Tuesday, 20 October 2015
The (Very) Affordable Berrocal (Alternative)
Update 24 October 2017 - Dear Reader, please check out my new puzzle blog and e-store at http://mechanical-puzzles.com
Can't afford a Berrocal? Read on...this may just be the thing for you!
Last week my son and I played with two very cute, colourful and interesting "put together cum packing" puzzles. These were the "Restoration Puzzle-Human Model" ("Mannequin") and "Cow" from Japanese toy manufacturer Megahouse.
Both puzzles came to me courtesy of YC Lam of Hong Kong who runs his Felix Puzzle site. Although the site is in Chinese, Google translate will help matters and he has a pretty good selection of puzzles from various manufacturers.
As you can tell from the photos, it is pretty obvious what the respective goals of the puzzles are; fix together the limbs, head etc and "pack" all the internal organs into the body. The Mannequin has 36 pieces while the "Berro-cow" has 37.
Both are entirely made of plastic, but to my surprise, not some cheapo light plastic to be scoffed at. This is really heavy duty stuff which makes the completed figurines very hefty and solid. The pieces don't snap into place as I had expected them to, but rather rely on friction to hold each other together. In the assembled state the puzzles would not come apart unless you bash the puzzle around.
Both are uniquely attractive and make excellent display and conversation pieces. In a bed of wooden burrs, these two would really stand out! To be honest, how many of you puzzlers have seen something like this before? And before I forget to mention....they are really useful for aspiring doctors and vets! I don't know about the Cow, but the Mannequin looks anatomically correct to me!
For the price of HK$130 (slightly less than US$17) each, the quality of manufacture is really very good and I was pretty impressed. If you can't afford a Berrocal, well I guess here's a really inexpensive and viable alternative...which happens also not to need polishing ...move over, Mini David!
From a puzzling perspective, both are not difficult puzzles. The Cow tho' I felt was much more challenging than the Mannequin. The former has a lot more small and similar looking internal organs which had to be inserted into the body forming twin layers; very much like a two layer packing puzzle. Solutions come in the form of a QR code download so help is at hand should you need it.