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fpn_1488375218__20170225_j911show.jpg

 

 

 

Hello all.

 

Having recently fell for hooded pens, I decided to make a few purchases, including the Hero 616. However, I was very reluctant in buying anything as I was very cautious of the possibility of inconsistent manufacturing and the element of luck involved in these purchases.

 

While I was searching, I found this Jinhao 911 on Aliexpress on sale. The seller had no feedback or orders placed on this particular listing, but they otherwise had good feedback in general. For £1.40, I thought I'd take the chance.

 

The main reason I chose this over the very similar yet cheaper Hero 338 is because it comes as a C/C fill rather than the aerometric Hero pen. It also claimed to come with a converter, so if the listing was true, I was in for a treat. Another thought was that Jinhao, being well-known for producing some pens that are often praised, in comparison to Hero (granted, a much older company) which, in some lines (ahem, Hero 616, ahem) was infamous for inconsistent manufacturing and very low quality control.

 

I took the chance and placed an order for one pen and hoped I wouldn't be ripped off my penny change. A short while later, when the "sale" was over, the whole listing was removed. Aliexpress saves a snapshot of the listing when you place the order so I may still have some protection.

 

To my surprise, a while later, the pen did actually arrive, and if I am impressed at one thing at all, it is that I was not ripped off.

 

 

 

The pen came in a Chinese envelop that actually stated "pen" on it instead of just "gift" or "usb lead", which helped me recognise it and hide it from my wife for a while, until she eventually noticed an unfamiliar item on my table later on. The envelop had bubble wrap around the pen, which itself came in a suede pouch that it fits in. A nice first impression.

 

fpn_1488375198__20170225_j911pouchwhole.

 

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Out of the pouch, you will be surprised how nicely finished it is. The brushed metal finish from top to bottom is very nicely done, including the clip and the two conical ends: the jewel and the butt. In online images, the clip finish seemed better than that of the Hero, and reality did not disappoint.

 

fpn_1488375305__20170225_j911whole.jpg

 

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On the cap, "Jinhao" is engraved in rectangular fonts, which is also very nice. The engraving is subtle, but there. It does not scream at you. On the topic of finish, I thought the engraving could be done slightly a tad better: the J had depth-jitters which, to my perfectionist eye, were noticeable, but perhaps only if I intend to look at the engraving.

 

fpn_1488375106__20170225_j911engravingl.

 

On the other side of the cap, engraved is the number 911 in a different font. In my opinion, it would have been better sticking to the same rectangular aesthetic for the numbers as well

 

fpn_1488375134__20170225_j911engravingn.

 

You want another pleasing surprise for this price point? The clip is spring-loaded. And it has good tension: it is strong, but not impossible to clip into your shirt, and if you do, it will hold there real tight.

 

 

The cap is friction fit so it just pulls out with no clicks, and without it, the pen has a uniform surface with no bumps, so you can hold it near the nib or as far away from it as you like.

 

Distentions of the pen are as follows:

length capped 141mm

length uncapped 125mm

length posted 156mm

wide at the widest point where the section meets the barrel 10.3mm

medial width near where I hold it 9mm

 

approximate weight with cap (inc.converter) 20g

approximate weight without cap (inc.converter) 12g

 

fpn_1488375287__20170225_j911uncapped.jp

 

fpn_1488375333__20170225_unbarrelled.jpg

 

fpn_1488375147__20170225_j911posted.jpg

 

One of two things about the finish that did not strike me very positively was the threads of the barrel. They felt a bit... I don't know. Unfinished. I thought I wanted to grab a metal brush and rub them a little bit, but of course I did not do that. Mind you, this might only be a matter of "feel" not a matter of "fact".

 

fpn_1488375267__20170225_j911sthreads.jp

 

On the barrel end, the threads are in fact made of plastic. This is done by using a kind of "insert" which is glued to the barrel. The insert only makes up the threads and does not extend all the way through the barrel, so forget eye-dropper-ing. The insides are metal.

 

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fpn_1488375012__20170225_j911barrelinsid

 

Other than that, the exterior of the barrel is really nice and the jewel is well machined.

 

On the cap-end, the same can be said about the exterior. The clip is, as we said, nice looking, springy and secure. The jewel is well-machined and perfectly centered. Pleasure to the eye. Inside of the cap is what needs some highlights.

 

The cap is friction fit. It does not "click" or thread. Just push in, push out, on both sides of the pen. Inside of the cap there are four metal flaps that cause this friction to happen. Mind you, it is rather secure, this is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the possiblity of scratching your pen if you rotate it with the cap on. I am not sure whether the friction flaps have edges that will not scratch either the plastic section (oops, I said plastic), or the very nice brushed metal of the barrel when posted. This is something that we well have to leave for time to tell.

 

fpn_1488375071__20170225_j911capinner.jp

 

Deeper inside the cap, there is the inner white sealing cap which defintely touches the nib when the pen is capped. How do I know it touches? My pen was inked and I can see a dot of ink inside. The question remains: is it plastic or silicone? Does the pen merely touch, or pierce through, that thing? I do not know.

 

The second point I do not like about the finish of the pen is that inside the cap, behind the flaps, the cap was rather dirty/rusty. This can be easily seen if you are trying to see it but will not be seen to anyone watching you use the pen at all.

 

fpn_1488375081__20170225_j911capinsidedi

 

And now only the main part: the section. I said this before. This is plastic. The disappointing type. But is it really disappointing? Look at your price point again. It is nicely shiny, but feels like the type that is prone to cracking or scratching easily, so might just need some care. I noticed some micro scratchings on mine already out of the box, nothing that you will probably notice in everyday use, but I will have to keep an eye on it. There is however a very tiny small little ding near the front.

 

fpn_1488375234__20170225_j911sscratches.

 

In the following photo, I shined a flash at it, so it looks a bit blue, but it is black. Some of the "scratches" have been made visible by the flash, and some of them are in fact just reflection from the table texture, so do not be very alarmed by this photo.

 

fpn_1488375254__20170225_j911sscratchesf

 

The pen came with an international converter. What more do you want? I put some Parker Quink in it. I was expecting, and hoping for, a really fine line, so which of my inks did I want to see that fine? I had the black Quink or the Diamine Turquoise, but I already have the latter in one of my "modded" Hero 616's, which is also black, hooded and fine. I need variation in my life.

 

Which leads us the very last and most important point of a fountain pen, and the question that probably everybody needs answering about any pen they could be buying any time in their life. What about the nib?

 

At the time of this review, I only had the Hero 616 to compare it with, which came in a variety of unfinished nibs, mostly scratchy, splayed, or extra-touching. Almost all of them needed adjustment and smoothing, so what do I expect of the Jinhao?

 

Visually, the nib seemed rather shiny, which is a very good sign. I tried it on paper without any ink, and I could see it was almost digging a trench in the paper almost with no pressure from my hand, but surprisingly, there was no scratch at all. This was also another very good sign. I know when you ink a nib it acts much smoother than when dry, so I inked the pen, and lo!

 

Straight out of the box and with no adjustment done to it at all, the nib is indeed very fine, and is also considerably smooth for its fineness. Way to go Jinhao, I commend this! It is also sufficiently wet. I like to write with no pressure at all, barely just touching the paper, and this nib/feed catch up really well to this.

 

One last question I like to investigate when I try a new pen is flow control. Sometimes, a pen acts a bit dryer or wetter than other times. I am still keeping an eye on this, but overall, at least with Parker Quink, I suggest this pen is considerably good and hard to believe that I was able to get it for £1.40 inc. postage. It is about double this price normally, so at about £2.80-£3.00 pounds, you will want to know you got a good bang for the buck. This is the same money you'd spend on a Jinhao fat pen (X750, X450 or 159, for example).I still think it is worth it for fine-nib and hooded nib lovers, especially if you like the flighter aesthetic, and the steel/black contrast.

 

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Personally? I never felt I like the black/steel aesthetic, and if this was't so cheap I may not have got it but that was simply due to taste. Functionally, it is a good pen, so the rest is up to you to decide.

 

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antichresis

I, too, was intrigued by the converter x old-style hooded nib combo this pen offers and your review is incredibly good and is inching me towards a purchase. A question: how would you compare the section of the 911 with the 616 (in terms of measurements and plastic quality)?

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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A question: how would you compare the section of the 911 with the 616 (in terms of measurements and plastic quality)?

 

The two sections are the same length, with the Hero 616 being 1mm thicker. The tapering of the front of the section is only slightly more angular in the H616, hardly noticeable but it is there.

 

The quality of the plastic is different but it is hard to describe how. If I tap the two with my fingernail, it feels like the Hero is a much cheaper or thinner plastic, the J911 is either thicker or denser plastic. In terms of brittleness, softness, or anything of the sort, I cannot yet compare them.

 

I have modified a couple 616 secions: cut them, sanded them, polished them shiney again, and so I'm familiar with them, but not done any of the sort of the Jinhao 911. I only worry if it is any more brittle as someone on FPN commented somewhere that the Jinhao is prone to cracking. I am yet to be able to tell.

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Many thanks for the fantastic and entertaining review!

I look forward to reading more of your reviews in the future.

 

The smooth transition between barrel and section makes this intriguing for me, but I'm concerned about the inside of the cap touching the nib. Anything touching the nib worries me. Has that caused any hard starts or ink leaking into the cap?

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Thanks for a very, very comprehensive review. There is something about the pen that reminds me of the Parker 45; maybe its the fingers in the cap.

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for a very, very comprehensive review. There is something about the pen that reminds me of the Parker 45; maybe its the fingers in the cap.

I thought that too - at first glance it looked to me like a 45 Flighter.

 

Thanks for the review, I think I'm going to order one of these.

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It definitely looks like a skinny 45 Flighter. Parker has been one of the most popular FP brands in China for ages, so many Chinese pens resemble the 45, 51, and Sonnet.

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richardandtracy

To be honest, it looks more like a skinny Parker 61 Flighter to me. The cap grip method is exactly what the high end P61 had, and if done correctly gives a very secure and luxurious cap attachment method. The hood of the P61 was polystyrene, and acrylic on the P51. The only metal hoods I have ever seen were made by Ralph Prather, at pen prices of $700+, so this pen is in good company with its plastic hood.

 

I do wish the nib width was greater, It's a lovely looking pen, & the now unobtainable J321 was the best hooded nib pen I have tried apart from a P51 & P61.

 

Very tempted as a result of this review. Thanks.

 

Regards,

 

Richard

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Some online sellers in China appear to be offering it with a M (0.5mm) nib, but that may be a typo.

Edited by TruthPil

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richardandtracy

Coming from the UK I tend to think an 'M' nib is 0.6-0.7mm wide, and US Broad nibs at 'only' 0.8mm are like slightly fat medium nibs.

 

All the Aliexpress sales I have seen in the last 2 days specify 0.38mm, which is very (even 'horribly') fine to me.

 

Regards,

 

Richard

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Yeah, the measurements and nib sizes given on places like Taobao are occasionally unreliable. One seller will call something a 0.7 and another a 0.8. I just saw 2 sellers offering a 0.5 Jinhao 911, but the pics and writing samples were most definitely of a 0.38.

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The smooth transition between barrel and section makes this intriguing for me, but I'm concerned about the inside of the cap touching the nib. Anything touching the nib worries me. Has that caused any hard starts or ink leaking into the cap?

It is great if you like to hold your pen away from the nib like I do.

The thing touching the nib has had no effect and it always starts well if it's been stored capped. I think it will dry quick if you leave it uncapped for a while.

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Thanks for a very, very comprehensive review. There is something about the pen that reminds me of the Parker 45; maybe its the fingers in the cap.

I saw other pens using the same style of flaps. I don't remember which, but I know I saw some. At least one, which was not a parker.

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Some online sellers in China appear to be offering it with a M (0.5mm) nib, but that may be a typo.

 

This is definitely a typo. By European standards, this is a fine, and often, especially from chinese sellers (seen lots of this phenomenon on aliexpress), the product info is filled in a rush or copy pasted from other listings, as if they assume nobody's gonna read it. But they are unreliable.

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fantastic review...

hooded chinese pen with a screw style converter...

wow...

Screw style? I hope you do not mean to refer to the converters which have a threaded connection to the section, as those come in some high end expesive pens. I forgot which.

 

These are screw type pistons, but the cheap type of course. It does the job of course, and you can use international cartridges.

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It is great if you like to hold your pen away from the nib like I do.

The thing touching the nib has had no effect and it always starts well if it's been stored capped. I think it will dry quick if you leave it uncapped for a while.

 

:thumbup:

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