Notes: This is the first Stipula ink I have tried. First impression is that there’s some really cool shading going on, especially in the Conklin’s 1.1mm stub nib. As for the color itself, I don’t know how I feel about it. It’s definitely reminding me of Rohrer & Klingner’s Alt-Goldgrun and Diamine’s Salamander. The ink performs well, but it’s slightly on the dry side. I’m not a huge fan of the color, but it’s definitely less intense than the Alt-Goldgrun, which makes it easier to read. I definitely won’t be buying a bottle, but if you’re into the color, it’s not a bad ink by any means. Thanks for reading! This ink was also part of the awesome ink sample package that Azizah at GourmetPens.com sent over a few months back – so thanks again!
Color may not be for everyone because it’s kind of ugly…
Notes: This is the blue iron gall ink offering from Rohrer & Klingner, and I think it’s pretty awesome. It’s a solid performer on all types of paper I’ve tried it with (even cheap copy paper). It’s a well-behaved ink that could be easily used as a daily driver due to it’s versatility. The ink shades wonderfully and it’s super smooth in my Lamy 2000. This particular iron gall does on lighter initially than Diamine’s Registrar’s Ink. Shading is about the same though. As with all iron gall inks, they darken up a bit as they dry, while permanently bonding with the paper in the process. I was a big fan of R&K Scabiosa (I recently bought an entire bottle), and now I can add Salix to the want list. Like all iron gall inks, try not to leave it loaded in a pen too long, as they can become corrosive over extended periods of time. I’ve never had an issue, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. I’m really loving this ink though, and I think I may need to add a bottle to my collection. Thanks for reading!
Notes: For the sake of your eyes, I’m writing this part of the review with a Sakura Pigma Micron. The Pelikan Highlighter ink was released with a special edition demonstrator M205 with a double broad nib. The ink isn’t that great for writing, but it looks and works awesome as a highlighter ink. I have it loaded in my Lamy Vista with a 1.5mm nib and it looks incredible inside the pen. The ink itself does tend to wash away some water-based fountain pen ink, and some gel ink too. It works great with the Pigma Micron’s pigmented ink, and it does a decent job with pigmented fountain pen inks like Sailor Kiwa Guro Nano Black. This review is a bit different from my typical ink reviews, so see the second handwritten page for how the highlighter works with a ton of different pens. I also happen to like the brightness as compared to two other green highlighters. Check the bottom picture to see how cool it looks loaded into a demonstrator. Thanks for reading!
Fun to use
Bright (!!!) green
Your eyeballs will melt if you attempt to use this for regular writing
The Lamy AL-Star (not this matte black one I’m writing the review with) was the second fountain pen I had ever purchased. It’s surprising that it’s taken me this one to review one. The AL-Star is nearly identical to the Lamy Safari, except it’s made from aluminum. I’m definitely a huge fan of the pen (I have three of them…) so enjoy the review!
Appearance & Packaging:
If you’re familiar with the looks and packaging of the Safari, you’re not going to be very surprised here. The AL-Star looks the same, but is ever so slightly wider in diameter than its plastic counterpart. It also has the love-it-or-hate-it signature Lamy triangular grip. Being right handed with a normal tripod grip, I find the pen to be very comfortable.
The difference between the Safari grip and the AL-Star grip is that instead of matching the body, all of the AL-Stars have a smoky transparent grey plastic grip, regardless of the color of the pen. I think the dark plastic looks great in pretty much every body combination (the sandy metallic tan doesn’t look so great in my opinion). I absolutely love the modern design that Lamy employs throughout their entire product line, and the AL-Star is no exception.
Nib Performance & Filling System:
The AL-Star takes Lamy’s proprietary cartridge/converter system. For the price range ($37.00), it makes sense for the pen to have a C/C system. I’ve said it in other pen reviews, I really don’t mind the C/C system because it allows me to change inks more frequently. The AL-Star has an oval-shaped window in the body that allows you to see how much ink is left in the pen as well.
The AL-Star takes the interchangeable steel nibs that are seen across most of Lamy’s product line. They can be hit or miss, but they’re really easy to swap out. The steel nibs aren’t bad writers at all, and are definitely in the middle of the road in terms of smoothness and flow. I like the interchangeable system, because it allows you to try new nib widths with a relatively low barrier to entry, and makes the pen very versatile as well. I found Lamy’s nib system to be hugely helpful in the beginning of my fountain pen journey. It really helped me to dial in my nib preferences without spending big money on a pen with a nib I may not be crazy about.
The Lamy AL-Star definitely has a more premium feel than the Safari. It’s slightly heavier too. The aluminum has a nice tactile feel, and it’s nice to pick up something that’s cool to the touch (at least in the winter it is…) that warms up in your hand. The fit and finish of the AL-Star is also top notch. I used to write with my Safaris and AL-Stars posted, but lately I’ve been doing so with the cap off. The pen is definitely a bit long at 6.7″ posted, but it’s not horribly off balance should you decide to post while writing.
The AL-Star also has the triangular grip section as seen on the Safari. I personally find it to be comfortable, but others with non-standard grips may find it to be unbearable. The grip does enforce proper grip, and the nib is always going to be lined up properly with the page when you’re using the grip. Again, this helped me out quite a bit in the beginning of my fountain pen days. The feel of the body is nice, but the aluminum is not quite as durable as the Safari. The finish is definitely prone to showing wear, and I’ve heard stories of people denting the body of their AL-Star with abuse. I don’t mind when pens show wear, but if you baby the pen, I’m sure it will hold up just fine.
Affordable price range
Premium feel over the Safari
The grip isn’t for everyone
Aluminum construction doesn’t mean better durability
I love my Lamys quite a bit, so I may be slightly biased. The AL-Star is a winner in my book. Swappable nibs make the pen very versatile. The minimalistic design and clean aesthetics really resonate with me as well. The triangular grip may not be for everyone, but it can really help out beginners develop a proper fountain pen grip. I have around 6 Safaris and 3 AL-Stars, and I’m definitely going to continue to add them to my collection. I would definitely recommend this pen to anyone.
Notes: First off, this is my second review with the Hero 9018 and it’s awesome for doing ink reviews. The variation in line width that’s obtainable with one pen/nib is great for showing off how an ink looks in different configurations. Onto the ink…all signs should say that I shouldn’t like this ink (because it’s orange) but I totally do. The great shading and burnt color bring the ink well outside of the typical range of oranges. This ink would look super great in the Kaweco ART Sport in Amber acrylic, and that’s probably where it will end up next. Practicality is questionable, but it’s a great ink that would nicely compliment a brown pen. One thing worth noting is that this ink likes to gunk up feeds and nibs when left unattended for a while. I only experienced this a little bit, but keep an eye on anything you have it in. It doesn’t appear to damage anything, but may be a bit hard to clean out. Also, huge thanks again to Azizah over at Gourmet Pens for sending over the sample!