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Hero: To 616, Or Not To 616?


KingRoach
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Hi all, I was just about to hit buy on a lot of Hero 616 pens, which would render each pen a mere 50p each.

 

Why do I want them?

 

I don't know. I've been looking at cheap Chinese pens for 4 weeks, it's time I bought something already.

Buying a lot of this style of pen would:

- allow me to test several ink mixes in the same nib

- use a fine nib, which I prefer in the mean time

- feel old-schooly. My sister, who is 10 years my senior, probably used a Hero pen of the same appearance when she was in school. That was a long time ago, and I was pretty young. I remember buying those pens from the nearby grocer for her. Would be fun to have one in hand a couple score years later.

 

Now of course I've learnt that it is a copy of the much higher end Parker 51 (comparatively).

 

The question is. Just before hitting buy-now, I read somewhere that the Hero 100, and maybe other Hero 3## pens, may in fact be better-built, or feel smoother to write with, while looking very similar anyway. Is this true?

 

Am I going to buy something I will regret buying and tell myself why didn't I buy the other one? What do you recommend in terms of build-quality and smoothness of the nib, in this family of pens?

 

BTW, I've always loved exposed nibs, but a certain unnamed Sheaffer hooded pen that I posted about in the Sheaffer forum got me into the mood for a hooded pen... or 10.

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To summarise: is there another Hero model that you would highly recommend OVER the 616? or is difference in performance negligible enough for me to go for the much cheaper 616?

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The H616 jumbo is a reasonable pen. My youngest uses them exclusively. My eldest daughter's H330 is slimmer, but not an improvement, despite costing a bit more. The reason I never use H616's is that I loathe Fine/Xfine nibs & it's not easy swapping them for another.

 

Regards,

 

Richard

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The " 100 Hero "is the original circa late 50's then it evolve into the more well known Hero 100 circa very early 60's, the 616 is essentially simplified mid range of that. which then is the mother mold for pretty much almost all other Chinese hooded nib pens of that vintage up to the early 90's. Having almost each and every model myself, I would say the 616 is just what it is, a workhorse mid range pen. There are 2 size for the 616, the standard or Mid size and the Small size, the standard is what many termed Jumbo ( though Hero never refer to it that way ). It comes only in the good old Black, Dark Burgundy, Dark Green and fairly scarce in Biege/Taupe and Blue Green/Teal color.

 

The Hero 100 use 14K gold nib while the 616 use steel nib, and construction wise much more complex. probably not a candidate for the budget stated. The 616 small sized variant is actually a better 616 if you are OK with the slimmer / shorter sizing, if you want an even better writer the Hero 329, 329-2, 3xx series are all IMHO better pen. In general they use the same nib size but almost always write wetter ( it does not use the same sized feed / nib as the 616 though they might look the same ). They are also even smaller yet. AFAIK, the 616 ( current stock ) are all standard fine nib, no EF though replacement nib is available. The 3XX series though do have EF option especially the 338 ( steel barrel EF nib only ). The other option would be Wing Sung 801 / 803, 803 being standard fine and 801 the EF variant.

 

There are other models, but for your budget I would really recommend the 616A or 616-2 small size variant of the 616. They generally can be bought as a pack of 10. I will have to go back and check if the 616 mid size sell in those packaging , I think they do but I am not sure.

Edited by Mech-for-i
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I have the 616 (or what I think is a 616) and I'm not a fan. I bought a bunch of them for your same purpose of trying different inks on a standard pen and I guess for that purpose they are adequate but they feel quite flimsy compared to a Pilot 78G (this is pricier though) and the Pilot has the advantage of an easily removable nib and feed, meaning cleaning/turnover when testings inks is much much faster and you are sure that the colour the nib is putting put isn't "tainted". I'm also not a fan of the filling system (if ypu want to use it as a pen for carry) since it's much harder to clean and therefore more prone to staining.

Hero #232 Blue-Black is my Waterman Florida Blue.

 

Your Kilometrage May Vary (#ykmv), a Philippine blawg about ink and fountain pens.

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Although not an expert, I will share what I know regarding Hero 616, 616 Doctor (nicknamed jumbo) and the Hero 100

 

Many suggest not to buy them in bulk, as they are not the original pens - you might end up with good pens nonetheless, but the good ones are sold in single blisters. If you receive a pen in bulk pack, or without the blister, it is a counterfeit.

 

Make sure to buy the Doctor version, or if you want a real upgrade, Hero 100. The Hero 1000, despite it's higher cost, is just a flighter version of the Hero 100 and not a real upgrade.

 

Now, if you were to find a Hero 800, which is te spiritual successor to he Parker 45, that would be a deal: Parker sold the equipments and blueprints to hero for the construction of that very pen after a failed joint venture.

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Thanks for all the opinions guys. I'm still at a loss. Seen lots of reviews and images, and I think the bulky section of the 616 jumbo, combined with a tip that does not protrude at all, isn't something that I'm particularly a fan of. A more tapering front, or a nib that protrudes a couple millimeters more, is gonna be something I'd want.

 

I'm still at the edge of buying a 10-pack of the 616 (haven't seen any jumbo 10x packs), but the opinion above that they are generally worse than the Doctor variant is confusing me, because the general impression that I had from the net was that the doctor was either the same or worse.

 

Nevertheless, I'm looking at other pens as well. At only about £1 a pen posted, I could choose a couple different pens (one 700, one 329, and one 616, for example) for about £3, rather than get 10x 616's for a fiver... which I still do not particularly think is a bad idea because I'm into tweaking and modifying these pens if necessarly. I might even cut off some section to expose more nib on one of them. Anybody thinks this is a bad idea?

 

 

 

I couldn't find any Hero 800 to look at.

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I used to buy Hero 616s in the old days from independent US sellers, but they were rather scratchy and had inadequate ink flow... I like wet, smooth pens with a fine nib, which of course is a bit of a contradiction in terms, but there it is.

 

A few years ago I got a grand total of 50 fake Hero 616s off of amazon. They are somewhat scratchy and rather dry writers, but I now can work on nibs to my satisfaction, so that is no problem. However, the metal cover of the bladder is made out of very cheap, overly pliable metal, which isn't good. I bought these pens not to write with, but because they happen to be exactly 1 cm in diameter, and so exactly fit my Italian Scolasticas (no longer made) whose barrels tend to crack at the threads. The fake Hero 616s have excellent barrels and caps. I paid only $8 for each pack of 10.

 

Last year I found some GENUINE Hero 616s on amazon, packs of 10 for $17 or so. Their aerometric fillers are much more sturdy, their caps are heavier, and they are slightly thicker. They are shipped direct from the Shanghai factory, and are much better pens than in the past, smoother and with wetter feeds. However, the nibs have to run in to get the proper ink flow. Just press down on the nib LIGHTLY a few times when you first ink them, and they will be wet enough. You will then have a pen virtually indistinguishable from a genuine Parker 51. You don't even have to polish the nib... it is very smooth out of the blister wrap.

 

On amazon.com they are listed under Chengyida Hero 616s 10pcs. They are selling well, so you may have to search for them a while until they put up a new batch for sale. I have bought 60 of them, and am very happy with them.

 

Hope this helps.

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Wait a second, there are Hero 616's, which are a counterfeit of the Parker 51, and FAKE Hero 616's, which are a counterfeit of a counterfeit of a Parker 51?

Plato is turning in his grave.

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Yes. I wrote it in my initial post, but then decided to cut it short.

 

Just for reference, here's the long story short: Chinese official documents required to be signed with a fountain pen only, with a EF nib. Production of the state owned Hero Shaghai didn't meet demand, so they had to ask 3rd part factories to make pens for them. and the guys decided to never stop.

 

Sources: FPN posts

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Yes indeed, the Hero 616 is a sort of generic description of a whole range of fountain pens, not just one pen. As I say, I have at least three varieties which have very little in common except the hooded nib and the imitation Parker 51 clip.

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Wait a second, there are Hero 616's, which are a counterfeit of the Parker 51, and FAKE Hero 616's, which are a counterfeit of a counterfeit of a Parker 51?

Plato is turning in his grave.

The Hero 616 is not a counterfeit Parker, as it does not read 'Parker' anywhere on the pen.

My other pen is a Montblanc and...

 

My other blog is a tumblr.

 

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hahaha sounds like China!

 

Anyway, the only appealing factor left for the actual 616 is the girth. Now you guys are making me want only a genuine 616, for the nib, but then again, I can always adjust whatever nib I end up with, aye? I'm a handy man and I've just touched about 5 pens today and they all turned from scratchy to smooth, so what's a 616 gonna do about it?

 

Yes for girth.

No for very hidden nib behind a girthy section. I might want to cut that section.

 

Or just get a different pen altogether.

 

Looking at the:

007

329 (has the arrow and probably as girthy

338 (even though I don't like stainless steel everything and black section.

Jinhao 911. Anybody seen that? Looks like a Hero 338 with a cartridge converter filling instead of a bladder.

336 (cool arrow on front, nostalgic too, and longer nib)

Also want a 221 but this is not part of the same family. `_`

 

How do you know you're buying a genuine Hero as opposed to a fake Hero when buying online? I know for sure price is not an indication.

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The Hero 616 is not a counterfeit Parker, as it does not read 'Parker' anywhere on the pen.

Well, you know what I mean.

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Buy from reputable sellers, such as mentag and jewelrymathematics, Aspire2it from Europe is a reseller and he has the original stuff

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....

 

How do you know you're buying a genuine Hero as opposed to a fake Hero when buying online? I know for sure price is not an indication.

 

well, buy it from a reputable seller is the only option. you cannot examine the stock before hitting that buy button after all , when shopping online. And on that, you will not find the 616 standard size in blister pack of 10 since it was never packaged that way. The Blister pack of 10 is used for the small sized 616 , 616-2, and 6161A ( all are engineering vise the same, different color and trim only ). The Doctor sub brand is just Hero's specific brand targeted towards academic / school supply market. Read, certainly does not mean quality either. the best quality 616 is the very rare gold nibbed version ( long out of production ) and the export version ( usually those that are packaged individually in their own box ).

Edited by Mech-for-i
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well, buy it from a reputable seller is the only option. you cannot examine the stock before hitting that buy button after all , when shopping online. And on that, you will not find the 616 standard size in blister pack of 10 since it was never packaged that way. The Blister pack of 10 is used for the small sized 616 , 616-2, and 6161A ( all are engineering vise the same, different color and trim only ). The Doctor sub brand is just Hero's specific brand targeted towards academic / school supply market. Read, certainly does not mean quality either. the best quality 616 is the very rare gold nibbed version ( long out of production ) and the export version ( usually those that are packaged individually in their own box ).

 

Okay, so how do you identify an export version? Also, what is the source of your information? I ask because there have been so very many assertions made about the 616 without any identification of the source of that information.

Edited by k3eax
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hahaha sounds like China!

 

Anyway, the only appealing factor left for the actual 616 is the girth. Now you guys are making me want only a genuine 616, for the nib, but then again, I can always adjust whatever nib I end up with, aye? I'm a handy man and I've just touched about 5 pens today and they all turned from scratchy to smooth, so what's a 616 gonna do about it?

 

Yes for girth.

No for very hidden nib behind a girthy section. I might want to cut that section.

 

Or just get a different pen altogether.

 

Looking at the:

007

329 (has the arrow and probably as girthy

338 (even though I don't like stainless steel everything and black section.

Jinhao 911. Anybody seen that? Looks like a Hero 338 with a cartridge converter filling instead of a bladder.

336 (cool arrow on front, nostalgic too, and longer nib)

 

Also want a 221 but this is not part of the same family. `_`

 

How do you know you're buying a genuine Hero as opposed to a fake Hero when buying online? I know for sure price is not an indication.

 

The whole reason for that hooded nib is to keep the ink supply from drying out. If you don't like the look of a hood then buy a Jinhao x450 or 750 for the girth, but don't cut the hood.

My other pen is a Montblanc and...

 

My other blog is a tumblr.

 

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