Blackwing Volume 42.

If you say that it feels like we just got a Blackwing Volume two months ago, you’re correct. Apparently, Blackwing is moving up their release schedule, starting now. We will see the winter release in November. I can’t say I prefer this schedule or the old schedule more, but I do appreciate that Blackwing is being intentional and consistent.

Volume 42 is here! This fall’s release is, at first glance, another baseball pencil. Only, it’s not. It’s dedicated to Jackie Robinson:

In 1947, Jackie Robinson was called up to the Major Leagues by the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier and providing much needed momentum to the desegregation movement that extended well beyond baseball.
The Blackwing Volume 42 is a tribute to Jackie Robinson and those who pursue their passions, creative or otherwise, regardless of the obstacles in their way. It features our balanced graphite, a blue imprint and eraser, road gray ferrule, and the iconic red 42.

Read even more here.

Aesthetically, I find this pencil to be unexpectedly striking. One might be forgiven for thinking it is merely a differently stamped Pearl from the pictures online, but this is not the same finish as the Pearl. Instead of the iridescent Pearl, this is a glossy white — thickly and perfectly applied. It also looks simple at first glance. But the ferrule is new, and this is the first time that Blackwing has used two colors on the imprint — and the first time since spring 2018’s Volume 54 that we have seen such a brightly-colored imprint. On the white barrel, it’s stunning. Combined with the blue eraser, this pencil is anything but boring.

The new ferrule is named after the away/road uniforms that baseball teams wear while playing away from their home fields (and of course, Home White refers to the home field uniform). I would love to see this ferrule on a permanent Blackwing (can you imagine it on the Natural?).

I feel like I should mention that the ferrule connection issues experienced by quite a few Comrades over the last few Volumes seem to have been solved now — at least so far as I can tell from the dozen I have.

Those of us who wanted a point guard to match the Mars Pencil are in luck, as Blackwing has produced a Road Gray matching protector — included free with subscribers’ boxes. (Best extra yet?) In place of the usual “B” logo on the end, this protector sports Robinson’s 42. Swoon.

Blackwing has always been very good at packaging, and I love that the last few releases have had matching (recyclable) packing materials. In deep blue, this release is no exception.

Also included in this season’s subscriber box: stickers! Seen below, these are getting stuck on something quick.

My only real issue is the core. Putting the “balanced” core into a white pencil would seem to invite the charge that they just painted a Blackwing Pearl. I notice that they have been careful not to put the MMX core into the black limited editions they have put out. On the other hand, it’s technically the Balanced core’s turn at bat. So maybe I’m just saying this because it’s my least favorite Blackwing core (though your least favorite Blackwing core is still a great core, no?).

This is a great pencil — both aesthetically (it’s understated without being boring) and theme-wise (it’s no surprise that we’re happy to see Blackwing move past their monochromatic first year of releases). I’m leaving my dozen, open, around my home, daring anyone to snatch one — so I can buy another box.

6 thoughts on “Blackwing Volume 42.”

  1. That鈥檚 one gorgeous looking pencil. Shame about the balanced core..was hoping for firm. Ah well..some money saved.

  2. I love the theme. I love how the pencil looks. I thought the bonus items — the stickers and especially the point guard — were great. Alas, I never use the balanced core and neither does my pencil-loving (and baseball-loving!) daughter. I’d guess that many, or perhaps ALL, of these pencils will end up as trades and gifts. Still, that’s all just personal preference. Kudos to the Blackwing folks for a job well done.

    1. I haven’t found a Blackwing I didn’t like. All of the cores are great to me. I do use the soft and balanced cores the most. I will have the new Vol 42.

      1. In my case, I haven’t even tried a single Blackwing yet!

        Frankly, $20-$25 is a lot for me to spend on a box of 12 pencils when I’m not sure which core I’d really prefer. I’ve looked at videos and websites to get an idea — including those which offer their version of a comparison — but they still differ in their evaluations of which grade (B, 2B, etc.) each Blackwing corresponds to. Some will say the regular Blackwing is like a 4B, others will say 5B or 6B, and so on.

        Plus, I’m not sure which B, 2B, etc. they refer to, since Japanese grades tend to differ by one grade or so. (I like the Japanese “B” grade in, for example, the Nano Dia and the Tombow 8900.)

        Actually, now that the Blackwings have four standard cores, I think Palomino should be encouraged to come out with a four-pencil sampler pack for people like me who’d like to know what each one is like without having to buy a whole box.

        Just me whining out loud. :-P

  3. The firm and extra firm cores are very smooth writers, not scratchy on the paper, so basically if you like softer cores just buy any of them. To me, the soft cores write about the same. The various grades of 鈥渂鈥 in the soft cores are not relevant to me. They write great, but keep in mind they generally do not hold a point for long. I write until the core is nearly down to the wood before sharpening. For a longer lasting point, buy the firm and balanced core pencils. My .02. Thanks

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