Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of fountain pens, so when my local pen shop, Write Here, offered to send me one for review, how could I refuse?!
The Lamy AL-star fountain pen is the big brother to the Lamy Safari fountain pen which I have reviewed previously. Whereas the Safari is made from ABS plastic, the main body of the AL-star is made from a light but robust aluminium. This means it’s very much a lightweight but tough pen – great for carrying around and for writing with. The main body has a handy viewing window so you can see how much ink is left. The pen has a modern design and its size means it’s perfect for small hands or large.
The grip section of the Lamy AL-star is transparent black. I’ve always thought the grip colour would look better if it matched that of the pen’s body and lid, but it still looks good. The grip is triangular, so might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I know when I first held one of these I didn’t find it comfortable to write with. However, these days I find them perfectly fine to write with. It’s a comfortable grip and I can write for lengthy periods with no problems at all.
The lid has a nice big metal pocket clip on it which is nice and sturdy. I’m not one for putting pens in pockets, but it does stop the pen rolling around on the desk.
The nib on this pen is steel and has been provided in medium. A wide range of nib sizes are available for the AL-star, including extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1, 1.5, 1.9 and left-handed (although my left-handed Mum finds the standard nibs fine to write with). Considering this is a sub £30 pen and considered entry-level for fountain pen enthusiasts, it has a nice and steady flow of ink and the nib smoothly glides across the paper with no issues.
The great thing about these Lamy pens is that changing the nib is very easy and they only cost a few quid to replace. You may wish to change the nib if it becomes damaged (a fountain pen always tends to land nib down if dropped!), is scratchy or if you’d just prefer a different nib size.
The Lamy AL-star comes in a range of colours, including a special edition colour released each year. The special edition for 2017 was Pacific Blue, but Lamy seem to have released it as a 2018 pen too. It’s a beautiful colour and is quite vibrant. This year’s special edition Lamy AL-star is Vibrant Pink and would sit nicely next to this beautiful Pacific Blue. If you could bear to share with your partner, you could have “his and hers” pens!
When it comes to ink, I like matching the ink to my pen, if I can. Write Here kindly sent me a pack of Lamy Turquoise cartridges and a bottle of Diamine Havasu Turquoise ink, both of which match the pen perfectly! If you want to use bottled ink with the Lamy AL-star fountain pen, you’ll need a Lamy Z28 converter which slots into the pen just like a cartridge. Converters are great! They allow you to use a vast range of ink colours and brands, and you quickly discover that one bottle of ink (whilst it will last a long time) just simply isn’t enough!
So, would I recommend this pen? Yes! I think the Lamy AL-star Pacific Blue Fountain Pen and some turquoise ink would make a great gift this Christmas.
Founded in 2004, Write Here is a wonderful shop which can be found on the High Street in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. They sell a wide range of fountain pens and inks, as well as other pens, stationery and art materials. It’s well worth a visit! If you’re not near Shrewsbury, then they have a handy online shop too.
Visit Write Here on the afternoon of Friday, 9th November 2018 or all day on Saturday, 10th November 2018 for Pen Day! John Sorowka will be attending to fix and service pens, adjust nib sizes and help you find the perfect pen. John Twiss will also be in attendance to sell his beautiful handmade pens. Nibbles and drinks will be provided, as will the all-important DISCOUNTS!
Please note: The above fountain pen and inks were provided by Write Here in return for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion.