"The pens arrived today. I grabbed the pink Hero Calligraphy for me... Until today, my favorite was the Ivory Kurve that came from xfountainpens.com [a gift from a friend] Now, I am in love with this new Hero. With the fine nib, it writes perfectly. I like the plunger assembly, with the slide filler rather than the screw. Seems like it gives a better fill."
H. C., Westmoreland, TN
Hero Metallic Violet Calligraphy
Hero Metallic Baby Blue Calligraphy
These new sets from Hero are a terrific introduction for those that would like to experience the joys of writing with a 'specialty nib', or for use with more formal calligraphy.
As intimated by the comment above, let me start by mentioning what I think are some limitations to this pen. Hero apparently decided that they wanted to provide an inexpensive kit, delivering three quite nice nibs in one package. They seem less concerned with the pen itself. Of the several kits that I've opened, it's apparent that posting of the cap is a real 'hit or miss' affair. The clutch of the inner cap doesn't really engage that well with the recessed metal ring near the barrel end. For me, that's not an issue, as personally I rarely post caps -- unless the pen is exceedingly short. That's not a problem with this pen, as it has a comfortable length for writing un-posted.
The other 'cost-saving' decision that Hero made is actually quite amusing to me. There's only one metal spacing ring -- separating the section from the barrel -- to the set (see the metal ring between the black sections and the barrels in the photo to the right). Although all three nib/sections screw into the barrel perfectly, you need to move the spacing ring from one nib/section to another when you change them. In other words, they've not glued spacing rings to the black sections of each nib/section unit, but rather count on you to move it back-and-forth as needed. Not a big deal (as you can only use one nib at a time!), but I wanted you to be aware of it, as in addition to serving as 'trim', it also provides for a secure grip for the cap.
Now that we have that out of the way ...on to the reason for these kits -- the nibs!
Most writing kits with interchangeable nibs that bill themselves as for 'calligraphy', provide you with italic nibs. That's great if you're practicing 'beautiful writing' (the meaning of 'calligraphy'), but the edges of those nibs tend to be quite sharp. This limits their usability for regular writing for some people, as unless real attention is paid, there's a good chance that one of these edges will snag the paper as you write at normal speed.
In this kit however, Hero has provided nibs with rounded edges -- what we would commonly call a stub nib. Like the italic nib, the stub is cut so that it's wide but thin (in contrast to the round tip of a conventional nib), so that vertical strokes leave a wider line of ink, and horizontal strokes a thinner one. This provides for 'shading' and a bit of character to one's 'hand' when writing...and with a stub nib, you can write at full speed without snagging the paper.
The kit comes with three widths of steel nib: 1.1 mm, 1.5 mm and 1.9 mm.
Personally, I find that 1.1 mm is a perfect width for my handwriting. 1.5 mm is usable with my regular handwriting, if I take a bit of care to make my letters a little larger so that the wider downstrokes aren't too dominant. I find the 1.9 mm nib to be too wide for my regular handwriting, and only use it for a signature or to practice calligraphy. Your experience may be different however, depending upon the typical size of your letters and the characteristics of your own 'hand'.
The following 'chart' (I use the term loosely!) -- which you may want to click on to enlarge -- is just a rough guide to give you an idea of the differences in the nib sizes. Unlike a uniform mass-produced ballpoint, a fountain pen nib (even if also mass-produced) can be a very individualistic creature. Two seemingly identical nibs from the same company can vary when laying down a line of ink, side-by-side. There can be a number of reasons for that, but a common one is that there's a slight discrepancy in the width of the nib slit -- or tine separation -- from one nib to the next. Different inks will also make a difference in line width, but we'll leave that for another discussion.
The first three lines show the use of the Hero 1.1 mm, 1.5 mm and 1.9 mm nibs on the same pen, after exchanging the nib/section. The fourth line is again the 1.1 mm Hero, so that it can be more easily compared to the Pilot 78G with the 'B' nib (a bit sharper than many stubs, but not quite an italic); the fifth line, the Monteverde 1.1 mm stub; the sixth line the Conklin 1.1 mm stub; and the seventh line the Monteverde 'M' -- which is a conventional round nib -- to show that there's no difference in line width vertically or horizontally.
The fountain pens come with a slide converter for bottled ink, which has a spring agitator to help prevent ink adhering to the converter walls and impeding flow to the nib...but as with all new pens, I recommend to run a dilute solution of dishwashing soap (two or three drops to a small bowl of water) through a new converter a few times, followed by water only. Step one is effective at removing manufacturing oils that can tend to make the ink less than enthusiastic in heading from the converter to the nib, and step two removes the traces of the detergent you've used...which tends to have the opposite, diuretic effect. Should you prefer a piston converter, such as we offer here, that will fit fine -- but the slide converter works very well and the spring agitator is a nice feature. The pen will also take International-style cartridges, such as those from Private Reserve.
All-in-all, a terrific way to inexpensively experience a stub nib -- three in fact!
IMPORTANT SERVICE NOTE: Every nib that ships from His Nibs is closely examined under high magnification and tuned or adjusted if needed. About 85% of modern nibs need some adjustment out-of-the-box from the manufacturer for an optimal writing experience. Most commonly, the tines of the nib are misaligned -- which would cause scratchiness at the minimum; the slit between the tines is partially or fully closed -- which would starve the nib of ink and at best cause skipping; or the slit between the tines is too wide -- which will either again cause skipping, or conversely, flooding. There are other factors -- such as separation of the nib from the feed -- that are inspected and repaired before any pen leaves the Palace.
The only 100% guarantee of course comes when the pen is actually filled with ink and written with for the first time, but our pre-shipping inspections and tunings have eliminated 99.99999 (my finger is getting tired) of the frustrations that a customer experiences when first using a new fountain pen. Although this can be time-consuming on occasion, it affords our customers a much more pleasant experience when receiving a fountain pen from His Nibs -- and saves us the frustration of dealing with returns!
Ordering Procedures & Returns
International customers, please note, we will not falsify shipping documents
Please send your order and shipping address (along with any questions) to:
We will email you back with your order total (PA residents please add 6% sales tax)
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If you would like us process your credit card directly instead, then please email us:
1. Card # (dividing this number in two, between two emails, will
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ship via insured Priority Mail
Warranties and returns
If an item proves to be defective, in most cases the manufacturer's warranty will apply. However, please email us first so that we can determine the easiest way to resolve the problem to your satisfaction. In the case of fountain pens -- which are a bit more individualistic than other writing instruments -- what may at first appear to be a defect (hard starting or poor flow for example), can in almost all cases be resolved with a few simple 'tweaks' to the nib, which we'll be happy to guide you through or perhaps suggest returning to us for adjustment.
Should you wish to return a non-defective item within 3 days of receipt because it doesn't suit you for some reason, again please email us and we'll arrange an exchange, credit or refund (minus any shipping/insurance charges), if the item is returned in an 'as new' condition. If you've dipped a fountain pen to try its writing characteristics, kindly clean off any ink residue prior to shipping -- to save us both a nasty surprise .
We want you to be happy with your purchase from HisNibs.com and hope to have you join the ranks of our many long-term, repeat customers!
Revised: September 15th, 2014