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  1. 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!
  2. em_the_pen

    Goulet Haul

    Just got these in the mail. So excited! Though I may have gone a little overboard on the ink samples...
  3. Hey there community! For all you newer folks out there wondering about how Noodler's Ink's Bad Blue Heron works in a Pilot Metropolitan (F) and Lamy Al-Star (EF). Here's the story. YMMV. A while ago I made a posting asking about how to pair Noodler's Ink's Bad Blue Heron successfully with my Lamy Al-Stars (EF) and what nib replacement I should use. I was running into major flow and start issues at the time with the EF nibs; Bad Blue Heron would often dry on the nib and cause the pen to fail to start immediately upon touching paper, and the overall flow through the pen after I got it to write was intermittent at best. I was not amused. After asking this great community for advice and searching the forums I learned several things: 1. Bad Blue Heron is not a well behaved ink, and what I experienced was a common thing for some other people. It's a hit or miss when inking up pens with this ink. 2. The Jinhao X750 is a sufficiently cheap beater pen that can come completely apart for cleaning and replacing the nibs, and so is a perfect candidate for testing inks in. It comes in a #6 M nib (to my knowledge), so you can replace the nib to any other sizing (e.g. F) so long as it remains a #6 nib. 3. Noodler's Ink's Bulletproof Black seems to be well behaved in many pens. So what I did was flushed out my Lamy Al-Star using Bad Blue Heron and inked it up with Bulletproof Black and never looked back. Problems on the Lamy front solved. But as far as the Bad Blue Heron was concerned I didn't want to waste the bottle of ink so I contemplated ordering the Jinhao X750 to test it out in. However, with a perfectly good Pilot Metropolitan (F) lying around and my impatience getting the better of me, I inked up the Pilot Metropoitan (F) with Bad Blue Heron instead. I rolled the dice and I was rewarded (YMMV and do not try with expensive pens). It so happens that Noodler's Ink's Bad Blue Heron works very well in my Pilot Metropolitan (F)! Bad Blue Heron's behavior in the Pilot Metropolitan was akin to the proprietary Pilot inks that I initially bought with the pen. I've been using my Pilot Metropolitan (F) with Bad Blue Heron for the last three weeks and the ink's behavior is consistent and predictable. When I touch pen to paper (whether the paper is cheap and absorbant or glossy and smooth) the ink flows immediately. The line layed down by this pen and ink combination is crisp and well approximated in the less absorbant papers, and on very cheap absorbant paper (writing pads from Costco) it fuzzies up just a tad (but not enough to ruin your writing). And throughout your writing session, there is no discernable flow issues as you write page to page. As a caveat however I must admit that if you leave the pen uncapped for a good while, the ink will characteristically dry a bit on the nib. But even after purposely doing this, my Pilot Metropolitan (F) still began to write almost immediately after touching paper. Also, you will experience the same nib creep that you get in other pens with this particular set up as well. Otherwise, the Pilot Metropolitan (F) and Bad Blue Heron pairing has been a stable workhorse of mine now and will continue to stay that way into the foreseeable future. Let me know what your experiences are with this and other Noodler's Inks. And feel free to add any information you think pertinent. - Thanks for reading, MPenn TL; DR = The Pilot Metropolitan (F) and Bad Blue Heron combo works well and writes great! YMMV
  4. Hello, Pen Friends! I'm new to the community, having just bought my first Lamy Safari just two weeks ago. The hobby has bit me hard because I received my Lamy Al-Star Blue w/Broad nib today. I'm still waiting for the converter to arrive, so I inked it up with the cartridge that came with it. Do any of you have experience with the Lamy Al-Star and the factory cartridge? I'm having many issues with getting the ink to flow on starts. When I lift up the nib and put it back down on the paper for a subsequent stroke, the ink doesn't always flow. This is my first broad nib pen, so it is possible I'm doing something wrong. Any suggestions, feedback, or "try this" appreciated. Regards, RejectH0
  5. EmilyB613

    Al-Star Nib Scratchy

    First time posting! I have two Lamys: a Safari and an Al-Star. Both of them did NOT work out of the box. I had to get a replacement F nib for the Safari because it was so scratchy (I didn't have any tools at the time). Now my Al-Star has the same issue: scratchiness. I do have the tools now: brass sheets and loupe. But even with all the videos out there and my tinkering, the issue is not going away. When I received the new F nib from Goulet Pens for the Safari (free replacement), it writes BEAUTIFULLY. I am not keen on ordering another replacement nib, as GP has done so much for me already. So help me out here, y'all: what's the next step? Thank you! Best, Emily
  6. Part of my haul included my most expensive pen to date, the Monteverde Invincia Deluxe. While still considered lower-priced in the fountain pen world, I'm working my way up slowly, and this was my first purchase of a pen that sits routinely at $99+. I wanted to share this because a) I need practice I'm really happy with my new pen, and wanted to show what it does under my (un)steady hand. Scratch marks because I can't count. My pen history is as follows: 1. Lamy Al-Star (M) 2. Lamy Safari (EF) 3. Platinum Preppy (03) 4. Pilot Metropolitan (M) 5. Platinum Preppy (02) 6. Monteverde Invincia Deluxe (F) 7. (doesn't really count) Kaimei natural brush pen The only non-cartidge inks present are: Pelikan Edelstein Garnet in the Invincia, and Private Reserve Velvet Black for the Preppy (02). I started writing with fountain pens exclusively, recently. I bought the first three pens as drawing pens, after a teacher recommended it, and never gave much thought to writing (funny now that I think back about it). Paper is Maruman something-or-other. It's not that receptive to fountain pens, but it works alright. It's more expensive than it's worth, though, if we're looking at strictly bleed-through.
  7. Before we start - I know that there's a topic for this, but this was also done for a couple of friends, so I wanted to make it easy for them to find the post! The convertor for my Faber-Castell finally arrived today which finally allowed me to compare all four of my pens and all four of my inks, compared to before when I was always limited to three, I decided to upload the pictures here for your input / enjoyment / etc. I also felt that this showed how nice the newer PaperBlanks journals are as I had no problems at all writing in my 'Bronte, Jane Eyre' Midi. I apologise for the slightly shoddy images, I was using my iPod camera. The first image is a sample of writing, the second shows my pens. The third is the reverse of the page I wrote on.

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