Neil's Puzzle Building Blog
21Dec/110

There be Dragons – Dragon Wing

Dragon Wing - Karakuri Christmas present from Shiro Tajima

This years Christmas present from Shiro Tajima is exactly what many of us were hoping for. For the last few years, Tajima has been making boxes with a theme of the Zodiac animal for the following year. Last year, we were treated to the Magic Hat, which was a rabbit stuck in a hat, and before that we had "The Tiger of Carboholic", so many of us were hopeful for a dragon design this year, and we weren't disappointed!

The dragon with his wings closed

The dragon with his wings closed

When I opened the box from the Karakuri Group, it wasn't clear exactly what I was looking at. My first impression was that the puzzle this year was some sort of irregular burr puzzle, and it wasn't until I took the puzzle out of the box, and the bag it was wrapped in that I could see we did in fact have a dragon on our hands.

Initially, the wings of the dragon are wrapped around the sides and base of the box, giving him a very streamlined appearance, and hiding his true appearance. It didn't take too long to find out that there was a little movement in the box, and I soon had the wings opened, and was able to see the box in all its glory.

The dragon with his wings open

The dragon with his wings open

Even with the wings open, this box isn't giving up its secrets easily. Playing around with the wings open I soon found that there was more that could move than just the base and the wings. Having said that, there was still no clues as to how this box would open. The base of the box is sprung, so I started investigating there to see what could possibly open. Initially I was thinking along the lines of the Karakuri small box series which I reviewed a while back.

Without giving away any of the puzzles secrets, I'd almost consider this as a new puzzle in the Small Box series. It's a nice little puzzle and the mechanism is both simple and different enough from the other small boxes, that it is a stand alone box. I really love the look of the dragon. It's simple, yet you can easily tell what it's supposed to be.

My one small issue with the box is that having opened it, the base doesn't quite go back in as far as it did before I opened it, so the wings when closed are a little tight. I don't think it's a huge issue, but it is worth noting.

As the only box I received this year, I'm really pleased to have selected Tajima as my designer. It's a great puzzle, and I'm happy to have added it to my collection.

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