Hero 9296 Fountain Pen: A Review

A couple days ago I promised a review of the Hero 9296, a fountain pen I’ve purchased recently.  I bought it for two reasons.  First, my buddy Yvan started using one to do his quick sketches and while Yvan’s favorite pen is always the one he just acquired, he’s stuck with this one for a while.  The second reason is more important for anyone reading this – it’s CHEAP!   I bought it via eBay for $7.00, including the shipping.

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Hero 9296 next to the ubiquitous Lamy Safari

I’d like to say that this pen has bumped my Pilot Preras and TWSBI Minis into the closet but that’s not the case.  I present it here for two reasons.  Did I mention that it’s CHEAP?  For the price of a couple lattes you can have a fine-writing (pun-intended) fountain pen.  The second reason is that this pen is a very thin, but normal length fountain pen, favored by those with smaller hands.  It has a metal body and silver trim.  If you like thin pens, this one is worth a look.

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Hero 9296 compared to Micron 03 and Sharpie Fine Pen

I bought what Hero calls an “extra-fine” nib and I was surprised to find that though it’s an Asian company, the nib is more like a typical Asian “fine” nib.  This is not a knock against it, but the Pilot Penmanship XF produces a finer line.  This pen, at least with Noodler’s Lexington Gray is very similar to a Micron 03 in line width.  It writes wetter than my Pilot Preras and so Lex Gray looks darker from this pen than from my Preras.  I think most would find it quite respectable and usable for most sketching.  My Pilot Preras produce a bit finer line than this pen but I think most of that is due to the wetter line from the the Hero 9296.

Hero9296_2There are a couple things I don’t like about this pen but they may not bother others.  First is the nib/grip.  It is very shiny and, if you’re an outside sketcher like I am, this can be a problem on a sunny day.  The fact that the pen is hooded combines with the shine to create a pen where it’s hard to tell if/when the nib is oriented properly.  Anyone who has used a fountain pen knows that rotating the nib of the pen can greatly affect how or even if it will write.  Maybe you get used to it.

Hero9296_3The pen comes with a converter, which is normally a plus.  In this case the converter is different from more typical Hero converters in that it is 1) thinner, providing less capacity and 2) rather than a threaded plunger, it has a slide plunger that I find clumsy to operate.  I’m not sure why but the result is that you can’t get the converter more than 1/2 – 3/4 full, further reducing how much ink the pen holds.

These drawbacks aside, this is a good pen for not much money.  I’m going to fill mine with a washable ink (my pens are typically filled with waterproof inks) to give me another tool in the arsenal.

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4 Responses to “Hero 9296 Fountain Pen: A Review”

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  1. It’s too bad about the converter issue that you described. I stopped using my Noodler’s flex nib pen because I was always refilling it and couldn’t take it out sketching for fear it would run out of ink.

    • Yes, the converter is certainly a weak point, though not a deadly one. It’s likely that the problem you’ve had with your Noodler’s pen isn’t due to capacity but rather due to evaporation, which is downright extraordinary with Noodler’s pens. I live in a humid part of the world where evaporation isn’t as bad as other parts and yet I could fill a Noodler’s pen, leave it on my desk and it would empty itself over a period of just a few days. I no longer waste my time with them either.

      That said, now that the Pilot Metropolitan can be purchased with a fine nib, I see little reason to buy the Hero 9296. It’s cheaper, yes, but Jet Pens sells the Metropolitan for $15 and even if you add a converter (CON-50) you end up with a first-class pen that writes as fine (finer than a Lamy XF) as the Hero for $20.

      Cheers — Larry

  2. Tina says:

    Thanks for the interesting review. I’ve read a lot about these super-inexpensive Heroes, but I’ve hesitated to try them because, well, often you get what you pay for. I like wet-flowing fountain pens though, and I’m amazed to hear your assessment that the Hero is wetter than your Prera, because I find my Prera to be pretty darn wet. Hmmm. . . interesting.

    • Tina, I think I must have more than half a dozen Hero pens. Their low prices are deceiving as their quality is very high. This is the first one where I’ve been displeased by the converter and its problems are the result of trying to fit a converter into such a thin pen body.

      I’ll be honest, I’m guessing when I say the Hero writes wetter than my Preras. This is the only explanation I have for the Lex Gray to look darker from the Hero than from a Prera. I didn’t measure dry times but I haven’t noticed any differences.

      Cheers — Larry