Banditapple 3G


La La Land Popcult pencils 6

La La Land envelopeToday: TV series and pop culture themed pencils. You might have previously seen them at BoingBoing.

lala-pencils

 

Scotland and England

These are actually Chambers pencils that are hand stamped in Glasgow using hot foil stamping. The pencils I have received had the quotes written in gold coloured, upper case characters. I assume all Popcult pencils are like that, with the colour of the body and the quote itself being the main difference between different sets.

Chambers is an English company that started in 1913 and then, 99 years ago, became F.Chambers & Co Ltd. As far as I know they now belong to Italy’s Fila and have stopped producing pencils in the UK. The Chambers pencils used by La La Land, the people behind the Popcult pencils, are made in Thailand.

lala-end

Pop culture

Many of the eraser tipped pencils have themes from TV series or movies. The level of accuracy varies. While Star Wars gets proper quotes, including “No, I am your father” instead of “Luke, I am your father”, Star Trek has to suffer the ‘fake’ quote “Beam me up Scotty” – but that doesn’t really matter, I guess.

lala-point

Price and colours

In March I bought the “Star Trek pack of 3 blue stamped pencils” and the “Breaking Bad pack of 3 green stamped pencils” for £3.50 each plus £2 shipping, so £9 (~$15.20; €11) in total for six pencils. Unfortunately I didn’t realise that the colour in the article description is not linked to the colour of the actual product. I ended up getting the same colour for both, Breaking Bad and Star Trek pencils (meth blue / TOS Science blue), instead of the expected colours as seen on their web site. I was told that  there is a disclaimer on the etsy shop page that states that colour may vary as they sometimes run out of certain colours, but I didn’t notice the disclaimer when ordering and my personal opinion is that it might be better to remove the colour from the product description and to make the disclaimer more obvious.

jlewis-realmongol

 Performance

The pencils do perform surprisingly well. For my taste point retention could be better, but reading other blogs I get the impression that generally point retention is not a big issue for most pencil users. If you are happy to use a B or even a 2B pencil you certainly shouldn’t have any issues with these pencils’ point retention.

jlewis-thai

As stated earlier, the pencils are made in Thailand, so I thought I compare them to some other Thai pencils. By coincidence the Thai pencils I want to compare them to also have a Scottish link: they’re from John Lewis. I would describe them as Mongol copies or Mongol type pencils, but as you can see,  in comparison with a real Mongol they exhibit a more aggressive shade of yellow. A dozen of these Mongol type pencils used to cost £1.50. I’m not sure whether the price has changed since I bought these, I should check next time I go to a John Lewis store.

Please click on image to better see the differences. Paper: Banditapple 3G.

Please click on image to better see the differences. Paper: Banditapple 3G.

Paper: Banditapple 3G

Paper: Banditapple 3G

Except point retention, mentioned earlier, these pencils are surprisingly good. The John Lewis pencil feels a bit smoother though, and slightly darker, with slightly worse point retention. The John Lewis eraser is also smoother and cleaner, but I guess that doesn’t really matter. People buy the Popcult pencils because of the quotes, not because of superior performance – and for novelty  pencils they are really good!

 

UPDATE:

Sarah from La La Land let me know that they have updated the shop with new photos showing the exact colour the buyer will receive. I think she might also get a new quote for the Star Trek set1.

___________

 

Price (except John Lewis pencils) and exchange rates: May 2014.

I’d like to thank Sarah from La La Land for the additional information she has provided regarding the Popcult pencils.

You can find more information about Chambers at Palimpsest.

  1. I don’t think any Star Trek fan dislikes “Beam me up Scotty”, it just hasn’t been said in the TV series. []

Pentel Ain Clic 7

After seeing my link on facebook about the effects of erasers on paper1 you must have guessed that the next post is about erasers, so today: a belated blog post about the Pental Ain Clic, an eraser in a pen shaped holder2. There are strong links to the recent Temagraph blog post: More or less the same eraser is also available under the Temagraph brand.

Temagraph eraser (Image © Fila)

Temagraph eraser (Image © Fila)

I don’t own the Temagraph version though, so my blog post is based on the Pentel Ain Clic version, which was sent to me by Fudepens.com, where it currently retails for €4 (~$5.50; £3.30). If you like their products: they do ship internationally and orders over €30 get free international shipping.

Pen Erasers Overview

Different erasers in pen shaped holders.

Shape

The main difference, compared to other erases that come in pen shaped holders, is that the eraser core is triangular. This means that you usually end up having a ‘corner’ of the eraser left when you need to erase small, tricky traces of graphite – a bit like Kokuyo erasers, just not that extreme. The problem with the round eraser sticks is not so much that the area you end up erasing is too big (the end of the stick ends up, more or less, in the shape of a half sphere. If you think of a ball lying on the ground, the contact area with the ground is very small), the problem is more that the point where you erase is difficult to control, because it is difficult to see where the eraser will make contact with the paper. This is where the triangular shape comes in handy, but the pointy corners you see in the picture will of course round off, too.

Pentel Ain Clic

New and unused, let’s try it out next….

Materials

The body of the Ain Clic eraser is made in Mexico, while the eraser itself is produced in Japan and is composed of PVC and DINP. Just a warning, the P in DINP stands for phthalate, which you might have come across in the news. In the EU DINP is banned in toys and childcare articles that children can put into their mouths (see European Directive 2005/84/EC3 ). This eraser doesn’t seem to be marketed at children, but I would keep in mind that it contains phthalates and would keep it away from children (or adults tempted to put it in their mouth). It might also be advisable to put the eraser crumbs in the waste bin ,instead of just blowing them off the paper, so they don’t end up on the desk or floor.

The Staedtler Mars plastic eraser stick 528 50, used in the comparison, did contain phthalates in the past (as shown in the paper about the effects of erasers on paper), but the current product specification sheet shows that the Mars plastic, which is also PVC based, is now phthalate free. I hope Pentel will change the Ain Clic in the future and will switch to a more ‘human friendly’ plasticiser.

Pentel Ain Clic

Performance

The Ain Clic doesn’t only look good, performance-wise it’s also very good.

When just erasing with a single stroke (maybe more suitable for artists) performance is not too good, but when repeatedly moving the eraser across the graphite to be erased (which, I would think, is the standard way of doing it) performance is great. With repeated movement graphite doesn’t stick to much too the eraser and the eraser dust will roll up into strands – I like erasers where the dust rolls up like that.

Comparison

Comparison on Banditapple 3G paper. The shaded areas were erased using eight strokes (Mars left, Pentel right)

Conclusion

Overall a great and good looking eraser, but the use of DINP is a black mark against it and the eraser shouldn’t be given to children.

I use pencils and erasers for writing, where I don’t need to eraser very fine details, but I can imagine this being an eraser very suitable for artists.


I would like to thank Fudepens.com for the Pentel Ain Clic, which I got sent for free. I don’t think the fact that I didn’t pay for the eraser influenced my opinion of this eraser in any way.

 

I would like to thank Pentel USA and Staedtler for the additional information they have provided about their erasers.

 

The photo of the Temagraph eraser is © Fila. I believe that the use of the photo shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

 

I bought the Staedtler Mars plastic eraser stick at Granthams, a local art supply shop. I paid between £1 and £2 for it, but I can’t remember how much exactly.

 

Price (for the Pentel) and exchange rates: April 2014.

  1. Sorry, I didn’t find an English, only  a Dutch and a German version of the paper. []
  2. Previously reviewed at East…West…Everywhere. []
  3. http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/phthalates-school-supplies/glossary/def/dinp-di-isononyl-phthalate.htm []