Sunday, April 3, 2016

Fountain Pen Review: 2016 Lamy AL-star Special Edition Charged Green


The 2016 Lamy AL-star is now in the Philippines!!! Here is Charged Green, this year's special edition Lamy AL-star, and my favorite green pen from Lamy, so far.

Lamy has a new packaging system, using compact cardboard boxes instead of bulky plastic ones. An elastic in the felt-lined bed inside the box ensures that the pen stays in place and will not be scratched. The box is easy to store and does not take up too much space. (Yes, I keep my pens' boxes.) Last year's special edition Safari and AL-star pens came in similar compact boxes, too.

Charged Green AL-star pen box. 

The Charged Green AL-star pen in this review is a fountain pen, but the line also includes a ballpoint and a rollerball. In the last three years, Lamy has been coming up with special edition ink colors to match their special edition pens. This year, the Charged Green AL-star fountain pen has an accompanying Charged Green ink available in T52 bottles and Giant ink cartridges that fit most Lamy fountain pens. A Charged Green ink-x eraser is also available.

Of all the green Lamy pens that I have seen (and owned -- I still have to see the original and first issue Lamy Safari), the Charged Green is the most beautiful. In fact, my first thought when I took the pen out of the box was how beautiful it is. The anodized aluminum finish has a beautiful golden-green color that is bright, but does not hurt the eyes. It is an elegant color that is happy and cheerful.


The AL-star (and the Safari) is a nice pen for all fountain pen users -- newbies/beginners, collectors, students, artists -- even a Princess uses a Lamy! At 22 grams and 5.5 inches (capped), the AL-star is a well-balanced fountain pen: not too short, but not too long, either. It's not heavy, but not light. It's just right, and comfortable to use.

The pen's barrel has an ink window that shows the ink converter or cartridge inside. It allows me to check on my pen’s ink level without having to screw out the barrel from the section. The AL-star's cap is round, but two sides of the barrel are flattened. The Lamy logo is etched in one side of the barrel, towards the end.


The AL-star's signature triangular section grip is a helpful feature especially for newbies. Others find the section grip uncomfortable and annoying, but it is designed to make writing easier, so users have a firm grip on their pens while writing. An anti-slipping brake near the end of the section prevents the user's fingers from slipping into the nib while writing. Unlike the Safari pens’ matching body and section materials/colors, AL-stars have transparent gray plastic section.

The great thing about Lamy fountain pens is the interchangeability of their nibs across most of their product lines. The AL-star shares the same feed and nib with the Safari, Vista, Joy, Nexx, and Studio. AL-star fountain pens bought in the Philippines have medium nibs, but other nib sizes are available: extra-fine, fine, broad, and left-handed. The AL-star can also be fitted with an italic nib ranging from 1.1mm to 1.9mm.

Lamy's proprietary piston operated Z24 and Z26 converters can be used to fill the fountain pen with ink from a bottle, but the Z24 is a more suitable converter because it has two tiny nipples that fit snugly into the small grooves in the upper part of the section. When the nipples are fitted in the grooves, the converter stays in place, preventing messy ink spills. Giant ink cartridges are also available for use on the AL-star in Lamy's regular ink colors and also in Charged Green.


A lot of people including myself, have asked for long why Lamy has too many green pens. Aside from the first Safari, Lamy's Safari line has four green pens (Lime, Green, Neon, and Neon Green), and there are three more in the AL-star line: Silver Green, Blue Green, and Charged Green. I collect Lamy pens, and though different tones and shades of one color look cool in pictures, I sometimes wish Lamy would do a different blue for the AL-star, like, perhaps an aquamarine AL-star? A yellow AL-star would be cool, too!

Why so many green pens, Lamy?
Charged Green AL-star with two green AL-stars: Blue Green (2014) and Silver Green (2008)

The Charged Green AL-star looks a lot like an aluminum version of the 2008 Safari Lime.
Lamy AL-star fountain pens (from top): Aluminum, Graphite, Silver Green, Silver Blue, Ocean Blue, Black Purple, Ruby Red, Pearl, Blue Green, Copper Orange, and Charged Green. Still missing Coffee and Raspberry.

The Charged Green ink matches the 2015 Special Edition AL-star fountain pen. It is equally vibrant, bright, and cheerful, but I find the ink too bright for regular, everyday writing. When I wrote with the Charged Green ink in my Lamy AL-star with medium nib, it wrote too light, and I could barely read what I wrote. I changed the nib to a 1.1 stub, and though the writing was readable, I still found it too light for readability.


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


Lamy Special Edition inks: Neon Green (2015) and Charged Green (2016)

Below are swatches of the Charged Green ink together with other green inks. Because it is lighter than most green inks, the Charged Green will be more suitable for art, or highlighting.



The Charged Green ink looks dark in the photo below, but it is a very light ink. Despite that, it is well-behaved, with excellent flow and lubrication. Shading is visible when used in wide nibs (1.1, at least).


I love the Charged Green AL-star. It is versatile (interchangeable nibs), simple, minimalistic, and helpful to newbies (triangular section grip). The metallic finish has a special glow that brings warmth and brilliance to the Charged Green AL-star. The AL-star may be prone to scratches because of its material, but given the proper care, these pens will last for a long time.

If you haven't gotten one of these Charged Green AL-stars yet, go get one now!


I received the fountain pen in this review at no cost from Lamy's authorized and exclusive distributor in the Philippines, Times Trading Company.

Lamy AL-star 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 AL-star Charged Green  fountain pen and ink (and other Lamy products) are made available by Times Trading Company, through their kiosks at National Bookstore branches around Metro Manila.

Lamy products 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/.

1 comment:

  1. Another great review. Looking foward to your review of the Dark Lilic safari.

    ReplyDelete

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