Review of the Hero 86 Fountain Pen and some Vulture Sketches

Iroshizuku Yama-Guri ink in a Hero 86 "Fude" nib fountain pen

I'd been hearing about these "fude nib" fountain pens for quite some time. The nib is bent upward so that by writing with it at different angles, you can vary the width of the line. I tried to get photos, but my camera just isn't good enough to capture the details on the nib. In searching online for a link so that you could see some images, I came across this review of the same pen, which has excellent photos to accompany it, so you can check it out there.

A friend tipped me off to a seller who had them on Ebay for $5, so I figured for that price I couldn't go wrong. (That seller is now sold out, but they are available through .) I did my usual soapy water -- clean water flush and dry, and inked it up the next evening with Iroshizuku Yama-Guri ink, which is a nicely-flowing ink in the brown family. Using the end of the nib, I was able to get an extremely fine, yet still wet line. It was a great pen/ink combination for quick, thin-lined wirey gesture sketches of this vulture. I did them from photos I'd taken that day at the Bronx Zoo, since I didn't have enough time to sketch them on location. In addition to that wonderful fast, juicy, thin line, I was able to then lay the broader area of the tip down to get in my dark shaded areas and accents. In fact, I loved the pen so much that I buzzed through five pages of sketches and then went right to my computer to order the only three that the Ebay seller had left.

The pen is rather heavy, and you may or may not like that "rocket ship" look! It does come with a converter, so it's very easy to fill. I've also been told that the nib for this pen will fit on a standard Noodler's Flex Pen or a TWSBI! Although I do have both of those, I haven't yet tried it. So if you don't like the pen body, there are other options, and it might be worth it for the nib.

If you like to sketch with fountain pens, this is definitely one that you'll want to check out. Sailor also makes these types of fude nib fountain pens at reasonable prices. I've been playing with a couple of the Sailors over the past day or so too. I'm certainly becoming a fan of this type of nib.


  1. It's always fun to get a new pen. Getting it for $5 and having it work well has got to be something special :-)

    Just thought I'd let you know that you can get that nib attached to different Hero pen bodies. Search eBay for Hero calligraphy pen and you'll see them.

  2. Jamie, these are some of my favorite of your zoo sketches. great work!

  3. Larry and E. Tage, thank you very much! I went back to the zoo today.... Will try to get those posted tomorrow.