This is another Chinese pen, I think I read somewhere that the Shanghai Hero Pen Company is the oldest existing pen company in China. If I'm wrong, it's because I'm old and delusional, in which case you should keep reading purely for the entertainment value because I obviously can't be trusted and there's no telling what I might say.
The Hero 78 arrived in a simple velveteen sleeve, and when I pulled it out I was really wowed by its appearance, right up to the point of making a closer inspection of the pen.
Now don't get me wrong, the pen looks good, but there are tiny imperfections, the things that separate the everyday from the extraordinary. There was the tiniest of dings on the metal cap. The all around finish and fit is good, but not great. Things like that.
The barrel and gold trim is beautiful, and you can see a subtle roman motif etched into the cap band. I think the grip section is supposed to look like brushed gold, but to me it looks like plastic. To its credit, there are no flash lines from a cheap plastic casting, so maybe I'm completely off base.
The pen weighs slightly more than my Lamy Vista, and it's ever so slightly thinner. Most of the weight is in the cap, to the point where it feels unbalanced with the cap posted. Unposted, it's nicely balanced. The push-on cap gives a solid click when you place it, and the clip is wide and feels quite substantial. It's very tight, making it somewhat difficult to use with thicker fabric.
The nib is a fine, is cut straight, and has the word "Hero" with some flourishes. It writes smoother than my Safari with an XF nib, but it's not as smooth as the Picasso. It comes with a converter installed and I'd guess that it'll also take international standard cartridges - I don't have any to test with. I filled it with Private Reserve Burgundy Mist and it immediately started to write with a nice wet line (pssst... first picture... up top).
I would absolutely recommend this pen to friends. It looks more expensive than its price*, but doesn't look overly ostentatious (unlike that word, eh? ). I'm two for two on these budget pens. I wasn't expecting much, but I've been pleasantly surprised so far.
*purchased from ISellPens. Not affiliated, etc. Satisfied repeat customer. Possibly delusional. Your call.
Edited by Rocket Jones, 27 June 2008 - 00:36.