Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Uni Kuru Toga mechanical pencil

I have been looking for this mechanical pencil for some time. I recently found it in a local shop and bought it for the equivalent of 2.21 € or 2.41 $.
The Uni Kuru Toga, by Mitsubishi Pencil Co, is a mechanical pencil with an engine inside, according to Mitsubishi. The Kuru Toga has a mechanism inside that rotates the lead when you write. This creates an even line without the need of spinning the pencil while you write for longer periods of time. You could say it is a pencil for lazy people. I would say it's an interesting innovation in the field of mechanical pencils.
Unfortunately, the shop only had 0.5 and 0.7 mm in this dark blue color (similar in color with the uni jetstream ballpoint), with a transparent grip and a dark gray "engine". I would have liked something more contrasting and more joyful.
The packaging was not something to brag about. Actually is putting the pen in a bad light. For the price of 2.21 €, the pencil came with a pack of 12 leads and another 6 inside the barrel. This is actually the starter pack in a not so nice way of presenting it.

kuru toga mechanical pencil

The reality was different. The mechanical pencil came with a case of HB leads, that was strapped to the pencil with tape. The package did not contain extra erasers. I guess this is the doing of the shop.

Anyway moving on..
kuru toga tip

The look of the pencil is interesting in my opinion. When I look at the tip and the transparent grip my mind makes me think of a Rotring roller. This is a good thing as I really like Rotring design. The barrel looks like the Uni Jetstream ballpoint. On the grip is written "kuru toga engine"
The clip is made of plastic and is kind of flimsy and it will probably snap really easy and really soon. On it, is written uni Kuru Toga 0.7
On the barrel, there is a sticker with the lead size, a picture that indicates that the lead rotates and a text that says "Revolving action keeps the lead Sharp!" The plastic from which the barrel is made does not inspire confidence in terms of durability.
Under the cap, there is a small white eraser. A weird design is the part where you load the leads. If you remove the eraser you will notice that the lead tank is slimmer (at least the part just under the eraser). So you can only load one lead at a time. A benefit is if you do not have the cap and the eraser on the leads will probably stay in, as you have to shake the pencil around to take out a lead from the barrel. This feature is just weird for me. I prefer to have easy access to the lead compartment.

The writing experience with the Kuru Toga is nice. The engine works for me. At first, I was skeptical as I imagine that the engine needs extra pressure to work, but it works in normal writing conditions. You can feel it working as the line remains constant without the need of rotating the pencil in hand if you write for longer, and you can see it spinning due to the transparent grip. The "engine" has a logo on it, so it is easy to see it spin. It actually spins fast, it needs around 20 pushes (touches of paper) to rotate the lead 360 degrees.
The only concern, for now, is the longevity of the mechanism (and maybe the color).
The grip has very small waves. It has a slippery feel to it but it sits just fine in the hand.

For other people, the pencil might not work. This is because of the way the pencil is designed. What do I mean? Well .. if the lead is pushed the "engine" turns the lead 1 step. To efficiently push the lead you need to have a grip that is closer to vertical, the less step the angle is between the writing surface and the pencil the higher the force needed to put the engine to work. If you hold the pencil at a smaller angle you have to exert high pressure which can be impractical.
I hold a writing instrument in hand the barrel of it rests on the index finger, giving a very high angle (around 70 degrees). So all of you who have "fountain pen hold" might be disappointed.

In other words, your mileage might vary.