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01.19.06

Pen Junkie, Part 3: Hero 370

I mentioned last time that I purchased a second Hero pen when I got the 160. This is a review of that pen. Click on the images for a larger version.

The Hero 370 cost a whole $4, and believe me, it was worth every penny. It’s a small, simply designed pen constructed of a light weight metal (aluminum, I’m guessing). The cap is of the snap variety and has a garish advertisement for the company covering most of it. It has a steel extra fine nib.

It uses an aerometric filler, but also takes cartridges. I’ve tried it both ways with pretty much the same results.

The craftsmanship on this pen is shoddy all around. The cap, when on rotates freely, although there doesn’t appear be any danger of it falling off. It’s the same minor complaint I had with the 160, only in this case much more pronounced. It posts securely, but I mostly leave the cap off when I write, so that’s not a huge concern for me. The nib also is of questionable quality. While the size is just about right, the ink flow is poor and often skips, and it is scratchy to write with. Also, the feed part of the nib doesn’t sit flush against the body:

I don’t know if this is specific to my pen, or if they are all like that but it doesn’t inspire confidence. I pulled the nib apart and tried to fix the problem, but no luck. Plus, because of the thinness of the pen, it hurts my hand to write with for any length of time.

I wasn’t expecting much from this $4 pen, and my expectations were met. Needless to say that this pen is headed for an early retirement.

Today I ordered another Hero pen, this time the 100 which is a knock off of the classic Parker 51. It has received rave reviews on various pen forums so I was curious to test it out. Once again I ordered it through ISellPens.com. I’ll post a review after I’ve had a chance to play with it a bit.

I think next time I’ll stick with some more of the inexpensive pens in my collection and review the Ohto Tasche that I bought from Jet Pens.

01.09.06

Pen Junkie, Part 2: Hero 160

Recently, while browsing the forums at the Jet Pens Web site I came across mention of a pen from a Chinese company called Hero. The posters had high praise for the extra fine tip and the fluidity with which it wrote. I was intrigued. One of the things I struggle with when purchasing pens is finding the right combination of style and fine point. With most American and European pen companies your lucky if they go down to a fine point, and extra fine seems to be a concept with which they have yet to come to terms. There are of course exceptions, but it seems to be true for the most part.

Enter the Asian pens. The Japanese seem to share my love of both the fine point and the funky design, and I have purchased more than a few pens from Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore attached to the Uwajimaya downtown. Those will turn up in future posts.

Today though, I’m reviewing the Hero 160 that I purchased from this Web site for $15. So not the cheapest pen I own, but far from the most expensive.

Style wise, it’s a pretty simple pen, I was drawn to the frilly design on the cap and I liked the semi-hooded nib.

One reservation I had was that it was an aerometric filler and did not take cartridges. I’ve never used anything but cartridges before, so I didn’t know what I would think.

This turned out to be no big deal. You simply dip the nib into the ink, press on the metal bar, wait to the count of 5 and repeat 4 or 5 more times.

It seems to be a fairly well made pen and it writes extremely well. Smooth flowing lines right off the bat and hasn’t skipped on me yet. The nib is called a fine, but really is an extra fine when compared to other pens. Which suits me just fine.

My one complaint is that the cap is a bit loose. Not loose like it’s going to fall off in your pocket, because it seems fairly secure in that regard, but loose like it rotates around easily when it is on. Not a big deal, but there it is.

That’s all for now, next time I’ll review the other Hero pen I purchased when I got this one: the Hero 370, which cost a whopping $4.

Update: I recently discovered that Lamy cartridges will fit in this pen. This is very exciting, as when I travel, I can’t be carrying around bottles of ink for refilling.