So, here's the story about my Hero 5020: I had a $6.46 credit on my PayPal account. This pen was $7.50 on eBay with free shipping. So, I figured, what the heck, and bought it, for $1.04 out of pocket. I'd been wanting to play with a Hero pen for some while anyway.
The pen arrived, and I pulled it out of the padded envelope. Gosh, that looks familiar...
|Hero 5020 in rear, Parker Sonnet Cisele in front|
I've heard rumors for years that Hero took over the Chinese Parker plant when Parker was forced to walk away from it and leave the country for political reasons. The story is that the plant was tooled up and ready to roll when Hero walked in. I have yet to find any documentation which substantiates this rumor, but it's been out there for quite some time. As with so many other rumors, I wondered at its veracity.
After examining this Hero 5020, I am beginning to believe it's true.
Right after opening the package, I went to the pen box and grabbed Joe's Parker Sonnet Cisele.
The caps are interchangeable. The barrels are interchangeable. The pens look like first cousins.
Overall, I'm more impressed with the pen than I thought I'd be. The pen is a bit hefty, as you might expect for a metal pen. It's nicely balanced and comfortable to write with. The nib is a typical modern medium. The converter is a less-expensive style, but still a twist converter and not a plunger.
One big difference? The pen did not want to write out of the gate. It took a fair amount of flushing the nib with a Windex/dish soap/water solution, followed by clear water, to clean the manufacturing oils out of the nib and feed. Even after that, the pen wrote as if it was choking for a day or two before it finally settled in and started writing with normal ink flow. Ever since, it's been reliable, starting right up even after sitting for a couple of days.
All in all, for $1.04 - or even for $7.50 - I feel I got a perfectly respectable pen. No one is going to fawn over it, but it's not the type of pen I'd expect that reaction to. It feels like a good, sturdy everyday pen. I'm going to give it a good run for the next couple of weeks and see how it holds up to that initial impression.