As always our friends from Baron Fig have hooked us up with their newest limited edition subscription item for a review. Here we have today the Baron Fig Snakes and Ladders Archer Limited Edition Pencils (via Baron Fig). One of my favorite things about Baron Fig products are the nice packages, and in this case you can see the nice bright red design that matches perfectly with the pencils themselves.
Each of the Baron Fig Snakes and Ladders Archer Limited Edition Pencils has a Vermilion Red, no slip paint finish and has a deep red end where the eraser ferrule would normally be if the pencil had an eraser. The branding and design elements are all done in white and the paint used here is applied in smooth, fine, consistent lines making for a very crisp looking finished product.
Once you get beyond the looks of the Baron Fig Snakes and Ladders, there is a lot to be desired. I had a frustratingly awful time in even just trying to sharpen these pencils using two different handheld sharpeners. I had the point on my first one snap off 3 times while sharpening it, so I decided to try a different pencil in both sharpeners. Sure enough, that pencil broke two times, once in each sharpener. As you can see here, the lead snapped right out from inside of the wood casing, it wasn’t just a chipped or cracked tip of the lead, but the whole core came right out.
Here is a close up of the inside of my Staedtler pencil sharpener, which is usually a hardy workhorse that has never let me down. Between those two larger splinters of wood, you can see the lead point of my pencil wedged in there, and all crooked.
A closer look at the core on a few of the Baron Fig Snakes and Ladders Archer Limited Edition Pencils shows some noticeable quality shortfalls. The cores are obviously off center on these three, and I have to assume that was also the problem with the other two that I tried to sharpen but instead had the points snap off. On the center pencil it even looks like the wood casing isn’t even completely there on the lower right side.
Baron Fig Snakes and Ladders Archer Limited Edition Writing Samples – Broken Lead Edition:
Although I had issues sharpening two of my Baron Fig Snakes and Ladders Archer Limited Edition Pencils, I decided to sharpen a third one so I could get on with the writing sample and testing these out. As you can see, I was able to fire off about 2o words with the third one before the point snapped off from inside. That point you see laying on the page belongs to the pencil on the far right. Again, snapped out from inside of the wood casing. At this point I can confirm 3 of the 12 pencils have confirmed defects due to the excessive lead breakage, and I can visually assume that at least 3 others (with the off center cores) will probably suffer the same fate. With a likely failure rate of 50% I can’t in good conscience recommend these. Hopefully our friends at Baron Fig can straighten this out because to date they have been incredibly responsive to product feedback in using it to improve their products.