Review – Pilot B2P Ballpoint Pen

I’ve come across quite a few interesting or novel pens. I’ve tested out most pens I can get my hands on and have determined my taste accordingly. But a pen caught my eye recently with a gimmick I’d never seen before. It was a Pilot B2P pen, made out of recycled bottles. I’d seen pencils made out of recycled denim, but never a recycled pen. I don’t usually pick up Pilot pens but I decided to give this one a try, if only for the novelty.

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I’ll start with the writing performance, because on this pen that’s less interesting. It’s a ballpoint, and for a ballpoint it writes amazingly smooth, even smoother than most Gel pens I’ve used. The ink is black and fairly dark. The line is thin, well, at least thinner than most ballpoints. It usually writes on the first go with no skipping, a problem I usually have with Gel pens. It’s fairly impressive, though I think it may run out of ink rather quickly.

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Onto the body, which is a fairly pleasing blue color. It’s got a fairly useless grippy-grip near the tip and a mid-way between sturdy and flimsy pocket clip on the back. The blue is dark but transparent on the back, mimicking a bottle, and to further the effect it has ridges and troughs to look and feel like a crumpled up bottle, making it feel quite nice in the hand in my opinion. There is an easily worn off label around the center of the pen that contains all useful information, though the more pertinent information is also on the clip.

The retractable mechanism works quite well and doesn’t seem break-prone, it’s nice and solid (though if they hadn’t perfected this tech by now they never would). It also disassembles easily and well into parts for replacement and refilling, though I doubt you’ll ever do either of those.

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So yes, it’s a nice ballpoint, not the nicest ballpoint, but a nice one. For the price it’s good and novel. And the feel is quite nice. Its uses are that of all ball pens and this one doesn’t stand out terribly. But it is good, and a very interesting idea. And it’s a better conversation starter than the standard click-y ballpoint.

Review – Micron 02 Red and Blue Technical Pens

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I’ve talked about Microns in the past. They are basically THE technical pen. But those are just the black ones. Are the colors any good? Do they hold up to the standard and more importantly are the colors usable in any real way? How will these red and blue 02s stack up?

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The bodies are standard Micron bodies. Slick but still grippy. With hard to rub off, easy to read information in convenient places on them and a number on the lid. The color of the base of the pen where the cap clicks in and the ink on the top has been changed to the pen’s color for easy find-ability.

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The particular pen I’m using here is an 02, so it’s far from both the stiffest and weakest nibs, though it’s closer to the weaker side. It does bend a little while writing. It’s not large enough to provide much variation, either in line weight or color density. The ink is good, standard Pigma ink, archival, stands up to almost anything. It rarely bleeds and the nib seems to give off just the right amount of ink to have a fast dry time.

But on to the color. They are unmistakably blue and red. They are bright and vibrant, even on a fairly off-white paper, such as Moleskine notebooks and the like. It is brighter than any other pen or marker I have used previously. Almost unusably bright, unfortunately, as I can find no drawing scenario where it would be useful. They are good for organization, though, especially on the aforementioned off-white paper where they don’t look so jarring. They can make handy divider writings and are good for color coded text.

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Overall these are superb pens with little purpose. They work great, are incredibly sturdy and last quite a while, though I can find no way to work them into any drawing. Notes and technical sketches are the best place for these. Or, if you just want to have a nice pen in an interesting color.

Review – 12 pack of Crayola Colored Pencils

Colored pencils, or map colors as they forced you to call them if you went to school in Texas. While they don’t give the most professional look they are still a widely used and a good tool. The variety I will be talking about is the simple 12 pack of Crayola colored pencils.

Most people know them, but for those who don’t, they come in a simple assortment of colors. The bodies are slick but grip-able as with most art utensils. The wood is splintery but easy to sharpen. And the “lead” is suitable, if a bit brittle and break prone.

The color of the pencils itself is nothing special. It is the standard bright and varied set of colors that comes in every school supply-esque box of colors. The mark is about that of a number two pencil and requires a good amount of force to be applied heavily. It leaves a waxy finish on the surface, preventing blending. Using them to color big blocks of the same color as is done in school is probably the best use for them. They have no where near the range of more expensive “art” colored pencils, and none of the blending or covering capabilities. That being said they are good for practicing and less “formal” images, working well in mixed media because of the waxy finish.

Overall, if you are looking for a good art colored pencil this is most likely not for you, and you probably didn’t even consider these. But they are still a useful tool for seeing what things will look like (drafting) or practicing technique. If you already have a set of art colored pencils you could also use these instead so you don’t use up your ludicrously priced coloring utensils.