Lamy Al-Star Review

Introduction

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As with many fountain pen enthusiasts, my first fountain pen was a Lamy. I received the Lamy Al-Star as a gift after expressing interest in writing with fountain pens. It doesn’t get used as often as my Platinum 3776 Century. Read on to find out why.

Specs

Dimensions: 140mm (length), 13mm (diameter)
Weight: 20g
Place of Manufacture: Germany
Price: $47 (retail), $37 (most retailers)

Some History

The Lamy Safari is one of the most common starting pens. Being inexpensive, coming a reputable (debatable) manufacturer, and being fairly durable, it lightens the learning curve. The Al-Star and the Vista are variants of this design, with the nib and feed remaining the same. The Vista is transparent while the Al-Star is made of anodized aluminum.

Fit and Finish

The Al-Star has somewhat better tolerances than the Safari. It suffers some of the regular issues such as a hit-or-miss feed and nib as well as some general quality issues with the body. For example, the plastic has a few ridges from the molding and the LAMY engraving (or perhaps pressing) on the body has irregularities in the corners.

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Functionality

The pen comes in all normal Lamy Safari nib sizings. This fine nib is a European fine and puts down a line equivalent to a Japanese medium.

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The pen does not have much flex.

The converter is a Z24 that can hold around 0.6 mL.

Conclusion

As a first fountain pen, the Lamy Al-Star has some merit. It has a solid construction and the pricing makes it almost acceptable to drop it nib-first on the ground when you’re still learning your way.

With European nib sizing, it can be a bit hard to get finer lines and the irregularities and inconsistencies with Lamy production can make one pen lovely to use and another pen a prop.

For beginner pens, I’d personally recommend the Sailor HighAce Neo. While quality of construction is about the same, the quality of the nib is a bit better and it comes in at a lower price.

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