Einszweidrei! im Sauseschritt
Läuft die Zeit, wir laufen mit. (from Julchen by Wilhelm Busch, 1877)
It’s incredible how fast time is flying by. This blog started last November with a blog post about the Kuru Toga and now it is already more than a year old. In the first year there were altogether 65 blog posts. Now for some statistics: during the first year most visitor came from the USA, followed by the UK, then Germany, then Canada. In terms of numbers the visitors from these four countries, where more than 65% of all visitors came from, were followed by visitors from 106 other countries.
…but enough about statistics. Let’s talk about pencils!
Today I want to write about a pack of “graphic pencils” from Taiwan’s Lion Pencil Co., Ltd., better known as Simbalion. I bought this pack of pencils in December 2009 at Keyroad a shop on Shanghai’s FuZhou Road. If the name rings a bell, I mentioned it in my previous blog post about the Deli sharpener 0635. I never saw this brand in the West before. Have you seen Simbalion pencils in your country?
The pack contains twelve pencils with the grades 4H-H, F, HB, B-6B. My pencil came in an “easy to use easel box”, but this box has since been replaced and these pencil are now available in a new polypropylene case.
The Lion Pencil Company was established in 1956 and is one of Taiwan’s oldest stationery manufacturers. The Lion Pencil Company is proud of having invented the “art set”, but I am sure some other companies will lay claim to having invented the art set in the stationery context, too. Their Taiwanese factory is in Taipei county, but they also have a factory in Kunshan (Jiangsu province), very close to Shanghai and just next to Taicang, where Eisen has a factory.
In Taiwan the normal price for the new set of these pencils in a PP case is 120 NT$ ($ 3.95, £ 2.50, € 2.95). I paid much more for my old “easel box”, maybe because these pencils were imported into the Chinese mainland or maybe, this is only speculation and probably not the case, because the new set is from the factory in Kunshan. According to the labels and stamps on my pack it was produced in the factory in Taipei county on 7th May 2009 – nice to get so much information 🙂
The pencils are nice, certainly not scratchy, but I do wonder about Simbalion’s grading. The H pencil from this pack is certainly the softest H pencil I have ever used and does feel softer than the HB pencil from the same pack. The print on the pencils is uneven in places and the end of the pencil has too much paint that is not evenly distributed.
Altogether a nice set of pencils for this price. The pencils are not scratchy or bad in any other way. My main criticism would be the unpredictable hardness or softness of the lead that does not seem to be consistent with the printing on the pencil.
Nothing too fancy, nothing too bad – you get what you paid for as long as you pay not more than the official price.
Price and exchange rates: November 2010
I would like to thank Kevin Davis from O’Bon for the sugarcane paper used in these photos.
3 thoughts on “Simbalion Graphic Pencils”
I generally ignore Simbalion and Liberty, as neither produces a really excellent pencil. Liberty does not do terribly with their almost comically blatant ripoff of the Mitsubishi 9800, and my company seems to always have a box of Liberty 90s around. The latter has green veining a little bit like the Berol Venus pencils, and my particular 2 samples are really soft and brittle for “No.2” pencils, even compared to my Japanese pencils. I also sort of like their natural-finish triangular pencils with encouraging phrases in Chinese, but I rarely use them.
For their flagship models, these brands use decent graphite, but their consistency with the clay mix is iffy at best, as you pointed out in your post.
In Taiwan, generally the better group of pencils that bigger stores carry include the Mitsubishi 9800, Ohto 9000, and Staedtler Mars Lumograph and Ergosoft. Faber-Castell Grip 2001s are pretty common too, and sometimes you’ll stumble across a Castell 9000.
If these pencils are inconsistent then they are not worth trying.
Robert and Eric, thank you for your comments.
Robert, thanks for this information. I don’t think I have used a Liberty pencil before. If I have it wasn’t branded or I didn’t realise.
Eric, you are right, but since I use pencils for writing and not for drawing I don’t mind too much. Nevertheless, it is of course always nicer to use a high quality pencil.