In many countries back to school offers have arrived in the shops. Why not do back to school in style: Sci-Fi style – with The Wandering Earth-themed stationery.
The Wandering Earth is a novella from Liu Cixin and also a Sci-Fi movie based on the novella. As far as I know the movie can be watched on Netflix in many countries.
I first came across Liu Cixin though his Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy – when the first book The Three-Body Problem was dramatised for a German radio station. A year later the dramatisation of the trilogy’s next book The Dark Forest was broadcast on the same radio station. By that time I was so hooked that I didn’t want to wait another year so I read the English version of the final book of the trilogy (or rather I let my phone read me the ebook on my work to and from work).
M&G, a Shanghainese stationery manufacturer that made several previous appearances on bleistift.blog, approached Frant Gwo, the director of The Wandering Earth movie for this cooperation.
Yet another blog post related to my recent visit to Shanghai.
You might remember the Chung Hwa Drawing Pencil 101, together with the Chung Hwa 6151 it forms the pencil backbone of Shanghai. Whenever you see a pencil in Shanghai it usually is one of these two – and they are made in Shanghai, too.
…but what happened? Deli dared to enter Chung Hwa’s home turf – disturbing the natural order of things.
…and what a pencil they sent to threaten Chung Hwa’s hold on its home territory: it’s the Deli No.7083I assume the product number is derived from the last digits of the bar code before the heck digit …or maybe it’s the other way round..
I bought the 7083 in the Carrefour in Shanghai’s Hongkou Dragon Dream Shopping Centre and paid 11.80 元 (~$1.80; £1.25; €1.65) for a dozen HB pencils. They were also available in 2B and 2H.
Let’s look at the appearance first. The 7083 looks like a pencil with a very thick layer of paint. The paint seems to be applied very well, except near the end of the pencil, which seems to have been dipped in just a bit too much paint. The 7083 has an unusually large diameter for a modern pencil. The paint job and the large diameter make it feel like a much better pencil than what you’d expect from a pencil with this price tag.
It is dark green like the Chung Hwa 101, but there’s also a similarity with another pencil. The shade of green used is virtually identical to the one used for the Castell 9000.
The 7083 lays down a very dark line and feels very smooth, even creamy when writing – but just to put this into context, we are talking about a very cheap pencil. The 7083 is not as good as the big boys, like the Mars Lumograph. Nevertheless it is very good and probably the best pencil I have tried in this price range.
If I had to compare to a pencil that is well known I would compare it to Staedtler’s Mars Lumograph in B. Point retention is very similar, but in direct comparison it is ever so slightly lighter than the Lumograph in B and slightly less smooth and erases slightly worse than the Lumograph in B In case you wonder why, based in these statements, I don’t compare it to the Lumograph in HB: It is still much closer to the Lumograph in B, which shows you how minute these differences are. .
It writes well even on paper that is not good for non-soft pencils, like the original (‘Kraft’?) Field Notes.
The wood is slightly red, similar to the one used for the Chung Hwa 101 and when you knife sharpen the 7083 you notice that the wood is harder than cedar wood.
A great pencil that is nearly as good as much more expensive pencils. It has a strong paint smell, similar to other Chinese pencils, but for this price you probably won’t be able to find a much better pencil.
Price: December 2015
Exchange rates: January 2016
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One of the pencils I bought in Shanghai this Winter is the M&G m9, also known as the AMP85405.
Price and properties
When I saw it in a stationery store I think it was 立信帐册, house number 618, even though according to Google it is somewhere else. on FuZhou Road, the book and stationery road I mentioned many times before, I just couldn’t resist. Only 15元 (~$2.30; $1.60; €2.10) for this quite handsome mechanical pencil. It is available in white, grey, red and black. It feels very well made, from some kind off metal, and with 12 g it is quite heavy for it’s size. The pen’s centre of gravity is in the middle.
It does feature a sliding sleeve, but the ‘sleeve’ is shaped more like a cone than like a pipe. This means that it is not good at what I like sliding sleeves for, i.e. sliding back while you write so that you don’t have to keep advancing the lead manually, despite only needing 4 dN – 6 dN to slide the sleeve.
Great value for money, despite the sliding sleeve not doing its job properly. I think the m9 might benefit from its centre of gravity a bit closer to the front …and maybe from having a slightly larger diameter.
Today: black pencils from China. Black because of the paint, not because of the lead or the wood. I bought these pencils in December in Keyroad, a shop I have mentioned several times so far.
OK, we’ve got the black version of the Chung Hwa 6903 and the M&G AWP34601. Chung Hwa and M&G are both from Shanghai. Just South of Shanghai is Zhejiang province, represented by the Zibom P-6000 pencil.
Chung Hwa 6903
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the, in my opinion, better looking brown version of the Chung Hwa 6903. The black version is very similar. The pencil is still round, but painted black and the cap at the end is black, too, not white. I paid ¥9.9 (~ £1; $1.55; €1.20) for a dozen.
Then we’ve got the hexagonal Zibom P-6000. It comes with an eraser and has the packaging I like most of these three pencils. It also comes with a sharpener, but the pencils have an unfinished end. I paid ¥7.5 (~ 75p; $1.20; 90c) for a dozen.
The last pencil in this blog post is the hexagonal M&G AWP34601. This pencil is certainly the winner is this group when it comes to the coolest model number. I paid ¥9.9 (~ £1; $1.55; €1.20) for a dozen.
…and the winner is:
My personal favourite is the M&G AWP34601, the only 2B pencil in this comparison The other two pencils are HB.. It’s the winner …not because of the cool model number, which sounds like a model number for some sort of high tech robot, but because the wood is not red. If anything, the AWP34601’s wood is too yellow, but I still prefer that to red wood. The runner up is the Zibom P-6000, the packaging is great, it is the cheapest in this comparison and comes with a free sharpener. The worst pencil is the Chung Hwa 6903. Yes, I know, this must be difficult to believe, as my blog post about the brown version was quite positive – but unlike the brown version this black version is just not so nice. Plus, I prefer hexagonal pencils. Lead-wise the AWP34601 is smoothest, it is a 2B after all. The P-6000 seems scratchier than the 6903. Wood-wise the 6903 has the hardest wood, so hard in fact that the auto-stop mechanism of some desktop sharpeners will not engage.