The Lamy AL Star is the big brother to the Lamy Safari fountain pen boasting the addition of a metal barrel and a semi-translucent grip section.
Lamy Safari’s often feature in starter fountain pen lists due to their great price, sub £15, nice writing experience and well behaved nature. A Lamy Safari was actually my re-introduction into the fountain pen world and it’s pretty obvious where that lead.
But back to the Lamy AL Star. This was an un-planned purchase. I saw this fountain pen in a brick and mortar shop and felt compelled to buy one. There were a few options available, the Ocean Blue, Dark Purple, Graphite, Copper Orange and Neon Lime. They all looked great and it took me some time to decide to go for the 2015 limited edition Copper Orange with a fine nib. I have this inked up with the Lamy Black T-10 cartridge and use this mainly for note taking on the move and for use in my Midori Travelers Notebook.
There are some really nice features on the Lamy AL Star. It’s light weight and has a very nice smooth finish. The metal barrel really makes the Copper Orange pop, one of the main reasons I was attracted to it. The semi-translucent grip section surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to like it very much but actually in the flesh its quite nice. It's a small preview to the inner workings of the fountain pen.
The one thing that takes some getting used to is the moulded grip section, it won’t be to everyones liking. It forces you to hold the fountain pen in a certain way and I have noticed that my handwriting with this fountain pen is slightly different. I have a tendency to hold pens quite near the nib, but this moulded grip forces me to pull back my grip and hold the fountain pen at a particular angle. If I try and adjust my grip in any way I get resistance between the nib and paper and as a result a scratchy writing experience.
I have reviewed Lamy Safari fountain pens in the past and have always really enjoyed using them. I don’t think there are a lot of differences between the Safari and the AL Star, it really comes down to colour and finish preferences. No matter which option you go for these entry level Lamy fountain pens are great. They're affordable and you can also swap out nibs to try different widths. To add to the fun Lamy release limited editions in great colours. If you can still get your hands on a Copper Orange, the 2015 limited edition, I would grab it while you can, if not try out one of the other colours. I doubt you'll be disappointed.