For anyone new to fountain pens, one commonly discussed topic is what a good beginner fountain pen is. Several pens are frequently mentioned: Lamy Safari, Pilot Metropolitan, Pilot Prera, etc. In this review, I’m going to go over the details of another popular beginner fountain pen, the Lamy Al-star CopperOrange.
Fountain Pen: Lamy Al-star CopperOrange
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: Lamy proprietary cartridge/converter
Production: Special edition
1. Packaging (8/10):
Lamy’s design language is form follows function. And simplicity is the key design element. This is also reflected on Lamy’s packaging design, which is minimal material and space consumption, but still with sufficient protection and interesting features. The pen box is not much bigger than the pen itself, and its is made from lightweight but sturdy hard cardboard paper. On the box, there are multiple cutouts, so that the pen’s colour can be shown without checking the label on the box or even opening it.
Inside the box is just the pen itself. A piece of paper is inserted in the clip. The paper is wide enough, such that with it installed onto the clip, the pen won’t rotate around inside the box. A Lamy cartridge is sitting in the pen barrel. A cardboard ring is placed onto the pen, in front of the barrel piece, so that the cartridge inside won’t be accidentally punched in.
Other than these small accessories used to keep the pen intact, there is no piece in the packaging that doesn’t serve a functional value. The packaging takes minimal space and everything can be recycled. What you paid for is more on the pen rather than a fancy packaging. Lamy Al-star’s special editions use the same packaging as the regular lineup. Personally, I think this is a good decision from Lamy, considering the price of the pen, which is still around the entry level pricing.
2. Pen Design (10/10):
The Lamy Al-star line has a classic design. And there isn’t much that I dislike. The overall length of the pen is decent, which is similar to several other popular pen models, such as the Pelikan Souverän M800/M805, Montblanc Meisterstück Classique, Pilot Vanishing Point, and Lamy’s flagship line, the Lamy 2000.
If you know the Lamy Al-star fountain pen, chances are you may have heard of the Lamy Safari line as well. The shape of the two models are very similar, except that the Al-star has a wider cap and barrel, plus that the grip section is translucent. The Al-star has more of an aluminum construction, which feels great in the hand. The pen is lightweight. The cap can be posted securely onto the end of the barrel. Doing so doesn’t make the pen too back-heavy, but personally I find it too long when posted.
The Lamy Al-star, along with the Lamy Safari, are famous for their triangular grip section design. When I use the pen, I find myself holding the pen exactly like what the triangular section wants me to hold. However, anyone who is interested in this pen should try one in person first, since it may not fit everyone’s preference.
On the barrel, there are two cutouts that serve as the ink window. This is a welcoming feature, as I don’t find it available on many cartridge/converter filling fountain pens.
The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange uses the stainless steel Lamy nib that can be found in many other Lamy pen models. The only marking on the nib are the Lamy name and “M” designation for the medium nib. One feature that I like about this pen is that the nib can be easily pulled out, so that a different nib can be installed, if the user wants to replace a broken nib or simply prefers a different nib size. The spare nib can be quite easily sourced.
3. Filling System (8/10):
Considering that I in general prefer the piston filling mechanism, this is a high score for a proprietary cartridge/converter filling system.
The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange accepts the proprietary Lamy ink cartridges. It also can have the Lamy Z24 converter installed. Unlike the Z26 converter that is equipped on the Lamy Studio, the Z24 converter has two “fins” that can be inserted into the slots available on the Lamy Al-star, so that the converter can stay very securely on the pen.
The converter holds a fair amount of ink for its size, and combining with the two ink windows on the barrel, I think this filling mechanism works well and the design around it is well thought of.
4. Nib Performance (7/10):
This pen has a stainless medium nib, which is the same as the perviously reviewed Lamy Studio Wild Rubin. There isn’t any issue with skipping or hard starts, and the nib writes well enough right out of the box. However, there aren’t much special characteristics about this nib. It’s not the smoothest. It doesn’t have the best ink flow. But it writes well enough, with a drier ink flow, and the performance is reliable and consistent. Perhaps that makes it a good daily writer.
5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange is easy to clean. The cartridge converter flushes the ink out of the pen considerably efficiently. I haven’t found any issue with cleaning this pen so far. The metal construction also makes the pen fairly durable. The coloured surface may get scratches over time, but the body itself is very durable. In addition, the self-serviceable nib is a welcoming feature.
Pen Design: 10/10
Filling System: 8/10
Nib Performance: 7/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10
The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange special edition is one of my favourite offerings from Lamy. The colour of the pen is so perfect that I wish more pens are made in this shade of orange.
In my opinion, the best feature of this Lamy Al-star CopperOrange is its beautiful orange colour. This is one of my favourite colour and I couldn’t really say no to it, when I first saw the pen. This shade is not too bright, and has a very warm feel. I really wish more pens can be made with this beautiful shade.
The Lamy Al-star line is a slight step-up from the Safari line, which the pen body is made from plastic instead of aluminum. The metal construction makes the Al-star look more refined. Being lightweight, its length is still very decent and even if it can be a bit back-heavy, posting the cap still makes the pen very usable.
Lamy uses proprietary cartridge converter filling system. However the design here works really well. The converter stays securely on the pen, and maintaining the pen is really easy. Even the nib can be quickly replaced.
The pen uses the standard Lamy stainless steel nib. Personally I feel it lacks character but the performance is consistently well. The ink flow is on the drier side, which many users may find it ideal as a daily writer.
Overall, I like this pen. What I may try is to replace the stainless steel nib with a gold nib, just to see if the writing performance can be better. If so, it will be one of my favourite writers.