I didn't think I would like this pen as much as I do. I'm a fan of Lamy pens, with the 2000 being my favorite. I like the Safari, and I've owned an AL-Star in the past but didn't take to it, even though it was red (typically my favorite color in pens). But there's something about this year's limited edition that really struck a chord with me, and I had to have it. I'm sure it's directly related to the depressing weather we've been having here in the greater Nashville, Tennessee area--it's been either frigid with six inches of ice on the roads, or raining in buckets. So why not buy an orange pen? It beats the S.A.D. lamp.
There's nothing remarkable about the AL-Star as a writer that I haven't already addressed in my review of the Safari. It's a good pen--slightly larger than the Safari--and you would be hard pressed to find a better option at less than $40, provided you can deal with the shape of the grip section. Some people think the AL-Star lacks character, but I like metal pens, and the aluminum AL-Star feels great in the hand. I have also settled on medium as my preferred Lamy Safari/AL-Star nib width. The extra fine and fine nibs tend to have flow issues, in my experience, and the broader nibs are too wide for my handwriting. Medium hits the sweet spot.
I preordered this pen, along with two packages of Lamy's limited edition orange ink cartridges, from Frank at Fontoplumo in the Netherlands. If you've never ordered from Fontoplumo, add it to your list of pen purchasing options. Prices are reasonable, and shipping is relatively quick, considering that (unless you are located in Europe) your order will have to be processed through customs. I purchased this pen and ink with my own funds--it was not provided for review.
As to the ink, I hope that Lamy adds orange to its array of regular colors, as they did with last year's limited edition "coral" ink. The orange is a solid option for those of you out there who like an orange ink, but feel that many other orange options on the market are either too "neon-highlighter-esque" or too washed out looking. Lamy's offering is a middle-of-the-road, darker orange, which exhibits some shading and is fairly resistant to feathering and bleed-through. I've been using it for a week and would buy a bottle without hesitation, if Lamy decides to go that route.