Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pentel Smash Q1005 Mechanical Pencil Review

Pentel Smash Q1005 Mechanical Pencil Review

The Pentel Smash Q1005 mechanical pencil is one of those mechanical pencils that seems to have a little bit of “status” from being an interesting design and being somewhat hard to obtain in the West. I don’t know where the inspiration for the name Smash comes from, but it was my pencil of the week on the 40th anniversary of those first steps on the moon. Take a look at the Smash Q1005, it kind of looks retro space-rockety, like a mini model of something Flash Gordon or maybe even George Jetson would have flown in.Pentel Smash mechanical pencil Q1005(Clickable for hi-res)

Right, I’m off on a tangent here, but you know when you look back at the technology that took the Apollo astronauts to the moon and back, it’s unbelievably basic and outdated by today’s standards. I am always amazed that there wasn’t a lot more of smash and crash involved in the Apollo program. They flew to the moon and back but they would have been astonished at a handheld programmable calculator, let alone a mobile phone, MP3 player or heavens above, a laptop computer. They timed rocket bursts with the Omega mechanical watches on their wrists. Despite it happening 40 years ago, I’m tempted to think that the Apollo 11 mission is the greatest human technological achievement ever. What else even comes close to the achievement of sending men to walk on the moon? Now, whether you agree with it being the greatest technological achievement or not, just take a moment to reflect - those guys flew to the moon and back on a space-rocket which was designed in the days of drafting pencil and pen. No fancy design and drawing software for those guys, just thousands upon thousands of hand drawn blueprints. The heyday of the leadholder / drafting mechanical pencil and the technical pen. OK, enough of this flying off on a tangent, back to the real subject of this posting.

The Smash Q1005 doesn’t have flashy or attention grabbing looks, rather it’s an understated but aesthetically appealing look. The knobbly grip of the Smash is probably its most visually striking feature, made more apparent by the plain smooth body and neutral greyish colour. Without a separate front tip section or completely different base for the grip section, the Smash tends to look more ‘one-piece construction’ rather than ‘assemblage of multiple components’. The black rubber grip bumps are quite proud of the surface and you certainly feel them under your fingers. I found this a little disconcerting at first, but quickly got used to it. It certainly is a superior grip, although I imagine the rubber bumps would wear over time.Penetl Smash gripThe rubber grip bumps also mean the pencil is reasonably anti-roll, but being a round grip zone you can hold the pencil at any place, and rotate at will. The Smash is a mainly plastic mechanical pencil so is relatively lightweight.

The lead sleeve is a fixed non-retractable 4mm long thin metal pipe. The Q1005 Smash mechanical pencil is a drafting mechanical pencil, beware the stabby end!
Pentel Smash lead sleeve stabby endUp above the grip section is a lead hardness indicator. You unscrew the grip a fraction to allow the window to rotate and expose the appropriate lead grade – 2B to 4H, including F. Pentel Smash Q1005 mechanical pencil lead hardness windowUp at the top end of the pencil is the push top button which has a concertina type shaft cover, another feature that I find visually appealing. Ten clicks of the mechanism will get you about 5mm of 0.5mm lead. This is on the shorter side of town, definitely allowing for precise dispensing of your lead. On the one hand I admire and like the precision of this lead advancement, but if you are using the Smash mechanical pencil to write with then you will probably be clicking away a lot more than usual. Pentel Smash concertina buttonThe pocket clip is a small plain matt black metal clip - firm and functional.

The top button pulls off to reveal a small emergency use eraser, but it has a lead clean-out rod attached. The eraser pulls out to allow access to the lead refill magazine.Pentel Smash mechanical pencil eraser“Smash 0.5 Pentel Q1005 Japan” is printed on the body up towards the top. Smash 0.5 Pentel Q1005 Japan
It’s quite difficult to see but “05” is moulded into the top of the push top button as well.Pentel Smash 0.5mm mechanical pencilJust for the record, the close up photos of the concertina push top button make it look a bit unappealing and do it a bit of a disservice - it looks better in real life.

Overall then, this is a mighty fine pencil and deserves its status.

  • Best Points – The grip, the retro-rocket looks.

  • Not So Good Points – Stabby end.

  • Price Range – Low.

  • Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? – Phew, now we’ve reached the hard part. Lets take the Top 5 one at a time. Pilot Vanishing Point – safe. Pentel Sharp P205 – I can’t believe I’m saying this, but not safe. Tombow Oceanic – safe. Pentel Graphgear 1000 – not safe. Pentel Flex Fit II PW35 – not safe. Right all three Pentels are up for removal. After careful consideration, the Flex Fit II’s grip keep it safe. So that leaves P205 and Graphgear 1000. By crikey, I can’t decide! To quote myself, The Top 5 is supposed to include “a variety, to having a representative range of pencil types and styles. It’s not the Top Five draughting pencils, or Top Five writing pencils, or...”. The P205 is the only “ordinary” or “normal” type draughting pencil of the 5 so to remove it is a big call. But then basically Smash is an ordinary drafting pencil too. Graphgear 1000 is a vanishing point and a bit flashy and has that document clip, so some unusual features. Gaaahh!, I really can’t believe I’m going to do this, but P205 is out and Smash is in!!!

Dimensions – Length 138mm, diameter 9mm. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip.


Kiwi-d said...

Vote on the Poll in the sidebar.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I voted. I also have a poll on my blog that relates to mechanical pencils. Please vote!

Soundchaser said...

Hi Kiwi-d,
How did you get this pencil? I'm interested in buying one. Thanks

Andrew said...

This looks like a really awesome pencil. Its cool design would definitely be a hit with high school and college students if they were given away as part of a back to school promotion.

Penmaniacs said...

w-w-w-what. p205 classic out. change is in the air. i cannot agree with your decision until i get the q1005. where could i get one

Kiwi-d said...

My Smash was from a friend in Japan, but for those desiring one then specialist Japanese exporters and US importers like JetPens have it, and then of course there is always that big internet auction site where I'm not supposed to go.

Dave B said...

That's a tough call to make. I would have to experience the Smash before I could say it is a bad call though. While I like the 205, I don't carry it or use it on a regular basis. I've said it before, I like a nice sized, exposed eraser. It helps when making quick adjustments and so forth without having to reach for the rubber or fiddle with a little cap to get to an even smaller eraser. If Pentel took the Forte and added a fully retractable sliding sleeve then I just might end my quest for the Holy Grail (otherwise known as the perfect MP).

Anonymous said...

On the Pentel P205 the mechanism that grips the lead is made of metal.

What is the gripper mechanism made of on this Pentel Smash?

I like the Pentel Smash looks, but the classic design of Pentel P205 is still tops for me personally.

Kiwi-d said...

Smash is a metal chuck too.

Techniclick said...

Wow, you removed the P205. That had to be a very tough decision for you. It was the enthusiasm in your review for the P205 that caused me to go out and buy my first P205.

Despite how great the P205 is, I don't like the fact that the clip gets in the way of being able to rotate and write with it in all directions. The clip ends up touching the rest of my hand that way. Does the Q1005 have this same problem? If it doesn't, then I may have to agree with your decision to replace the P205 in the top 5.

Anonymous said...

dave, or anyone else super knowledgable in the great field of mechanical pencils,

what has been the most durable, reliable pencil that you guys have used.

Kiwi-d said...

Techniclick - the clip on the Smash is shorter, flatter against the body and its tip is about 1cm higher up the body than the P205 so that might possibly make some difference to you. If not then you've got the same problem.

Anonymous said...

If you asked I would guess that Pentel calls it the "Smash" because of the way that the accordian style top button is "Smashed" together.

Anonymous said...

Techniclick - I keep rotating too, so I understand your problem:)
However the clips are removable on both models (not like few pretty good pencils I stopped using because of this same problem, rotring TikkyII for example).
So,I don't understand why would you base decisions on an issue like this. Actually the best is to own and to use both of them:)

Anonymous said...

Techniclick - I rotate too, so I understand how you feel. (Just because of this I stopped using for example rotring TikkyII and few others.) However, both, P-205 and the Q-1005 have a removable clip, so I can't see here such a big problem.
One question to Dave: actually it's a leadholder question but you might know the answer:)
Cretacolor (an Austrian company) has two, 2mm models called Totiens. They're clones of Koh-I-Noor and Alvin pencils and this name "Totiens" appears on KIN leadholders too.
What's the meaning of this name if any? Thanks.

Jean-Bernard said...

You just convinced me to order one. i'm waiting for it along with some other non-pencil writing instruments from JetPens. I can't believe it will replace my P205, but I'm sure I'll have a lot of fun with it.

Kiwi-d said...

Anonymous - sorry, no idea about Totiens

Anonymous said...

Dave, sorry about writing twice the same stuff but at first time it seemed to me, that the comment was rejected, so I tried again...

Penmaniacs said...

hey dave,
you are an engineeer so that means you have probably tried out many drafting pencils. what has been the best high end drafting pencil you have used


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave-
Replace the P205? To me, the P205 is kind of like the "Fender Stratocaster" of mechanical pencils. The design was so amazing and revolutionary when it came out... every engineer at the refinery I worked at in the '70s just had to have one. It was a status symbol! (Never mind about those tiny pink or green erasers.) I haven't had a chance to try the Smash yet, but I don't see it knocking off the iconic P205. BTW, great website! I've been checking by every now and then for at least a couple of years...I always enjoy your stuff.


Germ said...

The standard Smash color is black. The grey is very rare. The black is also metal, if i remember correctly. Either way, still a wicked pencil.

daniel from france said...

hello dave .

pentel smash is a very good one pencil for me .
very technical pencil , and beautiful shape .
but for me the best is rotring trio pen with the three leads 0.3 , 0.5 , 0.7 .a wonderful pen l have one since twenty years for drawing .
on jetpens website l buy the pilot s10 s-series
well-balanced with metal plastic , beautiful shape . very good for drawing .
but no one talk about this beautiful pen ?
dave a little comment in the future on this pen ? is a good pencil

thanks for the site ; l go on your site with a real pleasure

daniel from france :-)

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Daniel
Glad to hear from you. Yes the Trio is a great thing. Sorry, I don't have a Pilot S10 so can't say anything about it. Maybe one day though...

Anonymous said...

Pilot S-10 is excellent. Feels very solid despite not being too heavy and it is just about perfectly balanced. But the thick barrel means I can't find a pen cap to stick on it when carrying around...!

daniel from france said...

hello .

no problem take a kokuyo huger pencase on jetpens website it' s marvelous .
l take my pens , eraser and a small watercolors box with pentel aquash .
marvelous to drawing outdoor .
an no problem to crash the thick barrel

so long
take care dave :-)

Penmaniacs said...

what is the most durable pencil on the market

daniel from france said...

hello wess .

now the pentel graphgear 1000 is a good pencil metal body and with a retractable tip .
a good pencil , for me l' m a fan of rotring
a rotring 600 is a very choice and on ebay the price is correct .

best regards


Chris said...

woah... I honestly can't believe I'm reading this. I have been using the P205/P205b as my SOLE writing instrument for the past 15-20 years and I buy about 50 of them a year. I keep them everywhere - I almost took a tour at the Pentel factory in Tokyo when I lived there! I honestly do not think a better pencil can possibly be made - it is pure perfection! I will continue to use it religiously, perhaps venture out and try the new colors of the P205 series.

I doubt this Squash pencil can even come close, I'd hate to even pull that ugly thing out in public - never know who's watching!

If you have any suggestions as to what could *possibly* be a better pencil that I should try than the P205 series, please let me know I'd be very interested.

Just writing this is making me wanting to order another box of 50!

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Chris - thanks for your comment. I don't question the religious beliefs of others, and I won't question your belief in the P205, so, no, I don't have any suggestions.

Chris said...

Hi kiwi-d, sorry might have gone a bit overboard there... happy to have come up on your site - very informative. I left this comment only after having read one page from the site (the current page) and now that I read some other pages it seems there is a whole new world of mechanical pencils and pens.

At least in my experience with the major retailers in the US and Canada, I haven't seen anything that comes close to the Pentel P205 which I have been using for as long as I can remember. I have seen many imitations some cheaper, some more expensive than the P205. I always thought that there might be some more expensive, perhaps more luxurious solution out there, and since coming across this site, I hope to find one.

I still feel the P205's are too expensive at $6 each (at least at Staples in NYC), I have been buying in bulk online for the past few years but I'm still paying $4 or so per pencil.

The Rotring looks very nice for a pen, I'm in the market for a good pen - like a sister to the P205. Any suggestions on that front?


Kiwi-d said...

No problem Chris, many share your allegiance to the P205. Regarding a good pen, I'm afraid I'm not a good one to ask about that. I'd suggest you head on over to some of the blogs in my "See Also" sidebar section.

daniel from france said...

hello chris

yes you can believe it ; never said never .
your pentel is an old fashioned pencil sorry to said that but it true .

chris : try a kurutoga it' s a marvellous pencil
really not expensive and very good technology .
try a pentel smash beautiful pencil
a rotring 600 for me marvellous , because l like this brand .

life is to short for boring no ?

little coucou from france for mechanical pencils lovers in the world !!!!!


Anonymous said...

I've been using the P205 since the early 70s, and so far nothing has compared. One great thing about the P205 is that the cap slides deep into the body so that it does not easily fall off when attached. The caps fall right off most of the popular brands you see in the stores. The P205 eraser, too, attaches in such a way as to stay put.

Unlike most pencils, you can pinch a P205 cap if it's too loose so that it fits snugly. And even a short eraser stays put if you pinch the metal sleeve that holds it.

On most pencils, a simple bump causes the cap to fall off. This is followed by the eraser working its way out. And soon thereafter the leads pour onto the floor.

I've abandoned almost every new pencil I've tried because of the caps--not because of the mechanisms or the feel or the pointy tips or the little erasers.


Anonymous said...

I have one of these that came in a set with a matching pen, and is all black. There is no writing on the pencil and no hardness indicator. (Well, it is there, but there is no writing on it, so you have a little ring you can swich to different blank spots - kinda useless.)

The eraser is also a blueish-greenish colour.

In my opinion the lead advance system isn't really good. It doesn't seem to work properly all the time; if I tuck it in it would need a lot of clicks to come out. No, it isn't just a problem with short lead advance, it seems that sometimes when I click it just doesn't advance, and I have no clue why. Also, right after clicking it seems that the lead comes out more that is really is, and when you push it on the paper, it'll go back in a little bit before it holds firm - which makes it need even more clicks.

What's up with this?

Kiwi-d said...

Sounds like a problem with the lead retaining ring inside the lead sleeve at the very tip. Unscrew the tip section and inside the metal pipe sleeve should be a very small rubber ring gripping the lead. Check that its not broken or damaged and its properly seated down in position.

Also, are you using Pentel brand leads? Undersize leads can cause the problems too.

Nycteris said...

I have to say once I tried the P205 I realized that the part I was in love with is the thin barrel. (I used to like Quicker Clicker until they added the expletive rubber grip.) But now I really want to try this! But I'm not sure where to find and purchase this mythical Smash Q1005...

White Cloud said...

I had a problem like Anonymous and finally figured out that the end barrel was slightly dented and out of round. Hence the lead would not feed freely. It had to be tugged.

Michael J Corry said...

For Europeans looking for one of these Cult pens now has them. http://www.cultpens.com/acatalog/Pentel-Smash-Q-1005-Pencil.html
But they say that they are being phased out in favour of this one
It doesn't seem to be a follow on model though - there's not much similarity.

Ed said...

There is a cousin of the smash, probably very rare... My pencil money is gone until next year though :\


Time Waster said...

This is a great pencil it writes very very smoothly and accurate even on looseleaf paper. The black one is metal and the colored ones are plastic I think but I only got the black one the colored ones are still in the mail from the Orient. If this pencil is being phased out it's a damn shame.

Daniel Chen said...

@Time Waster

I own both the black and the blue, they are the same material.

This is my favorite pencil bar none. I only use

R.S.V.P said...

Just wondering, in your opinion do you find Staedtler 925-25 0.5 or the Pentel Smash to be a better pencil? I have recently purchased a 925 25 off Jetpens for 18 dollars, and was wondering if it is worth another 15 to purchase the Smash. I only want to buy the Smash if it is "better" (in your opinion) than the 925 25. Please Help, and thanks.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any conclusive opinion on what the material is? I'm seeing metal, I'm seeing plastic, it can't be both... can it? Plastal?

Leo Chen said...

I have the same one in black which I bought it 30 years ago! I gave it to my daughter two years ago. She loves it so much, when the tip was broken last night, she cried a lot. Thanks for your review so I can find the model and just bought 2 from eBay today.

Xaltotun said...

Seems the black one is metal. The comments and reviews at JetPens mention it.

DAVE: you fiend! You have started me on a collecting spree, lookit what I got after two or three months:

- 2 X Pentel 5 "Kerry", vintage 70's 0.5mm - -
- 1 X Pentel Graphgear 500
- 1 X Pentel Graph 600
- 1 X Pentel Graph 1000 for Pro
- 1 X Pentel Graphgear 1000
- 1 X Pentel Graph 1000 Limited (2008) Red
- 1 X Pentel Graph 1000 Limited (2008) Black
- 1 X Pentel Graph 1000 Limited (2008) Blue
- 1 X Pentel Graph 1000 Limited (2008) White
- 1 X Pentel Graph 1000 Limited (2008) Silver

- 2 X Rotring 300 0.5mm black (modern) - -
- 1 X Rotring 500 0.5mm black (modern long inscription) -
- 2 X Rotring 600 0.5mm silver (modern - simple 0.5) - -
- 2 X Rotring 600 0.5mm black (modern - simple 0.5) - -
- 1 X Rotring 600 0.5mm black (older? long inscription NO GOLD) -
- 1 X Rotring 800 0.5mm chrome / modern? long inscription GOLD -
- 1 X Rotring 800 0.5mm black / modern? long inscription GOLD -
- 1 X Rotring Rapid Pro 0.5mm silver (modern) -
- 1 X Rotring Rapid Pro 0.5mm black (modern) -
- 1 X Rotring Newton Lava 0.5mm -

- 1 X Draft/Matic 0.5mm -

- 1 X TK-Fine Vario (1990s)
- 1 X TK-Fine Vario (modern) -

- 1 X Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic 5635 0.5mm white -
- 1 X Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic 5633 0.3mm red (80's, Japan) -
- 1 X Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic 5639 0.9mm blue -
- 1 X Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic 5637 0.7mm grey -

- 1 X Promecha PM-1505P 0.5mm -
- 1 X Promecha OP-1005P 0.5mm -
- 1 X Promecha SP-505P 0.5mm -
- 1 X Silver Hex. SP-505SH 0.5mm

- 1 X 925 05 in 0.5mm (older slim style) -
- 1 X 925 25 05
- 1 X 925 35 05
- 1 X 925 85 05

- 2 X Kuru Toga Roulette Black 0.5mm - -
- 2 X Kuru Toga Roulette Silver 0.5mm - -

- 1 X Tect 2 Way Black 0.5mm

Kiwi-d said...

Xaltotun - welcome to the club brother...or sister.

Xaltotun said...

Thanks Kiwi-D. I am a 'he', 43 year old. I have been trained in Industrial Design (but work in IT) so everything industrial has always held a fascination for me: lamps, furniture, cars, weapons, fountain pens, etc. I am still actively (and avidly) reading about design and keeping abreast.

Recently, I broke the barrel of my trusted Koh-I-Noor 5635 (bought in 1988, first week I started Industrial Design at University!), and I had to fork a small fortune to find a vintage one on eBay to cannibalize its barrel. Now it sits, repaired, safe, in a drawer (I use a couple of Uni Kuru Toga Roulette).

But my quest to find a Koh-I-Noor pencil led me here, and I read many of the reviews; that started my extreme fascination with mechanical pencils! The list that you saw in my previous post, shows how many have been accumulated in the past two or three months! Now I cannot walk in the street and see a stationary store without entering to buy one or two. I was in class today (I'm doing an MBA part time), and went to the next door store, and ended up buying a Staedtler 925 05; this one says 'Assembled in Thailand' so I got it even if I have recently bought an older one; I will probably now try to find a current model Japanese one (if they exist).

Yes, some could day that it's such a sad way to spend one's time, but why the hell not! It's fun and these (often) well designed consumer goods are such fun to chase and examine. Will probably start doing reviews soon!

Kiwi-d said...

Xaltotun - May the force be with you on your journey!

Anonymous said...


"Thanks for your e-mail and interest in our products.

Unfortunately, the Pentel Smash Drafting Pencil has been discontinued by the manufacturer and is no longer available to us to stock. I'm sorry we could not be of more help!

Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

Best Regards,

Buy 'em while you can get 'em...