As you can probably tell by now this is another puzzle from the Cast series by Hanayama, but as of now it also happens to be my favourite of the series so far out of the ones that I have had the pleasure of trying out:
This really good looking little puzzle is the Cast Marble, which has been very kindly sent to me by Puzzle Master in Canada!
Just like the Cast Equa the pictures don't really do the puzzle any justice. The puzzle is made up of four pieces which you can see in the picture on the right. The two larger pieces which make up the main body of the puzzle are dark chromed (just like the Equa), and the two smaller pieces which make up the central 'marble' are light chromed. The contrast between the two different parts of the puzzle really give it a good quality look and it makes it stand out.
One thing that I couldn't tell from looking at pictures of the Marble is the size of it. It is actually only 3.5cm long, and I think it tends to look larger in pictures. But considering it's size it does weigh quite a bit, but this isn't really surprising because in true Hanayama fashion the whole thing is cast from solid metal.
Right, enough about the aesthetics. As a puzzle I found the Marble to be nothing short of brilliant! The solution was difficult enough to keep me thinking for a while, and it was also pretty unexpected! Reassembling the puzzle also took a little effort because I didn't really understand how it came apart to begin with, but now I've done it many times it is very quick to repeat and it is also a very clever solution.
Hanayama rate this as a level 4 out of 6 on it's difficulty scale, and I tend to think that 4 is a pretty accurate grading for it. It took me about 15 minutes to disassemble it, and then another 5-10 minutes or so to put it back together, although I have heard of several people having real trouble trying to put it back together again.
It's hard enough to make most puzzlers puzzled to some degree, and the solution is really satisfactory. All things considered it is easily my favourite puzzle from the Cast series thus far, and it is also actually quite high up on my list of puzzles in general! For the price I really recommend that you add one of these to your collection, you won't be disappointed.
The Cast Marble is available from Puzzle Master, along with every other puzzle in the Cast series so far (including the brand new Cast Coil).