Varacil trimmed

You have a term paper due tomorrow that’s not going to write itself, but you just can’t bring yourself to sit down and write it. You have to clean off your desk first. You know, a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind. Once that’s done, you’ll be sure to start writing. But wait, a rerun of your favorite TV show is on. It’s only thirty minutes… how much work can you really get done in half an hour anyways? Alright, you’ve wasted enough time! You have to get serious or you’re going to land up pulling an all-nighter again. But dang, look at your pencil! It’s in pieces! Better assemble it first before you get down to taking notes, underlining things in your textbook, doodling on the pages, and then eventually writing that paper…

OK, now this one’s going to take a while…

As If Toy, a Japan-based toy maker, began selling a “Mechanical Pencil Plastic Puzzle Kit” named Varacil, at the beginning of June. When first taken out of the box, the pencil looks more like a plastic model kit (Gunpla, anyone?) with many parts that must be popped out of a plastic casing.

Mechanical Pencil Puzzle2

“When you’re a student, everyone just keeps their pens and pencils scattered around their bags. Thinking of this, I figured we could make an interesting writing tool that won’t be overlooked,” commented an As If Toy representative. A writer over at Excite Japan was so excited about this pencil/toy that he ordered one online right away. Here’s an account of his adventures assembling a mechanical pencil:


I anxiously waited for my pencil kit to come in the mail. After a few days, it finally came and I immediately ripped open the package to find the plastic model parts that I had been promised. You know, the ones that come with parts that have to be detached using clippers and then snapped together. There were 22 of them to be exact. According to the package, “those who are used to making plastic models can finish in 40-50 minutes. First time builders should finish in a little under an hour.”

Gotcha! Okay, let’s start building! Since the pieces just snap together, I figured it would be an easy build… but it turned out that it wasn’t quite that simple.

I forgot it had been about 20 years since I last put together a plastic model. But thankfully since the pen’s pieces aren’t glued together, there’s room for error.

I fumbled through the plastic model, but eventually a pencil took shape. It took me about an hour, but it was a very enjoyable hour!

varacil finished pencil

Then came the moment I had been waiting for… time to use my pencil! I had been wondering how comfortable it would be to write with.

“The pencil can certainly be used to write with, but the body is very uneven and is prone to bending. This item shouldn’t be relied on as a main pencil and should instead be used occasionally when you want something fun to write with,” commented an As If Toy representative.

Ah, certainly… when I tried using the pencil myself, it was hard to write letters well. It definitely shouldn’t be used to fill out an important document. But I think if you get writer’s block and need a little creative stimulation it’s a good tool to have. You can write, disassemble, and reassemble whenever you feel like you can’t write any more.


Exactly! We’re glad the writer over at Excite Japan thought the same thing. This mechanical pencil puzzle really is the ultimate procrastinating tool! And it’s a steal at 945 yen (US $10.90)!

So stop drawing a Hitler mustache and eye patch on that weird looking dude in your textbook (you know, the guy whose name and history you’re supposed to memorize) and start putting together your pencil! How are you supposed to get any work done? It’s in pieces for crying out loud!

Mechanical Pencil Puzzle6

Source: Excite Japan