Got a couple of new pens in the mail yesterday, an old Esterbrook Desk Pen sans the 8-ball base, and a new Hero 100. The Hero is one I’ve been anticipating getting for some while. I own 2 other Hero pens, a 616 and a 329. All (including the 100) are knock-offs of the venerable Parker 51. Both the 329 and the 616 are (in my opinion) good pens. Especially good when you look at what you get for $5 to $10 bucks. But, compared to the real McCoy, they feel cheap. Both are steel nib pens, and good writers. They also have a nice feature that the real 51 lacks, an ink view section that allows you to tell when you’re about out of gas.
I’ve read other posts about this pen indicating that there has been some variance in the quality of this particular Hero pen line. That, in and of itself dictates that the Parkers are better pens. Unless it’s just been abused, I don’t think you can find a bad 51. This new 100 though, gives the original 51 a real run for the money. I still have enough of the “vintage pen snob” in me to give a slight edge to the Parker. But this Hero 100 is (I think) of the same kind of high quality.
Of the three I own, the 616 actually looks the most like a 51. The Cap, clip, size, filler (a true aeromatic), all are direct copies. The 100 shares the same size and hooded nib configuration, but there are several differences after that point. The cap is similar in size and shape, however there is a metal, slightly pointed jewel set in the top instead of a plastic jewel. The clip is completely different, missing the familiar arrow configuration, instead sporting a slightly chiseled, spring-loaded clip. The cap itself is similar to Parker’s brushed aluminum version. The end tip of the body of the Hero is also different, sporting a slightly smaller version of the same metal jewel set in the top of the cap. Uncapped, you see that the section ring in the Hero is slightly different than that of the Parker, but in roughly the same location. The 100, unlike the 329 or 616, sports a nicer, 14k gold nib.
Like the real 51, these Hero pens hold a lot of ink. Kind of like the Energizer Bunny – they just keep writing and writing, and writing, and writing. They aren’t what I would call ‘buttery’ smooth nibs. None of them are. However, neither are any of my Parker 51’s. They’re a little – “toothy” – for lack of a better word. You kind of feel the paper as you write. And they do write well. All are fine points and lay down a nice wet, though fine, line. The pictures don’t accurately reflect the true color of this pen. It’s actually more of an aquamarine color. Kind of a turquoise leaning more towards green than blue.