Sunday 28 August 2022

Pelikan Summer Release Part 1 - How do they do it?

Coming soon from a Pelikan near you!
Last weekend, luckily whilst Mrs S was away from home at the outlaws, I took delivery of another big box from Jakub and Jaroslav. The delivery man knows us very well and he is so frightened of Mrs S that he had put the box on the front step and was hiding behind our garden hedge! Once he realised that he was not going to be lambasted for bring me more toys, he came out and we had a nice chat. Unfortunately we both forgot that Mrs S was able to listen in using our Ring camera. She was not terribly pleased! But I, on the other hand, was delighted. I had new toys to play with. I have not yet completed all the puzzles yet as it has been a big week for me at the hospital doing a single giant operation each day and having no time or energy when I got home to really work on anything. I have managed to play with four of them and plan to work on the others this week.


It's quite hard to take a good photo of this
Triumph is a classic design form Stewart Coffin (design number 15). He made quite a few of these which are based on the classic Diagonal star puzzle with alterations in the extension pieces at each end. The star is made from Acacia and Purpleheart and looks stunning. Jakub has decided to send this out in the classic tower formation and this is relatively easy to work out what to push/pull to separate it into two pieces and then completely dismantle:

Six identical pieces
The precision with this is superb! There are no gaps anywhere and the sliding motion as you separate the halves is delicious. I used Burrtools many years ago to exhaustively examine all the possible assemblies and there are quite a lot of assemblies (approx 1200) but most are not attractive even though they fit together. I found just 3 or 4 particularly attractive ways to put the puzzle togther and you should have a nice time experimenting with this one. 

Be careful! The corners are so perfect that they are sharp and whilst you are unlikely to cut yourself, you may find handling it uncomfortable. The pieces fit so perfectly that it can be quite difficult to get everything aligned perfectly to allow the final assembly to slide together. It is very satisfying when it does. 

He came in useful at last!
I did not think that anyone could make this puzzle as perfectly as Scott Peterson who made me a copy many years ago and which sits dead centre in my display cabinets in pride of place. I actually think that this one from Pelikan is pretty much as perfect as his! You will need to keep these well temperature and humidity controlled to keep them moving well but it is worth the effort.

Triumph in tower form from Pelikan and Scott Peterson
I do hope that Pelikan choose to make the Triumph companion and the Fusion confusion as well because they really should be considered as a set.

Four Corners

It's also quite hard to take a good photo of this
Four corners is another of Stewart Coffin's Diagonal star based designs (this one made from Acacia and Wenge) and seems to be a less common one to be made judging from the complete lack of information or photos on the Puzzle-place wiki. Although John Rausch has some wonderful pictures on his site. As before this one comes apart into halves and then into 2 groups of 3 identical pieces that are just slightly different to the Triumph pieces:

Just a small difference from Triumph but a large difference in what is possible
Experimenting with this one I tried to establish whether there are any other assemblies and as far as I can fathom the rotational symmetry of the pieces means that only the 4 cornered assembly is possible. Again, it is a delightfully perfect fit as they are all slid together and apart.

This morning it occurred to me to try and mix the pieces up from the 2 puzzles and see whether they would fit together and then whether it would be nice. I will let you decide:

I think they look great!
It will be fun to experiment a little more when I have some time.


Zeus by Osanori Yamamoto
This gorgeous creation has been made using Mahogany, Maple and Purpleheart giving a really lovely looking cross design. In the last batch of Pelikan puzzles there was a release from Osanori-san which also involved 4 twisted burr sticks fitted into a frame. This particular varian has a very shallow frame and very simple obstructions protruding into the cavity. The sticks are as simple as they can possibly be which means there is a lot of possible movement right from the outset. The first couple of attempts, I got a little lost and had to backtrack each time but eventually I found a rather promising sequence that almost released the first piece. Getting it actually to come out proved a little elusive until I had a quick look on both sides and realised what could move. After that I had my four sticks and frame and realised just how simple the shapes had been:

As simple as it gets!
Having taken my photos and rearranged the pieces from their removal orientations, I found the reassembly a fair challenge. If this was given to a puzzler having been already taken apart then it might prove really quite a challenge - it would certainly be completely beyond me but many of the better interlocking puzzlers would find this a great challenge. Well worth adding to your Osanori collection.

Broken Box

Broken Box by Lucie Pauwels
It was sent out assembled but I was rather stupid and dismantled it immediately!

I was rather curious when I took this from the packaging. The beautiful Wenge cube inside the Cherry wood box looked odd - there were magnets and I wasn't certain what they were for. So I dropped the cube out the centre and it fell apart into 9 horrifyingly awkward components and a box that was "broken". I wasn't certain what the point was apart from maybe put the pieces back in and maybe rearrange the box halves into an alternative shape around the cube. I initially decided "just" to put it back together again as I had received it. I wrote "just" because this was a horrifically tough task for an assembly puzzle dunce and it took me a couple of hours! I then thought I might try to make the flattened tray version and so far have completely failed! How can creating such a simple shape be so damned difficult? I put it aside to play with the other puzzles for a bit.

Jakub later sent me the instructions and showed that there were quite a few more challenges:

Two tray designs but one with a "twist"

Chair type designs but with a pretty limited access in one

I have no idea how I am going to solve this one!
These puzzles can be solved in 2 ways - you either make the shape first and then add the box frames to it or assemble the box and try to put the pieces inside afterwards. Burrtools tells me that there are hundreds of assemblies for some of the shapes but I have absolutely no skill in finding them! Lord knows how long this will take me! This will be tremendous value for money to any puzzler who purchases it as well as a really fantastic series of challenges. I did manage just one of the assemblies so far:

I think this was more luck that anything!

The other puzzles in the release are Maahes designed by my friend Terry Smart and previously made by Stephan Baumegger - it had been in my top ten of 2016. I have no recollection of the solution and will need to try again with the Pelikan version. Dino 2 is another of Alfons Eyckmans' wonderful burr zoo creations which will have a cute little dinosaur inside the usual 14 piece burr. Tau by the incredible Volker Latussek looks amazing and very reminiscent of one of my all time favourites from Laszlo Kmolnar, the No holes barred puzzle I reviewed in early 2016. Volker has told me that he is particularly proud of this design  which means that it will be incredible! Unfortunately there is a small mistake in the copy I have been sent and Jakub is having to make them again before they can be released. I hope to review these puzzles next weekend once I have had time to play.

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