It looks like spring is finally here for most of us, which means a lot of greenery is on the way. A new year also means a new limited edition color from Lamy for the Al-Star line, which just so happens to be fairly spring oriented this year.
The Charged Green Al-Star is electric, and it's the perfect color to welcome in the spring of 2016. The Al-Star, in case you don't know, is the aluminum line of Lamy's entry level fountain pens. They look almost exactly like the Safari line, but the main difference is the material (metal vs. plastic). The same contoured grip section is found on the Al-Star, but I happen to prefer the metal bodies over the regular Safaris most of the time.
If you've never used a Lamy Safari or Al-Star before, you're really missing out. Sure, there's a chance you might hate the very opinionated grip, but there's only one way to know. Lamy introduces a limited edition color each year for the Al-Star and Safari lines, but it's usually fairly easy to score one for several months after it's released. In the case of the Charged Green Al-Star, they're still easy to come by.
It's been a while since an Al-Star was reviewed here, so it's probably worth looking at the pen from its roots, not just the fancy color. The Al-Star is a medium-sized pen, but is still fairly light because of the thin aluminum used in the body and cap. Now, Kaweco also offers some aluminum pens, but they typically use much thicker materials that feel much stronger and hefty in the hand. The Al-Stars use thin aluminum, which is lightweight but not as durable. Still, they're rugged and can keep up with your normal pen duties with no problems.
The clip is strong, but easy to use, and there's a convenient ink window on both sides of the body to see how much ink is left in the pen at a glance. The Al-Star uses a propriety Lamy cartridge or Lamy converter, and ships with a standard Lamy blue cartridge. The grip section is contoured in a way to compliment a "standard" grip (whatever that means), and this is the main point of contention for the entire lineup. You'll either like the grip, or you won't. That being said, I'm a big fan of the grip and enjoy using them.
The nib that came on this pen is a medium, and it is fantastic. No tuning needed out of the box at all. It has excellent flow, almost no feedback on the page when writing, and starts beautifully every time. For the review, I chose a nice green to go along with the green theme, but the nib has done great with several types of ink. And, as with most Lamys, it's incredibly easy (and affordable) to swap out a different nib.
All in all, it's a great writer and worthy of its fame. There are plenty of standard colors offered in the Al-Star line, like gray, silver, black, purple, and blue, but the limited edition colors are usually quite enjoyable. In the case of Charged Green, it's a knock-out. When you see it on a desk or in a bag, you can't help but be drawn to it. Maybe you think it's pretty, or maybe it's ugly — your eye is drawn to it regardless. Personally, I love the color and will enjoy having it in my collection of more "boring" pens.
You can grab a Charged Green Al-Star in extra-fine, fine, and medium, but you'd better act fast because these limited editions don't stick around forever.
(Goldspot Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)