Vibrant Pink & Turmaline
If I have to think of a fountain pen that doesn’t need an introduction, then I go for the Lamy Safari. Yes, I know, this review is about the Lamy AL-star, but the AL-star is just a higher-quality Safari. The Lamy Safari is the base beginner fountain pen followed by the AL-star, the LX and somewhere around, the Vista. All these fountain pens are based upon the same basic build, only the used materials differ in quality. Oh, I am not into betting, but my bet that every fountain pen collector has an AL-star! Bet?
For many years the Lamy AL-star has been on the market, and almost every year they add a new color to the collection. If you ever are in doubt about this pen, I can say, buy it, you will have no regret. Is the pen expensive? I say no if you see what you get for your money. I say yes if eg. students have to buy this pen. But, when we don’t have to face money issues, this pen is in general a good quality pen.
In my collection I have two AL-stars: a pink one and a turmaline one, the pink with a medium sized nib and the turmaline with a black broad nib. In some way I like the black nibs.
The body of the pen is aluminium, with a high quality look and feel. This makes the pen a light-weight pen. It is not a small pen, but this pen is easy to handle.
The aluminium cap of the pen has a big clip, by which you easily can recognise the Lamy pen. The cap is tight when closed and is not shaky. With a little force you uncap the pen. You can use the cap posted, but, because it is already a big pen, it disturbs somehow the balance of the pen. I you use it posted, you can trust that the cap will not fall off. Also the clip (the biggest one in my fountain pen collection so far) is very useable and handy.
The grip of the fountain pen is ergonomically shaped. For some users, this can be disturbing, so try it out before you buy one. To me, I had no problem with it. The grip on the AL-star is typically transparent.
The steel nibs are available in many sizes, such as EF, F, M and B. There is even a LH nib for left-handed writers (like myself). The big advantage is that the nibs, and other parts of the pen, are interchangeable with the Safari, Lx, Vista … The pen writes very good, no nib issues. And by sliding off the nib, it’s peace of cake to get it cleaned.
To fill the pen you can use a Lamy converter (Z24 or Z28) or you can use a Lamy T10 ink cartridge.
On the aluminium body the Lamy logo is stenced, and this looks good. The body is not rounded, but oval shaped. On both sides of the body there is a cut-out by which you can see the remaining ink.
The Lamy costs around € 25 (and if you go price hunting, you can buy older editions for even less then € 20). The Lamy AL-star is also available as rollerball.
As a final conclusion, I have to say the AL-star is a nice looking quality fountain pen. Perhaps the aluminium body is prone to scratches and tear and wear. So for students (and users who use the pen daily in all-circumstances) perhaps I rather suggest the Safari due to its plastic body. For users who use it in more ‘pen-friendly’ circumstances, the AL-star should be the choosen one.
The good and the bad:
+ writing performance
+ interchangeable parts between different Lamy pens (Vista, AL-star, LX, …)
– ergonomically shaped grip (try it before you buy it
– aluminium body subject to wear and tear
Some technical info:
- 13,9 cm closed
- 13 cm without cap
- 17 cm posted
- 19 gr. complete (empty)
- 10 gr. without cap
- 1,3 cm barrel
- 1 cm grip
- 1,5 cm cap
- 2 cm cap with clip included
Those who use the LAMY AL-star appreciate the extraordinary lightness of its robust yet durable material. Its transparent grip also supplies a revealing look at the inner workings of the ink feed. A combination of materials which unites robustness and elegance, this series offers plenty of surprises with special editions in modern, lifestyle-oriented colours – inspiring writers to show their contemporary individuality with this accessory.