In 2013 Brian announced that for his 20th Anniversary later that year, he would be producing 2 limited edition puzzles. The "Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other" made it as an honourable 11 amongst a few other special burrs in my top puzzles solved in 2014. The Katie Koala puzzle was delivered to me at the very end of November 2014 and got a mention in that list but could not be placed in my top 10 because I had not managed to solve her (the list is only for solved puzzles). I think I had only managed the first couple of steps by the end of the year!
|Limited edition of 65 - my number is always 28|
There is much more going on inside this Koalas head than a real Koala even after shes been eating lots of gum leaves. Not just a single puzzle. This is a collection of a number of puzzles, all complex in their own right. The big puzzle for Brian was how to fit all the puzzling experiences into one Koala so that it didn't turn out the size of a small motor car?
The ultimate goal is to find the 20th Anniversary token.
Along the way youll have to find and assemble Katie Koala's joey named Verne; technically youre getting two tough Koala puzzles not just one. To find the joey you'll have to navigate literally a maze of locks that interact with each other.
The final door is actually held shut with 4 separate locks so there will be no fluke to open it. Once you do open it you'll be rewarded not only with the token, but you'll also get to see a lot of the inner mechanisms that Brian has deliberately left exposed. We would love to show you some of the brass work inside so you can understand where all the times been spent preparing this puzzle but that would give away waaaaaaay too many clues! so youll just have to wait until you discover it all for youself.
In the past Brian has left ideas out of puzzles to keep the cost down. This being his 20th Anniversary he wanted to go all out, and everything he planned just seemed to work well, so he kept going..... Its unlikely that he'll ever make anything this elaborate again in a single puzzle.
Do you have the koalafications to tackle this one?
The puzzle was designed by Brian Young. Special thanks to Junichi and his wife Yukari for their fabulous collaboration on the design for the joey.
Woods used: Koala - Papua New Guinean Teak (Vitex) with ear trim from Silver Ash and nose, hands & feet from Papua New Guinean Ebony. Her joey is made from Sycamore wood.
The puzzle also includes lots of brass and magnets used to make many tools that you will discover as you progress.The production of these beauties really took it out of him and he did release news that the delivery would have to be staggered and would take all of 2014 and what is more, there would be no 2014 limited edition. In fact Brian did not know when the next LE might be coming! He said:
Size: Height 233mm Width 150mm at the ears Depth 125mm
Brian always knew it was going to be a mammoth project but its only now thats he's about half way through that he realises just how long its going to take to finish this LE set.
The schedule has been revised and Brian now expects that in the first quarter of 2014 he will be able to complete about 12 puzzles.
He will then break to work on IPP exchange puzzles that he committed to last year. After IPP he'll resume completion of Koalas through 2014/2015. Even at that point to finish the other 53 Koalas he estimates theres in excess of 7 months full time work for one person to finish them.Mine arrived at the end of November 2014 - just in time for a mention in my puzzles of the year but not rated in the list. During 2014 Allard posted a "not a review" but as far as I can see it has not been fully reviewed anywhere yet. There were whispers of Katie at puzzle parties and she even appeared in some Koala porn photos:
|Ahem! Disgusting isn't it?|
By February of 2015, I had managed a few more steps but was seriously stuck! I had "ripped" Katie's ears off - this required quite a sequence of tools and using them in rather unusual ways. I had managed to achieve one of the moves incorrectly and had not set things up adequately for the next move to be done and this was one reason I was stuck. I did not realise it and was held in this position for a VERY long time! I asked both Goetz and Sue for a little help and they sorted me out and got me back onto the correct track (it was a huge long sequence of emails from Goetz and I am very grateful for his time and expertise) but there was just no way I could find the next move. I really did not want to ask for more help (no solution had been published at that time) so Katie went back on display looking like she had been in a rather rough fight:
|Poor Katie! She's keeping tremendous company though!|
|A useful light source|
Apparently patience is required - the baby needs time to feed and grow into a recognisable koala joey. Verne has magnets and needs to be formed into the correct shape. First of all I had no idea what shape to aim for and the magnets were infuriatingly repelling every single shape I attempted to make. I am rubbish at assembly puzzles! For storage I wanted to keep the joey in the pouch until he matured but I couldn't even get him back inside! Let's just say that burrtools came in handy.
It took me another 8 months to finally solve this section! I received the solution booklet in May 2014 and filed it away not daring to look at it. Eventually I had to have a peek at it and just looked at the intended shape of the joey and earlier this month I finally got it solved. Only look if you want to go aaah!
At last it was solved or was it? Reading the blurb from Brian the "ultimate goal" was to find the commemorative token. There was no sign of it in the pouch or in the space left by the pouch. There must be another compartment. The next step is a stroke of utter genius - the magnets in Verne can be used to unlock a panel - imagine how a growing joey travels with his mother and you will get an idea of how the next step works. A little click and the puzzle is finally complete:
|It has only taken me a year!|
Thank you Brian, Juno and Sue for a tremendous experience and a puzzle to be treasured for the rest of my days!