Wednesday 21 September 2011

Papillon 15

Papillon 15
Whilst the 4th Midlands Puzzle Party was being held again at Allard's house, I was taking a well earned break with the present Mrs S at Rudding Park hotel. I didn't want to miss out on the fun so I snuck a few puzzles into my luggage to do whilst relaxing during the pouring rain that was predicted whilst I was on holiday.

After a particularly caffeine and scone fuelled afternoon tea, I embarked on the Papillon 15 puzzle from Puzzle Master. Whilst I really like the metal puzzles (wire and cast), I am particularly fond of wooden puzzles - for their beauty and the craftsmanship that goes into them. I really do want to have a try at making them myself but firstly I would need to clear all the crap out of my garage to built a workspace, then I would need to PVA the concrete floor to get rid of all the dust and then I would need to find some skills! None of this is likely to happen soon - also Mrs S might divorce me and I really couldn't afford that!!!! I am in awe at Neil's newly found skills. Until then I will be forced to buy as many as I can afford!

The Papillon 15 looked interesting and is pretty cheap, it was one of 5 that I took with me on my mini break (sad I know, but that's me!) This wooden puzzle was designed by the famous Jean Claude Constantin and is probably one of his simpler puzzles. It is rated 8 out of 10 (Demanding) by Puzzle Master, a rating that I think is about right. This puzzle arrives in a simple plastic shrink-wrap with no information at all, just a label stuck on it identifying it as the Papillon 15 - this certainly saves on packaging costs! It is made from 2 contrasting colours of wood and is quite attractive. It is not supplied with a solution and one is NOT available from the Puzzle Master website - this means you have to solve it to put it back on display!

The finish on the pieces could be better but I guess I have been spoiled by the Vinco puzzles and their beauty. The aim is to take it apart and put it back together again (duh!!) - an easy task, I thought.

When I first received it I had a quick fiddle and immediately found out how it came apart so I thought it was going to be a doddle and so put it back on the shelf until now. So, whilst lounging on the rather sumptuous bed I quickly dismantled the puzzle and ended up with 15 pieces:

Papillon 15 pieces
I had paid absolutely no attention whatsoever to how it had come apart (figuring that the pieces were in 3 groups of identical bits with one key piece) so when I laid them all out I was a little horrified to see that the centre sticks weren't all the same and I didn't know how they went together. I very quickly discovered that this was not going to be as easy to reassemble as it was to disassemble!! If you have a third hand then it might be a little easier but in all my time as a doctor I have never seen anyone with a 3rd arm!

Initially I struggled to work out how the central sticks were assembled, after that I struggled to work out how the larger pieces attached. Then I struggled to hold all the pieces in place and kept dropping bits as I put another one on! Finally I struggled to get the last piece in - apparently you have to do them in the right order and I had no idea what that should be!! Finally after an hour of swearing as bits fell out all over the place, I got it back together. Having 2 full cafetières of coffee probably didn't help with my manual dexterity!

Overall I really enjoyed this one - it is attractive, and deceptively difficult. It is suitable for newbies and experienced puzzlers alike.

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