Sunday, August 2, 2020

Crystal puzzles

When I was in Hong Kong, I used to attend the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair every year.  While there, I got to know the HK representatives of Jeruel (Beverly).  Through them, I acquired many different puzzles.    They made Kinato puzzles to begin with, and although these didn't sell well, I did get a few variations of them to be posted on at a later date.  For this blog post though, I will only be discussing their Crystal Puzzles.

Jeruel (Beverly) is not the only company to make Crystal Puzzles.  Artbox also makes Crystal Puzzles, as  does Bandai, Disney, Hanayama,  Happywell, Huaxinda, Junghwan, Ling Zhi Crystal Blocks, Magnif, Megahouse, Mini (cooper), Takara Tony, Yanoman, and Yong Jun Toys.  The two most prolific designers are of coarse Jeruel and Hanayama.

A bit of trivia regarding these two companies is the gentleman's agreement on what types of puzzles they make.  Hanayama makes Disney, Jeruel makes all the rest.  Sounds like a fair deal to me.  Yanoman made small keychain sized puzzles, Disney of course makes Disney characters-thus far only BB8 and R2D2.  Bandai makes Gundam and Hello Kitty Crystal puzzle type characters.  Happywell makes Marvel comics, Miffy, and a variety of vehicles.  Yong Jun Toys makes a lot of copies, but they have begun to branch out and make a new range of puzzles that have not been seen before.  

Our collection to date has 309 puzzles with another 16 on order and 12 more that I am hunting down.  As I am typing this, two more puzzles came in to assemble.

These puzzles are not for the average puzzler. They are more of a 3D jigsaw puzzle.  I started on them when my daughter was young as a way to get her involved in puzzling.  Since then I've managed to collect all that have been designed by the major companies and am now in a state of simply adding more as they come out.  For the longest time I would assemble 2-4 puzzles over lunch.  When this pandemic hit and we decided to stay at home, I realized this would be a good time to complete the rest of the puzzles that were not finished.  The majority of them took around 30 minutes to assemble. Some of the larger puzzles took the better part of the day.  

These puzzles range in size from 9 to 104 pieces.  I would have to say Zodiac puzzles were the poorest quality.  There are two that I had to purchase again because the pieces didn't fit and broke the first time.  The worst to assemble was the guitar, the easiest I suppose is the heart or diamond as they are mirror image sides.  The Beverley 'horses' on the top shelf look very pretty, but are rather poor quality in my opinion. The wings are fiddly to attach and don't really stay on well.  The Yanoman keychains are quite difficult as the pieces are so tiny. 

The earliest puzzles to come out were the Magnif puzzles in 1977.  They produced the apple (red and white versions), an egg, and the 'love heart' which was a heart inside a cube.  These can still be found on eBay or other sites.  Jeruel began producing crystal puzzles in 2004 and Hanayama began in 2010.  Almost immediately the Chinese companies began to make copies of these. 

And if anyone knows where to get the Hello Kitty keychain, I'd love one.  

The display case we have these in is backlit with Hue light strips plus.  There is one base pack and 8 extensions in the cabinet.  I love that I can change the color of them with my mood.  White light dimmed to 50% works best though.  The cabinet came mirrored to begin with as did the rest of the house.  This particular cabinet is above the bedroom wet bar.  We decided it would be better to have the crystal puzzles here than bar glasses.  Just a warning, the rest of this post is very photo heavy.  Enjoy.  

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