Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fountain Pen Review: 2013 Limited Edition Lamy Safari Neon

I was not happy when I heard that Lamy's Safari color for 2013 is not purple but a vivid, bright, and intense neon. I was thinking that if I ever get one, what would I do with it? But Lamy always proves me wrong, and I instantly liked the neon Safari fountain pen the moment I saw it in its box.

NEON is Lamy's limited edition Safari color for 2013, and it is available as fountain pen, rollerball pen, or ballpoint pen. I received the fountain pen in this review at no charge from Lamy's authorized and exclusive distributor in the Philippines, Times Trading Company.

Neon Lamy Safari fountain pen comes in a self covered plastic box, and inside is a soft plastic clamp that holds the pen in place. The bed inside the box is felt, ensuring that the pen will not be scratched.

This Safari pen is truly neon! It is bright and intense, and that made it a bit hard for me to shoot photos for this review. I had to reshoot my exposures several times to ensure that I will get one where the pen doesn't appear to be glowing.

Lamy Safari pens are student pens, promoted for extensive use in school. For many fountain pen users, the Safari becomes their starter fountain pens, but these are made from sturdy ABS plastic – the same material used in Lego blocks and inner walls of refrigerators – a thermoplastic used in many products for its hardness, gloss, toughness, and electrical insulation. The Safari fountain pen was first introduced during the 1980 Frankfurt exhibition, and has been in regular production since then. Wolfgang Fabian designed the pen.

The neon Lamy Safari's major parts, as with the other Safari fountain pens, include the barrel, section with converter, and cap. Safari fountain pens measure 5.5 inches while capped, 5 inches uncapped, and quite long at 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 the T10 ink cartridges are also available for use on this pen.

Lamy Safari fountain pens and rollerball pens have cap buttons, a truly unique feature of the series. Rollerball pens have a line, and fountain pens have a cross (or x) sign in their cap buttons. The previous two years' fountain pens (AquamarineGreen) had cap buttons in the same color used in their caps and barrels, but the neon Safari has a black cap button similar to that of 2008's limited edition lime green, and those of Safaris in regular production (glossy white, glossy black, matte black, blue, red, yellow).

The changes in Safari fountain pens' cap buttons through the years. Lamy reissued pink and orange Safaris recently, and their cap buttons are of the same color as their caps and barrels, too.

Some users dislike Lamy Safari fountain pen’s triangular grip, because they find it 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. Near the end of the section is the anti-slipping brake to prevent 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 best feature of Lamy Safari fountain pens is the interchangeability of their nibs. A 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 a yellow Safari fountain pen fitted with a 1.9mm nib used as a highlighter pen. I will do the same conversion and make my own highlighter pen!

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. Towards the end, neatly etched in clean, sharp lines is the Lamy logo.

I flushed this pen before filling it with ink to ensure that there is no factory residue in it. After filling, the pen wrote instantly and smoothly. It did not even skip as I wrote on my Banditapple notebook. I filled my neon Lamy Safari fountain pen with J. Herbin's 1670 Bleu Ocean. I used a dark ink for this bright pen to achieve some contrast. I wrote the quote with the default medium nib on my pen. The writeup below was written with a medium stub nib done by my friend Jose Reinoso.

This neon Safari is an awesome addition to Lamy's growing line of fountain pens. It feels good in my hand when I write with it because it is light, but sturdy at the same time. And it comes in many different colors! My green fountain pen from last year still looks new and now I have the 2013 neon Safari in my hands. Now it makes me dream again of a purple Safari. But don't let that keep anyone from getting one of this impossibly impossible to ignore pens. Go get yours now! 

All of my limited edition Lamy Safari colors. From top: Lime Green (2008), Orange (2009), Pink (2010), Aquamarine (2011), Green (2012), and Neon (2013).
Which pen is the brightest of them all?

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

In the Philippines, the neon Lamy Safari (and other Lamy pens and ink) 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, located at Eastwood Mall in Quezon City. A Lamy Safari (including the neon pen) fountain pen sells for PhP1,499.75 (~USD35).


  1. Really a brilliant (haha, pun!) review of an equally glaring pen! I saw a few of these displayed at an NBS ans thought my eyes would dry out from all the light being reflected at them. Still, eye-catching as this pen is, I really doubt that I'd be willing to use any of my brighter inks with this, lest I develop severe eye strain. Haha, good call with the Bleu Ocean XD


  2. I did not think I would like the neon colors, but I really like them. They make a fine pen an even better looking pen.

    Nice post and your penmanship is the greatest.

  3. Oh boy. I did not want it before... now after having seen your pictures, I WANT IT!!!

  4. Great post. I made a copy of the of picture of the 6 limited addition Lamy pens. I just need to keep track of what I am missing.

  5. I have the green one from 2012 and I wish I had been into fountain pens in 2010 - I love the pink! A purple one would be wonderful, too. What are the chances?

  6. Nice post, especially useful because one gets to see several colours together for comparison.

  7. The colours of the limited editions look real funky!

  8. Really good pics, thank you!!!