Soviet Leader Nesting Dolls – In the Collection

There’s a pretty big collectors market out there for Russian Nesting (Babushka or Matryoshka) Dolls. And, if you search, a surprising number of them are various versions of a “Soviet Leaders” theme. I have no idea if this is a done in a mocking, jesting, or approving tone. Nor do I know why the particular public figures are chosen to be featured (in a fairly unflattering way). The previous owner of my set also told me that it was made in the Czech Republic (perhaps when there was also a “slovakia” attached), and any significance that has is lost on my American post-1990s brain.

The dolls themselves are fairly basic: the carving is unfinished (with a few burr,s here and there) on the inside and the paint is there but far from a masterpiece. I’m not quite sure who all of the people caricature-ized are, but after a little bit of research I believe from smallest to largest they are: Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Gorbachev, and Yeltsin (Who potentially breaks the pattern by being president of Russia and not a Soviet Premier {He does have a Russian Federation flag that would indicate it’s him though}). And if I’m correct, they’re all roughly in chronological order, and some pretty important figures for Russians (though I personally don’t know much about Khrushchev). My absolute favorite has to be little itty-bitty Lenin. And slightly-bigger Stalin is pretty funny too.

I like to think that this is some form of political slight. I certainly would take it as such if they made me part of a Babushka doll set. That’s a joke I could get behind, but I’m willing to bet it’s both something meant to insult and endear, like bobble-heads of American Presidents. And like those, who doesn’t want a traditional Russian toy of traditional Russians looking traditionally silly on their shelf?

Review – Prismacolor Premiere 4 Pen Black Set

Some people don’t like Microns, or they just can’t get them. There are alternative technical pens for those, fortunately. There is a set that is even sold in WalMart: The Prismacolor Premier 4 pen set.


The body of the pens aren’t particularly nice. They are black with an abundance of text. The cap is short with a thin metal clip. The cap is hard to grip and kind of ugly, as it fits on tightly but is hard to remove. The cap can be posted, but is also hard to remove there as well. The section of the barrel that is covered by the cap is short and hard to grip but not uncomfortable. It is slick.


This set has 005, 05, chisel, and brush tips. They lay down a nice black line. They are archival quality, so they are fade-resistant and acid free. The ink flows smoothly, with the occasional hiccup that happens in all technical pens. The 005 and 05 have a similar size and tip feel to Microns. The chisel is a nice tip, but it is a bit weak and seems like it won’t take much abuse. The brush seems more like a long marker than a brush, and it is not very flexible. It does have quite a bit of line variation, though, when you really push it hard. It’s just more difficult to use.



Overall this set is a nice one, and it’s cheaper than most other technical pens. They are a bit uncomfortable, and the ink is a bit worse than some of the competitors, though they are quite nice. For the price of a little bit less, they offer just a little bit less. They work great and will serve admirably at their purpose. They just aren’t the best on the market.