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Wing Sung 698 Piston-Filler


visvamitra
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When I first saw this pen on FPN, I thought it looked pretty well. Most demonstrators do when they’re filled with nice ink. The cost of the pen is rather low, so I ordered one. After using it for a while, I’m ready to share my thoughts on it.



Brand



It’s here that my head starts tu hurt. Probably I was just too lazy to make proper research. Maybe someone with good chinese market knowledge will drop here and explain things to us.



The pen comes in a plastic “box” stamped with Hero logo but it’s called Wing Sung. To complicate things further there’s a Lucky brand name engraved on the clip, WINGS letters engraved on the ring. On Taobao the pen is sold as Lucky 698 on eBay as Wing Sung 698. I think that any marketing profesionnal would moan over this brand split personality.



Pen



lucky_12.jpg?w=940



lucky_7.jpg?w=940



lucky_9.jpg?w=940



The pen comes in plastic blister pack. Apart from Wing Sung 698 we receive a converter filled with silicone grease in the package. It’s nice accent.



If the pen was made in black plastic, it wouldn’t look nice. The shape and overall design are rather generic and boring. Two things that many fountain pen users will find tempting are pen transparency and piston-filling mechanism. So far I haven’t hears about other chinese piston-filler. It’s almost out of character for a chinese fountain pen. Some people share opinion that Hero was trying to copy TWSBI fountain pen. I’m not sure. It’s different design.



lucky_1.jpg?w=940



lucky_17.jpg?w=940



lucky_13.jpg?w=940



Wing Sung 698 is quite substantial with some flair to it (take a look at the cap). Construction is a little rough, there are mold lines on some of the plastic, and the cap top seems somewhat messily affixed, but it’s not easily noticeable unless you really, really want to prove that chinese pen must have some flaws.



The cap unscrews in one turn. It’s embellished with metal end-cap. There’s also a plastic inner cap that tends to fall off from time to time. It’s not glued.



The grip section is significantly narrower than the barrel. It tapers down towards the nib. There’s a plastic rim just above the nib. The grip section is long and comfortable. On the other hand, depending on your grip, plastic threads that create a significant step up from the section may become an issue.



Dimensions



Length uncapped – 131 mm



Length capped – 141.3mm



Maximum diameter – 12.5mm



Weight – 23.8g.



Nib



lucky_5.jpg?w=940



lucky_16.jpg?w=940



aonibi_658.jpg?w=940


(The ink used in the samples is my favorite blue-black - Kyonooto Aonibi)


aonibi_658_2.jpg?w=940



The nib and feed are, possibly, made with ex-Pilot tooling, and superior to the usual Chinese nibs and feeds. The nib can be swapped with Pilot 78G nibs. The one that I received performed flawlessly out of the box. While it’s not the most enjoyable nib I’ve ever tried, I’m impressed by it. Smooth, wet and reliable, it started to write out of the box and keeps on doing so.



The feed is translucent so it’ll have the color of the ink you use. The nib is described as Wings Super Quality fine. So far – after a month of use I can agree it’s well made steel nib that’s a joy to use.



Filling system



lucky_2.jpg?w=940



The pen uses surprisingly smooth piston-filler. It features a special clutch mechanism to secure piston knob – it needs to be pulled out by a couple of millimetres to free it, so that the pen can be filled. After filling, the knob is pushed back in position where a clutch mechanism engages and locks the knob in position. It doesn’t feel rock solid, it feels a little wiggly and the closure is tenuous at best. On the other hand it hasn’t failed yet. Also the piston-filling mechanism works very smoothly and it holds reasonable amount of ink – around 1 ml.



Summary



I’m impressed. The pen is reasonably priced, works well and while it’s not perfect I don’t think that TWSBI’s are much better pens. If you consider trying piston-filler for the first time, it’s a reasonable choice.



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Thank you for the review. I have been interested in this one for a while and I wish they had used a different writing end (section, nib, and feed) from the Wing Sung 659—not that it's a bad one but because I already have that and the redundancy always gives me pause.

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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It is a nice pen for the price indeed. The only thing I don't like is the chrome colored ring at the piston knob, it tapers down in a way that does not work for me, a straighter ring would have improved the aesthetic a lot imho. Also, the step-down between the barrel and the section could have been just a little less pronounced.

One thing that may be useful to know is that, while the nibs are identical to Pilot's steel ones, and fully swappable, the nib grading is closer to the Western convention, so that what they sell as the EF is basically a Pilot Fine, whereas their F would be closer to a Pilot Medium.

Edited by Feanaaro
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Yes, for the price it's nice pen. Design isn't really amazing or special in any way but the pen works fine and costs little. Personally I prefer this one than Pilot MR.

 

Also I hope some of our chinese friends will be able to explain how these brands (Lucky, WIng Sung, Hero) are connected.

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From what I have read in the past Wing Sung was Hero's competitor until it went under. The brand was acquired by Hero later on and this arrangement continues to this day. Not sure how "Lucky" comes into the picture but the new model Wing Sungs (659 and 698) both sport the "Lucky" monicker. It's not a translation of Wing Sung (the Chinese characters for that translate to Eternal Life) so my guess is that the revived brand is "Wing Sung Lucky"

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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From what I have read in the past Wing Sung was Hero's competitor until it went under. The brand was acquired by Hero later on and this arrangement continues to this day. Not sure how "Lucky" comes into the picture but the new model Wing Sungs (659 and 698) both sport the "Lucky" monicker. It's not a translation of Wing Sung (the Chinese characters for that translate to Eternal Life) so my guess is that the revived brand is "Wing Sung Lucky"

 

antichresis,

 

Prior to its closure and acquisition by Hero, Wing Sung also acquired a number of other pen manufacturers including one who used the "Lucky" trademark; Wing Sung continued to use this brand for some of their pens, and this tradition carried on when the Wing Sung brand was re-launched by the Hero Group, but now operated by Victo.

No, I am not going to list my pens here.

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According to what I know, this brand split is necessary because Hero does not manufacture these Wing Sung pens. Hero only authorized some other pen makers to manufacture these pens under the name Wing Sung because Hero acquired the brand a while ago. As far as I know, Hero does not produce any pen under the name Wing Sung by themselves. There's of course a difference between a "Hero manufactured pen" and a "Hero authorized to be manufactured pen" under a trademark Hero holds, by someone else. As for "Lucky", it was initially a sub brand used by Wing Sung for oversea market. There were same Wing Sung models both with and without "Lucky" and the Lucky pens were more likely to be individually wrapped as well as having more metal parts for durability. However, I think Wing Sung used the Lucky brand more frequently later to simply represent their higher end pens. So the confusion probably arises more as a language translation issue than a brand splitting. In my understanding, "Hero Wing Sung Lucky 698" is similar to something like "Franklin Christophe Jowo 14k #6 medium nib".

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woleizihan,

 

Green Stationary, better known for its "Victo" trademark, is one of the firms within the Hero Group. In fact the firm is known as "Shanghai Hero Pen Factory Co Ltd, The Center of Manufacturing Products II, Shanghai Green Stationary Co Ltd", so it is not like Hero farmed out the manufacturing to some independent firm whose operation is not within their supervision.

No, I am not going to list my pens here.

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To be clear, the firm is the second manufacture center of Hero but is only an independent firm with corporation with Hero. Manufacture center of a brand is not necessarily part of the company.

I never said the pen is produced without Hero's supervision and I don't believe Hero is inexperience enough to authorize production without any supervision.

woleizihan,

 

Green Stationary, better known for its "Victo" trademark, is one of the firms within the Hero Group. In fact the firm is known as "Shanghai Hero Pen Factory Co Ltd, The Center of Manufacturing Products II, Shanghai Green Stationary Co Ltd", so it is not like Hero farmed out the manufacturing to some independent firm whose operation is not within their supervision.

Edited by woleizihan
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Ok let me fill in the part and history. Wing Sung used to be an independent make up till 1999 when it closed down. Lucky is the Brand it own even back then for their export market. In Year Y2K Hero acquire all rights and assets of Wing Sung. Sometime in mid 200X Hero start to manufacture and market some low end pens ( mostly school / office supply varieties ) branded Wing Sung and still do today. But forward to mid 201X Hero start to license the name Wing Sung and sell rights to use the name to 3rd parties and also some design plan. This thus bring us the Wing Sung 659, 698, and some 6X series as well as the 3XXX series ( including re-incarnation of the 612/613 ). These licensed production is what we have here. The packaging have Hero on there as a license right owner ( trademark law require that ) and Wing Sung / Lucky is simply used as brand name as they had established long ago the name in their intended markets.

 

It is known that these licensed production pen had various manufacturing source depending on the models ( including Shanghai Green Stationary Co Ltd ) and that Hero do have some contribution in term of technical assistance and parts ( OEM work )

 

And FYI, this pen do actually come in non demonstrator version in Black, Ivory White and the non too common Blue-Black / Lake Blue

Edited by Mech-for-i
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Thanks for the review. I saw this mentioned on another forum and wondered about it. On ebay there are several versions including one with gold coloured highlights instead of silver, but the latter will be more durable, aesthetically.

 

If anyone would want a decent low cost piston filler and demo, this is it.

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Hmmm but how do these hold up? How likely are you to get a dud? I gambled with some of these cheaper pens before: never bought more than one at once and many have been often a total disappointment, not much for the price I paid but for the time I had to wait.

 

Dollar 717i wrote super dry and had flow issues.

Hero 616 Although I am a fan of the Hero 616, one cracked on me while writing and another had a super scratchy and dry nib. Both binned, as my skills in fixing things is equal to that of a Kangaroo.

 

I wonder if we'll ever get to see a Long Term Review of the WS 698. Plastic cracks, leaks behind the piston, QC issues, flaking hardware It could have a number of problems, or have none of these a all

Edited by sciumbasci
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It is cheap, but not as cheap as the Dollar 717 or the Hero 616. One could hope that a $20 pen (which is probably a technically subsidized price given the helps with shipping etc. they get from the government) would be a little better than a $5 pen.

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I have seen none of the issues you mention after months of use. However, sample size is 2 so I can't talk about how likely it's going to habe problems in general.

 

Hmmm but how do these hold up? How likely are you to get a dud? I gambled with some of these cheaper pens before: never bought more than one at once and many have been often a total disappointment, not much for the price I paid but for the time I had to wait.

 

Dollar 717i wrote super dry and had flow issues.

Hero 616 Although I am a fan of the Hero 616, one cracked on me while writing and another had a super scratchy and dry nib. Both binned, as my skills in fixing things is equal to that of a Kangaroo.

 

I wonder if we'll ever get to see a Long Term Review of the WS 698. Plastic cracks, leaks behind the piston, QC issues, flaking hardware It could have a number of problems, or have none of these a all

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