The casual observer, or even those who count themselves among the cognoscenti of the fountain pen world, would be excused if they mistook today’s pen for a similar, yet far more expensive model, from the same manufacturer.
The Hero Pen Manufacturing Company from Shanghai needs no introduction to the readers of this blog. I make no secret of the fact that they are probably my favourite manufacturer of affordable fountain pens that are still in production today.
As the creators of both the Hero 242 (the focus of today’s review) and the Hero 121, a strikingly similar but more expensive pen, The Hero Pen company has once again succeeded in supplying the market of fountain pen collectors and users with another very affordable , yet unique writing instrument.
The design of this pen, especially the section area, is a distinct deviation from the more traditional, cigar shaped and fully hooded designs that I have featured previously. The 240 is of a semi hooded design, with a gold coloured, steel nib. This nib is of a triangular design, the two flat sided meeting to form a prominent ridge on the top. Chinese writing on these flat sided probably represents the company name.
The nib is medium sized, and is what I would expect to find in a medium nib. This is probably one of, if not the most pleasant nibs I have reviewed until now, writing on any paper I could find in the office, in clear wet lines, without ever running dry. Bleeding through did occur on some of the real cheap papers, which is to be expected from a pen that writes wet.
The section is the part that distinguishes this pen the most. Pentagonal in shape, with the uppermost two flats much larger than the ones underneath, this section is referred to simply as “duckbill shaped”. This shape gradually takes its form from the clutch ring where it is round, towards the nib, where it ends in a clearly defined pentagon. Where the uppermost surfaces join, a silver coloured metal inlay, in the shape of a necktie, provides an interesting little detail.
At first I was a bit concerned with the angular shape, fearing that the rigid flat surfaces would force my fingers into a writing position that could be at odds with my natural pen grip. However, this turned out to be no problem at all, especially because where I naturally grip the section, it is still fairly round. The section joins the barrel with a 4mm wide stainless steel clutch ring, screen printed with “Made in China 240” in English and Chinese.
The round barrel tapers slightly towards the barrel end ring, which consist of a stainless steel ring and a flat disc of the same colour as the barrel. My test pen is maroon, but as far as I know other colours such as black and teal also are available.
The dimensions of the pen are, uncapped, 120mm, posted, 147mm, capped, 136mm. Where I grip the section, it is about 10mm at its widest. A very comfortable grip, indeed. Weight, empty is about 15 grams. Filling takes place via a very general aerometric system, not unlike those found in the majority of the Hero affordables.
The stainless steel cap is fitted with a black, plastic end cap with a stainless steel disc on the flat end. The clip is stapled to the cap, and features a textured central depressed area and the Hero emblem at the top. The Hero name is screen printed near the open end, in English and Chinese. This screen printing started chipping off after a couple of days use. I did not favour the bold screen printing, it makes the pen look real cheap. Readers would have noticed that I rarely use the word cheap to describe the pens in my reviews. I prefer to use affordable, having a much more positive connotation. The word cheap is reserved to convey a more negative message, usually indicating an area of possible improvement. This screen printed design and writing is the only negative comment I can give on an otherwise great pen.
I loved using this pen. Usually when reviewing a new pen, I would fill it once and then use it until empty before I do my review. However, in this case I have refilled it a number of times, and are still writing with it! Ink flow is very positive, easy and uninterrupted.
In the Hero 240, I feel that not only have I discovered another, quality writing tool from the affordables range of the Hero Pen company, but the unique appearance of this pen adds a fresh dimension to the usual, round designs. A real pleasure to own and use! Definitely worth getting one or more for your collection. Available for around 12.00AU.