Review: Lamy Al-Star

The Numbers:
Weight: 22g
Length (capped): 139mm
Length (uncapped): 130mm
Length of cap: 64mm
Price: USD$37.60 from Pen Chalet
Body Material: Metal
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / Converter
Colours: Various

Intro:
I purchased this Lamy Al-Star as a second hand pen from another fountain pen user on the Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers' Facebook group many months ago. I thought I had already reviewed this pen but it turns out that I have forgotten totally about reviewing the Lamy Al-Star. The Lamy Al-Star is a sibling to the sturdy ABS plastic madeLamy Safari. The Lamy Al-Star is made of aluminum thus the "Al" of the name. They are almost identical in all respect other than the material used to make the pen.

Packaging:
The Lamy Al-Star comes in a simple but interestingly designed cardboard box. The pen is protected by a hard cardboard tube. I have always enjoyed Lamy's packaging for their pens. The ones that I have are made of paper or cardboard thus easily recycled. They have a small footprint and they don't take up all that much space.

Performance:
The Lamy Al-Star has a simple design, similar to the Lamy Safari. It starts at the cap with the iconic paper clip like clip. The clip is springy and long. It is easy to secure the pen with its long clip one handed. The cap comes off easily with a pull.

The grip section has a molded grip which helps you to know where to put your fingers. This works with people using the standard tripod grip, not so for others. I don't grip my pens with the tripod grip but luckily the triangular grip doesn't bother my fingers all that much. The grip section is a clear plastic and you can see the feed underneath it. The ink window just below the grip section is a useful feature to monitor the ink level.

The Lamy Al-Star is a cartridge converter fountain pen. It takes Lamy's propriety cartridges and converter. Mine came with the Lamy Z24 converter which the Lamy Al-Star takes, making it convenient to use bottled inks with. The pen unscrews easily at the barrel and it provides quick access to the converter or cartridge.

The Lamy Al-Star comes with a stainless steel nib which can be easily removed to swap other nibs in. Lamy offers the standard EF, F, M, B as well as 1.1mm, 1.5mm and 1.9mm stub nibs. The fine nib that came with the pen writes smoothly. It lays down thick wet lines. The Lamy nibs in my experience tend to write wet out of the box. The Lamy Al-Star is a work horse for sure. It is a sturdy pen that is a worthy upgrade from the standard Lamy Safari.

Conclusion:
If you enjoyed a Lamy Safari and is looking for an upgrade the Lamy Al-Star is your first logical choice. It has the ability to swap nibs easily. If you decide to skip the Safari and get the Al-Star, you won't regret that decision. Keep in mind that the triangular grip section is a problem for some users who do not use the traditional tripod grip. Otherwise the Lamy Al-Star is a worth addition to anyone's pen collection.

Pros:
* Light weight aluminum pen
* Interchangable nibs
* Many colours to choose from

Cons:
* Grip can be a problem for some

Posted on May 1, 2015 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.