Although I have a few vintage pens, I'm content with what I have, and haven't considered getting a genuine 51 so far. This is mostly because of the going rate for these very popular vintage pens, but also because of cosmetic factors - the caps on most eBay examples seem to have taken a real battering compared to other pens of similar age.
Also, part of my fascination for old fountain pens lies in fixing up their archaic, thoughtfully engineered insides. 51's have a reputation for either just working (the indefatigable, but less than quixotic aeromatic bladder filler) or requiring prohibitively expensive specialist tools to restore (the ingenious "seen the diagrams, still not sure why that works" vacumatic).
So why buy a 616? By many measures - the robust cap design, the way they write, the neatly integrated ink level window, the sleek look - they're excellent value for money. I've had this 3-pack (just £8.33 shipped) of 616 Jumbos for about 4 months now.
As they cost so little, quality control can be a little lax. A few tweaks here and there can make these pens work as well as they were meant to. A few more tweaks, even better than they were meant to! For the next few posts, I'll be focussing on the Hero 616:
- Showing how to make problem caps clip onto their clutch rings properly (already on FPN, & included here for completeness)
- Converting the oft criticised standard press bar filler to a blind cap button filler
- Something else I haven't decided on, but writing this might commit me to thinking it up. Maybe a cartridge filler, or 61-style capillary filler? [EDIT: I have now thought it up.]