Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen – Bluegreen 2014 Special Edition – Black B nib

11 04 2014
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Mint chocolate! If only. 

My local pen store and the place I go to get my coffee beans are located in the same shopping complex. It’s a dangerous set-up. I head out intending to get more beans and come home with a new bluegreen Lamy Al-Star.

This is the color mermaids would choose for their fountain pens

This is the color mermaids would choose for their fountain pens

You know how Pikachu will evolve into Raichu with the application of a thunderstone? The Al-Star is basically what the Safari evolves into with the application of more moneystone. Instead of a plastic body, you have an aluminum body that’s slightly thicker but still comfortably lightweight. The only problem is that the finish becomes worn with time.

And yet I keep buying these pens!!

And yet I keep buying these pens!!

But the finish feels nice and smooth, and the bluegreen is a wonderfully mesmerizing color. So calm.

Unfortunately the grips between the Safari and the Al-Star in spite of being similar are not interchangeable. I've tried

Unfortunately the grips between the Safari and the Al-Star in spite of being similar are not interchangeable. I’ve tried

The grip is a smoky translucent plastic, but otherwise identical to the grip of the Safari or Vista. Meaning another shaped grip, which you will probably either enjoy or consider the bane of your existence. Why can’t Lamy put out lots of special color editions of one of their models with a softer, more rounded grip? One that’s also, you know, reasonably affordable?

You can really see the thicker body when looking at the clip. Also, look it's the converter! This part is interchangeable between the Al-Star and the Safari

You can really see the thicker body when looking at the clip. Also, look it’s the converter! This part is interchangeable between the Al-Star and the Safari

In all other respects, the Al-Star is the same as the Safari. Same iconic clip, same cartridges and converter system.

Black nibs is the best fountain pen trend. Coolness factor intensifies!

Black nibs is the best fountain pen trend. Coolness factor intensifies!

Even the same steel nibs. For maximum coolness, I went with a black nib, in broad, as that was the only Lamy nib size I didn’t yet own (besides one of the calligraphy nib sizes, but those don’t come in black). The nib is smooth and steady—you can feel it on the page. The flow is good—I worried that the broad nib would throw down too much ink, but that fear was unfounded. The flow keeps up perfectly with the nib.

Resistance is futile.

Resistance is futile.

I got my Al-Star from Office Supplies and More, and he’ll be taking them to the pen shows (including Atlanta this weekend. THAT’S LIKE RIGHT NOW AS I’M WRITING THIS; GET ON IT!). But if North Carolina or the Atlanta Pen Show aren’t on your way anywhere any time soon, you can also get them online from the Goulet Pen Company.

BONUS PICTURE BECAUSE I CAN!

BONUS PICTURE BECAUSE I CAN!

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Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen – White Body, Black M Nib

21 02 2014
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Diamine Ancient Copper is an awesome color

Since my first Pilot Vanishing Point, I’ve come around more on my opinion of this pen, which should be abundantly apparent when you consider that I now own four of them. For this review, I’ll focus on my most recent addition, a white body Vanishing Point with black medium nib.

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White like the snow we got stuck under last week

The look has grown on my over time. The aesthetic is clean and modern, while still being high class. There is a white body available with matte black accents instead of the rhodium, but I can tell you that the matte black finish isn’t as durable. An everyday pen needs to be durable. The black nib, though subtle, gives me that sporty white/black look without sacrificing the pen’s general usability.

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Black like the night. I am the night. I am Batman.

I still don’t necessarily like having the clip on the writing end, but I understand why it has to be there. You get used to it. The payoff is having a retractable fountain pen, which is the greatest convenience a fountain pen can have. This is my #1 work pen of choice.

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18K black plated stylish magic, with a few spots of dried ink

I own broad, medium, and fine Vanishing Point nibs, and the medium is by far my favorite for everyday work use. The nib is tactile on the page, smooth but not so smooth that it’s out of control. I had no finicky problems like I did with my broad nib (which has behaved well since I took it to Richard Binder)—the flow is good, and the ink doesn’t stop until the pen is totally out of ink.

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Fancy writing just waiting to happen

The Vanishing Point is attractive, reliable, and convenient. It’s a bit premium-priced, but with no competition in terms of other retractable fountain pens, it’s worth the price for such a high-quality pen.

Looking around briefly, it looks like the best way to get this combo online is through the Goulet Pen Company. Here’s the white body, with your choice of size and color nib. I got mine from Office Supplies and More, which sort of requires you to either show up in person (and probably call ahead and tell him what you want, etc.—he might have to order it) or catch him out at one of the pen shows.