I never figured it out. If you've ever used a Canon T/S it's a simple joy; a no-brainer, very intuitive. But the Hartbleis, both the 45 and 65, are very Rube Goldberg designs.
The optics on the Hartblei are not great, theres no debate about that, but the movements are far better than the Canon T/S which I also own. I think that the design is ingenious rather than the 'kludge' you are implying.
However, one does need to spend a little time with the lens to understand how it works, ie: more than 30 seconds but no more than 15 minutes. Perhaps this comes more easily to me because of experience using large format cameras, so I am used to what the movements do.
These are the reasons why I think the Super Rotator has the best movements.
1) Axes of tilt and shift are independently rotatable. For architectural subjects, I don't really use tilt, however its more likely that I would want both tilt and shift on the same (vertical axis) for this purpose. For landscapes one generally wants these axes at 90 degrees to each other, this can be done in a moment.
2) Shift and tilt does not move out of alignment accidentally, (this often happens with the Canon T/S, so you have to keep checking that you havent accidentally added tilt)
The build quality of mine is good, though the mount is pretty poor, (thats one thing they are fixing).
My only complaint about the Hartblei 45 is that I'd like to be able to read the aperture ring when I am standing behind the camera, I find myself having to crane my neck around to see it.
If only these movements had nice Zeiss glass in them I would shell out my $4000 at the drop of a hat. At the moment this has not been announced, but it would be very disappointing if it were not part of the package at some point in the future. considering the Zeiss/Hartblei tie up.
If the resolution was good enough to match the p65+ sensor then this would be a great lens for interiors. You'd get a wide enough lens for most purposes on the larger sensor size, plus fairly easy shift. The Mamiya 50 isn't quite wide enough.