The Cast Hexagon is the latest Cast puzzle to come from the Hanayama stable. The Hexagon was designed by Mineyuki Uyematsu who gave us wonderful packing puzzles such as the T4-II, T4-III and Caramel Box.
The Hexagon also won the Jury Honourable Mention Award at the IPP34 Puzzle Design Competition. It was originally called "The Claws Of Satan" during IPP34 but it would have sounded very weird if Hanayama had used the name "Cast Claws Of Satan" or worse still, "Cast Satan"! Hexagon definitely sounds more appealing.
The Hexagon appears to be made of steel (I think) and in two colour tones. The choice of external finish for the Hexagon is IMHO really nice for this one, in matt silver and dark grey and not some gaudy chrome or shiny brass. Construction and quality of my copy is very good and everything moves smoothly as intended.
The object of the puzzle is to separate the three "claws" from the base plate. When you first start to explore the puzzle, all the "claws" or pieces are able to move in various directions but all are locked within the confines of the plate. The pieces are able not only to move linearly but can also rotate at certain positions within the plate. As you puzzle on, hopefully you will be able to understand the trick of the puzzle and how to get the pieces "out".
I do not want to give too much away here to spoil the fun of still many puzzlers who have yet to get a copy. But like an interlocking burr, once you get the first piece out from the plate, the rest of the pieces come off much easier. It took me about fifteen minutes to disassemble the Hexagon...but it took me a good hour to reassemble it! Because I had forgotten the positions of the pieces relative to the plate and their orientation during the taking apart. While I could get all three pieces back within the confines of the plate, I hit dead ends quite a couple of times and had to disassemble the whole thing and start over again. If you want to, take photos as you go along, so the reassembly will be less frustrating.
The Hexagon is a very nice addition to the Hanayama Cast range. Nice design and well made. For the price of a typical cast puzzle, a lot of puzzling for the money. Its rated four out of six stars for difficulty and this I feel is about right; challenging yes, but not frustratingly so. A great addition to any collection and a must-buy for cast puzzle lovers.
As far as I can tell, the Hexagon is only currently available from PuzzleMaster of Canada for CA$12.95. Eventually it will make its way to other online sellers, including Amazon. Those living in Asia may want to buy direct from Mineyuki via his website. Its in Japanese but click on the link at the lower left sidebar - "overseas mail order", while those in Europe can buy it from Eureka Puzzles.