Thursday, 14 January 2016

Pity The Poor Kids Who Couldn't Get Their Candy

Name
Mint Man


Start Position

Designer
Unknown. 

Manufacturer & Availability
The Mint Man you see here was produced and sold by The Kelrack Ltd of Middlesex, England. A check revealed that Kelrack Ltd was a manufacturer of plastic products and incorporated in 1973. It has since been dissolved. 

As far as I can tell, this version is not available anymore. But other similar versions are available commercially (see below). I was very lucky to obtain one online for $5/- from a used toy seller (who probably didn't know much about puzzles).

Type & Classification
Sliding Block puzzle. For information generally on sliding block puzzles, click here and here. To see the vast variety of sliding block puzzles out there and their designers, click here.

Dimensions
9cm (H) x 7.5cm (W) x 2cm (D)


20 Moves

40 Moves

60 Moves


Materials & Construction
Plastic. Pretty decent quality but not heavy duty.

Overview
The Mint Man produced by Kelrack is one of many variations of the same puzzle that goes by a number of different names; a Chinese "army" version called Huarong Pass, a number of wooden commercial versions with names such as Setting Sun, Soccer Game etc adopting a variety of themes but the puzzle itself is essentially the same. Some years ago, there was even a Microsoft 3.1 Entertainment Pack digital version called Forget Me Not.

However, what's different here is that Kelrack produced the Mint Man to hold a piece of candy and the reward, apart from solving the puzzle, is to get the candy out of the largest piece. Within the plastic version, the Mint Man also came with a black tray and slightly different coloured pieces as well as other themes.


81 Moves. Mint Man with Gummy

Difficulty Level
Very difficult! The minimum number of moves required to solved the Mint Man is a whopping 81! I never managed to solve this one. I really pity those poor kids and their parents who tore their hair out trying to figure this one out to get the candy. Well, fortunately, the box tray can be split apart to remove the pieces if all else fails. While 81 is a lot of moves, there are designers like Minoru Abe that have come up with over 200 moves using very whimsical and cute themes. One of my personal favourite designers.

There are also a number of videos on the internet which shows the step by step solve, so help is at hand should you decide to purchase a copy.

Summary
Nice collectible! A more solid and heavy 3D printed version would be nice.

3 comments:

  1. Fantastic, I had one of those as a kid in the late 70s I think. Mine had a black frame if I remember correctly. Great nostalgia moment seeing that :-D

    ReplyDelete
  2. This puzzle is called Kun Phaen, I have got one made of wood: http://ruwix.com/twisty-puzzles/non-twisty-puzzles-snake-cube-hanayama-babylon-tower-brain-racker/

    ReplyDelete

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