Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pentel Fiesta AX105 Mechanical Pencil Review

I first got a Fiesta about 10 years ago, and even though it was from Pentel, I wasn’t initially all that impressed with it. However, for review time it was "put aside that old baggage and look at the Fiesta anew".

The Fiesta comes in a variety of colours and in 3 lead sizes - 0.5mm, 0.7mm and the less common 1.3mm. Mine is a blue 0.5mm, and in fact I’ve never seen the 1.3mm version. The tip is clear plastic, the lower body section is transparent coloured plastic and the upper body section is matching opaque plastic. I like the clear tip section as you can see the little lead holding jaws open and close as you operate the push top ratchet mechanism, but over the long term it does become rather dirty inside with graphite powder. You can unscrew it, but it’s still a bit of a drama to successfully clean it out. With no thin metal sleeve extending from the tip section, this is a pocket safe pencil.

There is a good long grip section on the barrel, with raised ridges to help give a positive grip. The ridges are quite smooth and rounded. I think they do a good job without irritating your fingers, as some more aggressive grip patterns can. There is a reasonably large eraser under the clear cover cap on the end of the pencil. It’s fairly successful at erasing out your writing, but when it is worn right down it can be a little difficult to dig it out and refill the lead chamber beneath. The pocket clip is like most integral moulded clips, better than nothing, but not particularly effective.

I think the thing I initially didn’t like about the Fiesta was that discontinuity between the lower and upper body sections. It sort of reminds me of a lobster leg - perhaps I should have bought the lobster pink one instead of blue? I have grown used to the look over time, but I’m still not really all that happy with it. On the positive side though, the long top section means you can hold onto it to use the eraser, and refill the leads, without activating the lead advance mechanism. The Fiesta weighs about what you would expect, i.e. not a lot, and it’s slightly top-heavy.

One thing I have noticed is that this mechanical pencil is rather temperamental when it comes to 0.5mm lead quality. I have had quite a few lesser grade leads break and jam inside the tip section. Still, if you stick to quality Pentel leads you shouldn’t have that problem!
  • Best Points – The separate upper body section means you can use the eraser without any chance of activating the lead advance.
  • Not So Good Points – A bit sensitive to lead quality, the lobster leg look (but then a lot of people like lobster so…).
  • Price Range – Economy.

Dimensions – Length 148mm, diameter 11mm at grip point. Balance point about 80mm up from the tip.

12 comments:

Dorai said...

Ah, but it's in the 1.3mm size that the Pentel Fiesta shines! In the .5 and .7mm sizes, it is nothing special. If one wants to experiment with the thicker sub-2mm leads for writing and sketching -- and that can be quite a sensual experience, regardless of the quality of what one sets down --, the Fiesta is the frugal way to go. The next cheapest pencils in 1.3mm-or-thereabouts category are more than ten times as expensive.

Yes, the Fiesta looks cheap, but sometimes it is about the geometry of the graphite, and this pencil is a sturdy enough vehicle for this nice thick lead. Plus, you won't feel bad if you lose it!

Pencil Revolution said...

Yum yum on the Forest Choice lounging in that there cup:)

Alcarwen said...

I have the 1.3mm of the Fiesta... it's the ONLY thicker led mechanical pencil that I seem to be able to find around here. Agreed on the lobster-resemblance it has going though:)

gypsymasseur said...

Fiesta 1.3 mm? i have one and my comment is the question: where can i get lead, erasers, and other 1.3 mm Fiestas?
Thanks .............

hhuang, p.e. said...

I have the ax13 for a few years in red. I mailed ordered a few tubes from a vendor in San Diego County but I lost the info. I did find thePentel site below.
https://www.pentelstore.com/catalog/index.php?grp=649

Anonymous said...

Just bought a 1.3mm mechanical pencilfrom Staples. Very nice quality, extra lead right there in the store. Very reasonable price--think it was about $5 or $6.

Ted said...

Yes, I too love the 1.3 mm Fiestas. It is just a pain in the rear finding refill leads in that size. Our Staples does not carry 1.3 refills.

Anonymous said...

The Staples 1.3mm has become a favorite. Before, I was a .9mm guy, but this thicker lead is quite nice, with some of the character of a broad-nibbed fountain pen. Oddly, the Staples manufacturing (whoever made the product their name is going on) is excellent. I have only seen pictures of the Staedtler 1.3, but although it looks cooler it has a plastic clip that looks less substantial than the well-anchored spring steel of the Staples model. And Staples carries the 1.3's in the store.

By the way, the 1.3's are not compatible with the Faber-Castell eMotion pencils, which are 1.4mm.

Anonymous said...

Kiwi-d, what do you mean by lobster leg look?

Kiwi-d said...

I mean how the top and bottom halves of the body are joined together with that little gap in between. It sort of reminds me of a lobster - thicker sections joined together by narrow joints.

Arts Council said...

Where to get the eraser refills????

Peter Hosey said...

Arts Council: It's the PDE-1 refill. The Pentel store has 5-refill tubes for $1.65 USD: https://www.pentelstore.com/index.php?grp=702