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Hero 100


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#1 superfreeka

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 17:58

Up for review: Hero 100 in stainless steel. Their version of the "flighter" model of Parker.

hero_100_three.jpg

Background: This was the second fountain pen I ever bought. The first was a very tempermental Jinhao, but that's a review for another time. I paid $30 + $10 shipping for the pen through www.isellpens.com (no affiliation, I'm merely a satisfied customer). I bought the pen initially because I wanted a durable companion which was not as, shall we say, ostentacious, as my previous Jinhao. My poor man's Parker 51, if you will (although $40 is getting very close to the price of lower end Parker 51's, I would not be able to purchase the 'flighter' variety, which is what I wanted.)

First Impressions: I am not a fan of flashy packaging, even when done in good taste. All that matters to me is the pen. With that said, when I first laid eyes on the pen, I was pleased to see just about what I had expected - a shiny, but not eye-seeringly gauche metal pen. It looked fairly well constructed, but perhaps not of the highest quality.

Score: 5/7

hero_100_four.jpg

Apperance and Design: Reminiscent of the famed "flighter" models introduced by Parker for the P51, with some noticable differences The clip, for instance, is fairly plain and common, and does not really resemble the Parker arrow clip. For this I am not detracting any points, as I am of the belief that imitation is suicide. The clip is functional and strong - perhaps too strong. It grips my pants like a starving infant wrasping itself around the bosom of its mother. Still, I prefer a tight clip which may present a challenge to abduct over a loose or structurally unsound one.

The body and cap are made from what appears to be quality stainless steel, which has held up admirably well to nearly a full year of use (not abuse). The cap has Chinese characters followed by "100" in a fairly classy engraving far beneath the clip. The gripping section is made of a black plastic, and I find holding the pen to be comfortable and natural. The cap fits snuggly and removes with a tug. Good.

The nib is fully hooded, with only a tiny section of the tines portruding from the end of the plastic housing. There appears to be a huge portion of iridium at the tip of my pen. I don't think that this is necessarily good or bad, it just struck me as idiosyncratic. The stainless steel does not attract fingerprints, and no more than a few microscratches mar the finish as of now. The overall fit and finish of the pen is not outstanding, but it is of reasonable quality and up to my personal standards.

Score: 6/7

Size and Weight: The pen's weight is what I would call a "light heavyweight", not at all uncomfortable, but still afforded some solid weight from the steel barrel and cap. It is well-balanced both posted and unposted; I prefer to post this pen, but that is a personal preference. The length of the pen is what I would consider about average, perhaps a bit longer than a normal pen with caps posted.

hero_100_one.jpg

Nib: An excellent song by Black Sabbath. But really, the nib is made of 14 karat gold (not just plated), and is hidden under the afformentioned "hood." I feel that having a 14 karat gold nib available to me is important, because all the rest of my pens have nibs I would not risk to an iron-gallic ink, but that is because I tend to neglect a pen with ink in it for longer than what can be considered good pen hygeine. It just adds a nice touch to the pen, but in no way really enhances performance.

The nib writes a true XF line which I find very useful since I tend to gravitate toward mediums. It gives me the ability to use a pen I know will not make a mess of itself while making margin notes or writing on bad paper. It's flow is about a 6/10, that being only very slightly wetter than average. When I first began writing with the pen, it was very scratchy, skipped at times, and generally always left me reason to doubt whether or not it was going to give me trouble on a given day. I have since gone through my entire collection realligning tines where I see fit, and this happened to be one of the examples of this procedure. It now writes much more smoothly and much more cooperatively than it has in earlier times. Still, it is not the smoothest of writers, but I find it to be adequate.

Score: 5/7

hero_100_two.jpg

Filling System: Squeeze convertor. Despite my best efforts, using the squeeze mechanism will not fill up more than 1/3 of the convertor at any one time. I've tried literally everything. Thankfully, since it writes such a fine line it still lasts about as long as a medium nib (1551) Esterbrook J. Not too shabby.

Cost/Value: $40 for this pen makes it really a fairly expensive purchase on a student budget. Yet for $40, it seems to be a fairly good buy. What it comes down to is, "Would I buy this pen again?"

The answer is unabashedly yes; if the P51 is built like a tank, than this is a Humvee. It's survived drops and frequent use, accepts almost any ink I throw at it and keeps doing its job acceptably well.

Score: 6/7

Conclusion: I like the pen. It is by no means of poor quality or shoddy craftsmanship. To spare it the shame of yet another Parker 51 comparison, I'll just say that this pen fills a niche in my collection and has been tried and true to me ever since I realligned the tines of the nib. Good pen, solid quality - don't rule out the Hero 100!

Final Score: 5.5/7

-- superfreeka

Edited by superfreeka, 07 January 2009 - 19:35.

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#2 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 00:22

As a Hero fan, I enjoyed this review.

What makes this model different from the 616, which it resembles somewhat?

#3 HerosNSuch

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 00:28

QUOTE (Sailor Kenshin @ Jan 7 2009, 07:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As a Hero fan, I enjoyed this review.

What makes this model different from the 616, which it resembles somewhat?



The only difference, other than the cosmetic hood inlay, is the nib. The 616, from what I've seen, doesn't have a solic gold nib available and is a standard shpe. The 100 nib is shaped more like the 51 nib in that it is long and slender.

Also, the 100, 329, and 330 are Aerometric.
The rest of Hero's pens are squeeze bulb fillers without the aero tube.

Edited by HerosNSuch, 08 January 2009 - 01:34.

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#4 dcwaites

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 00:34

QUOTE (superfreeka @ Jan 8 2009, 04:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Up for review: Hero 100 in stainless steel. Their version of the "flighter" model of Parker.
...

Filling System: Squeeze convertor. Despite my best efforts, using the squeeze mechanism will not fill up more than 1/3 of the convertor at any one time. I've tried literally everything. Thankfully, since it writes such a fine line it still lasts about as long as a medium nib (1551) Esterbrook J. Not too shabby.

You are squeezing it several times, with a few seconds between squeezes, aren't you?

I can get all of my three Hero 100s about 75-80% full after 4 or 5 squeezes. If I want it absolutely full, I then turn it upside down and gently squeeze the filler until a bead of ink appears at the base of the nib. I then dunk it and let the pen suck up the rest of the ink.



fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif

 

 

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#5 superfreeka

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 01:43

QUOTE (dcwaites @ Jan 7 2009, 07:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (superfreeka @ Jan 8 2009, 04:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Up for review: Hero 100 in stainless steel. Their version of the "flighter" model of Parker.
...

Filling System: Squeeze convertor. Despite my best efforts, using the squeeze mechanism will not fill up more than 1/3 of the convertor at any one time. I've tried literally everything. Thankfully, since it writes such a fine line it still lasts about as long as a medium nib (1551) Esterbrook J. Not too shabby.

You are squeezing it several times, with a few seconds between squeezes, aren't you?

I can get all of my three Hero 100s about 75-80% full after 4 or 5 squeezes. If I want it absolutely full, I then turn it upside down and gently squeeze the filler until a bead of ink appears at the base of the nib. I then dunk it and let the pen suck up the rest of the ink.



Yes, I have tried this, but unfortunately the pen just refuses to draw in more ink.
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#6 French

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 05:27

Hi,

Very nice review. I also have the Hero 100 flighter (received it as a gift for Christmas 2006), it is a high use pen and still looks quite good. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine.

French

#7 dcwaites

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 07:58

QUOTE (superfreeka @ Jan 8 2009, 12:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, I have tried this, but unfortunately the pen just refuses to draw in more ink.


I would send a note to Todd of iSellPens. I think you have a problem with yours.



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#8 richardandtracy

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:41

The length of the breather tube in the filler will determine how much ink you can draw in. I have a few Hero 616's, all of which have different length breather tubes. Once the end of the tube is covered, the next squeeze on the filler will squirt ink back into the bottle - so you won't get more in. You could dismantle the pen like a P51 & replace the tube with a longer one.

Thanks for the review - it's great. Now, the photos show two different pens, one with a diamond over the nib & another without. Which is yours? Or are they both under review?

Regards

Richard.


#9 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 15:09

I wonder whether the 'diamond' is just a camera artifact?

#10 lovemy51

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 08:29

QUOTE (Sailor Kenshin @ Jan 8 2009, 07:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wonder whether the 'diamond' is just a camera artifact?

hmm1.gif i've never seen that diamond inlaid on the H100????!!!! but the pen looks so pretty, i wanna own one!!

thanx for the review, superfreeka!

#11 wing6

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 23:42

The nostalgia of yesteryear. Glad that this pen is still being admired.

#12 Flourish

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 20:34

Gotta love a Hero.

#13 douzhisparks

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 06:28

I'm sorry to tell you that there maybe something wrong about your Hero100. I think that you can search on the Internet to find some detail pictures.By the way, I'm a Chinese boy and I really think that hero100 is a very nice pen.

#14 lovemy51

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 07:43

I'm sorry to tell you that there maybe something wrong about your Hero100. I think that you can search on the Internet to find some detail pictures.By the way, I'm a Chinese boy and I really think that hero100 is a very nice pen.


welcome to FPN! now that you mentioned it... i don't see a clutch ring and the filling system looks different than that on my H100!!!

#15 douzhisparks

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 08:21

Posted Imagewelcome to FPN! now that you mentioned it... i don't see a clutch ring and the filling system looks different than that on my H100!!!
[/quote]

Well, there're some photos taken by my friend

Edited by douzhisparks, 17 December 2009 - 08:33.


#16 douzhisparks

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 08:21

welcome to FPN! now that you mentioned it... i don't see a clutch ring and the filling system looks different than that on my H100!!!
[/quote]

Well, there're some photos taken by my friendPosted Image

Please look at the steel bushing which is connected with the hold. It can not be taken apart derectly which is different from the one shown in the top pictures. My English is poor , so I don't know how to dipict it clearly. Sorry~

Edited by douzhisparks, 17 December 2009 - 09:34.


#17 richardandtracy

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 11:19

That nib looks much more like a P61 nib than any other Hero I've seen. The connector looks very similar to the P61 capilliary connector, and the barrel is a similar shape.
I wonder if it's a new/different varient we've not seen outside China before. It certainly looks well made from the photos.

Regards,

Richard.

#18 Z. Anthony X.

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 18:00

As a Chinese Canadian pen collector, I feel obliged to try to clear up the confusion here.

The Hero 100 was introduced in 1959 copying the styles of the Parker 51, and then redesigned in early 60s according to the designs of the P61. The old design of the Hero 100 lives on in the cheaper version, Hero 616. The basic Hero 100 have not underwent any new redesign since, except changes in the plastics used and colours offered. Recently new model named Hero "Golden 100" and Hero "Silver 100" were introduced, which were trimmed up versions of the 100 with essentially the same innards, and also the Hero "Glorious 100" which was a attempt to capitalize on the 100 name. The Hero pen factory is not the nationalized Parker factory in Shanghai, as Parker did not have a factory in Shanghai in pre-Communist China (as far as my information tells me). The Hero Pen Company was founded in 1931 as the Huafu Gold-pen Factory, which prior to 1949, also distributed foreign brands, possibly including Parker. It was partly nationalized in 1955, under a 50%/50% buy out agreement with the owners, in which the owners was entitled to the buyout sum as well as 50% of the future profits. The company was only renamed Hero Pen Company in 1966 after the successful "Hero" lines of pens. It was also fully nationalized that year.

Unfortunately, the pen reviewed is not an Hero 100. It does have a Hero 100 cap, but the body is not. No Hero 100s were produced with a diamond inlay, or any other inlay on the hood. The on the pen reviewed is also too thin, the Hero 100 have sightly thicker trim ring that have a sightly concave face. It also have a metal connector, and a brushed stainless steel filler sleeve secured deeply into the connector. The pen reviewed instead have a clear plastic connector and a shinny metal filler sleeve secured on a nipple like part of the connector, similar to the P51. (Many other cheaper Heros also have this kind of filler sleeve, the Hero 100's is relatively unique.) The Hero 100's filler sleeve also are stamped with Chinese characters to the effect of "Hero "100" Goldpen", and then the English word "Hero" on the press-bar. The pen reviewed lacks these imprints.

I hesitate to say what the reviewed pen actually is, as it might be a frankenpen, or an fake. Many of you perhaps are surprised by the idea that a cheap brand like Hero would be faked. According to a 2005 article, 50% of pens sold as Heros in China between 2003 and 2005 are fake, and more recently in late 2008, Hero launched a lawsuit against 34 companies for counterfeiting and unauthorized use of trademarks. Even many pen dealers in China are fooled into thinking their Heros are real when they are not. The majority of these fakes are sold for under 2RMB (~0.32 USD), but the Hero 100 have also been a very popular target (as well as Parkers and MBs, of course).

EDIT: here is some photos of my Hero 100, purchased by my father in a reputable Beijing stationary store.
Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

One thing that I forgot to mention is that the Hero 100 pen also do not have the "normal" Hero logo, consisting of a stylized H in a stylized flower. Instead it have a "100" logo that consist of a "fat" Arabic number 1 with two ovals overlapping it at different slants. This logo shows up on the back of the cap, above the "Made in China" mark, and again on the back of the filler sleeve, by itself.

Edit2: an attempt to capture the logo, but my camera won't focus on it.
Posted Image

Edited by Xing, 17 December 2009 - 18:23.


#19 CRB

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 02:12

Thank you Xing, that is fascinating information. The pictures are helpful too.

#20 kenship

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 14:56

Thanks Xing, I have what you have, except that I have it in all stainless steel. Can't imagine Hero 100 being faked.....






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