The name of this thing is kind of a mouthful, but it is pretty sweet. I've been eyeing the plastic Safari ballpoints for awhile and never took the bait, but when I saw this one I knew it was on the list to purchase. I found this one on Amazon for $20 (plus some shipping) which I thought was a smoking deal and the company out of the UK that was selling it got it to my door in about a week. Kudos to them for sure!
Good weight and balance, and the metal barrel gives this pen a great feel. The matte black finish of the Limited Edition looks really good. I really enjoy the smoky plastic see-through part of the pen as it has been tastefully done. The color makes it subtle enough to where it doesn't seem cheap that they made it out of plastic, but the plastic is thick and high quality and fits in with the overall build of the pen.
My thoughts about this plastic part are that they did it not so much for aesthetic, but due to manufacturing processes? To make the part out of metal would require specialized casting or machining which would add to cost; just a hunch.
Instead of doing the bold LAMY stamp into the barrel like they usually do, on the Al-Star, the LAMY is more of a subtle outline. This looks classy to me
I swapped out the refill with the Monteverde L132BU which replaces the Lamy M16 refill. This was done on recommendation from Mary at From the Pen Cup in a review she did last year. Thanks Mary! The Monteverde is much smoother than the Lamy I've found, and I got it in blue which suits me better.
A feature I like about this pen is that they resized and repositioned the iconic Safari clip. It is considerably smaller and sits a bit lower on the pen making it a better fit for shirt pockets. When I put a regular Safari in my pocket it sometimes feels like the clip is barely hanging on because there is about a half inch left of "clip space" towards the top. I'm not knocking on the Safari clip (because that would be blasphemy), but I find that I appreciate that Lamy did this on the retractable ballpoint versions.
Being the same diameter as the regular Safari, these fit well into The Cube or The Block found in The Clicky Trading Post. Another shot below of the clip comparisons...
The knock has good stiff click to it that is enjoyable to use. Very enjoyable! My only concern long term with this pen is the rubber accordion cover over the knock that might be prone to splitting or drying out over time. I guess we'll see, but I'd imagine the part might be replaceable through Lamy if needed.
I'd have to say that I am extremely pleased with this purchase.