Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fountain Pen Review: 2015 Lamy AL-Star Special Edition Copper Orange

Many of us have heard about the 2016 Special Edition Lamy AL-Star, but before we get our hands on the Charged Green pen — and before 2015 ends — let me turn in my review of the 2015 AL-Star.

Late last year, Lamy released an announcement that made their followers and collectors happy: the 2015 Special Edition AL-Star pen color will be a vibrant and happy Copper Orange! I looked forward to a new Lamy fountain pen, and I looked forward to adding a new orange pen to my growing orange pen collection.

Lamy AL-Star is almost identical to the Safari, its older cousin. It is wider in diameter, though, and somewhat heavier at 22g (the Safari is lighter at 17g). Designed by Safari creator Wolfgang Fabian, the AL-Star was launched in 1997 in polished high-tech aluminum, instead of plastic. 

According to Lamy's news release for the 2015 Special Edition pen, Copper Orange gives a whole new meaning to the concept of luminescence: it is pulsing with energy.

The Copper Orange AL-Star pen in this review is a fountain pen, but the line also includes a rollerball pen, and a ballpoint pen. I received the fountain pen in this review at no cost from Lamy's authorized and exclusive distributor in the Philippines, Times Trading Company.

The AL-Star's cap and barrel are made from high-tech aluminum, and the section is plastic, instead of matching the pen's body's material. AL-Star fountain pens measure 5.5 inches while capped, 5 inches uncapped, and 6.6 inches when posted. 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 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.

The AL-Star has the same black top cap (finial) of the Safari, which is also what's installed on all of my AL-Star fountain pens.

The AL-Star has the signature triangular section grip, a feature I find comfortable and helpful especially for newbies. Others find it uncomfortable and annoying, but it is designed to make writing easier, meant for users to have a firm grip on the pen. Near the end of the section is an anti-slipping brake which prevents a 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 line. 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.

The AL-Star 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 is the Lamy logo etched in aluminum. 

Copper Orange AL-Star with Lamy Safari Flame and Lamy Safari Creme Orange.
Lamy AL-Star pens (from top): Aluminum, Graphite, Silver Green, Ocean Blue, Black Purple, Ruby Red, Pearl, Blue Green, and Copper Orange. A Silver Blue AL-Star has recently joined the lot but missed the photo shoot.

Lamy is now offering matching inks with their special edition pens. We are lucky that the Copper Orange ink in 50ml bottles and cartridges was made available in Manila. I got a bottle long before the fountain pen reached the stores, and I filled the pen with the matching ink as soon as I received it.

The 50ml Copper Orange 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. 

The Copper Orange ink is well-behaved, with excellent flow and lubrication. Shading is visible when used in wide nibs (1.1, at least). It may not be a bright orange, but when I look at the ink color, I see yellow, orange, red, and brown all at the same time. This ink is a keeper and I'm happy I got myself a bottle.

I love this AL-Star fountain pen. It is versatile (interchangeable nibs), simple, minimalistic, and helpful to newbies (triangular section grip). The polished metallic finish has a special glow that brings warmth and brilliance to the Copper Orange 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 Copper Orange AL-Stars yet, go get one now!

Lamy Safari pens are widely available from pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy retailers, visit:

In the Philippines, the AL-Star Copper Orange 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  


  1. Great review! I have one of these with the Copper Orange and I love both of them! It is the perfect colour.

  2. Thanks for the fine review. That is a great looking pen and ink combination. Another to add to my want list.