Wow, who’d have thought Hero would get away with such blatant knock-offs? I mean the Hero 616 Extra Light Fountain Pen is clearly a faux Parker 51, down to the arrow clip.
Pilot V Pen (A.K.A. Varsity) Fountain Pen Design
Nib Width: tiny, (hooded)
Nib Length: hooded, tiny
Pull/Screw Cap: Pull
Capped Length: 135mm
Posted Length: 136mm
Mid-Grip Width: 8mm
Cap Band Width: 9mm
Cap Weight: 6g
Well, this pen is protected in a black presentation box with a ribbon over the pen as well as two plastic bags. The box itself is wrapped in plastic and the pen inside is also wrapped in plastic.
Remove the pen from the plastic and the box and you have a knock-off Parker 51 in Nassau Green. There is no mistaking it, if you’ve seen a 51, you’ve seen what this pen is trying to emulate down to Parker’s trademarked art deco arrow. It’s kind of sad really.
But Hero makes several knock-offs.
Most easily recognizable is their interpretation of the Lamy Safari which they call the Singularity. It’s a replica for sure, if you’ve seen a Lamy Safari, check out the link, it’s crazy. What’s funny is it’s almost the same price, so why not buy the real one?
The hooded nib is the same, the cap and body are similar with less attention to detail and it even has the two metal rings that meet up when you join the section to the body. What’s different is this is a Button fill, which is a mechanical way to squeeze the ink-sac which applies lateral pressure to it and then release while it sucks up ink from your bottle.
The sac appears to be permanently affixed to the section so there’s no replacing it with a cartridge, it’s an ink bottle with this pen. While I don’t usually have great luck with button or sac fills, this one was remarkably easy to operate and actually works and holds a good amount of ink, more than most short cartridges.
How Does The Nib Perform On Different Papers?
Well, I’m SURPRISED, no, SHOCKED at how well this cheapie writes. I mean this Hero 616 writes smoothly and NO skips or hard starts. Frankly, I was expecting it to choke. I was not expecting it to be so smooth.
I broke open my bottle of Kaweco Green ink for this to match the body of the pen.
I hesitate when using button fills. I mean, I just don’t like them. They can be awkward to fill and ineffective. I prefer push or screw converters when I have a choice, but this bad boy is mounted to the pen so there’s no choice.
Surprise, Surprise, it fills GREAT! I dipped the nib into my green ink and squeezed a couple of times and the metal button fill was annoying me because I couldn’t see anything so I removed the metal button mechanism (which is just a piece of metal with a long bar along the inside attached to a cutout piece, that when you push it, the attached bar pushes against the sac to compress it and when you release it, it draws the ink in.)
Since I couldn’t tell if it was working and I have a hatred of these because I usually have no luck, I removed the metal and squeezed the bulb with my thumb and forefinger. It worked like a charm and I could see the ink drawing into the translucent sac. Loved it.
The nib writes on anything. It is smooth. The only problem with this hooded nib (it is covered by the plastic body of the pen all the down to the very tip of the nib) is that it’s such a small point left that I couldn’t tell when it was rotating out of center because there weren’t visible shoulders on the nib. I’d grab it and not notice I was writing sideways until the nib was scratchy then I’d pull it closer to see I didn’t have it centered, center it, and back to wonderland.
I’ve never used a Parker 51, but a few experts called it their favorite fountain pen.
This Hero 616 is the poor man’s Parker 51 for sure. I can’t imagine they write the same, but this Hero 616 writes smoothly and incredibly well for a less-than-$10 pen.
It’s about a medium writer, not wet, not dry. I used notebook paper, my journal and signed a check with it and it wrote well every time. Because it’s cheap and easy to deal with, this is an all-around daily carry pen.
The Cap – Screw/Pull/Post and What That Means
The cap is a pull-off, which I love. Because the cap is metal and the two rings are metal where the body and section meet, there’s an occasional scraping that just doesn’t feel great, but not a big deal on a cheap fountain pen.
Because the pen is EXTREMELY lightweight, I mean it’s lighter than almost any fountain pen I’ve used, it doesn’t fatigue your hand. It almost feels too light. I want to add some weight to give it a more substantial feel. But that’s just me.
It’s balanced, even with the cap posted (pushed onto the back of the pen.) The cap stays put when posted, doesn’t chatter, and is a comfortable size.
Just don’t do what I did and rotate the arrow toward the web of your hand, the pointy arrow sucks pushing into your hand web (whatever that’s called, if you’re a doctor or otherwise love anatomy, let me know what that’s called and I’ll update this.)
Just rotate the arrow to align with the top of the nib and it will be pointed away from your hand. This was also a cheater way for me to know where the center of the nib was since I couldn’t easily tell with the hooded nib!
Who is the Fountain Pen Good For? Is It a Good Overall Value?
Is the Hero 616 Extra Light Fountain Pen a good deal? Well yes folks, this is a smooth writer, less than $10, and you get great value for your money. I feel almost bad recommending such a blatant knock off, but since the 51 is no longer in production, I guess I feel less guilty. 🙂
Great value for a few dollars.
Get the price of the Hero 616 Extra Light Fountain Pen now on Amazon.