Review of Lamy Scribble.


Lamy Scribble (Model 185 / 186) Mechanical Pencil Review
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(Review by David in New Zealand.)

Something about the Lamy Scribble just makes me want to pick it up every time I see it. Perhaps it’s the short, fat, sturdy look reminding me of a child’s favourite pencil or crayon. “Pick me up, and lets have some fun” – that’s what Scribble seems to whisper to my sub-conscious.

Technical data:
Material: Plastic body. Metal end-cap, front cap and pocket clip.
Shape: Round cross-section, 13mm diameter at widest part. 121mm overall length.
Finish: Black plastic body “sandblasted” satin sheen finish. Metal trims either black coated (Model 186) or palladium plated (Model 185).
Core: 0.7mm lead. (A 3.15mm model also available)
Point Type: Retractable metal sleeve.
Mechanism: Push top ratchet.
Top: Capped eraser.
Eraser: Miniature eraser under top button, white (unknown) material, needle attached.
Markings: “LAMY” printed in silver at top of body, “7” (for lead diameter) on top of the top button.
Packaging: Folded card presentation sleeve.
Availability: Readily available worldwide in shops and internet retailers.
Origin: Germany.

Scribble looks short and sturdy, and that’s what it feels like in your hand. The thick, gently tapering body makes it easy to hold anywhere you like – down close to the tip or halfway up the body – and the smooth yet slightly textured sandblast finish lets you get a good solid grip. Add in a reasonable weight, and everything combines to produce that overall look and feel of a no-nonsense, ready for action pencil. Scribble is also very well balanced to just idly twirl around in, or thread through, your fingers whilst contemplating the state of the universe.

The pocket clip is good and springy. It’s also removable for those who don’t like pocket clips. Unfortunately it just doesn’t stick out quite far enough to readily stop the pencil rolling around on your desktop. I always use my Scribble when I am out doing fieldwork. The short length means I can clip it into a small notebook and stash them in my pocket so I always have pencil and paper ready to record those important observations. The thick body helps when things are a bit on the wet side, and the short metal lead holding sleeve tip is retractable so you won’t get that nasty stabbing pain through your trouser pocket!
Like most mechanical pencils, Scribble has a small eraser under the top button. I am always in two minds about these mechanical pencil erasers – they seem like such a good idea and yet are nearly always such a disappointment. Well Scribble sets a new standard. It’s absolutely useless. I will say no more on this subject.


So far I haven’t mentioned the lead. That’s the thing with mechanical pencils; if you don’t like the lead then you just get some that you do like. Scribble takes 0.7mm which is thick enough to provide good strength, but still thin enough to provide fine sharp lines. The push top ratchet mechanism is quiet and positive. I haven’t had any problems, but just in case, the eraser comes with a needle to help clear any lead jams.

The finish on the Scribble seems a good quality. The plastic body and metal trims are scratch resistant. Mine have spent a lot of time rolling around in carry cases with other items and they still look as good as new. There are actually two trim colours available – black for the purists and palladium plated for the slightly more up-market look. The small “LAMY” printed in silver at the top of the body adds a touch of distinction.

Lamy advertise the Scribble as “For strong sketches and fine notes. If you like getting your ideas down on paper in a few telling strokes, you’ll love the Lamy scribble”. Well, they’re absolutely right. Whether I’m out wading through a swamp or doing the Sunday morning Sudoku, Scribble is the one for the job.

[Text and images, D.P. Used with kind permission.]

23 Replies to “Review of Lamy Scribble.”

  1. If you like a short, stubby, bombproof and easy-to-carry mech pencil that also has a substantial eraser, the Tornado pencil may be the one. I haven’t tried them yet — they are not that expensive really (they’re cheaper than the Lamy Scribble), but I’m waiting till I really *need* one. I don’t write nearly as much in pencil as I should in order to deserve to indulge myself. :-(

    The Tornado comes in several looks — all delightfully retro (see the company name). There is one for doing Sudoku — and another for crosswords.

  2. I’ve seen the Tornado only in a really thick lead–1.3mm, I think. Does the Tornado come in 0.7 or 0.5mm? If not, it wouldn’t be a perfect substitute for the Scribble. The Tornados are more attractive, though.

  3. The Tornado in the page I gave is a .9mm. The thicker-leaded Tornado you refer to is smaller pencil (in terms of barrel length & width) than the .9mm one.

    The refill instructions for both pencils (on the site) are a gas. The final step for the .9mm is, for instance:

    “4. Compose new bestselling novel.”

  4. Thanks for the nice review and photos.

    I have the 0.7mm and 3.15mm Scribble mechanical pencils, and the Scribble ballpoint. I like them all, though the 3.15mm MP is the only one I regularly use.

    About some things the review mentions – is the body really plastic? If it is, this is a really unique composition. I’ve always thought they were metal, even after years of handling. Both the surface and weight led me to think this. Also, the eraser needle – I wasn’t aware of this either, as mine is either absent or broken.

    I don’t use 0.5 or 0.7mm MPs much – since I found the 1.4mm E-Motion, and later 3.15mm MPs, I have used these formats. The leads don’t break, and they seem much more capable in terms of creating lines.

    The Tornado Sudoku is a nice looking pencil – I’d like to get one, but newsprint seems to call out for the softest, darkest lead possible, and an ordinary woodcase 4B or 6B works pretty well for the Sunday puzzles.

  5. Well nice to get some comments on my Scribble review. Thanks very much. The Retro 51 Tornado is a fine pencil too. Go on, indulge yourself and get one! Actually at the risk of getting labelled a pencil nut (lol) I will admit to owning 3 Scribbles and 3 Tornados.

    Stephen – I wonder perhaps if Lamy have changed the Scribble. Yes, my eraser definitely does have a needle. You can (just) see it on the photo of the Scribble Z19 spare eraser on the Lamy website (lamy.com). As to the body material, the Lamy website states “two component synthetic material”. Mine is definitely a plastic body and metal end caps. If you look really hard you can see the mould part line on the body, which is a fine sandblast type finish produced by sandblasting, or spark eroding, or several other possible methods of mould manufacture. It is a really heavy hard “metal like” engineering plastic though, which is what most two part resins (like epoxy) are. Having said all that, I found one retailers website which said Scribble was brass. So, certainly they aren’t metal now, but perhaps they were?
    Anyway, all food for thought. I have never actually bought an E-Motion. Its on the list though!

  6. What do you mean about pencils. I have many mechanical pencils and all of them, from the 10cent bic to my Papermate Phd,and on and all of them have errasers that a 5 times as good as the best wooden pencil.

  7. Another reply re the eraser needle. I looked on a few retailer websites and they show a mixture of Z19 erasers with and without needle, so certainly looks like there have been some changes over time.

    Well Eolt its great you have mechanical pencil erasers that you are happy with, I really wish I could join you, but sadly I find most mechanical pencil erasers to be too small, a poor compound, or something. I really believe MP’s should have erasers and I just can’t understand why they can’t have good ones. Perhaps it really means that I’m just a difficult hard to please person?

  8. Thanks for the Scribble review. I had never seen or heard of this pencil prior to visiting your site.

    I’ve become an avid MP user in the last couple years but have been frustrated with cheaply made, badly designed models. The Scribble appeared to be exactly what I was looking for.

    Scribbles are surprizingly hard to find in the U.S. I found one online at DickBlick.com (an art supply store) and am now a very happy owner of the 0.7 mm model.

    It’s such a nicely constructed piece–perfect weight and simplicity of design–and I’m enjoying it immensely. No more rubberized pencil grips for me!

    The Scribble is a bit shorter than I was imagining (e.g., it’s shorter than any of my Pentel MPs), but it’s just long enough for comfortable writing and just short enough to hide in a pocket.

    It IS pricey, but as this activity comprises a very large part of my daily work, it’s easily worth it.

    Thanks,
    Bruce

  9. I always carry my Scribble (0.7) with me. That and a Lamy 2000 (also 0.7) are by far my favourites! Especially the 2000 is a masterpiece! It’s design is bauhaus simplicity, the build quality is great and the macrolon is light and a pleasure to hold.
    And thanks for a great blog!

  10. I was once given a Lamy Scribble (large lead) as a gift. I used it for about a year and then gave it to a friend. I miss it dearly. It was strangely addictive to hold, and somehow adultly-childlike. It begged to be warmed in the hand and caressed in the pocket. The lead was so large – it created an odd desire to draw, or to leave unnecessary notes in oversized letters. It was the closest thing to a chalk-chuck that only a teacher could ever honestly own. Never give away your only Scribble.

  11. I just got one of these from my local art store, but didn’t know what it was until I looked online here. I really like this pencil with the 3.1mm leads – it’s perfect for engineering drafting and real-time prototyping for a hobby/tinkerer like myself. I bought a dozen leads at the time, but I’ve yet to even use up one so far with months of use. If you have a chance, definitely get the red colored leads from a local art store – they’re great for marking up metals and plastics.

  12. I use the Lamy Scribble with the thicker lead. It doesn’t come with the useless eraser, and is bombproof. It’s a great sketcher, and with a lead pointer can be used for notes on a Rhodia lined pad with great results.

  13. I am using Lamy since 1985 and they are perfect. Nowadays I have one LAMY scribble black Mechanical pencil (3.15)and one Koh-I-Noor Mechanical Pencil (5.6) and both are perfect. I just can’t find Lamy or Koh-I-Noor in Edmonton/Canada. Any suggestions?

  14. A truly amazing pencil. Used to use Kohinoor earlier but this one is far better, each has its palce but this one is spectacular. David has done a wonderful job and I totally agree that despite the clip it keeps rolling all over my desk which I find very irritating. The pencil has a mind of its own. All in all a wonderful design.

  15. I bought a Scribble M43 with the thicker 3.15 lead at University Art in Palo Alto, CA. As the ad line goes.. “I don’t leave home without it!” I love the heft of this thickish pencil and the bold line it makes. I’m a watercolor painter and am always drawing figures, land or city scapes or whatever in sketchbooks, watercolor paper, or an array of paper pads. I love this pencil! It makes my drawings look better than they would if I used a thinner lead. The website says there is an eraser in the end cap but that must be with the .07 thinner lead. Mine does not have one, but I don’t care. The ergonomics of this pencil is “just right”. I like the surface texture of the barrel (they say it’s plastic but I can’t tell) and the solid well-made feel over all of it. It fits my hand “just right”. I use it 75% for drawing… but I also like to take “big” notes with it. Being shorter than a typical pencil, it fits in my jeans pocket very nicely without being an issue when I bend over… it’s comfortable to have in my pocket! If I ever lose it… it will take 6 milliseconds before I’ll buy another one. Like any good tool or camera or well-made manufactured device, the quality, weight, finish, balance and general “rightness” of this product is exactly right! Though a little pricey, I’ll never regrete buying it.

    Best,
    Bill Dunn

  16. I have two of these and have put them through a lot of use in the 8 years I have had them. Extremely sturdy and mechanically well put together, feels great in the hand. I have not found a better mechanical pencil.

  17. I too am a fan of this pencil. Been using it for only a few months, but spent ages looking for something pocketable (short but not slim, retractable pointy edge).
    But,
    it might be a different material used, but it does feel like plastic, and feels too slippery to hold. I actually sticked a thick rubber sticker for better grip. The clean look has been ruined, but it feels great and rolls down tables less than it used to.

    Thanks for the review!

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