Lamy Dark Lilac Fountain Pen and Ink

2 05 2016

I could have reviewed the nib, but ive already swapped on a slightly crisp stubby italic that I ground ahead of this pen’s arrival, which gives you no insight into how it writes right out of the box

A review for the much anticipated Lamy Dark Lilac Safari doesn’t need to be long. Here it is: just buy it. Unless you hate purple, or purple murdered your parents outside a movie theater forcing you into a life of vigilante justice against purple-jacketed villains, then you can pass, but everyone else? You probably ought to get this pen, and the ink to go with it. I hate triangular grips, and I still think you should get this pen.

Heck, I might even get this pen again

Ultimately this is still a Lamy Safari, and my opinions about the Safari haven’t really changed (though it’s no longer the sole best contender for a beginner fountain pen, not since the Pilot Metropolitan hit the streets). But I will tell you what makes this particular Safari a winner among all other Safaris.

I recommend pairing this pen and ink with a Rhodia Ice pad for maximum cool factor

I don’t know if the success of the Pelikan M205 Amethyst led them to this conclusion or if Lamy came up with this one all on their own, but special edition pens can be made in colors other than green. With fantastic results! I couldn’t ask for a more perfect shade of purple.

I could ask, but no one would be able to give it to me

The entire pen is finished with the same matte texture as you’d find on the charcoal Safari. It’s a wonderful texture that doesn’t show fingerprints the way the glossy finishes do, and adds comfortable grippability to the plastic body.

I’m going to sleep now and dream of this most perfect purple

The black nib, clip, and finial seals the deal. Silver accents would have been too showy. The stealth scheme lends the pen an ineffable air of coolness.

SHEEN, BABY, SHEEN!

Lamy ink is one of my favorites for everyday use — it’s vibrant, it shades, and it’s fairly quick drying. The only downside to Lamy ink is the limited selection of colors available — or, that was the downside, prior to the arrival in the past few years of matching special edition inks. Now I have the purple I’ve wanted to exist since I first learned about Lamy inks. Bonus? The ink has a golden sheen.

This pen and its matching ink are everything I hoped for. My only problem is that they didn’t come out with it sooner.

And Tobi’s only problem is that the ink isn’t meat-flavored


I got mine from my local enabler, Crazy Alan’s Emporium. He might have some in stock if you give the store a call. Otherwise you can find this pen for however limited a time at any fine retailer where Lamys are sold, but not yet sold out. 

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

11 04 2014
ggg

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!





Lamy Safari Fountain Pen – Apple Green Body – M nib

4 04 2014
The summery delight of this turquoise cannot adequately be represented in a mere scan

The summery delight of this turquoise cannot adequately be represented in a mere scan

The Lamy Safari is pretty much THE classic beginner fountain pen of these modern times—nice enough, lots of options, and not too expensive. This is the pen that a lot of people get when they step up from disposables or the $15 and under category, or heck, I’m sure it’s probably just plain old what a lot of people start with (though I moved up from my beloved disposable Ink Bar to the Sailor A. S. Manhattaner’s and the Platinum Preppy and all other manner of fountain pens but I can confidently say that the Safari’s clear demonstrator version, the Lamy Vista, was my first in-store fountain pen purchase).

I am reasonably confident that this is the 2012 Limited Edition Apple Green body

I am reasonably confident that this is the 2012 Limited Edition Apple Green body

The Safari has a number of great design features, starting with the plastic body—it’s available in a wide variety of colors, from bright and ostentatious (like this green, or last year’s neon yellow) to subdued and classy (like the white or the charcoal black). It’s not a scratchproof plastic, but it is durable (I haven’t broken one yet anyway, and I don’t treat them delicately).

The iconic Lamy clip

The iconic Lamy clip

I love this clip. There is no mistaking the Lamy clip. You may spot one across the room in the hands of a total stranger and KNOW that there’s a Lamy. Then you will hiss at your dining companions “THAT DUDE’S GOT A LAMY” and your dining companions will have no idea what you’re talking about and wonder to themselves why they invite you to brunch. Note how the wide clip arms curve down around the body of the cap—helps hold it snug to the page or the pocket, while the flared end makes it easy to slip on.

Proprietary cartridges, my greatest nemesis

Proprietary cartridges, my greatest nemesis

One of the drawbacks to the Lamy line is that they require proprietary Lamy cartridges. So if you inherited several metric tons of standard international cartridges from your grandmother, this won’t be the pen to use them in. But there is at least sort of a reason for the special cartridges: they are designed to snap themselves on. Just make sure the cartridge is sticking into the grip like so, just resting there really, make sure there’s no cardboard ring on there, and then screw the rest of the body back on. It will push the cartridge down and puncture the bit that lets the ink go from cartridge to feed. That’s a nice feature for beginners (and people with poor arm strength and people who just may be lazy). No wondering (as I hope you rarely do in life) “did I push hard enough?”  You can also pay to get a Lamy converter and use the pen with bottled ink. If I were to rotate the grip in that picture 90 degrees, you’d see the little secure-posts where the converter snaps on.

This right here is the biggest reason you may not want a Lamy

This right here is the biggest reason you may not want a Lamy

If you are a normal human being, or perhaps a German schoolchild, then you will hold your writing utensils with the ultra-efficient and ergonomic ideal pliers grip. The Lamy Safari is molded with this ideal grip in mind, and if you have proper gripping technique or like to be corrected by the pen you hold, then you’ll probably love this. I do not love this. I am forever in battle against the sharp edges and my horrible overwriter lefty cavedwelling hookgrip. If you are getting a pen for someone else, consider how they grip. A rounded grip, or at least one not so sharply sculpted might serve them better depending on their style.

Comparatively speaking, the options here are endless

Comparatively speaking, the options here are endless

The stainless steel nibs are excellent beginner or workhorse nibs. They are sufficiently smooth, but not so smooth that you’re in danger of losing control (or needing to write in cursive, really fast). The nibs are easy to change out and come in extra fine, fine, medium, and broad (all of which can either be in stainless steel finish or black finish), plus three sizes of calligraphy nib (1.1mm, 1.5mm, and 1.9mm). If you want to be able to try a wide range of nibs without having to get a new pen every time (though, where’s the fun in that, besides not being broke?), then the Lamy Safari is an excellent way to go—nibs are sold individually all over the place.

Buy one. Buy three. BUY EVERY COLOR EVERRRRRR

Buy one. Buy three. BUY EVERY COLOR EVERRRRRR

It’s not the perfect beginner pen for everyone, but even in spite of the things I don’t like about it I keep buying them. Those darn colors are just so irresistible. It looks like the Limited Edition 2012 Apple Green body is still in stock at Goldspot Pens at time of writing. Or you can browse through other colors at some of my other favorite online places.

 

Lamy Safari Fountain Pens at the Goulet Pen Company

Lamy Safari Fountain Pens at JetPens





Lamy Pur Fountain Pen – Aluminum Smooth – EF Nib

2 01 2014
Didn't pack a scanner, so a picture of the writing sample will have to do for this time. Please imagine to yourselves that this appears as the proper Lamy blue.

Didn’t pack a scanner, so a picture of the writing sample will have to do for this time. Please imagine to yourselves that this appears as the proper Lamy blue.

As soon as one of these popped up at my local pen store, I snagged it (I think it actually appeared in their inventory at one of the pen shows; either way as soon as it hit the table I was on it). This has been another impulse purchase that I do not regret.

To commemorate my time visiting the snow, I figured authentic pen snow pictures were in order. This is probably not recommended by the manufacturer.

To commemorate my time visiting the snow, I figured authentic pen snow pictures were in order. This is probably not recommended by the manufacturer.

The body is smooth aluminum, lightweight and beautifully minimalist. It feels lovely to hold, with that smooth finish, and being lightweight aluminum it’s easy to write with the pen posted or unposted.

Wiped off the snow. Snow melted from my hands, and refroze on the pen. Good times.

Wiped off the snow. Snow melted from my hands, and refroze on the pen. Good times.

The clip is a spring-mounted steel clip, on which they should have embossed the Lamy logo—the logo printed onto the barrel is starting to wear off. Not that I’ll mind having a totally clean barrel.

Look! No sharp awkward edges! Just roundness!

Look! No sharp awkward edges! Just roundness!

For me, this grip is what bumps the Lamy Pur into favorite Lamy status (over, say, the Safari/Vista line). I try to work on having a proper, ideal grip, but sometimes I just can’t. This round, unguided grip forgives me.

I should have tested writing conditions in below freezing weather, but I was more interested in finishing the pictures and getting back inside where it was warm.

I should have tested writing conditions in below freezing weather, but I was more interested in finishing the pictures and getting back inside where it was warm.

I got my Lamy Pur with an extra fine steel nib, but any Lamy nib will work on this pen (Goulet Pens has it so you can order whatever nib size you want, from EF to 1.9mm nib, in steel or black color for all non-calligraphy nibs). The nib has been great so far, never scratchy, no problems starting, good flow, nice tactile feeling on the page. I’ve never much had problems with Lamy nibs myself, but know that if you’ve got one you absolutely love but want an upgrade in terms of body, you can just slap that favorite nib right onto the Lamy Pur.

The top kind of curves in, by the way, ever so slightly. Not sure what you'll do with that information but there it is

The top kind of curves in, by the way, ever so slightly. Not sure what you’ll do with that information but there it is

It comes in a decent little box, with one Lamy cartridge and the black-ended converter (the Z26, as opposed to the Z24). This is one of my favorite everyday pens—it looks snazzy, writes quite reliably, and while it’s a bit of a price bump from a Safari or a Vista it isn’t too terribly much more.

I got mine from Office Supplies and More, but you can also get the Lamy Pur with nib of your choice from the Goulet Pen Company online.





Lamy Vista Fountain Pen with Extra Fine Nib

9 04 2011

Though this Behance Dot Grid paper was not particularly good for the use of this Lamy, I used it anyway. To consistency!

This past weekend, I took a trip to New York City, and among a bunch of minor pen-related ambitions, I had one shining goal: go to a fancy pen store, buy a fountain pen, do not go bankrupt in the process. And what do you know, I accomplished all three.

Perusal of the internet suggested that the Art Brown International Pen Shop would probably be the most rewarding place to frolic for a fountain pen, and though I have no other stores to compare it to, I’ll go ahead and agree. The front of the store contains two long rows of well-lit glass cases, much as a purveyor of fine jewelry might be seen to own, full of exceedingly fancy pens that were no doubt astronomically beyond my price range. I was so intimidated and overwhelmed by the fancy display that I immediately beat a retreat to the back of the store, to browse among the notebooks and more common writing utensils, and to pull together the courage to ask about a modestly fancy pen. Prior reconnaissance suggested that Lamy might offer just such a pen.

Such a pen.

After trying a couple nibs, I settled on the extra fine–my love of a fine line always wins the day (unless we’re getting so fine that the pen is tearing up the paper and getting fibers all clogged up in itself. That will lose the day).

See-through pens make me feel like I have X-Ray vision.

The first thing that caught my eye about the Vista was pure aesthetics–I love the clear-barrel look. It’s so much more interesting–has so much more going on–than the opaque, single color barrel. You can see the innards! Isn’t that thrilling? I think it’s fantastic.

With the clear barrel, everyone will know when you're using off-brand cartridges and they will JUDGE YOU MERCILESSLY.

Most of the pen is made of this thick, strong plastic (maybe one day I’ll learn the actual names of plastics and how to differentiate between them), which leads to two consequences: one, the pen checks in at about medium weight category (due almost entirely to every piece of metal on the cap); two: this pen shows fingerprints EVERYWHERE. Unless you write with gloves. It also works excellently to display dust and other unwanted detritus.

Oh hellooooo, Distinctive Clip that is both Functional and Decorative. What's that? You want to grab onto some papers and never let go? Don't be silly; you're strong, but not THAT strong.

As I mentioned, much of this pen’s weight is in the cap. I was worried this would make the writing experience feel off-balance with the pen being so top-heavy when the cap was posted, but I found that the weight provided just the right amount of counterbalance against my fingers gripping the top of the pen. The weight of the pen was comfortable in my hand, and it added to the writing experience.

The clip design is quite ingenious– rather than a flat clip that is parallel to the barrel, this clip…how do I put this…dips down along the side of the barrel, so that the overall plane of the clip intersects with the shape of the barrel (of course they don’t literally intersect because the clip is a sturdy wire rather than a filled-in plane). The result is a clip with a lot more gripping power–I wasn’t worried about it falling off when clipped onto the cover and several pages of a staple-bound Clairefontaine notebook as I carried it around for a walk. Though perhaps it is too strong?–I could easily see this creasing and bending the pages of a weak notebook cover.

Helpfully, the one part of the grip that bothers me the most is the part I managed to leave out of this picture. Crazy good photography, that!

The grip on the barrel is entirely smooth–just two long concave indentations for your thumb and fingers. My main problem with this pen is right here, in the grip, though I’m not sure if the problem is with the construction of the pen or with the way I tend to hold pens. The hard edge on the side of the concave grip for the thumb digs in a little at the base of my thumb, and I feel like the joint where the barrel connects to the body bothers my hand between the index finger and the thumb. I can’t write for very long with my current hand posture without experiencing some discomfort. Given that I’ve only had this pen less than a week, I’m not going to say that this is a write-off; we’re just getting to know each other here. I’ll see if I can get into the habit of holding the pen in a different way, so that the grip works with me while writing instead of bothering me incessantly.

 

I wish nibs had more colorful designations than “Extra Fine.” Something like “Super Fly” or “Totally Tubular.” And they would only work if you used rainbow ink. … This caption went way off topic.

I went with the extra fine nib (though I can buy other nibs later, if I change my mind), and I think this is probably the best nib for daily use. The amount of ink coming out here, for me, is at the perfect Goldilocks ratio–not too much (too much means the ink takes too long to dry), not too little (too little, obviously, means you’re often not even writing). I’ve been able to use this pen on normal papers, post-it notes, around the office–and not had to deal with the typical feathering, bleeding, and pooling of ink that accompanies a pen that writes too wetly. Most of my fountain pens aren’t appropriate (-ly functional) for office use; I was surprised that this one would be. Once I switch to a converter with some new ink, we’ll see whether this ability to write and be useful on normal paper is due chiefly to the ink or the nib.

In a world where pens like to give away ink like they're just MADE of dispensing mechanisms overflowing with inkly generosity, ONE NIB KNOWS how to strike the balance between sopping wet and infuriatingly dry.

Unlike some extra fine nibs I’ve dealt with, the Lamy EF nib is never scratchy. Writing is smooth, with the soft and satisfying sound of the nib making contact with the paper as it glides along. Some paper does better than others; the Behance Dot Grid was probably the poorest performer among my papers, and even then it wasn’t too bad. On papers like Rhodia and Clairefontaine, the pen just sails along. It makes me want to write even when I have nothing to say.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this pen. I got to have a fun experience buying it, going to an actual pen store to try the pen out, the pen itself seems to be well constructed and quite aesthetically pleasing, it performs well (and also makes me want to write in cursive), and my biggest beef with the pen is probably something that a better/different grip posture will fix. Welcome, Lamy Vista, into the ranks of my favorite fountain pens (the ranks being divided into two categories: my favorites, and not my favorites).

Parting advice: before letting anyone else hold your pen, be sure to wipe all your fingerprints and dead skin cells off so people won't think you're so gross.

 

 

Lamy Vista Fountain Pen – EF Nib at Art Brown International Pen Shop