Experiment No. 108 is the second offering from Baron Fig in their quarterly Squire pen subscription series. Besides making for a confusing blog post title (see above), this ‘Experiment Squire’ is meant to conjure up images of a laboratory. It has a emerald-green barrel, reminiscent of Flubber, and the original Squire’s sword logo has been replaced with a bubbling, round-bottom flask.
The overall construction of this Squire hasn’t changed, but smaller, incremental changes are starting to pile up. Besides the body color and the logo (which first changed in the Alphabet Squire), Baron Fig decided to include green ink with this pen. It was an easy change to make, as Schmidt – their supplier – already creates a 0.6mm green refill, but it’s still a nice touch. And when I eventually get tired of the green ink, it wont be a big deal to swap it out.
Because the Experiment Squire isn’t significantly different from previous versions, there’s no big reason to throw your money at this pen. That is, of course, with the exception of the green barrel, which I love. And based on the fact that this pen is already listed as ‘sold out’ on the Baron Fig website, I’m probably not alone in this feeling.
Though this is only the second in the Squire subscription series, it seems to be going well so far. I remain excited to see what Baron Fig comes up with next, which probably says a lot. Although, I have to admit that I’m still hoping that the next version has some sort of clip.
As an instrument for writing, I wasn’t particularly fond of the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner’s barrel shape, a unique design that resembles a rounded-off triangle. But for drawing and coloring, this design seems to work pretty well. Almost like a grip, the flat edges allow for a little more control, whereas fully rounded and smooth barrels can sometimes slip in your hand.
This six-color set, is fairly standard in terms of color variation, so they could work well for utilitarian tasks like taking notes and editing papers. However, these pens are also very good at filling in areas and creating clean lines, so I’m inclined recommend them for more artistic purposes.
It’s also worth mentioning that Triplus Fineliners are “dry safe,” which means that you don’t have to worry too much about capping and uncapping these pens – they take days to dry out. So, if you’re working on something especially detailed, it will save you an extra step when going back and forth between colors.
But no matter what you might use them for, they are really a quality set of pens. In fact, I might have to look into adding a few more colors to my collection.
Note: that alien looks a lot more menacing than I intended.
The Pentel R.S.V.P. is a pen that’s ubiquitous to the school-supply isle. It’s nicer than the cheapo pens you’ll find in the typical office supply cabinet, but it’s inexpensive enough – and durable enough – that you could probably throw it into a kid’s backpack without much thought. This eight-color set of Pentel R.S.V.P. ballpoints follows along those same lines; they work, but there’s little that’s noteworthy.
The colors included here all feel fairly basic. The blue, red, purple, and green lend themselves best to utilitarian tasks like grading papers or taking notes. The orange, light blue, and pink are a bit brighter, but still might be best suited to highlight or mark passages in a book. Drawing, doodling, or coloring is best treated as an after-thought.
These R.S.V.P. colors don’t provide a particularly smooth or smear-free writing/drawing experience. Color with them too long and you’re bound to find ink blobs smeared across the side of your hand. And despite the soft grip section, hand-cramps are likely to occur after only a few minutes of continual use. Like most ballpoint pens, the ink works great for shading and darkening (depending on how hard you press down on the paper), but they don’t fill in areas particularly well either.
These pens are best put to work in a calendar, textbook, or notebook – anywhere drawing, doodling, or coloring will be secondary.
The Pilot B2P gel pen has been one of the more popular reviews on this blog, and that doesn’t come a surprise. The B2P is cleverly marketed as an eco-friendly pen, and it has a unique look that is supposed to resemble a plastic (and recycled) water bottle. It’s a pen which calls to you from the store shelf, begging you to try something that’s a little different (even though it uses the same ink as the most popular gel pen on the market, the Pilot G-2).
Even though the colors in this B2P set don’t really resemble water bottles, they still have a unique look to them.The barrels of the pink and light green pens, in particular, look almost luminescent when light passes through them.
As for the ink colors, I like the light green and the blue (which is also a lighter shade), and the pink has a nice brightness to it. Overall, however, these colors come across as somewhat generic. It would have been neat to see a theme for the B2P colors, similar to what Pilot did with the G-2 Mosaic Collection. They could have done five colors of the ocean, perhaps.
Consider purchasing this pen set only if you like the look of the colorful barrels. They are surprisingly comfortable to hold, despite not having a grip, and they feel fairly sturdy for pens entirely composed of plastic. And luckily, the cartridges are easy to swap out. In fact, I might end up just throwing some standard black ink inside these pens.
When I reviewed the standard black Zebra Sarasa, I called it a pen that failed to stand out alongside a sea of similar options, and I felt very similar when I cracked open this 10-pack of Sarasa colors. Included in the pack is a black pen plus three shades of blue, two shades of green, a red, a pink, a violet, and a brown. Oddly, orange and yellow – standard colors in larger sets – are absent.
I quite like the aquatic hue of the light blue and the reddish tinge of the brown, but none of the other colors stand out as anything special. The pens are relatively comfortable to hold, and the ink is relatively smooth. The Zebra website also touts its “rapid dry ink technology,” though the pens still manage to smear somewhat.
If you already have a stash of colored gel-ink pens, you aren’t likely to find much new here. However, these will do fine as a standard set of color pens. At the very least, that brown ink will look good in my notebooks.