Artline is the brand name of the Japanese Shachihata company, who are a reasonably large sized company in the stamp and marker field, and they have a couple of mechanical pencils.
The 7150 is a button ratchet mechanism pencil, and what a side button! They obviously decided to make it a feature of the pencil, like some shark fin sticking out of the creatures back. It operates on a simple sliding-wedge type principle to convert the inwards motion into a lengthwise action. It works OK, but the clicker button has a lot of free play and so it rattles around when you are writing and is annoyingly noisy. I definitely did have some trouble with the clicker button getting in the way when I was holding the pencil - sometimes I had to twist the pencil around so the button and pocket clip were facing in appropriate directions.
The small metal lead sleeve is a writing style only. It does retract back into the body, but it’s a little more difficult to achieve with the side button than it is with a normal push top ratchet pencil. The moulded pocket clip is functional in a basic way. The whole top section of the pencil pulls off to allow access to the lead magazine.
The eraser is a feature of this mechanical pencil. It is about 7mm (1/4 in) diameter with 15mm of usable length, and advances as you wind the top section around. Whilst it has reasonable erasing power, the waste doesn’t twist up into strands so it’s a bit messy. But it’s an awful lot better than most mechanical pencil erasers!
The grip section is a rubber compound of hexagonal cross-section. It is a little softer than many other rubber grips, but still basically hard. On the other hand, it is actually “grippy”. Yes, I admit it; this rubber grip really does improve your grip on the pencil. Unlike many economy / low price range pencils this one has a fairly large diameter body so the grip section is a decent 10 to 11mm across the flats. This is definitely for those who like a wider bodied writing instrument. The only negative about the grip is that the peaks of the hexagon are a bit sharp, they could be rounded off a bit more. They’re not uncomfortable, just not ideal.
So, overall this pencil definitely surprised me – and that’s in a good way.
- Best Points – A decent eraser, and a rubber grip that actually improves your grip.
- Not So Good Points – The clicker rattles, and when the eraser wears down if looks a bit funny in its housing.
- Price Range – Economy / Low.
Dimensions – Length 140mm, width 10 – 11mm across the flats of the grip section. Balance point about 80mm up from the tip.
PS - My advice, watch out for swans! Nasty vicious creatures who will knock you down and steal your lunch any chance they get. Well if you're about 5 years old they will. You could end up scarred for life, with a phobia of swans, or birds in general.