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Lamy AL-Star Oceanblue: A Handwritten Review of My First Fountain Pen


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20 replies to this topic

#1 Stevopedia

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 22:06

I just got my new toy today... an Oceanblue Lamy AL-Star, my first fountain pen!

The AL-Star is essentially just the Safari, but made out of anodized aluminum instead of ABS plastic.

This is my very first review too, so please go easy on me...

Also, I somehow managed to forget one section in my review:

Design (5/5)

The AL-Star was well-designed. On the (plastic) section of the pen are two cutouts for use with the tripod grip. If you use the tripod grip (I do) it makes the pen extremely comfortable to hold. If not...well, it would be unpleasant at best, I think.

The cap on the Safari/AL-Star is rather large, and the clip is too. The clip seems sturdy, and has no trouble clipping into blue jeans' pockets.

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Edited by Stevopedia, 07 June 2008 - 19:18.


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#2 DeaconKC

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 02:47

Well, I for one found your review very enjoyable! Thanks
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#3 Randal6393

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 03:03

Thank you for taking the time to share your new enthusiasm with us. You do an excellent job of presenting the Lamy Al-Star. I have three Safaris, will have to see about the Al-Star. I use the 1.1 mm Italic nib mostly. It's a broader nib than the one you have but I use thicker nibs and write in Italic handwriting. Grab a copy of one of the current Italic manuals and check it out if you get a chance.

Best of luck to you,

Stay enthused!
Randal

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#4 Pupster

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 06:29

I have exactly the same pen with a Fine nib as well. I'm a student, and this pen in my opinion is as flashy as it can get without attracting too much attention. However, the nib is not as smooth as the one on the several years-old Safari Charcoal my dad gave me. Thinking of changing the F nib with a 1.1mm italic soon, I rather enjoy my Lamy Joy

#5 Stevopedia

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 21:15

As an addendum to the review, the nib has become significantly wetter since I've been using it. Is there a 'break-in' period for new nibs? Is this usual behavior? At any rate, I really like the wetter line it's been laying down and I think the slightly broad line is just fine (no pun intended). All in all, I think the F nib is a keeper! thumbup.gif

QUOTE(Randal6393 @ Jun 6 2008, 11:03 PM)  
Thank you for taking the time to share your new enthusiasm with us. You do an excellent job of presenting the Lamy Al-Star. I have three Safaris, will have to see about the Al-Star. I use the 1.1 mm Italic nib mostly. It's a broader nib than the one you have but I use thicker nibs and write in Italic handwriting. Grab a copy of one of the current Italic manuals and check it out if you get a chance.

Best of luck to you,

Stay enthused!
Randal


Thank you, and you're welcome! I'm still very new to fountain pens, and I'm not sure what makes italic nibs special. But I may have a look at them. I don't know of any B+M pen shops near me--where can I get my hands on one of those manuals?

QUOTE(Pupster @ Jun 7 2008, 02:29 AM)  
I have exactly the same pen with a Fine nib as well. I'm a student, and this pen in my opinion is as flashy as it can get without attracting too much attention. However, the nib is not as smooth as the one on the several years-old Safari Charcoal my dad gave me. Thinking of changing the F nib with a 1.1mm italic soon, I rather enjoy my Lamy Joy


I agree with you--the AL-Star is just normal-looking enough not to attract attention. I think it'll become my normal pen at school though! (I wonder how long a full converter will last...?) I've heard that it's the case that pens just get better with time--the nibs get smoother and (literally) polished with continued use.


#6 stjimmy

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 22:26

Great review, Stevo! Having just purchaced the Lamy Al-star in green I found this review very informative and spot on. Your very brave showing your penmanship off to the FPN. I got the Med point. I can't tell the diffrence by just looking at your review.

Great first review.
StJimmy.

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#7 KCat

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 22:38

Very nice review. I gave up my Red Safari but keep thinking I would enjoy an Al-Star. The Safari didn't jump out of my pen box and say "Write with me!" though it was very comfortable and had a good nib.

That "hint of scratch" is "tooth" and I found it to be true for my Safari. Not scratchy, but a feeling of connecting with the paper.

Well, I can't buy another pen right now, no matter how inexpensive but this review makes it tempting.

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#8 Stevopedia

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 23:50

QUOTE(KCat @ Jun 7 2008, 06:38 PM)  
Very nice review. I gave up my Red Safari but keep thinking I would enjoy an Al-Star. The Safari didn't jump out of my pen box and say "Write with me!" though it was very comfortable and had a good nib.

That "hint of scratch" is "tooth" and I found it to be true for my Safari. Not scratchy, but a feeling of connecting with the paper.

Well, I can't buy another pen right now, no matter how inexpensive but this review makes it tempting.


Thank you!

The tooth has actually mostly disappeared after a little more use, along with the nib becoming wetter.

Is there a nib 'break-in' period? If there isn't, I'm at a loss to explain the AL-Star's gradual improvement in the nib section. hmm1.gif

#9 bluestocking

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 23:56

I just recently got one of these and I am so loving the colour. It is going to be my beater pen for use at school, particularly in lab.


#10 KCat

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 19:21

QUOTE(Stevopedia @ Jun 7 2008, 06:50 PM)  
The tooth has actually mostly disappeared after a little more use, along with the nib becoming wetter.

Is there a nib 'break-in' period? If there isn't, I'm at a loss to explain the AL-Star's gradual improvement in the nib section. hmm1.gif


If you didn't flush it before inking, it could be just manufacturing oils have been worked out and allowing better flow which means a wetter nib and smoother write.

I don't believe much in a break in period for today's tipping but many do. It can take a little while for feeds to be fully coated with ink such that good capillary action makes for good flow.

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#11 dcwaites

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 01:43

QUOTE(KCat @ Jun 9 2008, 05:21 AM)  
QUOTE(Stevopedia @ Jun 7 2008, 06:50 PM)  
The tooth has actually mostly disappeared after a little more use, along with the nib becoming wetter.

Is there a nib 'break-in' period? If there isn't, I'm at a loss to explain the AL-Star's gradual improvement in the nib section. hmm1.gif


If you didn't flush it before inking, it could be just manufacturing oils have been worked out and allowing better flow which means a wetter nib and smoother write.

I don't believe much in a break in period for today's tipping but many do. It can take a little while for feeds to be fully coated with ink such that good capillary action makes for good flow.

I second the thought that it is the feed that 'breaks in' by getting wetter as it goes. I think there is so little abrasive action with most papers that you are not significantly wearing the nib tip over a couple of days.

I normally ink and use a new pen straight away, but it it seems to be a bit dry, then I will give it a good soak and a flush with dilute detergent (and rinse well, of course). Almost always I will get an immediate improvement.

If a nib is particularly dry, it may have some crud in between the tines. Remove the nib (follow these instructions for a Lamy Safari/Al-Star) and slip the edge of a piece of paper between the tines.


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#12 mayeeta

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 04:53

Nice choice for first fountain pen, and now you are hooked smile.gif .
Ink wish list: Aurora black, Noodler's Legal Lapis, Noodler's Violet Vote, Noodler's black, Noodler's Ottoman Azure, Waterman Florida Blue, and Waterman Blue Black, PR American Blue. PM me if you want to trade/sell these ink.

#13 Stevopedia

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 10:04

QUOTE(dcwaites @ Jun 8 2008, 09:43 PM)  
QUOTE(KCat @ Jun 9 2008, 05:21 AM)  
QUOTE(Stevopedia @ Jun 7 2008, 06:50 PM)  
The tooth has actually mostly disappeared after a little more use, along with the nib becoming wetter.

Is there a nib 'break-in' period? If there isn't, I'm at a loss to explain the AL-Star's gradual improvement in the nib section. hmm1.gif


If you didn't flush it before inking, it could be just manufacturing oils have been worked out and allowing better flow which means a wetter nib and smoother write.

I don't believe much in a break in period for today's tipping but many do. It can take a little while for feeds to be fully coated with ink such that good capillary action makes for good flow.

I second the thought that it is the feed that 'breaks in' by getting wetter as it goes. I think there is so little abrasive action with most papers that you are not significantly wearing the nib tip over a couple of days.

I normally ink and use a new pen straight away, but it it seems to be a bit dry, then I will give it a good soak and a flush with dilute detergent (and rinse well, of course). Almost always I will get an immediate improvement.

If a nib is particularly dry, it may have some crud in between the tines. Remove the nib (follow these instructions for a Lamy Safari/Al-Star) and slip the edge of a piece of paper between the tines.


I did flush the pen with water using the converter before I inked it. Now it writes beautifully--I was just wondering what made it change so much for the better!

Thanks, guys, for putting up with my newbie's ignorance. I never would have thought of the feed being what caused it.

QUOTE(mayeeta)
Nice choice for first fountain pen, and now you are hooked .


You're right on both counts, I'm afraid. Not only do I really like my Al-Star, but I want more pens too: a Pelikan M200, a Lamy 2000, a user Parker "51", a Cross Century II or Townsend...

*sigh*.... I've officially Caught the Bug... headsmack.gif crybaby.gif rolleyes.gif

Edited by Stevopedia, 09 June 2008 - 21:11.


#14 Silvermink

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 21:36

Thanks for the review. I've got a couple Al-Stars arriving sometime within the next couple weeks myself (a silverblue and a silvergreen), and now I'm looking forward to them even more.

Next on the list are a Lamy 2000 or Studio and a VP, I think.

Edited by Silvermink, 09 June 2008 - 21:37.

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#15 Pupster

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 07:27

I just discovered my Al Star has a defect, the converter does not form a tight seal with the section. There is a plastic/rubber material wrapped around the pointy stick (the thing that pierces catridges, don't know its correct name). In normal cases, the plastic/rubber material sits lower than the stick, meaning that the stick will contact catridges first. However, in my Al Star, the plastic/rubber material sits higher than the stick. A tight seal is not formed, thus I can't draw up ink using the Z24 converter. However, the Z26 converter is able to form a seal. The Z26 is not meant to be used in this pen though, it can spin around. Bad luck for my to choose such a pen, my Joy works well, as well as my old Safari. Going to bring it back to the store tomorrow.

#16 Hans-Peter Ording

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 12:49

QUOTE(Stevopedia @ Jun 7 2008, 11:15 PM)  
As an addendum to the review, the nib has become significantly wetter since I've been using it. Is there a 'break-in' period for new nibs? Is this usual behavior?

In my experience it is usual behaviour, at least for the standard Lamy nibs/feeds. When I looked at your pictures I had the impression that the nib writes quite dry and produces an unusually narrow line (compared to my F nibs). I'm glad to read that it has improved and that you like the pen.

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#17 Juan in Andalucia

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 13:05

Lamy tries all their pens before shipping, including the cheap, humble and terrific writers that the Safari or AlStar are.

If you remove the nib of a brand new Lamy you'll see traces of ink (so far I've found only blue ink). Ok, Lamy could flush their pens better after trying them.

So, give it a good flush, and ink it. I've also noticed that the plastic of the Safari/Alstar feeds is very porous; it's not ebonite, but looks very close, and works great.

Juan in Andalucía

#18 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 16:27

I love reading handwritten reviews! thumbup.gif

#19 bossy

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 19:32

I prefer my cheap safari over pel m200 any day for easier writing, it's the finger
facet holds that make the difference. If only safari had a Binder tip too.
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#20 diplomat

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 20:43

It was a great reading! Thanks for the review.
And welcome in the FP world, I think you did a good first step.

I think all my Safaris got a short period of "break in". They are stiff but great writers.

Keep on!

Cheers,






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