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Tarundurga posted a topic in China, Korea and Others (Far East, Asia)Hello Community, My wife is going to be traveling to Shanghai in the 3rd week of May. I'm putting together a wish list of fountain pens for her to pick up. These include the Hero H718, Penbbs Pens, and Lecai pens. Are there any specific shops she can get these from? Super if you can share their names / locations and also add some fountain pen recommendations to this list - I have a fondness for pens made of acrylic resin and celluloid. Thanks, Tarun
The Hua Hong blue belter, vaguely Pelikanesque, stands on its own design. Also available in red The Hua Hong blue belter raises as many questions as it answers. We can start with the answers, because that’s a shorter list. The Hua Hong is a medium-sized, cartridge-converter pen with a black lacquer barrel and a snap cap. The barrel is lightweight, probably brass, and provides nice balance while writing. The manufacturing standards are high, with tight tolerances, and the finishes are smooth, glossy, and durable. I’ve had the pen for nine months, and it holds up well. The pen's proportions are vaguely Pelikanesque, but it stands on its own design. The cap's blue twisting pattern offers the pen’s most striking visual element. The sword-like chrome clip is thick and well-constructed in two pieces, and does not seem to have been stamped. Capped and uncapped, the belter is about the size of a Platinum Preppy. The Hua Hong sword-like clip is constructed from two pieces, and does not appear to be stamped. The Hua Hong’s medium nib writes beautifully and bears a charming imprint of a joyous human with outstretched arms. The imprint is even more impressive because the human figure is created with just two simple versions of the letter “H”, one nestled inside the other. And more impressive still -- this imprint was probably conceived by a Chinese designer operating in a foreign language. The Hua Hong imprint combines two versions of the letter 'H' The small letter H of the human's head also resembles a stylized version of the circular “shou” motif common in Chinese art and design. A Chinese scholar friend points out that this character, representing longevity or immortality, regularly appears throughout China, on bowls in restaurants, on pottery, placemats, clothing, wall hangings, and in other places. A translation obtained by brg5658, another FPN contributor, indicates that the Chinese characters for “Hua Hong” mean “China Grand.” Unfortunately, some versions of the Hua Hong logo now resemble an alarming combination of a gas mask from World War I, a warning exclamation point, and the symbol for a nuclear fallout shelter from the Cold War. This rendition, anything but joyous, raises one of the first unanswered questions -- does the company understand the designer's original intent? Recent version of the Hua Hong logo Translation of characters from another Hua Hong pen model, presented in a review by FPN contributor brg5658 Like many Chinese fountain pens available recently on eBay, the Hua Hong is extremely reasonably priced. It typically sells for between $2.5 and $5 – about the price of a Preppy. The blue belter is also offered in red. I use the pen almost daily because it writes so reliably and well, and the nib imprint is so contagiously happy. The cap is too heavy, but unposted, the pen is nicely balanced. This is where the bulk of the unanswered questions start. A Scottish contributor to the Fountain Pen Network, Ian the Jock, is one of Hua Hong’s greatest brand ambassadors. This is important, because no one seems to have any idea of the company’s back story or marketing strategy. What is the name of the pen? Ian named the pen “blue belter,” because this, in Scottish, signals something that punches above its weight. But the belter doesn’t really have an official name, and its model numbers change regularly. Right now, it’s going by HH-8, but it was previously sold as Y-7, Y-5, and Q-5. Are the pens new, or new old stock? We think they are new old stock, because they are not available in a Hua Hong current catalog. But we honestly have no idea. How does one buy the pen? We know of only two sales outlets, both on eBay. There are no other Western retailers. Who are the eBay retailers? One eBay seller, xiongfu1990, was based in Hangzhou for most of 2015, and the name on the return address of the shipping bubble envelopes was Wang Wei Jie. But in 2016, the name changed to Wu Kun, with a return address in Shanghai. The other eBay sales outlet, mizukushi, is based in Hong Kong, and lists similar pens at much higher prices. How can the quality standard of the pen be so high? The pen exceeds recent Jinhao standards, which are high to start with. The Hua Hong has a smooth, custom-imprinted nib, a high-quality clip, a smooth lacquer finish, and an efficient feed and converter. We realize that shipping is subsidized by the Chinese government (and, by extension, the postal service of the receiving country). But even at the low recent prices of Chinese pens, $2.5 is extraordinarily low for this pen. Who was the designer of this nib imprint? Where did she or he learn graphic design? Why is it so difficult to learn about these pens? Why does the company appear to be so clueless about marketing? Does the company realize that, with some reasonably authentic marketing shtick, it could quadruple its prices? These questions could continue, but what we do know is that Hua Hong offers a well-crafted pen at an astonishingly low price. The other models in the Hua Hong portfolio, none of which are named (except by Ian and by other soldiers in the Honger army) are equally well-made. Some are in beautiful, ruby-like resin, some come with twist caps, and some with elaborate illustration. Thank you, Hua Hong, Wang Wei Jie, Wu Kun, and Mizukushi, for offering these great pens. If you can hear us, we would like to learn more about you. Writing sample from the Hua Hong blue belter, inked with Rohrer & Klingner verdigris
Continued from Part 1. 700 No gold trim, slight tapering barrel,all steel construction. Satin finish except end piece of barrel which is polished steel. Also clip nand cap finial, which is flared upwards. Clip marked "Guanleming". Polished steel tapering section, steel nib marked with new round logo. C/C fill. 718 (Gold) A rather ornate pen in dark green marble with several wide gold bands. The wide gold bands in the middle of the barrel and cap have identical matt and polished rhomboid pattern, gold band at the opening end of cap is marked "Guanleming" in a blend of traditional and simplified Chinese and other markings. Step-down section is in green with gold band near the end. Regular pattern gold nib marked "GOLD NIB, GLM" without specific carat rating. 800 (12K) While the pen is marked to have a 14K nib in reality it is 12K. Large satin gold finial at end of barrel, satin gold secton with modern metal hooded nib, black pressbar sheath with "GLM" marked on the pressbar itself. Oval medallion at top of clip marked "GLM" as per 102, a band just behind it around the cap marked "Guanleming". Band around open end of cap marked "800 (14K)". Cap and barrel bodies finished in fine engravings like rows of chevrons. Known variants: in gold, and silver finish. 801 (12K) Black lacquer barrel and back half of section, barrel has slim gold ring at the open end finished in knurled pattern, barrel end cap is also gold with similarly finished portin. Front half of section in matt gold and of modern metal hooded nib design. Gold cap has slight taper towards the end resembling Cross, finished in wavy engine turned engraving, open end of cap has a band between knurled rings, marked in Chinese "Guanleming Gold Pen" etc. Top of clip has new round logo. C/C fill. 802 (14K) No gold trim, except for nib, finished in black lacquer. Cylindrical barrel and cap, barrel ends are silver, towards end of cap there is a silver ring with polished and satin striped portions, marked "Guanleming" in Chinese and "802". Nib is of regular pattern marked as a Jin Rong product, probably identical to that used on the 108. Satin silver finish section with oval shaped with parallel lines to offer grip. C/C fill. 902 A pen of regular pattern, cap and barrel in brown marbled lacquer. Gold finials at the ends of cap and barrel have a groove around each, gold ring at open end of barrel in the form of two rounded rings separated by a groove. Black section, nib with Hero flower logo and "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese. 904B A cylindrical pen with gold trim: barrel finial has groove at the end, and three raised rings towards the barrel, same raised rings at open end, and similar as cap finial. black section with gold ring at the front, dagger nib marked with Hero flower logo. Pressbar bulb fill with "Guanleming" on the sheath. Known variants: in satin steel finish with variety of decorations including mandarin ducks and lotus, stars. Also in brown and black marble lacquer. 905 When capped it has a torpedo shape, with black domed finials separated from cap and barrel end with slim gold rings. A wider bgold band with two grooves at the open end of cap marked "GUANLEMING 905". Black section with gold rings at each end, regular pattern nib marked with Hero flower logo and "GLM". Known variants: black, and white/blue/pink agate lacquer. 927 Steel pen, towards end of barrel is a step-down gold ring giving a smaller diameter end for posting. Clip marked with new round logo and "Guanleming", gold finial of the cap has markings in the middle. Polished steel section, Sheaffer-like conical nib finished in gold, marked with new logo and "GUANLEMING". Known variants: satin and polished steel finish. 951 A simple Parkeresque plastic hooded nib pen, with narrow ink window. Rounded end one-piece cap. Known variants: in black, grey and maroon. 953 Plastic cylindrical pen with steel cap, silver finial at the end of barrel. Black section, regular pattern gold-finished nib. Open end of cap marked "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese, and "953". Known variants: barrel in black, dark green, and maroon. 954 Accountant Cylindrical shape pen finished in two colours, between colour sections are slim gold rings. Conspicuously marked on cap is "GuanLeMing" and "Accountant's Pen" in Chinese. Classic style hooded nib section, pressbar bulb fill. Known variants: Green/black, black/maroon, maroon/grey. 954 Fude Styling of cap and barrel similar to previous entry, but with fude nib. Cap body and middle portion of barrel have the same fluting. Known variants: Black/white, maroon/gold, green/gold 956 A larger and classically style black plastic pen with gild trim, Regular pattern gold finished nib marked with new round logo and "GLM", pressnar bulb fill with "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese on pressbar sheath. 961 This pen resembles Sonnet a little, with gold finials at cap and barrel with a raised round insert in the middle. Wider dual-tone ring at the open end of cap marked "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese and "961". Black section, dual-tone nib marked with new round logo and "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese. A sphere at the tip of the clip, and at the top the new round logo. Known variants: matt painted finish in black, dark brown, blue, and white with engraved lines. In gold finish with carved dragon on cap and phoenix on barrel, gold with wavy engraved lines, satin gold with wide and narrow polished spiral bands, same in satin steel, gold with straight lines and round dots, satin steel, satin steel with raised gold decoration for new year 1996, ditto for the 1997 takeover of Hong Kong. 962 Pen with black barrel and section, gold finials on ends of cap and barrel. Dual-tone nib, steel cap in different finishes, gold Parkeresque clip. Known variants: cap in black and brown lacquer, satin steel with Chinese writings, satin steel with black printed dragon. 970 End of barrel has rather awkward gold finials with black insert, open end has gold ring with a dark middle portion. End of cap tapers slightly with gold finial with insert. Clip with sphere at the tip and the new round logo at the top. Near cylindrical nib with no breather hole. Known variants: solid colours on pen itself, with matching colours in marbled lacquer on cap: green, maroon and black, the marbling on cap can also show some fern patterns. 971 The barrel is approximately cylindrical with grooved flat finial, gold tapering section resembling that of the 103, dual-tone nib marked with new round logo and "GLM". Cap has gold band at the open end, with dark band in the middle marked "GUANLEMING" etc, with flat-topped dome finial. Pressbar bulb fill. Known variants: cap and barrel finished in black, polished steel, and dark grey with gold dust. 973 Cylindrical pen bearing a slight resemblance to the Vector. End of barrel has smaller black portions to facilitate posting, clip end with new round logo and spherical tip. Gold band against which the cap closes possibly marked "GUANLEMING CHINA". Black section with two gold rings at the front, with a nib somewhat like that on the Vector, marked with new round logo. Known variants: steel, and black-and-tan marbled lacquer. 978 Steel pen with gold trim, clip with spherical end and new logo at top. Black section with a gold ring and then a shaped hooded nib, pressbar fill sheath marked "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese. 984 A student pen with black trim, barrel finial has reduced diameter portion for posting. Open end of cap marked "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese and "984". Pressbar bulb filler sheath marked "Guanleming" in the same way. Matt finish on cap and barrel. Hooded nib with ribbed section. Known variants: barrel with two styles of markings to signify fude nib or regular fine nib; former in black, grey, and blue; latter in black, and green. 992 With Sheaffer-like steel nib same as 927 except finish. Black plastics section, steel caps. Known variants: black barrel version has flat finial separated by a gold ring, with black finial, brushed steel cap with black printed markings at open end, black finial at end of cap. Polished steel version has rounded barrel end, with matching cap and gold clip. 995 No gold trim, brushed steel finish, black section with small nib marked with new round logo, pressbar sheath marked "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese. 2000 (12K) Gold bullet-shaped finials on both ends of cap and barrel, black pressbar sheath, classic style hooded nib section. At open end of cap marked "Guanleming" in Chinse and "2000". When disassembled: finned collector integral with connector, nib marked with new round logo and "Gold" in Chinese, and "50%". Known variants: black with gild vine pattern, and steel with groups of wavy lines. 2001 A hooded nib style demonstrator. "Century" It is doubtful if it is the official appellation. When capped, no gild trim visible, black finish. Flat barrel end, domed finial at top of cap. Open end of barrel has wide silver band with colourful abalone shell inserts. Open end of cap has slim silver ring marked "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese etc. Satin gold section flanked with silver rings, dual-tone gold nib in regular pattern, with new round logo, "GUANLEMING, 22K GP". Unidentified model 1 (12K) Gently tapering in style, finished in black lacquer, cap and barrel have small flat gold finials. GOld tapering section for modern metal hooded nib style, clip marked "Guanleming", along with "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese at open end of cap. near the cap finial, under the top of the clip is another slim gold ring. Unidentified model 2 The most obvious characteristic is multifaceted barrel and cap with a left-handed twist. Black reduced diameter portion at end of barrel with gold finial for posting, cap finial with a groove around it. Clip bears a slight resemblance to Pelican, at the top is marked "GLM" and the new round logo. Black section with gold ring at the front end, Regular pattern nib finished in gold, marked with Hero's flower logo and "Guanleming" in simplified Chinese. Known variants: in gold, and tungsten-like dark metal finish. Unidentified model 3 No gold trim. The section appears to be the same as the 801, but with a simpler gently tapering barrel with slim finial plug. Cap decorated with a grid pattern, with an oval marked with something that is not legible in existing pictures; whether it is a Guanleming product still to be confirmed. Unidentified model 4 A cylindrical pen in brushed steel finish and raised gold decoration, and a well-known quartrain "Night docking at the Mable Bridge" by a Chinese poet. Black plug at the end of barrel with gold finial for posting, gold finial on cap. Section is the same as many Jin Rong models with nib resembling that on a Montblanc 22, marked "JR".