Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Reads: February 28. 2016

Sunday Reads


Stuff I Looked At Elsewhere
Stuff I Apparently Did This Week
Stuff I Read This Week

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0

Lamy gives us... Charged Green!
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (2)
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (12)
ABOUT

Body Material: Aluminum
Trim: Chrome
Nib material: Steel
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: Lamy cartridges/Lamy Z24 Converter
Price: € 26,90 (VAT included)
Where to buy:                                                 Fontplumo
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FIRST TIME CUSTOMERS: GOURMETPENS
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PACKAGING

Lamy offers straight forward, simple, low-waste packaging for the AL-star fountain pens - small, grey, cardboard boxes that keep the pen safe from scratches, but doesn't take up too much space. I like it.

APPEARANCE

The Al-Star is a good sized pen - it's nice for many users because it's not a small pocket pen, but it's not oversize - it's just right in between. A proper, full size pen! The ends are blunt, but slightly rounded off, with black end plugs. The finial is a cross on this AL-Star, indicating at a glance that this is a fountain pen. 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. The clip is built into the cap, long, sleek and curved outwards at the end.
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (1)
The shape and design of the AL-Star is unmistakable - and a bunch of these look really good all lined up. Just saying. In case you're considering collecting these.
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (10)
There is an ink window through the pen, near the section, that allows you to see the ink cartridge or converter inside. This is quite useful, and is a simple feature that is missing on many pens. It doesn't work on all pens, but it works here! As a result of this open space, you can see your ink level, but you cannot turn this pen into an eyedropper. The section is a translucent grey plastic so you can see the black feed through it. 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 Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (6)
What's different about this AL-Star? Well, this is the 2016 color - Charged Green. It's a bright, intense green that makes me think of an energy drink or Mountain Dew! It's very interesting, with a matte finish. It sort of glows, without being neon. I don't think it's a color that will appeal to everyone, but hey, we love choice, right?
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (9)\
NIB & PERFORMANCE

The steel Lamy nib is small and simple, with a single breather hole and slit, engraved with Lamy and the nib size. These are interchangeable nibs, so you can slide the nib off and put a different size on your pen - very convenient!
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (4)
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (5)
The Lamy nib is aesthetically simple, but in general, they are reliable, easy to work with nibs. I have used a lot of these steel nibs now, and have not had any real issues with them. Sometimes an extra-fine may be more of a fine than extra-fine, but other than that, they've never been a problem. If you don't like the feeling, you can quickly and easy smooth your nib out with some micro mesh.
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (13)
This broad nib is really pleasant to use - nice, generous ink flow, smooth writer, average drying times, and a great nib all around. The nib is very stiff, as all steel Lamy nibs are. You can apply pressure, but not much will happen. However, the wetness of the nib offers some shading if you use the right ink. It keeps up well with fast writing and long writing sessions, not running dry at all. Perfect for every day writing or long note taking sessions!

IN HAND

The shape of the clip with the curve at the end of the cap allows it to slide easily on to papers or on to shirts. It's not very snug, but it's not a heavy pen either, so it doesn't really need much tension to stay in place.
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (3)
The AL-Star shape is one of those triangular type that may bother you. The seams are a little sharp if you get one that was roughly done, but it works for me. I don't have issues gripping the section, but I know some people hate it.
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (15)
Unposted, the pen is comfortable, well-balanced, and a good size. I think many users would find this comfortable unposted. If you like to post, the cap does post by friction. It sits securely on the back of the pen, and it doesn't wiggle or around or fall off. It doesn't feel top heavy when posted and it's still comfortable to write with, but I prefer to use it unposted.
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (8)
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (7)
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.

PROS & CONS
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (14)
OVERALL
Review Lamy AL-Star 2016 Charged Green Fountain Pen @Fontoplum0 (11)
I certainly would recommend the AL-Star to those interested in fountain pens - they're pretty easy to find, quite robust, have interchangeable nibs, and are comfortable to use. The advantages of the pen outweigh any disadvantages. If you don't like this particular color, there are several others to choose from, or you can wait until next year to see if Lamy will offer something you can't resist!

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.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Whiskers & Paws: February 2016 Edition

Whiskers & Paws February 2016 Edition (1)
He spends a lot of time in this spot. Maybe he likes the wall. Or rolling around.
Whiskers & Paws February 2016 Edition (2)
He also likes this spot.
Whiskers & Paws February 2016 Edition (3)
Le sigh.
Whiskers & Paws February 2016 Edition (4)
Whiskers & Paws February 2016 Edition (5)
Umm...?
Whiskers & Paws February 2016 Edition (6)
Whiskers & Paws February 2016 Edition (7)
Whiskers & Paws February 2016 Edition (8)
Peaches does this a lot.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens @YafaBrands

Thanks to Goulet Pens for sending this very pretty pen to review! Come on. I think anyone can use this - the black trim tones down the hot pink, doesn't it?
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (11)
ABOUT

Body Material: Resin
Trim:  Metal
Nib material: Steel
Length (capped): 133.2 mm/5.24''
Length (uncapped nib-end): 119.0 mm/4.68''
Length (posted): 170.0 mm/6.30''
Barrel Diameter: 110.9 - 13.5 mm/0.43'' - 0.53''
Section Diameter: 9.8 - 10.6 mm/0.38'' - 0.41''
Weight (all): 24 g
Weight (cap): 14 g
Weight (body): 10 g
Fill type: Standard international cartridge/converter
Price: $56.00USD
Where to buy: Goulet Pens

PACKAGING

This pen was packaged in a large, hard, green clam shell box. The pen is secured in place on a satiny white bed by a white satin ribbon. Under the tray, there is a box of ink cartridges and pen refill instructions. It should be noted that although this box should hold 6 cartridges, Monteverde only supplies TWO. Which is the most ridiculous thing ever, because why put them in this box then? It's a let down. Very minor, but anyway, just a note.
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (3)
The entire clam shell box is slid into a green outer sleeve. It's decent packaging, although excessive for the pen size and price, in my opinion. It's also not pretty enough to make me want to keep it/store it.

APPEARANCE
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (15)
The Intima, in this case, has caught my eye. Why? Have you seen this thing?! It's neon pink and swirly! This pen is on the smaller side. It's a round pen, widest at the center, and tapering towards the ends. The barrel tapers more, and ends in a flat, blunt, black end plug. The finisl is black and has a white Monteverde peak logo on it. The top of the cap is black - the side is engraved with Monteverde USA Intima, which is filled with white. The clip is attached by a thin ring just under the finial. It's a simple clip, flaring up at the end. It has no markings on it. The section is the only other black part of this pen. It has an hourglass shape, which suits the pen well.
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (4)
The cap and barrel are a beautiful, bright, blinding neon pink, and I love it. It's a pearlescent dark pink, with lighter pink patches and veins. The contrast between the pink and black looks really good. I like it a lot and I had a hard time picking between this one and the neon green.
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (8)
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (14)
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (17)
NIB & PERFORMANCE

This steel stub nib (1.1 mm italic) is a shiny black nib with a single slit and a round breather hole. The nib is engraved with Monteverde USA, the logo, and the peaks running through the breather hole. It's a pretty cool looking nib, and it suits the pen.
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (9)
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (10)
I flushed the pen before inking it up. The nib is smooth enough, but requires proper alignment on the page so that you do feel that smoothness, and so that it won't skip. It isn't a very wet writer, and drying times are pretty quick. So long as the nib is aligned properly, it writes well. I was surprised that it offered some line variation under pressure. However, it is a stub (untipped) so it produces broad down strokes and thin cross strokes. I like the natural line variation a lot. I think it's a decent performer, although I would prefer if it was a little wetter.
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (18)
IN HAND

I like this clip, both aesthetically and functionally. It is springy,s o it's very easy to use with one hand. The upward angle of the end also makes it easy to slide the pen on to papers and into pockets/pen cases.
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (16)
I really like this section, too. It's smooth and there are no biting ridges at the end. There is a sharp and pronounced ridge from the section to the barrel; fortunately, it is out of the range of my grip. It isn't slippery during use, and the indent makes the pen comfortable to hold.
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (5)
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (6)
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (7)
Unposted, the pen fits my hand well. It is not very long but it feels balanced and comfortable. The cap can be posted by friction - it sits on the back of the pen securely, but it doesn't go very deep. Although it feels just a little long for me, I find it well-balanced and still good to use.
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (13)
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (12)
PROS & CONS
Review Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen - Stub @GouletPens (19)
OVERALL

Thumbs up. I would prefer if the nib was a bit wetter, but it writes stub-like, and the pen is very comfortable for me. The colors are awesome, and it's an affordable, fun pen. I like it. This is a comfy pen for me, actually, so that combined with the decent nib and color scheme...!

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.

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.gourmetpens.com.