Unlike ball points and roller ball pens, fountain pens have a particular guidelines that should be followed when it comes to writing. It is recommended that the angle of orientation when writing should be in the 45-60 degree angle to the paper, and scroll work of the nib should be facing you and parallel to the paper. On the other hand, reverse writing is possible; meaning the scroll work of the nib is facing down the paper and the feed is facing the person. Reverse writing, while possible, is not recommended due to the possible damage to the nib and the tip, since that part of the nib is not meant for writing.
However, what if you can write a fountain pen at any angle and direction? It would be similar to a roller ball attachment like the ones included in an Online College set and use fountain pen ink. Also, can the tines be smooth and handle the pressure? This is the case of the Hero 70.
I have this rule that if a pen is less than $5 excluding shipping, I would be open to purchase and try a fountain pen with a novel concept, (the Pilot Vanishing Point and the Lamy Logo, while per se interesting, is a class unto itself than these cheap chinese fountain pens). I got this Hero 70 for around $4 in eBay. On its face, there is nothing interesting nor eye catching; it is a plain looking pen with a weird 360 degree fountain pen nib.
Uncapping the pen and unscrewing the barrel revealed a personal deal breaker in fountain pens. Of all the reservoir systems in fountain pens, any reservoir system that involves a sac is a pain to maintain and achieve a full fill. I have two vintage pens: a Parker Eversharp Big-E and a Pilot 55 that uses a sac in its converter, and it is a pain to fill. Although with the former, it is a converter and it is possible to find a replacement converter that uses a piston for its filling mechanism. The Hero 70 might have been a good idea, I could have liked the pen out of the plastic sleeve even if I have not written it, but the sac filler turned me off when I saw it.
The entire pen appears to be made from metal. I used a magnet I scrapped from a broken hard drive. A magnet test provides that only the nib and the clip are magnetic and made from steel, and the rest of the pen are not magnetic and possibly made from brass.
The section appears to be made from metal with a chrome plating.
The sleeve that house the J-pressure bar for the sac appears to be made from aluminum; due to the lightweight, non magnetic, and no signs of metallic paint or foil on plastic. There are some Chinese characters written on the sleeve of the J-Bar, and upon uploading a picture to Google for translation, it cannot recognize the characters.
The cap have a brass screw and nut, and a plastic sleeve inside. In my opinion, the plastic sleeve inside the cap is not functional to a point that it is pointless. The plastic sleeve or cap lining have a dual purpose: protecting the cap material from accidental ink spills by containing the ink into one place; and protecting the screw or rivet that secures the finial from chemical reaction with the ink in case of droplets of ink comes out of the nib. This would be a plus point for me, if they have done the intended purpose of the cap lining.
The finial is not noteworthy or interesting. The trims are a kind of metal and the white material is plastic with some excess plastic from the injection molding. The white opaque plastic is similar in design and form on the end of the barrel.
I tried to capture the unique feature of this pen using my camera phone. I have yet to obtain a macro lens for a DSLR or a macro attachment for my phone to have a clear nib photo.
This is what makes the pen have the ability to write 360 degrees. What Hero did was to make a conical nib, welded a tipping material on the end, and cut the nib creating four tines. At first glance, it may look like a roller ball or a ball point tip, but it is a fountain pen. I have yet to gather up the courage to have this pen fully disassembled and see how did Hero designed the nib and feed.
In drawing up plans for the disassembly of this pen, a possible strategy is to use the hood on both sides to grip the nib and pull it. The cut on the nib appears to be different. On the top side, where the hood is on the same plane with the flat side of the nib, the cut appears to be all the way to the base. On the sides of the nib, the cut appears to be shorter. The operation of this pen intrigues my mind.
As to the writing performance of the pen, it differs from the combination of the angle of writing and what sector of the pen interacts with the paper. With a minimal pressure, in a the 45-60 degree angle, and on both side of the long cuts of the nib, it was quite smooth; there were a few noticeable scratchiness. With the same two parameters but on the short cuts on the nib, it is scratchy; medium scratchiness but not to a point that it would tear fiber off the paper. Above the 60-90 degree angle position of the pen, it becomes a dangerous territory. It still writes, similar to a ball point pen but, it is scratchy and at some moments it skips.
Is this a pen that I would recommend? On a personal note, sure. Otherwise, maybe keep away.
On a novelty side, I would recommend it, if you are into the unique and peculiar fountain pens. This is definitely a unique pen with a unique nib. It is similar to the Parker 180, but that pen is hard to find and can be expensive. Looking into some photos of the Parker 180, it appears that its nib is only good for 180 degrees and can have two nib points. There is a possibility to replicate the same with the Hero 70, the nib modification would be a challenge but not impossible.
As an every day carry pen, I would recommend this pen as a low key fountain pen to fool people that you are using a roller ball or ball point. Fountain pen users are sometimes seen as snobs or arrogant rich individuals just because they are using a fountain pen for everyday use. There are times that I have to appear low key but I want a fountain pen with me, this is a good compromise.
On the other hand, if you are not into unique and peculiar fountain pens, and would not like to be bothered by issues concerning its use, I would advise that you do stay away from this pen. It will be a pen that you would regret buying. This pen will present issues along the way, and possibly it may not reach 3 months before it falls apart.