22:55

QUOTE(RLTodd @ Mar 11 2008, 11:39 PM) View Post
I thought the Hero's used Parker cartridges rather than International format?


The vast majority -- perhaps 95% -- of Hero pens take a Parker cartridge, if they're cartridge/converter. Other models will take the international instead.

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#17 ParkerNutter

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 03:01

Searching through vintage threads, I found this fine review of the Hero 200a and Hero 200c. Since my pen budget is bit limited at the moment, and I "had" to have something that was "Parker 75-like" to satisfy a certain pen whimsy that was affecting me, I took a a chance and ordered a Hero 200a from an eBayer in Shanghai.

I can confirm his current Hero 200a stock is exactly like the pen reviewed here. Overall fit and finish was excellent. The pen worked right out of the box, with no fuss. The GT model that I received supposedly had an M nib, but it seemed more like a US F to me. Not super smooth, but just about what I would expect from a gold Chinese M nib, which means "good" to me. Prices are now a bit higher than what quoted in the original review, no doubt due mainly to higher gold prices, but mine was still under $40 shipped. I was very satisfied.

#18 Aramchek

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 10:43

I suspect these are from the Wing Sung factory (which Hero supposedly bought) - the nib and feed, judging from the photos here and elsewhere, look just like those on many Wing Sung pens.

The Hero 241 looks even more like a Wing Sung.


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#19 Schenk

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 12:02

Everyone here seems to claim that the nib is 14K gold. Definitely, no. All that glitter is not gold.

I tried to polish the nib using a soft cloth and a polishing cream, and the golden tone disappeared!

If it were plain gold, it wouldn't !

I was very sorry having messed up with this nice golden nib, so I have replated the nib using a galvanoplasty kit, it worked fine.

I don't think it is possible to afford a gold nib pen for this price, even if it comes from China :)



#20 Chang

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 20:38

[quote name="Schenk" post="3671397" timestamp="1469620949"]

I'm sorry to hear that.
However unfortunately you just bought a fake.

It's true that you can use 30 or 40 dollars buy a nice 14k gold nib pen in China. But there are also many abhorrent fake pens.

Here is a Chinese pen BBS site and you will learn which is fake. Left side is real, and the fake should be more bright than the real one, the plastic ring is bigger too.

BTW, this is the old version hero 200. The new versions are hero 200abcd, which one did you buy?






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