Cast Baroq (楽)

Posted on Sep 7, 2012 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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Akio Yamamoto, one of the few designers who contributed the most of his creations for the Cast Series, is the brains behind another fantastic Cast Puzzle, the Baroq. It was released by Hanayama in November 2003 and the key word for it is "music".

The design of the puzzle was inspired by the image of intertwining Bach melodies (read more about musical riddles here), and as you can see, the result is a pleasantly beautiful object that looks much more like a piece of art than a puzzle. Yamamoto has this great quality of adding a touch of art to his designs, and we can testify this by looking at another one of his brilliant creations, the Radix.

Everything in this puzzle screams elegance. Even the solution was extremely well thought out, reminiscent of two dancers performing a perfectly timed and synchronous choreography. The material chosen for this particular puzzle is also a perfect fit, which is a very well polished brass with highlights of black and gold.

The object of the puzzle is pretty straightforward, but not the solution, though. The two pieces are intertwined at the ends and need to be separated. How it's done is a whole different story and requires a clever approach and understanding of the curvy design. Both parts seem identical, but a more careful observation denotes subtle differences. Hanayama has a level rating between 1 and 6, and the Baroq falls right into the second half as a level 4 - Not particularly nerve-wracking, but will have you scratching your head at some moments.

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Before you start to understand how the puzzle works, it will take some time getting used to the different ways  the hooks in both parts can interact. Suffice it to say, it took a little more than half an hour of fiddling with it to finally "get it". I could get one of the parts back and forth, but I was failing at final step. Many puzzles, depending on their design, give you a pretty good idea of where they can be separated, but not exactly how to get there. In the Baroq, not only you don't have the slightest clue as to where the exit point is, but there's also no way of telling how to do it. Experimentation is the key, so trial and error will eventually help you to discover the correct technique, as it happened with me. As I hinted above, the solution is a synchronous movement between the two parts. Just keep trying until you succeed...

Update: I have received feedback from two fellow collectors about the tightness of the puzzle: One of them reports that his copy is too tight and the other says that his' "smooth as butter". It appears that the cut tolerances in the metal are not exact from puzzle to puzzle, so it'll be a matter of luck when you get yours. If you do get one that it's too tight, just ask for a replacement from the place you bought it. (Thanks Jared and Coaster1235 for the feedback).

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Closing Comments:

The Cast Baroq is yet another reason why I consider Hanayama one of the best puzzle manufacturers in the world. It's a visually stunning object and one of the most elegant solutions I've seen in a puzzle. With over 50 puzzles released in the Cast Series, it's difficult to choose one if you're undecided, but if you happen to choose the Cast Baroq I guarantee you, you won't regret it. Simply amazing!

Availability: Sloyd.fi is the perfect place to get your Cast Puzzles. You can find there the Cast Baroq, among all the others in the 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)


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