Wednesday 27 January 2016

Vauban H5

Vauban H5

Stephane Chomine. As of this post, he has a staggering 497 published designs on PWBP. Stephane stopped posting since mid 2014 but he continues to come up with new designs that are now and again picked up by various puzzle craftsmen.

Manufacturer & Availability
Manufactured and sold by Pelikan Puzzles of the Czech Republic. From what I can see from their website, its currently unavailable. Your best bet is to drop them an email to see if they have any spares or will be producing some more in the future.

Type & Classification
Interlocking solid

7.2cm x 7.2cm x 6cm

Materials & Construction
My copy is the Red version. Made from Bubinga with Maple, the Vauban H5 is excellently constructed. All the 4 pieces are cut accurately and precisely with tight tolerances and with edges slightly beveled. But despite this and all the pieces pretty snug against each other, everything slides very smoothly and I experienced no jamming whatsoever. A very high quality piece of work.

This is the stage I usually reach before getting stuck

As usual, this level of burr is beyond me. And despite me spending a relatively long time with this one, I could not get the first piece out. After like 10 to 15 moves, I would eventually end up stuck at some dead end. And from what I can tell, there are quite a number. Each of the pieces seem to be moving around another in all directions. Beyond a certain point, I was lost in confusion and at times even had trouble getting back to the original position.

The design is also such that you can't really see what goes on inside the spaces and this makes it a lot more difficult.

Difficulty Level
Very difficult! Although only 4 pieces, this is a mid-to-high level burr with a level 31.10.7 solution (meaning it takes 31 moves to remove the first piece). A total of 48 moves to completely disassemble the puzzle. I had to use burr tools both for the dis-assembly and re-assembly. Looking at the solution, my first moves were quite wrong to begin with.

For puzzlers who enjoy this kind of challenging burrs with the time and patience to match, the Vauban H5 is a must-have. Not only great looking (just look at the diagonal Maple trim along the sides) and extremely well built, but value for money too. However, if you are like me, lousy with burrs but just can't resist the beauty and craftsmanship, then go for such puzzles anyway. Even if you can't solve them, they will look great in your puzzle cabinet.

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