The Cast Elk is another of the Hanayama series that is very nicely crafted in metal and chrome, which does look very nice and gives it a good weight in your hands. The chrome does pick up fingerprints really easily but they're polished off with no trouble. It consists of two pieces cast in the shape of (strangely enough) an elk. The two pieces do look completely identical, but there is a very subtle difference between them which makes sure that the puzzle can only be solved in one way.
I think there's always something appealing about two-piece puzzles, they are just so easy to pick up and puzzle over no matter who you are or where you are (within reason). If you were to give someone who has never done any puzzles before a two piece puzzle then odds are they would be more interested in solving it compared with giving them something far more complex as they feel it is something that they should be able to achieve by themselves.
Unfortunately for any newcomers however, this is another one of those deceptively easy looking puzzles. How hard could it possibly be to take two pieces apart right? Hanayama rate this as a level 6 on it's scale of difficulty...and it only goes up to six. I think this actually took me a couple of hours spread out over a couple of days. As it's easy to just pick up for a couple of minutes wherever you are I found myself taking it to work to play with for a the odd minutes I was free. Putting it back together was pretty easy as I was paying attention when it came apart, but solving it is still a challenge for me even now.
So once again I really enjoyed this puzzle, and as with many of the Hanayama puzzles it won't cost you much to get hold of one. I tend to say that anything around £10-£12 is quite acceptable for any of the Cast series puzzles.
This is another puzzle that a friend has kindly loaned me, but after solving it I think I would quite like one in my own collection. You can find them in several places, two of which are: Puzzle This and Puzzle Master.
Also have a look at Brian Pletcher's review of the Cast Elk here: LINK