Now this is one of the Hanayama Cast series that I found to be the most difficult. This is the Cast Chain:
The Cast Chain is one of Oskar Van Deventer's designs that has been manufactured by Hanayama. It is another good looking puzzle that feels very well made as it is quite heavy. The Chain is made up of three very similar looking almost 'c' shaped pieces that are made from a nice and heavy cast metal which have been coated in a very nice dark metallic finish which is very befitting of it's name. The objective is to detach the Chain into it's three separate parts. If you look very closely you can see that the pieces are actually numbered using dots to depict which piece is which (1,2&3), showing that they are not exactly the same.
The difficulty of the Cast chain is rated as 6 out of 6, the highest difficulty that Hanayama has to offer, and in this case I am more than happy to concede that the rating is spot on. I was not able to solve this puzzle myself, and as much as I hate doing so I had to look at the solution. Depending on how you count there are somewhere between 15 and 20 steps which need to be done in correct sequence to solve this puzzle, it really is pretty difficult. I understood the movements that I had to make with the pieces pretty quickly, but it's the sequence that I couldn't quite get the hang of.
All things considered I think that this is a really great puzzle. And if you're out there looking for a real challenge then I'd say that the Cast Chain is a good way to go, especially considering the low price.
This puzzle was loaned to me by a friend, but it is readily available from many good puzzle shops, including Puzzle Master and Puzzle This.