Sunday 14 April 2019

Robert Sends a Twofer Which Scares Me!

The Incredible Stickman Dwemer Construct Puzzlebox
Well, here I am running late! Mrs S has been away most of the week visiting the outlaws and, as is usually the case, she times it for just when my workload goes through the roof! I think she does it on purpose! Instead of having plenty of time, home alone, to play with all my toys and write a nice blog post, I have been up to my eyeballs in work and even spent all day yesterday writing our on-call rotas! I only just finished up this puzzle this morning after doing all the chores that "she who scares the bejeezus out of me" had set for me to do before she gets home.

Yes! It's a box! And No! I was not tricked into purchasing it! My cardinal rule is if I have the opportunity to buy a box from Stickman (aka Robert Yarger) then I just hand over the cash! Mrs S doesn't know that but let's not tell her, shall we? This particular box was offered out quite some time ago and it took Robert a good bit longer to complete the design and make the batch than expected. The wait was more than worth it! It really adds something to my little collection:

My Stickmen (including a Stickboy and a Stickman apprentice) - plus a few other beauties.
The Dwemer Construct Box is named after an ancient lost race in the Elder Scrolls, well known for their skills in crafting mechanical items.

This incredible construction is big...REALLY big and pretty damned heavy too. It has a handy top rail which is perfect for carrying it about. Every time I played with it I lugged it out of the display cabinet and then put it back after I had got stuck - Mrs S would not tolerate it being left lying around in the living room!

Looking at it closely it is clear that a huge amount of work has gone into it and pretty much all of it is crafted from wood with only a few well place brass screws holding components together. Lots of things turn and can interact with other pieces in mysterious ways. Not all are visible either - requiring a fair bit of deduction/guesswork during the process. It is very quickly apparent how the lid is attached to the box and what is required to allow that lid to be removed...the issue is making it happen! None of the appropriate parts are able to move in appropriate directions as they are blocked by other parts of the puzzle.

I worked on this, on and off, for a couple of months and kept getting stuck. They always come with a wonderful spiral-bound booklet but I try not to use that unless absolutely necessary. My stubbornness has left my Stickman Perpetual Hinge unsolved for more than 5 years! There are four phases to the solution of this puzzlebox and I got the first within a day or so. Step 2 took me over a month and then the others the same again. Some of the moves require a bit of a leap of faith..."Am I really supposed to be able to do that?" Eventually, (yes I did peek at the booklet just once) I had the release mechanisms all aligned correctly and I gently lifted the lid off to see why the puzzle had been making so many rather loud rattling noises whenever I picked it up and moved it from display to living room:

Inside is a bag of bits - including a screwdriver!
I said this puzzle is a Twofer! Robert did us proud with this one and this explained the delay. Not only do we have a beautiful large complicated box to solve but we have all the pieces inside to construct a second challenge - "two fer the price of one"! In fact, this was very nearly a "threefer" - he has ideas for another challenge but did not have time to make it - it is possible that the third challenge is made available sometime in the future (obviously we all expect to pay for it if it happens). After the solution to challenge one is a rather startling page in the booklet:

OMG - I'm gonna have to be brave!
This morning I spent a happy hour or so playing with my bag of bits and the screwdriver - this left me with a rather horrific worksurface with even more bits than I would have believed possible:

OMG - I have locked the cats out of the room! I can't afford any mishaps here!
The quality is simply stunning - everything is so perfect. The instructions for the disassembly and new assembly are step by step and quite easy. I have a small issue with an alignment of one piece in the new challenge that I am waiting for an answer from Robert but I suspect I have made a schoolboy error.

Even seeing the construction process for the second challenge amazingly does not give away how to actually solve it! I know how some of the pieces interact but have no idea how to open the box.

Probably another 3 months to solve this one!
I'll keep you informed of my progress through challenge two.

Now Mrs S has just arrived home from Edinburgh and I had better finish this and pay her some attention - if I don't then we may not make it our 25th anniversary and I won't be allowed to keep the Berrocal Goliath that is my present for lasting so long. Plus, I actually think I could do with a little bit of relaxation for the rest of the weekend - what little is left!

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