I haven’t touched mechanical pencils much, just because I don’t use them very much. But mechanical pencils can obviously be quite handy, and their very consistent line makes them ideal for several styles of drawing. This time I’ll be looking at one of the cheapest offerings, the Pentel Champ in 0.5mm.
The body of the Champ is a simple, translucent plastic of various colors. It’s cylindrical, save for the cone leading to the point, and a rather large rubber grip. The back is a reversed cone with a clip that’s alright, and an eraser. Obviously, this part clicks down in quite a smooth action, though lead is not dispensed with every stroke: sometimes a few beats are missed. At the very end is an eraser, which works quite well, as much as one would expect. It’s not perfect, but it removes enough lead to be worthwhile to use. On the side of the barrel is all relevant information, though it seems that it would wear off easily. The lengthy grip is noteworthy on some models, like the one I have, in that is is made of many tiny fins, which are much more comfortable and accommodating in my opinion than standard solid rubber grips, and no less grippy. It holds better in the hand than any other gripped utensil I’ve used, but I’m not really a fan of grips anyway.
The lead provided is HB, so standard number 2, but it feels a bit soft (my package also came with 24 lead refills). It is still quite hard and writes wonderfully. I like a mid-range pencil, maybe a bit on the hard side, and this delivers. Like I said, it feels a bit softer than I usually deal with, but that might just be the mechanical pencil thing. Writing is smooth with very few hiccups or scratches. The lead isn’t too prone to breaking but breaking is unavoidable in this type of pencil. And, as previously mentioned, sometimes the mechanism doesn’t want to function.
Overall, the Pentel Champ is quite a champ for what it is: a tiny mechanical pencil more suited for school and office work. But it performs quite well in all situations. A good starting pencil in both 0.5 and 0.7mm, though I prefer 0.5mm.