Welcome to the first official Battle Series!
First off, I’ll be honest: I’m a pen nerd, so I’ll usually like all the pens we talk about.
There may not be a clear winner and a clear loser, but with this new series of blogs, the aim is to tell you the strengths, weaknesses, and differences between two similar pens so you can decide which is ultimately the best choice for you.
OR, you could do what I would like to do: buy both!
Of course, if you can’t do that, I hope this blog helps you to make a well-informed decision.
If you’ve kept up with our other blogs, you’ll know that LAMY has been a recent addition for us, but has quickly become a favorite because of its quality and price point.
Made in Germany, and celebrating over 50 years of satisfied customers, the LAMY brand name is associated with high-quality design and extreme functionality.
Their modern look officially took flight in 1966 with the birth of the LAMY 2000: the design basis for most models today. With over 8 million writing instruments produced per year, LAMY is amazingly still a family-owned business! If your family is anything like mine, the simple fact that they have worked together for 50 years is astonishing!
With 32 product families of writing systems, LAMY has a lot to offer. Today, we want to dig into two of their most popular designs: the LAMY Safari (their best seller) and the LAMY AL-Star (a newer design on the rise, hoping to challenge the Safari).
The LAMY Safari Fountain Pen
Original Release Date: 1980
Material: Sturdy plastic
Colors: Pink, Green, Yellow, White, Umber (Grey), Red, Blue, Black
Tagline: “The Best Seller”
The LAMY AL-Star Fountain PenOriginal Release Date: 1997
Material: Durable aluminum
Colors: Bronze, Schwarz (Black), Black-Purple, Graphite (Grey), Ocean Blue, Blue Green
Tagline: “The Light Aluminum Experience”
The LAMY Safari Fountain Pen vs. The LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen
The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that the Safari is plastic, and the Al-Star is aluminum (think: Aluminum-Star).
Another difference is in the grip sections. In the AL-Star, the grip section is a translucent black plastic. In the Safari, the color of the pen’s body goes all the way down until you reach the nib.
Speaking of colors, there are a few more color options in the Safari (8 compared to 6) – the colors are also typically brighter, and sometimes neon in the Safari line. Some colors are really close, though, such as the Grey, which is available in both Al-Star and Safari.
The only real difference, other than the material, is that the Al-Star has a chrome clip, and the Safari has a black one.
The LAMY AL-Star is also available in bronze, for a full rundown check out our blog post: LAMY AL-Star Bronze: Definitely Not Third Place.
In terms of size, both pens are roughly the same size, although the body is extremely slightly larger in the AL-Star in terms of length and width (the AL-Star is definitely a bit heavier as well). By pure looks, the AL-Star does look slightly “thicker” when they are viewed directly side by side, particularly in the cap section.
We offer a full selection of verified LAMY pens and fountain pens, be sure to check them out to find the one that's right for you!
Battle is just comparison between the two as far as it goes. Wait right until you speak with blurb about the Vista and the LX well even though I’m not sure you get an LX is gonna match the other two in color but I mean Lamy does have a total of four of these pens are almost all exact way it’s up for like mine are finishing. I do however like the fact that with the lawn is at least if you don’t like nib could always swap them out and Lamy does make a hell of a lot of nerve options.
Lewis, I’ve had the same thing happen with a lot of fountain pens just after filling the converter, not just LAMY ones. I don’t really know the mechanics behind this issue (I suspect it’s just an initial ‘rush’ of ink flowing through and loading the empty pen too quickly), but I’ve found that if I dry the nib well with some tissue paper after filling the pen, let the tissue soak up a bit of ink, then scribble a bit with the pen on a bit of scrap paper, I reduce the chance of getting a blob.
Here’s a few thoughts that may help you based on my experiences. Please post what the final outcome was as this seems like a rarity and I’m curious to find out.
Q: Did you clean the pen before first use? After this problem?
Reasoning: I would strongly suggest doing so as all LAMY fountain pens are tested prior to leaving the factory. Perhaps this was an effect of either the ink used in testing or any chemical treatments used on the nib in the final steps of manufacturing. I read that it’s a best practice to clean every LAMY pen before first use. BTW, if you look closely enough at the nib, you could sometimes see some of the ink used during testing. It’s also the reason why the pen may start writing in a totally different color. I recently saw this myself when I started using a pen with red ink for the very first time, but only slight black was first coming out.
Q: Did you make sure the nib is on tight?
Reasoning: The nibs on the AL-Star simply slide down and off. You could use a piece of tape to help grip it if need be. Reseating it may resolve this problem. Just listen and feel for the ‘click’ to ensure that the nib is on all the way when reseating it.
Q: What about trying an ink cartridge or different converter?
Reasoning: It could be a problem with either. The LAMY ink cartridges are a bit of a pain to insert as the seal is a bit hard to break, but you could at least verify the problem this way. Maybe try ‘reseating’ the converter.
Q: What kind of ink are you using?
Reasoning: Yes, it absolutely could make a difference as ink that’s too ‘thin’ could cause this or other leakage problems, just like ink that’s too ‘thick’ may cause clogging issues. I would try the LAMY OEM ink to see if it occurs and go from there.
Q: Finally, what kind of paper were you writing on?
Reasoning: I actually use either toilet paper or paper towel to ‘draw’ out the ink when it doesn’t write while first starting new ink. I would think it’s because of the absorption capability being so great with these kinds of paper and we know that anything high pressure moves to an area of lower pressure to even out (homeostasis). Perhaps the paper is too absorbent? Have you tried other paper, or even paper and ink combinations? I’d certainly make that the next stop in trying to figure this out.
If all fails, it certainly could be the pen, but after all I’ve read about LAMY pens this doesn’t seem to be an often occurrence. At least LAMY AL-Star pens have a 2-year manufacturers warranty, so I’d start by sending LAMY an e-mail to see what they recommend. Worst case, they should replace your pen if all else fails as long as it’s still within the warranty period. Here’s LAMY’s warranty page to see what they allow regarding “defects:”
Wow! Although I am fairly new to LAMY products, “Wow!” is most definitely the very first word that comes to mind after using one! I have used many [fountain] pens over the last 25-or-so years to include the ‘obvious’ ones like those produced by Parker and Cross, some of the more ‘pricey’ ones such as Sheaffer and Waterman, as well as numerous other outliers. Like many of you that arrive on a ‘versus’ page within a pen blog, I too am a self-styled writing geek (though I tell others I am an aficionado ;) As a writing geek, one could never own enough quality writing instruments (yeah, that sounds so much nicer than “pens!”)
So, LAMY finally entered my world about a month ago. I ‘heart’ Parker and thought that nothing could ever replace a solid Parker as it writes so smooth. Interestingly enough, this is my exact gripe with Cross in general. Cross manufacturers some beautiful designs (and to be fair, a few hideous ones), yet their pens don’t write smooth — at least for me — their fountain pens further put out far too much ink for the size of their respective nib. LAMY does the complete opposite with its writing being extremely smooth and true to the size of the nib. It was the first time that I was so impressed in a very long time.
My first purchase was a LAMY AL-Star in Ocean Blue (Fine) and I made sure to get a lot of blue ink with it as it’s my favorite color to write with by far. Six days later I bought a Black AL-Star with an Extra Fine nib. Just three days after that I purchased a Vista and a Red Safari, more Extra Fine nibs as I like to write small, and additional ink cartridges in more colors. I got both Z26 and Z28 converters as I knew that these are going to be my staple writing instruments for some time to come. Finally, I purchased a LAMY Joy calligraphy set (the black and red edition) just a few days ago as it will make an awesome entry into this hobby. I then told myself that I must gain control and order nothing anything else unless it’s actually necessary within the immediate future (read: LOL, not LOL)!
If I never actually tried LAMY before, I would think that five brand new fountain pens with oodles of trimmings within a one month span was a little more than just a ‘bit’ excessive, but I did get the privileges of trying this wonderful example of German engineering. It made me realize something that I frankly haven’t thought about in a long time. We pen collectors, unlike those that collect many other things, have the choice to use what we collect. Some of us enjoy using those pens from within our collections, yet others despise this very thought. I feel like ‘things,’ pretty much anything really, is made to be used and not designed as a ‘museum piece.’ So, I put my LAMY’s to use and remembered just what it’s like to write with a great pen. As we segue from Winter to Spring, we get to take those breaths of fresh air — and that’s exactly what the utility of writing with a LAMY pen is like — taking a breath of springtime air after three months of bitter cold and excessive darkness.
If you haven’t already guessed it, I would most definitely say to try a LAMY if you haven’t already done so.
Enjoy the springtime,
Should have washed the nib assembly in warm soapy water before first use. In your case, some ink flow was held back by the chemical which was used when producing the unit and then being released uncontrollably. Just wash it now, dry it and refill, and that should cure it.
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