So there is a new version of the Uni Kuru Toga in town, which is pretty much the only mechanical pencil, or pencil for that matter that I will use. This new version is the Uni Kuru Toga Pipe Slide (via JetPens) which as the name indicates has a sliding sleeve that protects the lead. In addition to the protective pipe slide, which is more cone shaped than pipe shaped, Uni has also improved the Kuru Toga engine to make it rotate at a higher rate which keeps your pencil markings even sharper and more consistent.
Everything about the new Uni Kuru Toga Pipe Slide looks pretty much like any other Uni Kuru Toga unless you take a close look at the clear section in the above picture. This is where the Kuru Toga engine is housed and visually you can tell its been upgraded, although it still retains its orange innards and the Kuru Toga logo so you can visually see as the lead mechanism rotates as you write with it. I picked up the blue version, however it is also available in a black or pink body, but all with .5mm lead. I’m hopeful there will be a new version of the Kuru Toga Roulette with the new engine included at some point.
So here is a close up photo of the Kuru Toga Pipe Slide Pipe with the metal lead sleeve extended as if you were about to write. As I said in the initial paragraph of this review, the sleeve is more of a cone shape than a straight up pipe, which is a minor detail, but wanted to point it out. An initial press of the Uni Kuru Toga Pipe Slide plunger will extend the sleeve, similar to the state you see it in the above picture. It rests in that state pretty firmly, but I’ll get into that a little later in the discussion on the writing sample.
Here you have a picture of the Kuru Toga Pipe Slide Pipe with the pipe retracted into the body. This state can be achieved by pressing the lead into your paper or any hard surface while also pressing down the plunger. As the tip presses down onto your paper or other hard surface, simply release the plunger and you will see the protective sleeve retract back into the tip of the pencil. Pretty simple motion that does wonders to help protect your pencil from experiencing any lead breakage or from puncturing your pencil case, pocket or any other place you may be storing your pencil.
This video shows the rotation of the new Uni Kuru Toga Engine. If you watch closely, you can see the white logo on the orange inside of the Kuru Toga Slide Piple engine rotate each time the pencil tip hits the paper. This updated version of the Kuru Toga engine has a higher rate of rotation so your pencil point will stay sharper and more consistent as you write.
Uni Kuro Toga Pipe Slide Writing Sample:
Personally I love the way any of the pencils in this line write, however I know some people dislike the fact that it feels like there is a little bit of play in the tip as you write, but this is a requirement as the tip needs to move a bit to engage the clutch that tells the engine inside to turn because you have lifted/pressed down the tip. This play in the tip is more of an up/down nature rather than being noticeable in a side to side motion. Because this is required for the pencil to operate properly, I’m OK with the trade off of a little bit of play to get that sharp consistent line. I really do love how thin and consistent the line is though. In the writing sample above, I never once turned or adjusted how I was holding the Uni Kuru Toga Pipe Slide to get a better result from the lead, I held it in the exact same position and it consistently gave a super fine line that never strayed from its initial width. If you are looking for a mechanical pencil but are like me and don’t like the experience of a traditional pencil because you have to constantly turn it to avoid wild variations in the width of your line, I’d highly recommend trying the Uni Kuru Toga Pipe Slide (via JetPens) which will also allow you to alleviate the concern of having any issues with the tip being extended and breaking or poking a hold in your beloved pencil case.