Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad

Wonder Pens sent this Al-Star over with an adorable addition - something I used to love as a kid because I thought it was fascinating - a "Miracle Fish Fortune Teller". According to the fish, I am passionate. ... Well, yes, hard to argue with that, I am passionate about LE PEN! Thank you Wonder Pens for this gorgeous Al-Star!
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad

Body Material: Aluminum
Trim: Chrome
Length (capped): 6.1"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 5.28"
Length (posted): 6.7"
Barrel Diameter: 0.46 - 0.50" (flat surface to round surface)
Section Diameter: 0.36 - 0.48" (flat surface at smallest point to widest point)
Nib material: Steel
Weight: 22g
Fill type: Cartridge/converter
Price: $48.00CAD ($3.00CAD extra for stub nibs)
Where to buy: Wonder Pens

Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
The Lamy Al-Star packaging is a simple dark grey cardboard box with thin viewing windows. So, you know, you can view the pen inside. The pen is clipped to a piece of the same cardboard that slides out. Inside is a blue Lamy cartridge (le sigh). As I said with the Safari, I'm content with this packaging - if the packaging will increase the price of the pen, then it should just stay like this. I'm also pleased that there is no plastic.
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
The Al-Star is a good sized pen - the ends are blunt with black end plugs. The finial is a cross on this Al-Star. The cap is completely round, whereas the rest of the body has two flat surfaces - one with LAMY engraved on it, and the other sides are rounded like the cap.
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
There is a window through the pen that allows you to see the ink cartridge or converter inside, which is a great touch. It's almost like having an eyedropper pen. The clip is built into the cap, long, sleek and curved outwards at the end of the cap so it will slide easily on to papers or on to shirts. The section is a translucent grey plastic so you can see the black feed through it. The nib is small and simple, with a single breather hole and slit, engraved with Lamy and the nib size. There are no exposed threads - something that is likely overlooked by a lot of people, but is a great thing for those who are bothered by sharp threads!
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
The Lamy nib is aesthetically simple, but in general, they are reliable, easy to work with nibs: the tines are simple to realign, and should the nib need some minor smoothing, it's easy to do yourself with a bit of micro mesh. I inspected this nib closely before inking up and was pretty pleased to see it was perfectly aligned and had a beautiful space between the tines. Fantastic.

On to ink selection! I finally picked Diamine Soft Mint because in this broad nib, I expected decent shading. The nib wrote very well, it was smooth with a little bit of feedback, and much to my satisfaction, it was a very wet writer. The ink selection, in my humble opinion, was perfect, because the Soft Mint shades really well and looks fantastic in this wet writer. Lovely. If you want a wet writing broad nib that is reliable and a work horse, this is a good choice.
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad

The Al-Star is the kind of pen that may or may not work for you. The reason is the shape of the grip. For me, I can adjust my grip quite easily because I don't have a set writing position/grip, so the Al-Star is right up my alley - affordable, interchangeable nibs, easy to disassemble to clean, and fun colours. The grip has two flat sides on the top and a rounded surface at the bottom, meant to force you to hold the pen in a particular way.
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
Since it works for me, let's move on. The pen is heavier wherever the cap is - so capped, it's heavy to the front, and posted, it's heavy to the back. Since it's such a light material overall though, even posted, it isn't top heavy and it remains comfortable to write with. I can use the pen either unposted or posted, and when posted, it posts deeply and comfortably. It feels very nice in hand, so long as the grip isn't an issue for you. I love the balance and weight of this pen, and I think these are so popular because this design works for so many people.

The body is smooth to the touch and warms nicely when held, though the material can scratch. The clip is not too tight, but if you pull too hard, there is some give where it attaches into the cap so be careful with it.
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
  • No exposed threads.
  • Interchangeable nibs (and affordable nibs).
  • Ink window - so you can see your ink level.
  • Beautiful blue green colour.
  • Easy to disassemble and clean.
  • Great pen for beginners and experienced users alike.
  • With so many colours to choose from, it's easy to find one for anyone you're trying to turn into a fountain pen addict. 
  • Nice wet writing nib brings out great shading.
Review: @_WonderPens @LamyUSA Al-Star LE Blue-Green 2014 - Broad
  • Clip feels weak at point of attachment.
  • Converter is a separate purchase (~$5).
  • If the grip doesn't work for you, the pen is just not an option for you. 

I most certainly recommend the Lamy Al-Star, but especially in this colour. The only other Al-Star colour that really appealed to me was the purple. When I saw this one, it stole my heart. (Okay, in fairness, a lot of pens do that, but still). The colour is so fresh and fun, and think of the joys of pairing this with the perfect ink! OH YES. The advantage of having interchangeable nibs, a converter, and endless ink options? Not too shabby. Hit up Wonder Pens (see below), say hi, and definitely add this blue green to your collection hoard, because you'll probably try to hold out saying you don't need it, then you'll regret it later, so just get it now and enjoy it.

Browse Wonder Pens

I received this pen free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. There are no affiliate links in this review.


Ashley Shell said...

I just ordered this pen a couple days ago and am eagerly awaiting my shipment! I was not sure what "color" it would be, as on the internet and with different cameras, the colors came out anywhere from a teal, to a blue, to blue/green that looked a but like it had little bits of glitter-metallic. I hope this pen does not disappoint in color (As I already have a Lamy Al-star in Pearl, so I know it writes splendid!) I am hoping to order the Lamy Safari Neon Coral really soon!

pajhurley said...

Excellent review Azizah - thanks for posting it.
It seems that no matter how many pens I acquire over the years, a really stunning color (darned spell checking is getting in the way of the correct spelling for 'colour') on a Lamy AL Star is almost impossible spurn.
I have placed a few orders with WonderPens for my family back in Canada and the service has always been 'wonderful'. Highly recommended.

Winnie Dolderer said...

I got mine last week and am loving it. First Al Star for me. I have 2 Safaris and love them too. Am loving that color ink you used, I have to go get a sample now. I am enjoying Jade Edelstein in mine currently.

Azizah Asgarali said...

It's true - it looks so different in different light! I tried to capture it as accurately as I see it, but it's very hard to do so. To me, it's more green than blue, but I was still pleased by the colour nevertheless :)

Azizah Asgarali said...

I spent a good half hour trying to pick an ink, and finally found this sample in my stash and knew it was the perfect one. I think you'll have to get some Soft Mint too :)

Azizah Asgarali said...

Thank you Paul! I always tell myself: don't need another Lamy, don't need another Lamy... saw this one.. LE SIGH. It was too pretty and they really picked a unique colour!

Props to Wonder Pens. I hope they continue to expand their selection for fellow Canadians!

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