Disclaimer: Baron Fig provided me with these pencils at no charge for review purposes. However, I also am a paying subscriber to the Archer Limited Edition series, so I would have been reviewing these anyway.
Let's get it out of the way right now: this pencil does not have the same issues as the Snakes & Ladders Archer release. This one acts like the standard Archer, core-wise, and is as beautiful as all the Archers have been, in their own ways.
The Baron Fig Prismatic Archer pencil is the 2nd in the Limited Edition series, and it's the third Archer pencil overall. While I had issues with the Snakes & Ladders, those issues were with quality control and the core being easily broken. I'm also of the opinion that there were different batches of that S&L, and that some people didn't get the issue I (and many others) got. The Prismatic, on the other hand, doesn't seem to suffer from these issues and is more like the standard Archer, core-wise.
The packaging is straight 90's, Saved-By-The-Bell-style, minus the squiggles. Maybe, if I'm being more "proper", you could say it's from the same era as Paul Rand's NeXT logo? Having grown up around that era, I can dig it, but it looks old to me, not retro, as it might to someone 10 years younger. The colors on the tube, including the main deep blue/purple (blurple), are all represented on the pencils, with the exception of the pink. A pink pencil would've been cool!
There are three color choices: light blue, yellow, and red. Four of each in the tube. The end dip is the dark blurple. As with all the Archers so far, you get the Baron Fig word mark on one side of the pencil. On the opposite side, running down the length of the pencil, are 2D shapes of 3D objects. The blue has cylinders, the yellow has cubes, and the red has pyramids. All prism shapes, all sticking with the theme of the pencil, and the larger theme of shapes in some of the recent releases, like the circle, square, triangle designs of the Infinity Vanguards. All the printing on the pencils are white, which is fine for the red one, but gets a little lost on the light blue and yellow ones. I would've liked to see the blurple printing on those. Also, how AWESOME would it have been if the blue pencils were round, the red pencils triangle, and the yellow pencils square? To match their themes? A cost-hit for sure, but I think it would've been awesome.
Again, these are made in Portugal, from the same manufacturer as all the Archers. The wood is cedar and very fragrant; I got blasted in the face with cedar when opening the package. Love it. All the cores in my package were centered, which was a plus coming from the S&L last time. The first thing I did, without even studying the pencils at all, is look at the cores, see they were centered, then sharpened one and put it to paper. Oh thank god. Beautiful. A nice needle tip from my Carl CP-80 and nary a crumble or a snap once it hit the page.
I've been writing on so much Baron Fig paper lately, I forget that these are a perfect fit for their paper. Case-in-point: my daily pocket carry at the moment is a Field Notes Nixon 2016, which uses their now-standard 60# Finch Opaque Smooth Bright White. I took a few notes with the Prismatic Archer and felt it was a little lighter than it had just been when I jotted something in the Confidant I use at work. This pencil tends to like toothy paper, and I tend to like it on toothy paper. I'll keep my softer pencils away from the hungry Vanguards and Confidants, but the Prismatic (and many other HB pencils) do well on that paper.
If you've used an Archer before, you know that they are eraser-less and very light in the hand. These are no different. The cores are a tad scratchy, and I feel that maybe the lightness of the pencil, combined with it having no ferrule or eraser to add weight and dampen the vibrations, contributes a little to the feedback this pencil gives off. Lately, I've taken to using headphones at work a lot, and it's a totally different experience not hearing the feedback.
Overall, I love the theme of these pencils and am SO HAPPY there wasn't a problem this time with the cores. This is more of what I personally want from Baron Fig: make and refine something into the perfect tool, then change the window dressing a bit. If something needs refined, refine it, but there is no reason to play around with grades or anything else here. They've found the perfect teammate for their paper. No need to mess with it now. I can recommend these pencils for the $15 price tag this time around, though I'd feel a little better about it if these (and the Archer line) sat at $12-$13 per dozen, which you can achieve if you want to subscribe to 3 Limited Edition Archers per year...which I don't.
Available from Baron Fig, $15 for 12.