Today marks the release of Baron Fig's second limited edition pencil- the Prismatic Archer Pencil. A play on the prism, this pencil brings all three of the primacy colors to the original archer. After a few differences between the original Archer and the first limited edition, I was anxious to test the second edition. Spoiler alert: I wasn't disappointed.
The packaging is the same minimal pencil tube as the other editions, this time in deep purple and decorated with a variety of colorful 3D cylinders, cubes, and rectangles. It's a nostalgic-grade-school-science-class-vibe, and I definitely dig it. My only small gripe with the packaging is that with the pencils in the tube, it doesn't seem to want to close all the way. In the picture above, the tube is empty- but if pencils were added there would be a small gap between the bottom and top halves of the tube. Definitely not a big deal, but something that I noticed compared to the previous packaging. This is still the pencil packaging I would be most likely to display on my desk or in my office.
The dozen pencils are split over three colors and each of the pencils has a gorgeous deep purple end dip. The end dip may very well be my favorite aesthetic detail of the pencil.
Instead of one small simple logo on each pencil as we have seen with the other editions, these pencils have their respective logos all the way down one side of the hexagonal barrel. It still maintains the minimalistic Baron Fig look, but I appreciate the extra details and extra colors of this edition.
I could tell by simply looking at the pencils that the quality control was back up to the Baron Fig standard that I have come to expect- the cores were centered, the cedar was fragrant, and the finishes looked great. Still, the real moment of truth was sharpening these up in my Classroom Friendly sharpener. I sharpened one of each color, and as I did- I couldn't help but smile. None of the issues I saw with my Snakes and Archers remained- they each sharpened to a long point beautifully.
The writing experience is a replication of exactly what I love about the original Archer pencil. The combination of the light weight barrel, matte finish, and a bit of good "scratchy" feedback on the page make the Archer the perfect long-form writing pencil for me. The point retention is excellent, and the pencil is truly the perfect match for Baron Fig paper. There are other pencils that I have come to love for different reasons- smooth, rich, dark, buttery cores that are both fun to write with and perfect for drawing, sketching, and shading. But for writing- I still prefer a firmer core and better point retention. Because my first love will always be micro gel pens, I'm naturally drawn to the crisp lines this type of pencil can produce.
I put the original Archer side-by-side with the first and second limited editions. Even visually (see below), it is clear how much closer this edition is to the original. Partnering with an oversees manufacturer has it's challenges, especially on a short time frame, and I think we saw some of those difficulties play out in the previous edition. But as we have seen recently with other companies, partnering with US manufacturers for pencils has it's own set of challenges. Overall, I think this is a case where we will see better quality pencils in the long run with an overseas manufacturer. It's great to see this edition get right back on track with quality and maintain the trend of good-looking aesthetics and great packaging.
After the first two editions, I can definitely say that I look forward to seeing what Baron Fig comes up with for the Archer in the future. The pictures below speak for themselves. And finally, a chance to win your own pack of Prismatics! Baron Fig provided me with a dozen of these pencils for review, and because I already subscribe to the Archer- I am passing along to the love to you. To enter, just leave a comment below. Unfortunately, this giveaway will have to be limited to the CONUS. Check back next Tuesday, July 4th when the winner will be announced here on the blog.