Besides being an attractive pen, what impressed me the most (and has impressed me with other pens in this series) was that the pen wrote immediately, just as it was from the factory…No cleaning & rinsing or fiddling with the EF nib was necessary for it to start up and write without skipping!
It was a smart move on Lamy’s part to design this pen to accommodate both larger and smaller hands. This is a considerably larger pen, both in length and girth, than I normally use. No problem. The light weight aluminum Al-Star (which is only barely heavier than the plastic Lamy Safari) is comfortable in my small hand.
I’ve found the unusual looking triangular, flat-sided grip section to be easy and natural to hold, including when I’m using an italic nib for italic writing.
The flat sides of the barrel both give the pen it’s unique look and keep the pen from rolling off of your desk if you set it down with the cap off. The barrel has open slots for ink level viewing. When I first saw the clip in this series of pens, I didn’t think I liked it—but it has grown on me.
Another clever and useful design feature is the slide-off nib. I use the side of a fingernail file at the base of the nib to push it forward & off, and slide another nib on with my fingers. Since this can easily be done while the pen is inked, it’s especially handy! This is what I did in the example shown.
Converter’s are sold separately for these pens, but the designer had the presence of mind to put little bumps on the sides of the converters which fit into slots in the section so that you can tell if you’ve seated the converter properly. It’s the little details like this that make it quite apparent that a lot of thought went into the design. For the most part, I’ve avoided c/c pens in recent purchases, preferring piston fillers, but these Lamy’s are a happy exception.
The EF nib that came with this pen was “just right”—neither too dry nor too wet. In general, my experience has been that their pointed nibs seem to write on the dry side and their italic nibs seem to be wet writers—sometimes too wet for me. On an older pen I carefully heated the feed and pressed it toward the italic nib, and this has helped. Only one (out of three) of my EF nibs was somewhat scratchy when I got it, and it easily smoothed out on 3M crocus cloth. I’ve never had a Lamy nib that didn’t write.
I wanted this pretty blue Al-Star because, already owning a couple of Safaris, I simply felt that I could trust that the pen would work well. It did not disappoint! I got mine from one of our new FPN members, Lily, at JetPens. You can take a look at what they’ve got in their JetPens ad in our pens for sale section in our marketplace. It was very pleasant to deal with Lily and the shipping was very prompt. (Usual disclaimer—I have no affiliation with JetPens.)
It still amazes me when an inexpensive pen works better OTB than some expensive pens do. And it’s a definite plus when an inexpensive pen is loaded with design features that other inexpensive pens lack. For sure, this pen is a winner!