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Hero 86 "calligraphy" pen


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#1 MYU

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 19:32

This won't be a long review, as the images will cover most of what is essential. This is one of Hero's calligraphy style pens that uses a rather novel nib design that is quite versatile. There's not many pens where you can write in a variety of line thicknesses with a single nib. However, it's not exactly a compelling design because of some drawbacks.

First Impressions (4/5)
When you first look at the pen, the design is rather striking. You have this semi-bulbous cap with chrome accents and a nicely tapered barrel that finishes off in a bold chrome tip. There's a decent heft to the pen, so it feels like it is substantial and well made. And generally it is. The black cap and barrel with chrome accents looks good. It reminds me of a modern Southwestern style, especially with the imprints on the chrome accents. "Hero 86" is engraved on the cap ring, in both English and Chinese characters.


Fit and Finish (3.5/5)
The bulk of the pen is made of black plastic. It's a decent grade, though--the pen feels well made and the barrel is nicely joined to the metal tapered end piece. The cap threads are all plastic as well, but they are well machined and fit snugly. All of the parts fit together tightly. Two things that annoy me: 1) The clip, though spring loaded, is rather flimsy and 2) the nib collar has started rusting/pitting after about 6 months. Also, the cap does not post, due to the extreme taper of the barrel. It is quite heavy compared with the rest of the pen, so posting it would create an uncomfortable imbalance anyway.

Nib and Writing Quality (3.5/5)
The nib is obviously atypical, with a bizarre upturned tip making it look like the pen was dropped. Fortunately, the composition is gold plated stainless steel, so it doesn't pit like the collar. The writing characteristics are strange. Essentially what you get with this pen is an "inverse" stub: wide horizontally and narrow vertically. This makes it difficult to write small, when leveraging the wide end of the nib. Also, without the crisp chizel shape of your usual stub nib, this nib has a tendency to leave jagged edges to the line. As far as advantages go, the really cool thing about this pen is that you can write with many different thicknesses depending upon the pen position and angle. When you want to write predominantly small, inverting the pen (feed bottom facing up) works pretty well. It is smooth--not much different from a stiff fine nib. But unfortunately the up turned design creates a tendency for the nib to run dry after being idle for about a minute. This is annoying, as you often have to prime the pen to get it going again.





Value (3/5)
This was not an expensive pen at the time I bought it and I think you can still get it for less than $14 at ISellPens. I find the rapid drying out of the nib to be an annoyance, the cap clip has good spring but should track straight (not wobble), and the nib collar should NOT rust after a few months of use. They could have at least used a little stainless steel. For these reasons, I'm not rating the value any higher than 3 out of 5.

Summary (3.5/5)
It's more of a novelty pen, IMHO. I can see using it for artwork or just doodling, but it's not a good every day writing instrument. Probably the biggest obstacle is the fact that the nib dried out so quickly. If it stayed moist about twice as long, then it could be a contender for daily writing. Although called a "calligraphy" pen, you would not write traditional calligraphy with it because of the "reversed" line effect. Anyway, if you're interested in one I'd hold off until you've got another pen in mind and then get the Hero 86 without added shipping cost.

~Gary

Edited by MYU, 05 May 2008 - 21:11.

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#2 lovemy51

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 19:48

thanx for the review MYU,
i've been thinking about getting one of these calligraphy nib pens. i saw a Naki pen with the same type of nib that i liked: http://www.akideal.com/A44-AllPic.html

IYO, do you think it's a good pen to use with noodlers hiliter ink???? ... since it has a wide horizontal stroke!!!!!!???????

Edited by lovemy51, 05 May 2008 - 19:50.


#3 MYU

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 19:55

You're welcome, Peter. I'm not familiar with Noodler's Hiliter ink. Is it meant to be used like a highlighter? If so, it might be good substitute for that purpose, as you have nice line width variations with a single nib. I used Noodler's Black and Lamy Blue/Black in it and they worked pretty well... normal dry writing with the fine tip and standard wet with the wide angle.

~Gary

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#4 lovemy51

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 18:56

that's what i thought gary. yes, the noodlers FIREFLY is for highlighting. i was using it in my W Phileas, but now i got the phileas inked up with Swisher Midnight black, so i need to get a pen with a nib that gives me a nice thick/wide horizontal line for the highlighting nooodlers and thought that this chinese type of calligraphy nib would do fine.


#5 MYU

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 17:15

QUOTE(lovemy51 @ May 7 2008, 02:56 PM) View Post
that's what i thought gary. yes, the noodlers FIREFLY is for highlighting. i was using it in my W Phileas, but now i got the phileas inked up with Swisher Midnight black, so i need to get a pen with a nib that gives me a nice thick/wide horizontal line for the highlighting nooodlers and thought that this chinese type of calligraphy nib would do fine.

I agree. In fact, I think it's ideal with the wide horizontal, plus the option for making highlight circles around words. Good idea!

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#6 Dr.Grace

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 17:57

As I've said in other threads, these pens are really meant for Asian characters. Asian calligraphy is usually done with a brush, and these pens try to duplicate the brush experience to some extent. They're really not meant for western writing, but of course you can use them for that if you want to.
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.--Thomas Paine, "The American Crisis", 1776

#7 ppenloverr

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 12:17

would rather go for italic nibs... i do not think it works with western caligraphy. in any case great review.... congrats...
Regards

p p e n l o v e r r

#8 MYU

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 20:35

QUOTE(Dr.Grace @ May 12 2008, 01:57 PM) View Post
As I've said in other threads, these pens are really meant for Asian characters. Asian calligraphy is usually done with a brush, and these pens try to duplicate the brush experience to some extent. They're really not meant for western writing, but of course you can use them for that if you want to.
Thanks for adding that. I figured there had to be some reason why this design was favored by Hero. This makes perfect sense--I should have realized that from the getgo. Chinese character writing comes first, from a China based company like Hero. headsmack.gif

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#9 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 01:42

I just got one of these in my batch of Hero pens. Haven't tested it out yet. Thanks for the review and writing samples---it's next on my list!

#10 Ondina

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 05:11

Nice review and very interesting characteristics. Seems like is more useful for trying to reproduce the Oriental characters, then Westerns, and is genuine in that aspect. If I ever felt tempted, now I know what to expect. Thanks for making the review.

#11 bossy

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 19:36

Yes, it really is bizarre.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right
to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers,
and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Revelation 22:14-15

#12 EventHorizon

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 03:39

Maybe a good pen for signatures?
Nice review. Thanks.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
Isaac Asimov, Salvor Hardin in "Foundation"
US science fiction novelist & scholar (1920 - 1992)

There is probably no more terrible instant of enlightenment than the one in which you discover your father is a man--with human flesh.
Frank Herbert, Dune
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#13 linearM

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 17:27

I enjoy sketching and purchased the Hero 86 for that purpose. I don't think it would be my choice for general writing but for sketching it offers some advantages. By changing the angle I'm holding the pen at I can select the width line I want to use in a sketch. The quality of line can also be changed as the line is drawn. Drawing with the Hero 86 takes some practice but offers some distinct possibilities that you don't find in most pens. Recently I found myself with my Hero 86, a moleskin sketchbook, and time on my hands waiting in an airport. The resulting sketches of fellow travelers came out quite well.

I'm using Noodler's Polar Brown ink in the pen. The bottle states that it will not freeze. Given the fact that I may be sketching in subzero Minnesota weather the ink an pen may offer a unique solution to winter sketching.

I find the pen attractive but find the fact that it does not post a bit annoying since it's one more thing to try to keep track of using the pen as I do.

#14 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 19:22

Update: The longer I use this fude, the more I like it.

It's got a lovely flexibility that's reminiscent of writing with a brush, and you get, with practice, the most wonderfully expressive lines.

:thumbup:

#15 wykpenguin

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 03:24

Using bent nibs requires a whole new set of skills. You might be able to use it as a "zoomable" italic nib, but it's original use was to imitate brush characters.

This is what so users are capable of doing. http://www.polodelux...og/archives/105

p.s. Some Asian FP users bend their own nibs. :notworthy1:

#16 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 17:30

Using bent nibs requires a whole new set of skills. You might be able to use it as a "zoomable" italic nib, but it's original use was to imitate brush characters.

This is what so users are capable of doing. http://www.polodelux...og/archives/105

p.s. Some Asian FP users bend their own nibs. :notworthy1:


Niiice. That appears to be a more heavily tipped nib than the 86---my Sailor fude are not tipped at all.

Bending the nib might be worth trying with a cheap enough junk pen!

#17 Dr.Grace

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 19:43

Using bent nibs requires a whole new set of skills. You might be able to use it as a "zoomable" italic nib, but it's original use was to imitate brush characters.

This is what so users are capable of doing. http://www.polodelux...og/archives/105

p.s. Some Asian FP users bend their own nibs. :notworthy1:


Thanks for the link! Very beautiful Chinese pen calligraphy. I'm nowhere near that level.
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.--Thomas Paine, "The American Crisis", 1776

#18 MYU

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 20:44

I have to agree--it makes a great sketch pen, if you're not using it for Chinese or Japanese characters. Thanks for "waking up" this thread (wow, it's been a while). I need to pull my 86 out and get it going again. ;)

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#19 His Nibs

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 23:12

Very nice review, that I somehow missed the first time around.

Many Chinese pen companies offer a calligraphy nib, such as:
Posted Image
Bookworm Yellow Filigree

Posted Image
Leonardo Silver Checks

As I mention on the website, and has been pointed out already in this thread:

"This new version of the Silver Checks comes with a Chinese calligraphy nib, or 'art' nib. As can be seen from the upward sweep of it profile, this type of nib bears no relationship to a western-style calligraphy nib. This nib should be thought of more as a 'metal brush', designed to approximate the brushstrokes used in traditional Chinese calligraphy. Although words can indeed be written with this style of nib, it should in no way be considered a regular writing pen, and works best when held more like a traditional Chinese calligraphy brush, as illustrated below. Even to describe the point as a 'light-medium' doesn't really mean too much in a conventional fountain pen sense. I certainly can't say that I've mastered writing or drawing with the pen, but it's been fun trying :rolleyes: ."

Posted Image
Regards,

Norman Haase
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#20 troglokev

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 00:30

I respectfully disagree with Norman's post above.

What I've found, using the Duke calligraphy pen, is that you need to hold the nib such that the bent bit is just off the page, so that extra pressure on the pen puts more of the flat in contact with the paper. (see image below)

Posted Image

The samples at right were written with the same pen, held at different angles to the page. If the pen is held too steeply, the flat bit never comes in contact, and the result is a thin, uniform line. If the pen is held too flat, then the flat bit just splodges out ink, with little variation.

To find the angle, touch the page, and check that you get a small dot. Then press a little harder, and you should get a splodge. If you get two dots, or two splodges, adjust accordingly.






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