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Originally designed by Joseph L. Little in 1965, the Violon puzzle depicts a violon and its strings. Nob Yoshigahara like the puzzle so much that he decided to make a version of it for Hanayama's Cast Series. The Cast Violon was released in October 2003 and the key word for it is "strings".
The puzzle looks fantastic, and due to its extremely smooth and polished finish it feels great in your hands. There are three pieces that are entangled together and the goal is to find the correct way to separate them. The way that the pieces are interlocked and look resemble the CGO puzzle (seen here), or as I like to call it the "COG" puzzle. However, the main piece (the violon), has a series of curves and grooves that make the solution quite unique.
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This is rated as a level 2/6 by Hanayama, but make no mistake, this is no level 2 puzzle. I guess Hanayama understood this and that's why the puzzle has been reclassified to a level 3/6. This is also true for many other Cast Puzzles, as you can see by their new and updated rating on Hanayama's website, since some of the puzzles were clearly misclassified.
The pieces of the Violon are removed in a sequence, and despite being harder than any other Hanayama's level 2 you should be able to solve it withing 10-15 minutes. What surprised me more in the puzzle was that I found it harder to put it back together than to take it apart. Once the three pieces are loose, it's hard to visualize the starting position and how it should look like. I had to resort to a picture of it showing the original position of the pieces to try and do the steps backwards. It took two times longer to put it back together than to take it apart. Definitely not a level 2, I reckon.
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With an avant-garde design and a polished clean look, the Violon has one of the most interesting shapes in the Hanayama Cast Series. It's challenging enough to get you hooked for a few moments, but even if you find it to be very easy it'll be a worthy addition to your collection.
Availability: You can get a copy of the Cast Violon at Sloyd.fi, as well as all the others from Hanayama.
Hanayama Cast (in English) - Very useful website in English, with plenty of information on all things Cast.
Hanayama's Factory Visit (Many thanks to Roxanne Wong for sharing these pictures)