This post is sponsored by Puzzle Warehouse
Winter Aspen is a “world’s smallest” puzzle with VERY small pieces that comes in a collectible tin. The finished puzzle is 16.5 x 11.7 inches (42 x 30 cm) which is quite small for 1000 pieces. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this puzzle for the average puzzler, as you can see I didn’t finish it. 😦
I’ve done quite a few MasterPieces puzzles lately, and I haven’t had a problem with the quality. They have an excellent catalog, the quality is quite good and they are very reasonably priced. Many of their puzzles are a random cut which gives a great variety in piece shapes, and they fit together very well. Even though this puzzle didn’t float my boat I don’t have a problem with MasterPieces; I think they’re great quality at a great price.
I guess everyone who reviews a product has to deal with their first bad review. You must be tactful, but truthful and let people know specifically what the problems you found were. With puzzles, so much of the like or dislike of an image or puzzle itself can be subjective; I may not care for photographic puzzles, but many people do. Therefore, I must put aside my own personal preference as much as I can and review it, keeping in mind that the review should take into account what others may like or be looking for in a puzzle.
I find it hard to separate my feelings here, this puzzle was maddeningly frustrating and tedious for me. The image would make for an extremely challenging averaged size puzzle, but when you add in the small pieces it really ramps up the difficulty level in my opinion. For someone in their late 40’s or older as I am, it was a difficult puzzle to work with, irregardless of the image. The pieces are so small it was sometimes difficult to hold them, and it’s even more challenging to see the detail to compare shade and colors.
I can’t speak for everyone my age, but it was difficult for my aging eyes to work with this puzzle, and the sameness of the entire image was mind numbing. There are quite a few of the puzzles in the “world’s smallest” series that perhaps wouldn’t be so difficult, this wasn’t one of them. The image is just too challenging for such small pieces, it needs colors and shapes – at least for me.
The quality of this puzzle was good/fair. The pieces were a good thickness and sturdy; all the pieces were ballerinas which added to the difficulty. (2 prong/2 hole) The fit was ok; because all the pieces were the same shape it was easy to put in a wrong piece and not know until surrounding pieces were inserted. The image itself was most to blame for this in my opinion, everything looks so similar. The image reproduction was good, even with such a small image. There was a poster enclosed that was almost as big as the puzzle itself, which was extremely helpful and a must when working with such small pieces.
I’ve never not finished a puzzle for review, but I just couldn’t continue with this one. I put just over 400 pieces of the 1000 together. It was too difficult to see and handle and made me feel quite inadequate. I’m not really a fan of monochromatic puzzles, or overly challenging images. I found that I was bargaining with myself while I worked on it – to make myself keep going; once I get x number of pieces put in I can do something else. For me puzzles are a way to relax and de-stress, if the image is so challenging that it feels like work it isn’t worth it for me. Puzzles are supposed to be fun!
If you enjoy a challenge, check out the World’s Smallest Puzzle series by MasterPieces. Literally any one of those would have been easier for me to do than these trees! I’d be interested in working one of the less challenging images to see how it compares, but don’t ask me now – I need a little time to cool off. 😉
If you are one of those people who enjoy a super-challenging puzzle, Winter Aspen may be the puzzle for you! If you are like me and use your puzzling time to relax and relieve stress then perhaps you should pass right on by this puzzle.