The Lamy AL-star is a minimalistic, yet stylish, fountain pen. The look is similar to the all-plastic Lamy Safari, but with a metal barrel that comes in several color variants. It utilizes the Lamy T10 ink refill cartridges that, like the pen body, come in a number of different colors. A plunger style converter, the Lamy Z26, allows you to use other inks, as well.
My Lamy AL-star tends to be my letter writing and journaling pen. I purchased an Al-star with the fine point, which best suits my writing style. The nib is tough and doesn’t show signs of wear after several years of use. Ink flows smoothly and consistently, though, like many fountain pen inks, takes some time to dry. When using it, I tend to keep a blotter on hand in case I write faster than it dries, which is often.
A well placed port on either side of the pen allows a quick assessment of ink levels in the pen, a handy feature for those who write often.
When I saw this pen, I worried the barrel was thicker than I liked. The beveled grip alleviates this issue and it turns out to be quite comfortable, even when writing for extended periods of time. The aluminum barrel isn’t that thick and proves to be quite light. I have, infrequently, taken this pen out with me camping or on photo shoots, and find that the aluminum barrel, while fairly thin, fares quite well. It has a couple small scratches and one tiny dent, but these do not detract from the simple elegance of the pen.
The Al-star cleans easily in warm water, and I do recommend it from time to time. I’ve found that if I leave mine sitting for extended periods (say, a few weeks) the ink in the nib has a tendency to dry and clog. I recommend distilled water, particularly if you, like me, have very hard water at the tap.
Lamy, itself, is an innovative company that I hope to profile in a future article. The Lamy Al-star was my introduction to the company, and I have since purchased several more of their models, all of which I have been pleased with.