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Hero 103, Hero 7006, And Jinhao 330


Snarf

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This is my first fountain pen review! I'm new to the world of fountain pens and figured I'd write a review based off my very limited experience for others who are in the same shoes as me. My first fountain pen was my lamy safari, which I sadly lost at work several months ago :( . Since then I've been going through this fp mania, stalking ebay, looking, and reading all these reviews of pens I'd like to have. What I noticed during that time was that there were so many other fp manufacturers out there, but didn't seem to be as highly regarded. I normally don't buy anything made in China because of my past experience with quality issues. However, I decided to splurge a little and wanted to see what the whole deal was with these "cheap" fountain pens (maybe inexpensive is the better word here). So I ordered 3 of them at once off of ebay.

 

The writing sample here:

http://img808.imageshack.us/img808/1817/fpreview.jpg

 

Hero 7006

http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/4336/img0128lk.th.jpg

Weight/feel/size: It’s got a nice amount of weight to it and it sits really comfortably in my hand unposted. If you post it, the balance is really off. The cap goes on smoothly and feels like there’s some kind of suction to it, giving me the impression that it won’t just fall off anytime. The nib is hooded which I couldn’t really care for, but as I was writing I noticed that it offers a good bit of protection from getting ink on my fingers, yay! Lastly, it’s got these grooves that kind of tell you where to put your fingers. It’s been helpful for me as a beginner because then I reminded myself to adjust my pen writing position.

Appearance: Very simple black appearance with an arrow to the clip resembling one of the parker clips. It’s a simple design and I don’t think it looks like it is a 3 dollar pen. Also, it's got this interesting looking converter that I've never seen before, you just pull it up and down.

http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/965/img0138jy.th.jpg

Nib: The package said it was an F nib. I feel that the lines that it throws down are really wet, you could see all the ink that pools and because of that could be mistaken for a M nib. If you take a closer look at the nib though, it’s really small and sharp.

Overall impression: For the price, I’m loving it! There’s no skipping and certainly are made to do what they’re supposed to.

 

Jinhao 330

http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/786/img0131qe.th.jpg

Weight/feel/size: Very comfortable in my hand unposted and it is slightly lighter than a lamy studio.

Appearance: All my pens are black so with this batch, I decided to get a white/pearl looking fp. There are some imperfections with the coating of the pen, but I’m overlooking that because of the way it writes!

http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/7005/img0132i.th.jpg

Nib: I’m extremely impressed with this F nib. It writes extremely smoothly without any skipping. If you look at the writing sample, it puts out a nice fine line. I have a lamy studio EF nib and it is smooth with no scratchiness and none of the dry/ink issues that others have complained before. When comparing this to my studio, this one was even better!

Overall impression: Extremely satisfied that I made this purchase.

 

Hero 103

See the writing sample for my take on this pen.

Weight/feel size: Comfortable, and actually pretty light considering that it looks like it was made from some sort of metal.

Appearance: Looks fancy, maybe too fancy? Almost like those massive blings some people wear.

http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/1883/img0120mi.th.jpg

 

 

That's the end of my review of these pens.

Edited by Snarf
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Thank you so much for the encouragement! I will try to get more detail about my future purchases as I learn more about fps and stuff, but I hope this puts a bit of perspective on these inexpensive fps from the other side of the world.

 

PS it's Snarf from Thundercats!! ;)

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oh yeah SHOOT! I even pictured him clearly in my head, I just put the wrong show around him! Tigra and Panthero and Lion-O. Yeah. THunder, Thunder, THUNDER CATS - RUUULE!!!!

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In my experience Chinese fountain pens write either really well or really poorly; I've never had one that was just okay. But at least the bad ones give you something to fiddle with without too much concern if you ruin it ;)

 

Snarf was to Thundercats what Orko was to He-Man :vbg:

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yeah, but the animation on He Man wasn't as good as Thundercats. I think Thundercats was animated by the same group who did the old animated The Hobbit. But I could be talking out of my tookus.

 

I've had really mixed experiences with Chinese pens as well. Good or bad writers. No middle ground. Some of the best writers though, were simply too heavy to comfortable hold on to while trying to write with them. Think of something thinner than a standard #2 pencil, that weighs more than a Pelikan M1000. Ugh. Brass pens. I just don't get it. It seems like there are more Chinese pens coming out (or that I'm noticing) that are made of nice pretty plastics instead of that awful heavy brass. The two latest ones in my little collection happen to be aluminum, which is pretty cool.

Edited by watch_art
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Thank you for an interesting review. I own a Hero 103 (I believe it has been sold as the "Victorian" in the US) and have been using it for about six months. For the first couple of months it was awful, it skipped, flow was inconsistent and it hated cheap paper on which it was an effort to get any satisfactory result.

 

I tried it with a variety of inks but this made no discernible difference. Smoothing the nib on the rough side of brown paper, repeated flushing, cleaning between the tines - none of it made the slightest difference. Using the pen reminded me of the misery of using cheap school cartridge pens in the 1960s.

 

In the end I filled it with Sheaffer Scrip Burgundy, used it for a few days then left it to concentrate on other pens in the collection. Some weeks later I came back to the pen, scribbled on scrap paper to get the ink flowing then to my utter amazement found that the pen was writing well, at least much better than it had before its' rest.

 

The Hero 103 is a pleasant pen to write with although not comparable to any pen with a quality nib. It is however, good value, robust and good enough for general use. I can't account for this transformation but it may offer you some hope.

"The cultured man is the man whose interior consciousness is forever obstinately writing down, in the immaterial diary of his psyche's sense of life, every chance aspect of every new day that he is lucky enough to live to behold!" - John Cowper Powys

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I too have been hearing of the varying degrees of hit/miss with these pens. I do hope that as I continue to use the hero 103, it may turn out that the nib just has to be softened through repetitive use and hence enhance flow? Does it work that way?

 

For my inexpensive purchase, I am glad that I did find that 2/3 of those worked remarkably well.

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With Chinese pens it is most important to completely clean the feed with detergent. They are sloppy about cleanup. I found out the hard way that a pen like your Hero 103 could have oils and plastic deposits inside. This contributes to dry skippy writing. After you have thoroughly cleaned it, if it is still dry, try shimming the nib. The other thing I found out is that sometimes the tines are just too tight. I have played with a few and they are all reasonable writers now. A couple will never be great writers. The other thing to look for on that Hero is to look at the very tip of the nib and make sure the tines are aligned. When you have done these things do a bit of brown bag smoothing and you will have perfectly serviceable pens.

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With Chinese pens it is most important to completely clean the feed with detergent. They are sloppy about cleanup. I found out the hard way that a pen like your Hero 103 could have oils and plastic deposits inside. This contributes to dry skippy writing. After you have thoroughly cleaned it, if it is still dry, try shimming the nib. The other thing I found out is that sometimes the tines are just too tight. I have played with a few and they are all reasonable writers now. A couple will never be great writers. The other thing to look for on that Hero is to look at the very tip of the nib and make sure the tines are aligned. When you have done these things do a bit of brown bag smoothing and you will have perfectly serviceable pens.

+1. I'll bet a good flushing, either with dishwashing liquid (detergent) or, if that fails, with mild household ammonia solution, followed by a thorough flush in clean water, will work wonders for the Hero.

ron

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With Chinese pens it is most important to completely clean the feed with detergent. They are sloppy about cleanup. I found out the hard way that a pen like your Hero 103 could have oils and plastic deposits inside. This contributes to dry skippy writing. After you have thoroughly cleaned it, if it is still dry, try shimming the nib. The other thing I found out is that sometimes the tines are just too tight. I have played with a few and they are all reasonable writers now. A couple will never be great writers. The other thing to look for on that Hero is to look at the very tip of the nib and make sure the tines are aligned. When you have done these things do a bit of brown bag smoothing and you will have perfectly serviceable pens.

 

So I did the whole clamping and spreading the tines a bit. When I first manipulated the nib, it actually felt that the top portion of the nib (the portion where you hold the pen) was rather solidly fused together. I kind of gave it a bit of a wiggle on both tines and heard some sort of metal on metal rubbing. Then I kind of spread them apart really slightly and the sound of the two tines rubbing disappeared.....and the flow improved!! Now it's rather smooth, writes, and is my "showy" pen :D.

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With Chinese pens it is most important to completely clean the feed with detergent. They are sloppy about cleanup. I found out the hard way that a pen like your Hero 103 could have oils and plastic deposits inside. This contributes to dry skippy writing. After you have thoroughly cleaned it, if it is still dry, try shimming the nib. The other thing I found out is that sometimes the tines are just too tight. I have played with a few and they are all reasonable writers now. A couple will never be great writers. The other thing to look for on that Hero is to look at the very tip of the nib and make sure the tines are aligned. When you have done these things do a bit of brown bag smoothing and you will have perfectly serviceable pens.

 

So I did the whole clamping and spreading the tines a bit. When I first manipulated the nib, it actually felt that the top portion of the nib (the portion where you hold the pen) was rather solidly fused together. I kind of gave it a bit of a wiggle on both tines and heard some sort of metal on metal rubbing. Then I kind of spread them apart really slightly and the sound of the two tines rubbing disappeared.....and the flow improved!! Now it's rather smooth, writes, and is my "showy" pen :D.

If you get enough Chinese pens you will become an expert at shimming the tines. I use a razor knife to achieve this, but most people recommend brass shims. The razor knife is very much harder than a nib and can scratch it if you are not very careful. I am glad to know that this has worked for you, and that you can really enjoy your pen now.

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