The perfect purple pair…
The Lamy Safari is nothing new having been on the market in a rainbow of colors for over 35 years. With tons of colors and lots of nib options, it’s a fantastic place to start if you are looking to get your feet wet in fountain pens.
The Safari boasts a very clean modern design that would look right at home in an IKEA store display. I’ve always liked the shape with its barrel rounded on the sides and flat top and bottom. The tubular clip, beveled ink window, debossed logo and simple finial all lend to a clean design from cap to nib. That said, the one sticking point that comes up a lot is the section design – with its scalloped cuts for your thumb and index finger it can provide a great grip, but only if your grip aligns well with that shape.
What I had a hard time with on my first Red Safari was the slick texture. I tend to have oily hands and so it was nice to see a textured surface on this pen. It improves my grip on the section, and I actually like the matte finish better – it adds just a touch of quality to the overall feel of the pen. I am also a big fan of the color selection for the clip, nib, and finial, opting for dark grays and blacks over the usual silver.
Speaking of nibs, the Safari has a lot of options starting with the included steel Extra-Fine, Fine, or Medium included, but with a Broad, 1.1mm, 1.5mm, or 1.9mm Stub available separately. These nibs are interchangeable with pretty much every other Lamy model (except the 2000) which makes nib swapping easy. The flat black coating on the Dark Lilac nib is a nice touch, matching the other pen accents. But how does it write for a steel nib? Amazing! Lamy does a great job getting the nibs really smooth and there is not a hint of scratchiness – just nice wet lines. The nib fits easily onto the feed with a convenient flange to align the nib perfectly with the feed as you slide it on.
To get that ink down on paper it can take either Lamy cartridges or a Lamy Z24 converter. The pen will come with a 1.2ml cartridge and the 0.8ml converter will run you about $5 extra. The convenient ink window keeps you posted on ink levels, though this will prevent converting it to an eyedropper pen without some parts swapping from other Lamy models.
As for the new limited edition Dark Lilac ink, it is fantastic. While the two Kobe inks I reviewed last week leaned either red or blue this one is a pure purple instead with a great yellow-gold sheen and lots of saturation. What I find interesting is that while some inks require a broader nib or very wet line to show up, this ink will do so even with much finer nibs. The sheen does not obstruct the base color constantly either and is a nice compliment to the saturation in the purple. Most retailers have already warned they are down to their last shipment, so don’t wait if this one seems up your alley – very affordable at about $12 for 50ml with a built in nib cloth in the base.
So if you are looking for your first pen, or just want to add another Safari to your collection don’t miss out on this 2016 Special Edition color set. One more quick note – a word of warning: If you see these well below the $25 range they are probably Chinese knockoffs, and while there are some visual cues you can look for the price is usually the big red flag. Shop safe like I did and pick one up at Goulet Pens.