Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: @Lamy AL-Star 2017 Pacific Blue Fountain Pen @fontoplum0

After years of greens and yellows, Lamy gives us a gorgeous Pacific blue special edition!
Review @Lamy AL-Star 2017 Pacific Blue Fountain Pen @fontoplum0 7

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:    Fontoplumo                                  
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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.
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APPEARANCE

The Al-Star is a full size 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 2017 Pacific Blue Fountain Pen @fontoplum0 2
There is an ink window 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!
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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!

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.

Lamy nibs perform really well - perhaps not extremely precise and consistent with regards to nib sizes, but reliable. This fine was a Western fine, that is, not very fine! It was smooth and put down nice clean lines. It was medium wet with fast drying times. It did not skip or hard start and it easily kept up with long and fast writing sessions. Lamy's steel nibs are quite firm with normal writing, but you could squeeze out a touch of line variation with moderate pressure. I don't recommend doing that often.
Review @Lamy AL-Star 2017 Pacific Blue Fountain Pen @fontoplum0 8
It passed the free weight test, could be used for reverse writing (dry and scratchy, but it worked) and it did not dry out quickly when uncapped.

These are great nibs for pretty much any use - calligraphy nibs are available, or regular round nibs for letter writing, journaling, note taking, and more.

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.

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.
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Review @Lamy AL-Star 2017 Pacific Blue Fountain Pen @fontoplum0 13
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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.
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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

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OVERALL

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 the disadvantages, with the exception of the grip - that has to work for you. I think these make great starter pens, every day writer pens, gifts, and whatever else!


I received this pen free of charge for the purpose 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.
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