Hanahama Cast Metal Puzzles

Cast DISK Puzzle Review

The Hanayama Cast DISK puzzle is unique in that there are two inter-connected disks with keyed holes that allow them to rotate within each other but only in certain positions. It was designed by renown puzzle artist, Oskar van Deventer.

By a series of proper rotation moves, the disks will separate, although you don’t get a sense of progress as your go through the moves. When reassembled correctly, the two disks slide into each other to form the configuration shown in the photograph here.

Hanayama rates the Cast DISK as a Level 2 difficulty, which I think is about right. It’s a real puzzle in the sense that there are no hidden “tricks” that make the solution easy to repeat.

It’s a little different from most other Hanayama puzzles in that it is made of a lighter-weight metal, possibly an aluminum allow, and is not quite as hefty as most. However, it doesn’t seem to affect the durability or quality, for which the company has become famous.

With some effort, it’s certainly possible to determine the exact set of moves that get you to the solution — turn Disk 1 right two holes, then Disk 2 left one hole, then Disk 1 left one hole, and so on. However, because the puzzle is not so difficult as to need a  great deal of time without a studied strategy, it’s more fun to simply fidget with it until the solution comes along.

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Cast SQUARE Puzzle Review

The Hanayama Cast SQUARE was one of the first Level 6 (highest level of difficulty) puzzles in my collection.

I think it should have been rated as a Level 5 in difficulty for reasons explained below.

It is made up of four interlocking pieces, two silver and two gold colored. The objective, as always, is to separate them — and put them back together again. In this case, not as simple as it sounds.

Quality is superb, as are all Hanayama puzzles. Design is incredible — it’s a work of art and looks great sitting on a shelf or desk when not being challenged.

The Cast SQUARE is about 2 inches square and 1/2 inch thick. It’s what I consider one of Hanayama’s mid-sized puzzles. There are some smaller, and some larger.

This is an interesting product because it’s a combination of a real puzzle and a little “trick.”  You can discover the “trick” part fairly easily if you fiddle with it enough. In fact, it might just fall apart in your hands. But that’s not the right solution.

Once you learn its little secret, taking it apart becomes trivial. Putting it back together is the “puzzle” part and is more difficult. Just when you think you have it put back together, that last piece just doesn’t quite want to slide in place. No amount of force will help. It’s best to simply start over again and be more thoughtful about each step, knowing what you know about how it fits together.

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Cast FLAG Puzzle Review

The Hanayama Cast FLAG metal puzzle is a personal favorite but for a different reason than some of my other favorites.

It looks like some kind of ancient finger torture device and is very heavy. The photo suggests a primitive hand-thrown explosive weapon.

It appears at first glance to have only two parts, which is true, but one of those parts (the “flag) is itself made up of two articulating parts.

As usual for all Hanayama puzzles, the Cast FLAG is sturdy, expertly designed, and top quality. It feels good in the hands and begs to be picked up. It has a hard mottled antique brass finish.

By twisting and rotating the two parts of the flag-and-ball through separate paths, you’ll eventually get the two parts back together and be able to simply slide the assembly out.

See our No-Spoiler Alert if you are concerned that we’ll disclose too much and spoil your fun should you decide to take on the FLAG.

It’s rated Level 1 (easiest) difficulty which means it won’t take a lot of time to work out the solution, which is to separate the pieces — and put them back together.

But that’s the reason I like it.

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Cast NEWS Puzzle Review

The Cast NEWS is unique in the line of Hanayama’s line of cast metal puzzle brain teasers.

It’s rated a Difficulty Level 6, the most difficult, but I have to disagree for the reasons I’ll explain below.

What it shares with its sister puzzles is high quality construction, beautiful design, and a challenging solution. But that’s where it ends.

It’s in the shape of an octagon, an antique brass finish, and has a medieval design with the four points of a compass indicated in an ancient font — very mysterious — something that might have belonged to Harry Potter to invoke a magic spell.

It has two interlocked parts that seem as if they should simply slide apart. Of course, it wouldn’t be that easy, would it?

Check out our No-Spoiler Alert if you are concerned that we might give away too much of the solution here.

When you pick up this heavy-weight object and play with for a moment, there seems to be no way for the two parts to come apart. No amount of fidgeting, twisting, pulling, pushing, turning, or cajoling seems to have any effect whatsoever — unless you get lucky.

Impossible? Of course not.

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Cast KEYHOLE Puzzle Review

Hanayama Cast KEYHOLEe our No-Spoiler Alert if you have concerns about us spoiling your fun with these puzzles.

The Cast KEYHOLE was designed by respected Finnish puzzle designer Vesa Timonen, who has designed a number of other popular Cast puzzles.”

The objective, of course, is to get the two parts separated, and then back together again — not as easy as it might first appear.

The two parts are so precisely constructed that any thoughts of forcing your way through simply won’t work. In fact, in my experience, gentle nudging succeeds more often than force.

 

The key to sliding the pieces of the Cast KEYHOLE apart is — rotation at the right places and right times. That’s all I’m going to say.

5 star ratingI give this puzzle a 5 out of 5 star rating. It’s one of those that I have enjoyed most because there are no secret “tricks” — it’s simply pure puzzle. You can solve it over and over, which is not that easy, and still enjoy it every time.  It’s equally challenging to put back together as it is to take apart. It has a permanent place on my desk, ready to be picked up at any time.

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Cast SPIRAL Puzzle Review

The Hanayama Cast SPIRAL puzzle is a gorgeous heavy chrome-finished cylinder made up of five pieces that fit together jigsaw style.

The pieces seem to all be identical at first glance, but in fact are not.

When first picking up the SPIRAL, it seems that it will fall apart in your hands, and that the solution is only seconds away. That is merely an illusion.

This is evidenced by the fact that this is a Level 5 Difficulty puzzle, only one level from Level 6, the most difficult level.

It might sometimes seem that a a bit of forceful pressure and twisting would lead to a solution but this puzzle is so sturdy and precisely machined that this is no slop between the parts to allow for forceful solutions.

It’s one of the characteristics of all Hanayama Cast puzzles that make them superior to most others on the market.

See our No-Spoiler Alert if you have concerns about us spoiling your fun with these puzzles.

This is one of the many Hanayama Cast puzzles that come apart easier than being put back together.

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