Review, Hero 612 Fountain pen.

The Hero 612 is another very affordable pen from the giant Shanghai Hero Pen Company. The section of this hooded fountain pen is virtually exactly the same as most of the other Hero pen models in the affordable range, such as the iconic 616 and 366. As a matter of fact the similarities between some of these pens were so strong, that I was wondering whether the sections could be interchangeable!

The 612 makes use of a very slim clutch ring to join the section to the barrel, deviating from the more ample, see-through ring that doubles as an ink level window such as used on the 616 and 366. The barrel end cap is a golden, metallic “jewel”, of a traditional round pointed shape. This is attached to the barrel by a simple press fit and glue. After only two weeks in my top pocket, the gold colour has already rubbed off to expose the alluminium that the cap is pressed out of.

The cap has the same gold colour and also ends in a similar shaped “jewel” as the barrel.  A thin indentation around the open end of the cap frames the words “Made in China , 612” and probably the name “Hero” in Chinese. The cap is very light, with a stapled clip featuring the Hero emblem near the top. The cap as well as the jewels on this pen definitely gives the impression of being budget orientated.

"Hero 612 Fountain pen"

"Hero 612 Fountain pen"

 

 

True to all the other Hero pens I have reviewed, the writing experience is very pleasant. The nib is supposedly “fine”, and ink flow is easy and controlled. Although I prefer a medium nib, this nib was very easy to write with and never failed, even when used on a wide variety of paper used in a normal office environment. I used Parker Quink, an ink that I regard as a good, affordable and available all-rounder. The ink is stored in an aerometric style reservoir,  interchanging with a converter is not possible. As with all affordable pens using this system, it is quite a mission to fill the ink sac completely.

"Hero 612 Fountain pen"

"Hero 612 Fountain pen"

 

The pen weighs in at only 11 grams, making it a true lightweight. Capped length is about 142 mm, uncapped 122 mm and posted nearly 150mm. I enjoy light pens, and this Hero 612 is no exception. A combination of the light weight, plastic section and comfortable section circumference of about 11mm, makes for a positive grip without having to grip too hard.

The Hero 616 is available in the usual Hero Black, Maroon and Teal. I have found this pen to do exactly what it was designed for, providing a reliable, pleasant writing experience, at an affordable price, even for school children and students. Once again, outstanding value for money not only for the entry level fountain pen user, but also for the serious collector in need of a pen for every day office use. I do have some of these pens available for sale from time to time, they go for 12.00 AU, plus postage.

Watch strap review: Natural Kangaroo.

This must be one of the most satisfying strap making exercises I have had in a long time! I ordered this natural coloured Kangaroo leather for another project, had a bit left and decided to experiment with making a watch strap from it. The results are spectacular!

Natural Kangaroo leather come in a number of different shades, this particular one is probably best described as “tan”. The strength and durability of Kangaroo leather is legendary. The material of choice for cutting thongs/lace or other projects where durability is of high importance. Purported to be ten (10!) times stronger than bovine (cow), it also retains its strength much better than bovine when reduced in size. This explains why its the choice for thongs, or lace. This is also of great importance for watch strap making. This specific strap is only available in padded. This extra detail gives the thin kangaroo strap more body, and rigidity.

For this project I have selected brown braided polyester, waxed, for the hand sewing. This thread is excellent in durability as far as wear and resistance to rot is concerned. It also does not fray, adding to the strength.

Buckle is my standard, unbreakable and robust stainless steel buckle used on all my projects. Price, 25.00 AU plus postage. As all of my straps, this one is also covered by my standard Reivilo watch strap warranty, explained elsewhere on my website.

"Padded Kangaroo"

"Padded Kangaroo"

 

 

Reivilo watch strap of the week: Honey tan.

From this week I will start with a regular (weekly…?) review, or lets rather say introduction of some of the many different watch straps on offer by Reivilo Watch Straps. Yes, although I mention weekly, it may not be that often, but, well, weekly sounds better than “ten daily”, “half monthly”, or even “fortnightly”.

The colour that I have chosen for the first review is one of my personal favorites. It is called ” Tan-honey”, and it is a soft bovine leather (cow!), with a subtle shine.This strap is available in either a padded or un-padded model. Padded in watch strap nomenclature indicates that the strap has a raised, or padded central area. This adds some bulk and can be a pleasant detail on some straps.

"Tan-honey, watch straps, padded (R),un-padded (L)"

"Tan-honey, watch straps, padded (R),un-padded (L)"

Stitching is done by hand, using a darker brown braided thread. This braid is synthetic and rot resistant. As on all Reivilo straps, the buckle is robust, indestructible and made from stainless steel. The strap-end keeper is wide, sewn together and not the weak point as is often found in so many leather straps. It was designed to do the intended job, which is to keep the loose end snugly secured and out of the way. This design is standard on all Reivilo straps.

This strap matches a wide variety of watch styles and dial colours. It is less formal than a dark brown or black, yet goes extremely well with a golden cased dress watch. Padded or not? This is ultimately left to personal choice and the style of your watch. For larger, more robust watches my preference is towards the padded model.

Warranty? We all know nothing lasts forever. With that in mind, Reivilo Watch Straps has a very simple but effective warranty:  Whenever your strap breaks and you return the broken strap and buckle to me, I will build you a new strap of the same colour (if still available), or using any other available colour of your choice and using your old buckle, for half the advertised price, plus postage.

Price: $25.00 Au plus postage.

Review: The Poky and Haolilai 908 fountain pens.

Review: The Poky and Haolilai 908 fountain pens.

I don’t think it will often happen that I will be reviewing two pens together. However in the case of the Poky Z150 and Haolilai 908, the reason for this will soon become clear.

"Haolilai Fountain Pen"

"Haolilai Fountain Pen"

While trawling the fountain pen rich waters of eBay, I came upon a pen made by The Haolilai Stationary Company, Shanghai (I have also seen the name Shanghai Haolilai Gold Pen Company elsewhere), which immediately demanded my attention. It had a pleasing traditional cigar shape, rounded end cap and barrel end and an unpretentious design. The entire pen, except for the section, is made of metal, and weighs in at about 28 gram. There are no jewels on the end of the cap or barrel, and it is painted a rich yellow.  In an interesting little detail, the chrome plated clutch ring is located about 5mm away from the opening of the cap. A similar stepped ring also serves as a positive cap stop at the beginning of the barrel. When capped these two rings encloses a coloured band, featuring the name of the pen, Haololai 908, painted in black. Capping is push-on with a positive “click” lock. It appears as if the chrome plated ring at the end of the section engages an area on the plastic liner inside the cap to provide a locking action. I have found this locking to be quite strong. The force necessary to cap or uncap the pen sometimes propels ink from the nib. Capped length is 138mm, uncapped 117mm and posted 153mm. I seldom if ever use fountain pens posted. Apart from the extra weight of the cap, it moves the centre of gravity too far to the back.

"Poky Fountain pen."

"Poky Fountain pen."

Two more of these rings are located three quarters of the way down both the cap and barrel. The ring on the cap forms an integral part of the substantial chrome plated metal pocket clip.

The tapered section, or grip area, is of black plastic and ends in a chrome plated ring. This pen does not have a hooded nib, and the decorative gold and silver coloured nib is signed by the manufacturer. The Haolilai 908 has a medium iridium-tipped nib. The nib is actually close to what I would expect of a medium nib, and not as is often the case with Chinese pens, thinner than European standard. I find the section to be comfortable and not slippery. It provides for a comfortable and positive pen grip.

Writing is easy, with a constant yet slightly uneven ink flow, making for some lines that are slightly wetter than others. Filling is by a screw type ink converter, but it is also interchangeable with International Standard cartridges. I write quite large and fast, yet the pen never ran dry on me or skipped a line. I regard this Haololai 908 as a pleasant everyday pen. It behaves well on most papers and seems to be doing well with Parker Quink. I paid about 7.00 AU for mine, including postage. Definitely value for money for a useable, representable pen.

Now, the second pen, the Poky Z150, is surprisingly, virtually identical in outward appearances as the Haolilai 908. I was so surprised when the two pens arrived a couple of weeks from each other, that at first I thought I have accidently purchase two of the same pens! However the difference soon becomes clear when I uncapped the Poky, to reveal a hooded nib design.

The hooded design on the Poky is slightly different from that found on the  traditional Hero 616, or Parker 150 classics. I do found it less attractive, although it certainly makes a more modern statement. Also branded as medium, this nib writes noticeably thinner than the Haolilai 908. Looks aside, this nib provides a beautiful smooth, pleasant writing experience, with a constant and even ink flow. I definitely prefer its writing experience above that provided by the Haolilai 908.

When I attempted to swap caps on these pens, I realised that they were probably not from the same manufacturer. Slight differences in manufacturing tolerances, surface finishing and design features make this unlikely. I dare say the Haolilai appears to be of a higher quality in this regard. I was wondering if the Poky could be a reproduction, although Poky pens have a substantial range of their own. The Poky Z150 cost me 12.00AU, postage included. If you like this design enough to want one for yourself, the deciding factor would probably be which of the nib designs you like the best. I have to confess, since completing this review, the Poky has become quite a favourite writer….The Poky is available in Red, Blue, Orange and Purple.

Review: The Hero 366 Fountain pen.

Currently the Hero 366 is the smallest pen in the admirable Hero fountain pen range. However, not only is it distinguishable by its size, but probably also by its simplicity of design.  Weighing in at a mere 10gram, the pen is only 122mm long, capped. This decreases to 105mm uncapped, and 130mm posted.  It is ideally suited for school children or others with small hands, and rekindles many good memories of my old school fountain pen, a Hifra, of similar dimensions. My hands are reasonably large, so the top of the barrel rides barely on the web of my hand. I am definitely partial to lighter pens, as I have mentioned in previous posts.

The Hero 366 is completely made from a plastic compound, and lacks even a metallic clutch ring. The joint between the section and the barrel incorporates a clear ink-window, and a small step-up towards the barrel to act as a stop for the cap. The section is a copy of the Hero 616 (and a number of other Hero pens), as a matter of fact, the 366 is in many ways a small 616. The metallic cap is completely smooth, and the pocket clip is stapled to the cap. “Hero” is stamped on the clip in English, and again in Chinese around the open end of the cap. The clip is quite stiff and hard to slip over the edge of my pocket organizer.

This is another hooded designed nib from Hero, and the iridium pointed nib is listed as a medium. Line width is definitely medium. Writing is smooth, easy and ink flow continuous and wet. What I really enjoyed about this torpedo shaped little pen is that it writes on any piece of paper. This makes it the ideal everyday office pen, where notes and comments are often made on a variety of paper.

"Hero 366"

"Hero 366"

Ink filling and storage is via an ink sac, the aerometric system. This is not interchangeable with any converter or cartridge systems. In keeping with the absolute simplicity of this pen, the ink sac is simply a rubber sac pulled tight over the end of the section (eye dropper style!). Most other pens that use the same mechanism have the sac protected by a thin alluminium tube with a window to facilitate manipulation of the sac during filling. The 366 have none of these, simply the sac!  I found it easier to fill than the pens that have the protective tube around the sac.

My test pen was Black, however they are available in the usual Hero Maroon and Teal as well. I am a strong supporter of Hero pens, and the Hero 366 has done its bit to further strengthen this bond. This pen will suit all levels of writers, but because of its no nonsense and forgiving nature, is especially suited for newcomers, curious to explore the world of fountain pens. In my opinion, another fine example of that genre of extremely affordable fountain pens that is fully capable of a serious writing experience. For this reason these affordable Hero’s are often found in the top pockets of serious pen collectors. The Hero 366 fountain pen is a small, light and very affordable pen that provides a very pleasant writing experience. If you use fountain pens, you should have one!

I do have some of these pens available for sale from time to time, they go for 12.00 AU, plus postage.

Review: The Hero 007 Fountain pen.

"Hero 007 Fountain Pen"

"Hero 007 Fountain Pen"

Yet another affordable fountain pen from the famous Hero Pen Manufacturing Company in Shanghai, this pen, the Hero 007 departs slightly in appearances from the well-known 616 and 366 models. Where these models have the very traditional Parker 51 cigar shape with a full hooded nib, the 007 is slim, straight sided and of more angular appearance. The barrel end cap is a stepped disc, made of chrome plated metal which creates a sophisticated finish to the plastic, coloured barrel. Colour range is the usual Hero Black, Teal and Maroon.

The cap seems to be brushed stainless steel, with the wording 007 Hero and, I presume, the same again, but in Chinese, photo etched around the open end. The stamped pocket clip also deviates from the popular Parker Arrow copy, often seen on Hero designs. Made from stamped metal, it features a bit of an angular design along the length, and ends in a half rounded sliding foot of ample proportions. It was easy to slip the clip over the edge of my leather pocket organiser. Although this sounds like a trivial point, I do get some pens from time to time with clips that are so stiff and pointy, that I have great difficulty to slide them over the edge of this thin leather. The clip ends at the very top in a 90degree round washer, which is held in place on the cap by a “metal?” push on  cap “jewel” of a  flat, stepped design. The Hero logo is stamped on the flat end of the jewel.

"Hero 007 Fountain Pen"

"Hero 007 Fountain Pen"

The cap fits onto the section with an increasing tighter slide finish, until it comes to a positive stop against a metal ring that separates the section from the barrel. The fit is very neat with only a very small perceptible step. Overall dimensions are 34mm capped, 42mm posted and 22mm uncapped. The complete pen is slim, weighing about 12 gram. Although of a slim design, maintaining a pen grip was easy. I enjoyed the writing experience provided by the medium titanium nib. The ink flow is uninterrupted, easy and the lines are nice and wet. It didn’t seem to be paper sensitive, easily writing on a variety of paper available in the office. I used Parker Quink, which seems to be a good all-rounder for all of my fountain pens. Filling is via an aerometric bladder or sac, encased in thin aluminium housing with a window for accessing the ink sac for filling. As is the case with most of these filling systems found on the affordable pens, it takes a bit of patience to fill it up.

 

Once again, as so often in the past after reviewing Hero pens, I was amazed at the value for money offered by their affordable range of pens. This well presented pen, is another entry level pen that will quickly become a favorite and see lots of service in the top pocket. I sometimes have limited numbers of these pens for sale, at 12.00 AU, excluding postage.

An axe sharpening stone pouch.

A while ago I posted about the cover that I have designed for protecting your axe, and also everything else that may come into contact with the sharp edge. These covers have proven to be very popular with axe owners. You dont have to be a professional tree feller to have one, every axe owner should protect the hard earned cutting edges of their firewood getters.

Because, sharp is what axes should be to do what they are designed for. A blunt axe not only is a danger to its user, but because of its ineffectiveness soon becomes a burden to use- tapping energy that should be put to better use.

Therefore it goes without saying that any axe that see use from time to time, should have a sharpening stone, hone or puck, somewhere to maintain a keen edge. Axe sharpening stones are usually round, about 75mm across and about 25mm thick. Enter the sharpening stone pouch.

"Axe sharpening stone pouch"

"Axe sharpening stone pouch"

 

 

Made from the same durable belting leather than the axe pouch and using synthetic braid, hand stitched seams, this pouch is ideal to protect your stone, whether it is lying on the back of the truck, bouncing around inside a toolbox or sitting on the shelf in the shed. It is also fitted with a belt loop to be carried on your person for those trips out bush. A closing flap will prevent the stone from falling out. Retrieving even a tight fitting stone is made easy by pulling on a leather strap to lift the stone out of the pouch.

"Axe sharpening stone pouch"

"Axe sharpening stone pouch"

 

 

These handy pouches will set you back only 22.00 Australian, plus postage.

 

 

 

"Axe sharpening stone pouch"

"Axe sharpening stone pouch"

Review: The Baoer 517 Fountain pen.

The Baoer 517 fountain pen from China joins the line-up of affordable fountain pens that found their way into my collection, and which I will be evaluating over a period of time. The Baoer 517 is available in four metallic colours, red, black, blue and orange. The finish displays a light, black cloudy pattern. Since I will buy anything as long as it is orange, it goes without saying that the pen I bought was orange… The “orange” however, turned out to be a pleasant bronze!

Weighing in at 31 grams, with a total capped length of 138mm long, I regard this as being on the heavy end of the scale for my preference. I tend to lean towards lighter pens. I often wondered whether this could be because of my large handwriting and the fact that I write quite fast? After all, it takes far less energy to maneuver a lighter object than a heavier one! The length of the pen alone is 115mm and posted 150mm. The pen balances slightly over the halfway mark towards the back. The iridium tipped nib on my test pen was a medium. I was surprised to find that it was more or less what I expected of a medium. Manufacturer specifications list it as writing a 0.7mm line, the same as other “fine ”nibs! Most often Chinese pen manufacturers size their nibs slightly smaller than their European counterparts.  The nib is gold coloured with a silver coloured “smile ” two parallel half moons, connected by a number of lines. “Baoer” is engraved on the nib.

Baoer fountain pen.

Baoer fountain pen.

 

 

 

My Baoer is not what I would describe as an easy writer.  I constantly felt as if I had to work a little to get the pen to write. There was a fair amount of drag on the nib, although not scratchy at all. It certainly didn’t give the impression that is wants to run away from you, as is the sometimes found I didn’t experience this as negative, though. It forces me to write slightly slower, with a marked improvement in my handwriting! This pen was definitely more paper-sensitive than many of my other pens. On lesser quality paper the line quality was inconsistent, but when changing over to a good quality paper, the lines were full, wet and continuous.

Baoer fountain pen.

Baoer fountain pen.

 

 

 

The very end of the cap is finished off in a black plastic that is separated from the rest of the cap by a chrome coloured ring. The transition between these three areas is not as smooth and even as you will find in more expensive pens. In a very interesting arrangement, the cap clip goes right over the top of the cap, very much like the plume on top of a Roman helmet. The clip has a very solid and well finished appearance to it. Unlike most pens, the clip does not bend, but is spring-loaded for opening. The action is very smooth, and it slips easily over the leather rim of my pocket organizer. At the open end the cap has a broad chrome coloured ring. Most manufacturers would use this space to display their name, however in this specific instance the ring is blank. The cap fits on the barrel with a very positive “click”. This is one pen that is not going to lose its cap in your handbag or top pocket!

The section (grip area), is black plastic, ending in a raised chrome plated ring before the nib starts. I prefer plastic sections, they are so much easier to grip than metal, which tends to be too slippery. The bronze coloured barrel is also metal. It ends in a very pleasant, traditional round point, consisting of a black plastic section and a silver coloured ring. When capped, the overall shape of the pen is progressively thinner from the top of the cap to the end of the barrel. Personally I find the overall shape pleasing, although I would prefer less of a difference in thickness between the end of the cap and the end of the barrel.

Ink storage is in a screw type converter, but it is compatible with a short (38mm) International Standard cartridge. I have found the converter to be effective, filling about 75% of the volume when fully screwed out. If you need more ink, turn it upside down, allowing the ink to settle away from the nib, screw he plunger up to expel al the air, and suck up some more ink, until full. I had to rinse the nib and converter out with soapy water because during the first filling I found the ink to be contaminated with an oily substance.

With a price tag of little over 7AU, a good finish and interesting little details, I regard the Baoer 517 as  a worthy everyday writing pen.

Today’s review: Yongsheng 025

Yongsheng 025 Fountain Pen.

Yongsheng 025 Fountain Pen.

As far as I could determine, the Yongsheng manufacturing company from Shangai has been manufacturing pens and stationary since the 1990’s. They can therefore be regarded as a relative newcomer to the ranks of pen manufacturers.

The fountain pen I chose was a bright, rich yellow with chrome clutch ring, engraved with the name “Yongsheng 025”. I am always attracted to hooded fountain pens, and this pen has its own special interpretation of the hooded design. Besides that, I love colour, and this pen is a bright, rich yellow. Enough to drive away any Monday morning blues at work. Especially now in winter… It is available in three pleasant colours (red, yellow and black).

The section (grip) area as well as cap and barrel ends are also chromed. Both cap and barrel ends have black plastic ”jewels”, and the very end of the grip area, is also black plastic. The rest of the pen has a painted metal finish of quite a high standard. The pocket clip is also chrome, and quite stiff, making it hard to slip over the thin leather edge of my pocket organiser. It does provide a positive hold though, and won’t fall out easily. This clip is “stapled ” to the cap, having a few sharp prongs that protrude through the cap and are bend over on the inside.

The total length of the pen is 121mm, capped- 140mm, and posted (cap on end of barrel), 155mm. When using the pen without posting the cap, the balancing point is very close to the centre. The weight is given as 28 gram, on the heavy side for my liking. If you like a slightly heavy pen, I would certainly recommend it as an entry level fountain pen.

The medium, hooded Iridium nib, writes a 0.7mm line. Compared to some of my other pens, and true to the general standard found in Chinese pens, this “medium” can probably be better described as “fine”. A fine nib sometimes has definite advantages, such as for filling out forms, accounting or simply if you have a small handwriting.

A removable piston type ink converter is standard issue, but it also accepts short (38mm) International Standard disposable cartridges. The ink converter uses a slider mechanism, virtually identical as found on Parker pens, though somewhat smaller. It was easy to fill up completely.

Capping and de-capping takes place, with a positive, audible “click”. The chances that the pen will lose its cap in your pocket or handbag and ink everything , is very slim.

I found the nib slightly scratchy, however not to a point that it distracts from the writing pleasure. My handwriting is very large, and someone that writes smaller may not have the same experience. As with most fountain pens, the writing experience improves with the quality of paper you use.  Familiarising yourself with the feel of a new pen, also improves the writing experience.

Right from the start writing was in nice, wet lines, using its own piston type converter. Unfortunately, this nice wet writing experience quickly deteriorated until the pen started to skip lines and sometimes totally failed to write. A quick shake would get it underway again. This looked like a case of ink starvation. However whether it was because of a blockage, or some other factory fault I could not tell without taking the section apart.

I decided to open the section by soaking it in lukewarm water, as I have often done with other pens, however after a few unsuccessful attempts, I decided to give it away in fear of damaging the pen. It was simply too tight. Then followed a series of tests and close up examinations using a 10X LED watchmakers loupe and compressed air and water under pressure. I found the inside of the section where the ink converter slides over the collector tube to be coated in a clear adhesive, probably to provide a better fit for the converter. I found that strange in a pen where the converter is likely at some stage to be exchanged with a cartridge. I suspected some of this adhesive could have got stuck in the feed somewhere. I cleaned away all the glue I could find with watch makers tweezers. I then soaked it overnight in a soapy solution. The process was completed by gently force water from the nib backwards, in case any particles was dislodged by the soapy water.

This time I took an unused converter from one of my few remaining Sedona pen kits. Compared to the Yongsheng converter, it appeared to be of much greater quality. The fit was very positive, and with mixed feelings I filled it with Quink. It wrote immediately, nice wet lines like never before. I wrote half a page, just to be faced with the same problem again. All I can suspect is an internal blockage caused either by some external matter or by factory fitted faulty parts. The reason why it writes for a short time after filling-up is probably from the ink that is present in the section, but as soon as that is used, there is nothing coming from the converter, and the nib runs dry.

A personal criticism I have against the pen is that I often have trouble getting it in my favourite pen grip. Picking it up and rotating it into the correct grip, using only the fingers of the writing hand, was a bit of a challenge. The grip area is very smooth and the shape is such that my fingers keep slipping down towards the nib, needing constant readjustment as I write. The weight of the metal body of this pen definitely adds to this problem.

This pen costs me about 7 Australian dollars, postage included. In this price range it can probably be expected to find a dud from time to time. Based only on the external appearance, I like the pen. It is unfortunate that my pen did not work. Who knows, maybe in the future I will get another one.

Review: The Hero 616 fountain pen.

The Shanghai Hero Pen Company has been in existence since 1931. It started life as the Huafu Pen Factory, which was renamed in 1966. Hero is but one of their brand pens. With over 80 years of pen manufacturing behind them, the Hero Pen Company is one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of pens in the world. Hero pens enjoy a high reputation for their quality in China, but also the rest of the world. They have a widespread use by pen collectors worldwide as everyday writing instruments.

Some of the Hero pens such as the models  616 and 100, are very close to identical copies of the Parker 51 fountain pen, arguably the most recognized fountain pen of all times.

At the start of this review of the Hero 616, I have to admit that I am probably hopelessly biased towards this little pen, which is also one of the most well-known fountain pens from the Hero range. The 616 crossed my path one day when I was searching the internet for a Parker 51.  I simply loved the little pen right from the start, and having lived in my top pocket now for the better part of two years, I still enjoy using it.

At 130 mm long caped, 140 mm posted, it weighs in at about 15 grams. The pen alone is only about 116 mm long, and is made of a plastic, with no metal bits to add weight. The cap is a slide fit, without a positive stopper. The clutch ring is made of a clear plastic and doubles as a window for indicating the ink level. The pen is available in Black, Maroon and Teal.

The overall appearance is that of a very traditional, probably 1950-60’s torpedo-shaped fountain pen. About 2-3 mm of the medium iridium nib is protruding from underneath the hood, writing a 0.7 mm line. This is consistent with the Chinese standard for a medium nib. The cap on my Hero is metal with thin longitudinal lines running nearly the whole length. The lines stop about 3 mm from the open end, where the wording “Hero 616” is engraved in Chinese. The clip is ostentatiously a Parker arrow-design copy, and is secured to the cap with a metal, conical screw (jewel?). Ink is storage is with an aerometric filler system which is basically a rubber bladder or ink sac. Inside the sac is a thin reed, ink is sucked through this and deposited in the sac, when the sac is squeezed and a vacuum is formed. It is not interchangeable with a cartridge or converter. As is the case with most of these type mechanisms, it is quite tedious to get a good amount of ink in storage. Most of the times I filled it up only halfway. Some Hero owners gently slip the thin alluminium casing that protects the ink sac off, exposing the sac. This provides a larger surface area of the ink sac to work during the re-inking process, and makes filling slightly easier.

The weight, barrel shape and thickness of the grip area makes for a comfortable writing experience, and simply works for me. The grip area is not, as is often the case with many fountain pens with polished metal grip areas, too smooth or slippery to facilitate a good pen grip.

The nib writes reasonably smooth right from the start, although a little scratchy. I had to doodle for a while before the ink reached the nib and the pen started to write. For this review I have inked and used a brand new pen for the first time. I could feel a slight difference between this nib and the one that I have been using for more than a year now. This could indicates that some smoothing could be expected over prolonged use however it could also well be that for a writing instrument in this price range, quality control and consistency of finish is less consequent. Quality of nibs and other finish could be expected to differ. I have certainly found some barrels that came out of the packaging with marks.

Hero 616

Hero 616

 

 

 

 

I found the Hero 616 a very pleasant everyday pen to use. It has a rich and traditional appearance, far above its cost. It is priced extremely well, and is excellent value for money, even at a higher price. Because of this affordability, it lives well inside a handbag or top pocket, without too much consideration for the odd scratch or ding. Mine has even fallen on the floor on the odd occasion. This pen is strongly recommended as an entry level fountain pen, as a school pen and makes excellent gifts. It works very well with Parker Quink ink. I do have some of these pens available for sale from time to time, they go for 12.00 AU, plus postage.

Hero 616

Hero 616