Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fountain Pen Review: Lamy Safari 2012 Limited Edition Green

When I started using fountain pens in 2007, I was like any other newbie. I hoarded. I had no clear idea of what I really want and got pens I could just easily get. Lately, though, I decided to focus on pens that work well for me, rather than settle on what I just like. I let go of some pens, and now maintain a few sets that include my Lamy Safari fountain pens. I have 14 Lamy fountain pens as of this writing, and my most recent is the 2012 limited edition Green Safari.

Green is Lamy Safari’s 2012 limited edition color and is available as ballpoint, rollerball, or fountain pen. Lamy's authorized distributor in the Philippines, Times Trading, through the kindness of Charlene Ngo, sent me a fountain pen to review. When the pen was delivered to my office on a Monday morning, a lot of people were in awe of this  vibrant, lovely pen.

The Green Lamy Safari fountain pen comes in a self-covered plastic box. You push the sides away from each other and the pen inside the box is shown, held securely in place by a plastic clamp. This box is so Lamy, don’t you think? It is simple, with Lamy’s logo as its only embellishment, but very functional. I like the plastic clamp because while it holds the pen in place, it does not scratch it at all.

Lamy Safari pens are made from sturdy ABS plastic, a common thermoplastic widely used in a variety of products. It is also used in Lego blocks and the inner walls of our refrigerators! The first Lamy Safari fountain pen, the Savannah, was introduced during the 1980 Frankfurt exhibition. It was designed by Wolfgang Fabian and the Mannheim Development Group under the direction of Prof. Bernt Spiegel. Lamy has kept the Safari in regular production since then. To read more about the Safari's history, visit Lamy's website here.

Below is the Green Safari fountain pen’s major parts: cap, section with converter, and barrel. The Green Lamy Safari fountain pen measures 5.5 inches while capped, 5 inches without the cap, and 6.5 inches when posted. It is a light weight pen, and I 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 Safari pens, especially the rollerball and fountain pens, have cap buttons, a unique feature of this line. Rollerball pens have a line, and fountain pens have a cross sign in their cap buttons. The Green fountain pen’s cap button is green like the rest of its parts, though not as glossy, and similar to last year’s limited edition pen (Aquamarine) and the re-issued pink Safari. It is different from the black cap buttons of Safaris in regular production (glossy white, glossy black, matte black, blue, red, yellow).

Here is the Green Safari together with other limited edition Lamy Safari fountain pens in my collection. Farthest right is the earliest pen in the pack, the Lime Green Safari issued in 2008 with the black cap button and cross. Next to it are the Crème Orange (2009) and Pink (2010) Safari fountain pens that have simple dots as cap tops in the same barrel and cap colors, instead of the usual cross on black. The two pens to the left are the Aquamarine (2011) and Green (2012) Safari fountain pens. Last year's group photo is here.

Many fountain pen users frowned at Lamy Safari fountain pen’s triangular grip, finding it uncomfortable and annoying. The triangular grip in the pen’s section however, is designed to make writing easier – it is meant for users to have a firm and secure grip on the pen. Near the end of the section is the anti-slipping brake to prevent a user’s fingers to slip into the nib while writing. I do not find the triangular grip uncomfortable at all. I actually do not notice it!

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.

Lamy’s proprietary Z24 converters are used to fill the Safari with ink from a bottle. T10 Cartridges are also available, but a Z24 converter comes when you buy a new pen. A pair of nipples on the converter’s sides fit snugly into the small grooves in the upper part of the pen’s section. They fit perfectly so that the converter will not easily turn inside the barrel or be accidentally pulled out of the section. Photos showing more details of the Z24 converter nipples are available here.

The other reason why I love my Safari fountain pens is the interchangeability of their nibs. My Green Safari fountain pen uses the same feed and nib as those on the Lamy Vista, Al-Star, Joy, Nexx, and Studio. The default nib on Safari fountain pens bought in the Philippines is medium, which is my preference, but other nib sizes are available: extra-fine, fine, broad, and left-handed. It can also be fitted with an italic nib ranging from 1.1mm to 1.9mm since the Safari shares the same section, feed, nib, and cap designs with that of the Joy, Lamy’s own set of calligraphy pens. I have seen yellow Safaris fitted with 1.5mm or 1.9mm nibs to be used as highlighter pens. Lamy’s nibs tend to write wide, but they write wet and smooth.

As an old practice with new fountain pens, I flushed this one before filling it to ensure that there is no factory residue or ink on it. After filling it, the pen wrote instantly, and did not need any strong pressure to start writing. It kept writing very smoothly and did not even skip as I filled a page in my pocket Venzi notebook.

Below is my writing sample of this vibrant Lamy Safari Green fountain pen. The ink I used here is an equally vibrant green ink, J. Herbin's Vert Pré.

I love how I can easily swap nibs in my Safari pens. When I received this Green Safari fountain pen, it was just in time for my 'Pentangelized' Lamy stub nib to arrive. It was a joy to have the stub nib on my new pen, as it is so much different from a regular round nib. Pentageli is a dear friend and fellow fountain pen user/collector Jose Reinoso. He is based in Manila, Philippines, and started doing nib work as special favors to his friends. He now accepts minor pen repair work and nib grinding jobs. He fixes barrel cracks using empty shell casings, and has amazingly converted a TWSBI 530 extra fine nib to a juicy, wet flexible!  Photos of his works can be found here, here, and here.

Many followers frowned at Lamy's choice of color for 2012 because two green Safaris have already been issued previously: the original Safari (Savannah) and 2008's lime green. I only have the lime green fountain pen for comparison, and I think the new Green Safari is a beautiful addition to Lamy's growing stable of pens. Next to the new Green, 2008's lime green fountain pen looks more yellow than lime.

This Green Lamy Safari is another cool addition to Lamy's growing line of fountain pens. A beginner's fountain pen, with others even calling it a student pen, this plastic pen actually feels very good in my hand because it is light, but strong and firm at the same time. And it comes in many different colors! My Aquamarine pen still feels new and now I have the 2012 Green Safari in my hands. It makes me dream of the 2013 Safari color. Purple! I want purple! A purple pen would be a nice addition to the pens below, right?

Lamy Safari pens are widely available in reputable pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy sellers worldwide, follow this link.

In the Philippines, the Green Lamy Safari (and other Lamy pens and ink) is  made available by Times Trading Company, through their increasing number of kiosks at National Bookstore outlets around Metro Manila. Lamy pens are also available at Scribe Writing Essentials, a specialty store offering unique paper products and writing tools located at Eastwood Mall in Quezon City. A Lamy Safari (including the Green pen) fountain pen sells for PhP1,499.75 (~USD35).


  1. Great review again and colors are so vibrant! I liked it. I am also looking for an orange Lamy, hope could find someday...

  2. Anonymous5:16 PM

    ANIMO LAMY! (hehehehe)

    Great review, Clem. Makes me want to get one; wonder if they have extra-fine nibs for that here, though?

    Ivan the Lucky Panda ;)

  3. Great review. I have several pens, but have yet to get a Lamy. You have fantastic hand writing. Very nice and neat.

  4. I LOVE the ink you're writing with!!!! WHere is it from?!? Also want this Lamy in store, hoping to see the pink, orange and turqoise as well....
    Cecilia :)

  5. Anonymous9:03 PM

    Excellent review! I am also very happy with my Apple Green Safari. :-) It made me laugh to see you posted this today though, because I just posted my (very brief, and with very bad pics) own mini review on it last night. I have to say I love the triangle grip and the way it lines up with the ink window...feels very streamlined.

  6. Your pictures are gorgeous - I especially love the group shots. I'm with you in calling for purple - we need a nice purple Safari :D

  7. Fountain pen has its importance among people.this is the first pen one hold when he grow up.This post is best because it find special treatment from its author and its readers.Keep up the good work
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  8. Well I'm upset now... I've spent my hard earned money to get this pen and the box is not as nice as what you state. I just got the plain cardboard box and nothing else. I ordered from the Goulet pen company.

  9. Anonymous5:07 AM

    Awesome review and handwriting. Now I must get the Green Safari with a stub nib!

    -- Sailor Kenshin

  10. This pen is a wonderful example of German design and engineering at its best. I love the ink you used too! Today we find a lot of pens going overboard with gauche design so the Safari makes me happy. Such a pleasing looking pen is not easy to create. Very nice review.

  11. The first fountain pen that I bought is also a Lamy Safari in charcoal. Loving it. A very sturdy pen. I dropped it several time, but it still can write as new. The clip chipped a bit(only the paint), from the fall but the cap and the plastic body, no visible damage to them. So far I have three fountain pen. I am going to collect more.

  12. What a great photo! I bought Apple Green, but haven't bought apple green ink yet. It is cute:)

    And I don't have orange Lamy and can't find it anywhere; it makes me sad.

    1. Hi! The Creme Orange Safari was issued in 2009 and if there are remaining unused pieces, these are very rare already. Good luck on your hunt!

  13. John W6:17 AM

    Hi - nice article. In your second writing sample, the upper portion of some letters (like the "S" and the "f" look much lighter in color (less ink) compared to the lower portions of the same letters (the downstroke portions). Is that due to the ink, or the nib?

    1. John, it is a combination of both the ink and the nib that renders shading in some inks.

  14. Anonymous4:53 AM

    Hello. Nice to meet you. I’m Kota from Japan. ^^/ Wooow, nice and informative blog you have! I’m a member of The Fountain Pen Network. And I have my own YouTube channel about fountain pens, organizers, film cameras, and so on. If you have time, please take a look at the videos. I hope you’ll enjoy watching them! I’m looking forward to your new post!! Have a good day. Kota Adachi

  15. Have you already commented on the 2013 Safari color -- "Neon Yellow"?? Too close to the early lime green, don't you think? I'm with you -- I was hoping for purple! So disappointing.

  16. Although crazy colours go well with the Lamy Safari, neon green seems to be a bit too much for me.

  17. Anonymous4:35 AM

    This blog I have to say has so much shock value for a fountain pen enthusiast. It rekindled memories buried deep and forgotten by the passage of life. And so my quest began to search for this Lamy Safari Apple Green only to realize its not available and if it is it costs a fortune. I found one on ebay and just got before I have to live with the regret of overthinking my decision to get the pen or not.

    Thanks for sharing your review. Im sure more Lamys are to follow in my future penmanship.