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Lamy Al-Star (Graphite)

lamy al-star lamy al-star review

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14 replies to this topic

#1 Iur

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 10:26

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Lamy Al-Star Graphite

 

I have been using this pen almost everyday for the last 6 months.

 

This is an impartial review aiming at determining this pen's strenghts and weaknesses within its price range [sub €50 (euros)].

 

Packaging was a standard blister pack including a Lamy blue ink cartridge. Certainly not one of the strong points of this product, especially when compared to the Pilot Metropolitan metal casing. If this was an evaluation attribute, I would have rated it 5/10.

 

1) Appearance & Design – Graphite finish suits this model quite well by complementing the original ‘industrial’ look. All aluminum apart from the grip section, cap top and barrel top, which are made of good quality plastic. LAMY is engraved near the top of the barrel. The ink window looks nice and complements the overall design of the pen. I am not a big fan of the clip aesthetically speaking. The grip section will divide opinions. As a ‘forefinger up’ user, I can live with the grip, but it is not a favorite of mine. Overall, I prefer a classical fountain pen look. 8/10

 

2) Construction & Quality– Very sturdy. It has only minor scratching which is rather imperceptible in this finish. Body is quite slick though. 9/10

 

3) Weight & Dimensions – Medium sized, reasonable balance uncapped. Balance is improved quite a bit when posted, IMHO. Light to moderate weight (12g unposted, 22g posted). 9/10

 

4) Nib & Performance – M nib is quite reasonable. Dry writer but consistent flow. I do need to apply a small amount of pressure in order to write, which prevents me from writing in a lighter manner. F nib presents basically the same line thickness but is much worse when it comes to other parametres. It is scratchy and the sweet spot, besides being smaller, requires a different writing angle than the M nib. I believe this nib to be flawed.

I had a lot of issues with ink flow when the pen was in new condition, even after flushing twice. Writing with it has seem to have solved the issue over time. The pen may still rarely run somewhat dry depending on the ink used though. 7/10 (M nib).

 

5) Filling System & Maintenance – Standard proprietary C/C system. I use the Z28 converter. It holds a good amount of ink (up to 0,8ml). I did not enjoy the included Lamy cartridge. The converter is hard to disassemble for cleaning behind the piston. 5/10

 

6) Cost & Value– I paid €28 at a technology store. I think that there are stronger competitors on the market for the price (some above, some below). 6/10

 

7) Conclusion – 7/10

 

It might look like that I am being quite harsh on the Lamy Al-Star. The pen certainly has its merits: an interesting design, solid construction quality, nice weight and balance.

However, I believe Lamy’s nib QC is substandard or simply just insufficient. In addition, the packaging and the converter could be further refined.

Rivals include the Pilot Metropolitan (which I prefer overall), the Faber-Castell Loom, the Pilot Kakuno, the Platinum Preppy and Plaisir, the Pelikan Stola and even the Lamy Safari itself, the latter competing internally at a lower price point.

I do like my Al-Star and do not regret purchasing it but, if I had to replace my deceased Pilot Metropolitan today, I would have made a difference choice.

 

I hope you enjoyed this review and hope that we can have a civilized and interesting interchange of ideas concerning this pen.

Pictures follow (I would update these with better quality, but I do not know how to aside from attaching them to the post. Any input on this is greatly appreciated).

 

Cheers

 

P. S.: This was my first review so do not be shy and provide input so I may improve future reviews! :)

 

 

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Edited by Iur, 28 April 2019 - 12:34.


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#2 Iur

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 20:38

150 views and no replies?

 

Here is the blister pack of the pen.

 

59464734_285391945743275_8854729736799125504_n.jpg

 

 



#3 death89

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 21:42

A good and thorough review in my opinion. I wonder if your conclusion is a tad harsh though as to 'almost' declare poor QC when considering only one nib was notably below standard seems a little over the top.

Personally I've got two safaris and despite not loving the first to begin with, once I put some better ink in it it became a better writer and I bought another as a result. They're both now lovely smooth writers that are much nicer to use than my Parkers, and on a par with my Waterman and Monteverde.

I'm curious though, so a fine pointed al-star will be on my next purchase.

#4 Iur

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 22:05

Thank you for your input!

The comment I wrote on QC did not express well what I had in mind. Indeed, I did not mean to say that Lamy had to upgrade its QC in the following oficial my single experience. However, there are several complaints from other people online concerning the same subject. No brand is immune to mistakes, obviously, and I do like the pen! Overall, I only wanted to vent a bit and hope such negative events become ever rarer if possible.

Being able to interchange nibs in the Lamy is a great asset. I am considering purchasing the 1.1 or 1.5 stub for my headlines.

What Waterman pens do you have? I have been eyeing an almost mint Expert II (blue marble version) for 55 euros, located near my area.

Edited by Iur, 30 April 2019 - 22:18.


#5 Honeybadgers

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 07:31

A good and thorough review in my opinion. I wonder if your conclusion is a tad harsh though as to 'almost' declare poor QC when considering only one nib was notably below standard seems a little over the top.

Personally I've got two safaris and despite not loving the first to begin with, once I put some better ink in it it became a better writer and I bought another as a result. They're both now lovely smooth writers that are much nicer to use than my Parkers, and on a par with my Waterman and Monteverde.

I'm curious though, so a fine pointed al-star will be on my next purchase.

 

I'd go out on a limb and say the Z50's quality control for the EF and F nibs is garbage. It's dated and badly in need of a refresh


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#6 namrehsnoom

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 20:01

Excellent review. Your pics are wonderful.
I’ve got a few Safaris and AL-stars myself, and quite like them as daily writers. They are cheap enough not to constantly worry about damaging them. And there’s tons of finishes available, so you’re practically guaranteed to find one to your liking.
Nibs are a bit hit and miss in my experience. But they are cheap and easy to replace.

Looking forward to more of your reviews!

#7 1nkulus

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 20:46

I'd go out on a limb and say the Z50's quality control for the EF and F nibs is garbage. It's dated and badly in need of a refresh

+1

 

and the EF price has almost doubled adding insult to injury.  angry.png


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Someone who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.


#8 death89

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 18:38

Thank you for your input!

The comment I wrote on QC did not express well what I had in mind. Indeed, I did not mean to say that Lamy had to upgrade its QC in the following oficial my single experience. However, there are several complaints from other people online concerning the same subject. No brand is immune to mistakes, obviously, and I do like the pen! Overall, I only wanted to vent a bit and hope such negative events become ever rarer if possible.

Being able to interchange nibs in the Lamy is a great asset. I am considering purchasing the 1.1 or 1.5 stub for my headlines.

What Waterman pens do you have? I have been eyeing an almost mint Expert II (blue marble version) for 55 euros, located near my area.


Apologies for the delay in replying, been away from the forum for longer than I thought!

I suspected that was your intention, I actually forgot to mention that I have the Lamy Joy set as well and find the 1.1 and 1.5 very good, haven't tried the 1.9 yet...

I have the Expert Blue Obsession (didn't know there was a mk2), it's a very nice writer. The fine nib is very smooth, and the sweet spot seems to extend to allow almost medium width writing at lower angles to the page, and nearly extra fine with the pen at steeper angles. It was a gift from work and my first Waterman but I've been instantly hooked!

#9 Iur

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 19:24

Apologies for the delay in replying, been away from the forum for longer than I thought!

I suspected that was your intention, I actually forgot to mention that I have the Lamy Joy set as well and find the 1.1 and 1.5 very good, haven't tried the 1.9 yet...

I have the Expert Blue Obsession (didn't know there was a mk2), it's a very nice writer. The fine nib is very smooth, and the sweet spot seems to extend to allow almost medium width writing at lower angles to the page, and nearly extra fine with the pen at steeper angles. It was a gift from work and my first Waterman but I've been instantly hooked!

 

Thank you very much for your reply! I have decided to postpone the purchase of a around 50€ pen and have gone for a Waterman Kultur near mint condition, as it was priced only at 11€, shipping included  :). I will definitely do a "first impressions" post here on the review section when it arrives home.

I also have an upcoming Platinum Plaisir so I shall refrain from buying further pens in the next few months but I your feedback has been quite helpful. I think I shall end up buying the 1.5 nib for the Lamy as well.


Edited by Iur, 08 May 2019 - 19:25.


#10 KaB

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 05:18

Nice review. Can I add some observations?

 

I own the exactly the same pen (different nibs), except I've been using it for a few years now. Which leads to two additions:

- the Al-Star shows scratches and dents far easier than it's plastic cousin

- my cap doen't close well any more. Ruined one shirt already (large stain in the breast pocket), so as punishment, it doesn't get to go out any more: it's confined to my desk now


fpn_kab_tsuki_yo_most_boring_212x150.gif  Current rotation: home: Lamy Al-star 1.5, GvFC Moss Green; Lamy Vista 1.1, Diamine Oxblood; Sheaffer Touchdown 0.6, Sailor Kin-Mokusei

Case: Visconti HS EF, Sailor Kin-Mokusei; Estie 2314M, R&K Alt-Goldgrün; Lamy Studio 1.1, Diamine Ochre 


#11 death89

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 08:59

 
Thank you very much for your reply! I have decided to postpone the purchase of a around 50 pen and have gone for a Waterman Kultur near mint condition, as it was priced only at 11, shipping included  :). I will definitely do a "first impressions" post here on the review section when it arrives home.
I also have an upcoming Platinum Plaisir so I shall refrain from buying further pens in the next few months but I your feedback has been quite helpful. I think I shall end up buying the 1.5 nib for the Lamy as well.


Thanks for reminding me about the Kultur! I'd meant to get one years ago and completely forgotten. I look forward to reading your future reviews 🙂

#12 Iur

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 16:16

Nice review. Can I add some observations?
 
I own the exactly the same pen (different nibs), except I've been using it for a few years now. Which leads to two additions:
- the Al-Star shows scratches and dents far easier than it's plastic cousin
- my cap doen't close well any more. Ruined one shirt already (large stain in the breast pocket), so as punishment, it doesn't get to go out any more: it's confined to my desk now


I am sorry for hearing that. I hope mine lasts in good condition for quite a while longer.

#13 PensandPencilsDotNet

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 15:52

Nice review. Can I add some observations?

 

I own the exactly the same pen (different nibs), except I've been using it for a few years now. Which leads to two additions:

- the Al-Star shows scratches and dents far easier than it's plastic cousin

- my cap doen't close well any more. Ruined one shirt already (large stain in the breast pocket), so as punishment, it doesn't get to go out any more: it's confined to my desk now

 

Thanks so much for this important i piece of info.


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#14 Tom Kellie

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 00:39

~ lur:

 

Thank you for posting such excellent images.

 

They appeal to me for their color and luminosity.

 

I hope that your pen will be a cherished writer.

 

Tom K.



#15 FOUR X FOUR

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 01:30

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this pen. Most reviews seem to be mostly favorable. Nothing wrong with giving your thoughts on this pen.





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