Sunday, 1 May 2011

Stickman Moving Tile Puzzlebox

I recently managed to acquire another Stickman box across at Puzzle Paradise. This one is number 15 in the series of Stickmen so far and was produced back in 2007. Robert made a series of 35 of these boxes - this is number 34 and came from his own collection (so I knew it had been nicely looked after!).

It’s a beautiful box to look at and is made from Padauk, Monterillo and Honduran Rosewood. The whole of the top of the box is taken up by a framed 24-piece sliding tile puzzle. Instead of having just a picture on the tiles, they’re carved in a three dimensional pattern that you need to line up properly before the locking mechanism on the box will release. 

When you first get the box, the tiles are pretty haphazardly arranged (Thanks Robert!) and turning it upside down and giving it a bit of a tap will do two things – one, it will dislodge the single loose tile that gives you a hole to manipulate around the frame in your quest to restore the picture, and two, it shows you that there’s a replica of the solution to the puzzle on the bottom, so that you know what you’re aiming for ...

I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to these sort of puzzles and I tend to start at one end and work my way up to the other – and this had a bit of an unintended consequence when I realised that once you’ve completed the bottom half of the picture properly, you can open the box ... 

Once the lock is released, the top of the box slides down revealing a compartment about one third of the size of the box – which is a bit tantalising because you’re told there’s a second compartment to discover – but it’s not immediately apparent how you’d get to that, so I close it up again and continue to solve the rest of the picture, and a short while later, that done, I slide open the box again – to be greeted by the same thing again – one compartment, about one third of the size of the box ... OK, so solving the rest of the picture hasn’t unlocked the rest of the box, but it has given me a sense of achievement, albeit a brief one ... until I realised there was more to find to get to the second compartment. 

Unlocking the second compartment makes use of a couple of neat little tricks that tie into some of the apparently less useful features of the box – and this one takes up pretty much the rest of the box – big grin time ...

As with the other Stickmen in my little (but growing!) collection, this puzzle has a real sense of charm – the locking mechanism is quite ingenious and almost totally hidden from view – the workmanship is tremendous ... with Stickman boxes you really do get a work of art that happens to be a really nice puzzle as well – thanks for letting this one go, Robert.  I promise I’ll look after it ...

5 comments:

  1. Hey
    Just wondering how do u unlock the second compartment in the box. also would it be possible for u to post some more pictures of the box. I'm interested in buying one but would like to see some more pictures before I do so, and there aren't many pics of it online
    Thanks

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  2. Hi Anonymous - I'll happily share thoughts and photo's via email, but I'd prefer not to do disclose much more about the opening mechanism publicly - would you let me have your email address - I'll delete it as soon as I've copied it out - allard

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  3. OK Fellow Puzzler, email sent...

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  4. Replies
    1. Hi Peter - these days the only place to find them is on one of the specialist puzzle auction sites - they don't tend to come up very often though... or find a collector who wants to sell one privately. (Before you ask, no I don't :-) ) - allard

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