Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fountain Pen Review: 2015 Lamy Safari Special Edition Neon Lime


The Lamy Safari fountain pen for 2015 is here, and no, it's not purple, but an intensely vivid and bright neon lime. Despite the disappointment of many Lamy followers over this Safari color, I still wanted one for my collection. When I saw the photos of the Neon Lime Safari, I knew that I had to get one, even if they say it's just another 'green Lamy' fountain pen.

Neon Lime is Lamy's Special Edition Safari pen for 2015. My Safari is a fountain pen, but the line also includes a rollerball and a ballpoint pen. Note that Lamy is marketing Neon Lime not as a 'limited edition' pen like the former ones, but as a  'special edition' Safari. I received the fountain pen in this review at no cost from Lamy's authorized and exclusive distributor in the Philippines, Times Trading Company

Neon Lime Safari pen box.

Lamy released the Neon Lime Safari fountain pen in a new packaging. Instead of the old plastic pen box, Lamy is now using laminated cardboard boxes for their special and limited edition pens. Neon Lime and the 2014 Neon Coral fountain pens came in two different cardboard boxes: the Neon Lime has a pullout inner box which slides out of the outer box, while the Neon Coral box has a removable top cover. The pen slot in the Neon Lime box ensures that the pen does not roll around inside the box.

Neon Coral Safari (2014) pen box.

The Neon Lime Safari fountain pen is very bright! I had to shoot photos a number of times to ensure that I will get one where the pen doesn't appear to be glowing, or washed out. It is as bright as the 2013 Neon, but a hint of green is noticeable when the two pens are side-by-side.

Lamy Safaris are student pens, and many fountain pen users have Safaris as their starter pens. These pens are made from the sturdy ABS plastic – the same material used in Lego blocks, gold club heads, keyboard keycaps, and inner walls of refrigerators. Designed by Wolfgang Fabian, this pen was first presented during the 1980 Frankfurt exhibition, and has been in Lamy's regular production since then. 


The Neon Lime Lamy Safari's parts are: barrel, section (grip + feed + nib), converter, and cap. Safari fountain pens measure 5.5 inches while capped, 5 inches uncapped, and 6.5 inches when posted. It's a light pen, and anyone can use it for extended periods of writing. The cap with the oversized chrome-coated stainless steel clip is 2.5 inches long, the length from the nib to converter is 4.6 inches, while the barrel measures about 3 inches. 

Lamy's proprietary piston operated Z24 converters are used to fill the Safari fountain pen with ink from a bottle, but T10 ink cartridges are also available. 


Lamy used a black top cap (others call the top cap a finial) for Neon Lime, which is similar to the top caps of previous limited edition Safaris: Lime Green (2008), Neon (2013) and Neon Coral (2014).


The photo below shows how Lamy used different styles of top caps in their limited and special edition Safari fountain pens. Some pens have 'X' (or '+') top caps, while others have a round button with a hole in the middle. Also notice that while the most common top cap is black, some pens have top caps in the same color as their bodies (barrel + cap), and others come with a different color top cap (e.g. Special Edition Lamy Safari for China, extreme right in the photo).


Some users find the Safari's triangular grip uncomfortable and annoying. This feature, however, is designed to make writing easier – it is meant for users to have a firm and secure grip on the pen. An anti-slipping brake near the end of the section prevents a user’s fingers from slipping into the nib while writing. I do not find the triangular grip uncomfortable at all. I actually do not notice it when I'm using my Safari pens.

The great thing about the Lamy Safari fountain pens is the interchangeability of their nibs. A Safari fountain pen uses the same feed and nib as those on the Vista, Al-Star, Joy, Nexx, and Studio. The Safari fountain pens bought in the Philippines have medium nibs, but other nib sizes are available: extra-fine, fine, broad, and left-handed. The Safari can also be fitted with an italic nib ranging from 1.1mm to 1.9mm. My Neon (2013) Safari is fitted with a 1.9mm nib and I use it as a highlighter pen. I think I will do the same conversion with my Neon Lime Safari.


The Safari fountain pen’s barrel has an ink window that allows me to check on my pen’s ink level without having to screw out the barrel from the section. Towards the top part of the barrel, neatly etched in clean, sharp lines is the Lamy logo.


In the last three or four years, Lamy has been badly criticized, mainly for the color theme that they opted for the limited edition Safari and Al Star pens. It is puzzling to many, particularly to collectors such as I am, that despite the great clamor for a purple Safari, Lamy repeatedly used green in different tints and shades: Lime Green, Green, Neon, and Neon Lime for the Safari; and Silver Green and Blue Green for the Al Star. While there is a Black Purple Al Star, no one really knows if a purple Safari will ever become a reality.


When Times Trading sent the Neon Lime Safari pen to me, they kindly included a bottle of Neon Lime ink, a matching ink color with the 2015 special edition pen.


The 50ml Neon Lime ink is in a Lamy T52 bottle that comes with a roll of blotter that can be used to clean the pen after filling, or to blot writing. The bottle has a small basin at the bottom, to allow filling when the ink level is low.

The T52 bottle can be removed from its base, which holds the roll of blotter tape.

If the Neon Lime pen is bright, the matching Neon Lime ink is even brighter! It's so bright that it seems to be glowing when I look at it. Perhaps Lamy created the Neon Lime fountain + ink matchup to launch a new highlighter pen!

Neon Lime ink in converter. It looks like something radioactive.

I tried to use the Neon Lime ink, but realized that it is not for regular, everyday writing. It will be more useful as a highlighter ink.


To test if the Neon Lime ink can be used for highlighting, I swapped the medium nib with a 1.9mm italic nib and used the pen to highlight some text in a book. It's a perfect highlighter ink! It's even better than the ink from a real highlighter because it is light and has more transparency.

Comparison of Neon Lime ink (left) vs. a real highlighter (right).

This Neon Lime Safari fountain pen and ink matchup is an awesome addition to my growing collection. I love using Safari fountain pens because they feel good in my hand as I write. They are light, but also very sturdy. And they come in many different colors! My Neon Coral fountain pen from last year still looks new and now I have the 2015 Safari in my hands. I'm still dreaming of a purple Safari, though, but don't let that keep anyone from getting one of this bright, happy pens. Go get yours now!  



Lamy Safari pens are widely available from pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy retailers, visit: http://www.lamy.com/content/find_a_retailer/index_eng.html.

In the Philippines, the Neon Lime Lamy Safari (and other Lamy products) is made available by Times Trading Company, through their kiosks at National Bookstore branches around Metro Manila. Lamy pens are also available at Scribe Writing Essentials, a specialty store offering fountain pens, inks, and paper products, Eastwood Mall, Shangrila Plaza Mall, Glorietta 5, SM Aura, and SM Megamall. For their complete location/address, contact numbers, and store hours, visit http://www.scribewritingessentials.com/stores/

10 comments:

  1. Great post and those Lamy Safari pens have great colors. Maybe next year for the hot purple.

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  2. I love these! I love the lamy fountain pen has a great look to it, especially the neon. I have mine also in the neon lime colour & I've found that it's a great conversation starter.

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  3. Excellent post! I see more and more people using Lamy pens. If you had to choose though, what would you prefer between the Safari and the Al-star? Why? Thanks. God bless

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  4. What devotional are you using as an example with the highlighting? Looks like something I would enjoy reading/studying.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Do you know where in Manila is this still available? Including the Neon Lime ink? (Sorry for double posting, if there are any. My internet connection is not being cooperative today.)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ivan! Lamy pens and ink are available in Scribe Writing Essentials and National Bookstore outlets. You can check both Scribe and National Bookstore for the pens and ink.

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