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Continuing on a more romantic tone with these past couple weeks, first with the Cast Ring followed by the Cast Ring II, today I present to you the Cast Heart, another gift from Hanayama to all the lovers out there. This puzzle was released over 11 years ago, in May 2001. As for its designer, I haven't found any information about him. If you know who he is, please let me know.
Like many Hanayama Cast Puzzles, the first thing you notice is its striking beauty. The puzzle is comprised by three main parts: a large golden heart; a smaller silver heart that perfectly fits in the middle of the bigger one; and a golden chain wrapping both hearts together. Also worth mentioning is the outline of small grooves around the large heart, which could be used for a more personalized design with encrusted jewels.
The object of the puzzle is to separate both hearts and try to unite them again, all using the chain and its fiendish knots. Since I've begun collecting puzzles, I've always dreaded those that use ropes and strings, mostly because it's easy to make a mess out of them. You can now imagine how I felt when I tried to solve the Heart.
Fear aside, the puzzle is classified by Hanayama as a level 4/6, so while being a little challenging, it shouldn't be too much trouble, right? - Wrong. That chain was destined to make me go through some very frustrating moments. From the pictures it's not so clear, but the chain's rings at both ends can't pass through the hearts' holes, so you have to work out how to undo the knots that keep the hearts together.
Suffice it to say, there was more knots in the puzzle than the original ones in no time. I knew that was going to happen, so now I had to undo the ones I did plus the ones that I was trying to undo in the first place. Double trouble, and I was just starting... A shameful amount of time later, just to return the puzzle to its original form, I found a way to lengthen one of the chain's ends by passing a portion of the chain through one of the large heart's holes. As the knot is equal on both sides I did the same thing on the other hole, and voilá, the small heart was finally free. Now, returning the puzzle to its original state should be a piece of cake, right? - Wrong again. Although I know how to remove the small heart from the chain, I couldn't bring myself to do it in reverse just yet. So, as of now, the puzzle is still halfway through to its formal glory. I just have to find the patience to do it.
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I found the Cast Heart to be a little similar to the Ring puzzles previously reviewed, in which they have quite a beautiful design, but very frustrating solving methods. A true test to your patience and not recommended for novices.
Availability: You can get a copy of the Cast Heart at Sloyd.fi in Finland. You can also find there all of the others in the Hanayama Cast Series.
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)