Review: Winter Aspen

 This post is sponsored by Puzzle Warehouse
Winter Aspen by Henry Holdsworth – MasterPieces (World’s Smallest) – 1000 pieces
This is as far as I got 😦

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.


I received this product at no cost to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are truthful and 100% my own.

18 thoughts on “Review: Winter Aspen

  1. Anonymous Person

    I just finished a Masterpieces Puzzle (a brand new 500 piece puzzle released this year) and did not like the quality at all — the pieces were super thin (with some damage) and the puzzle was missing pieces 😦 I will never buy that brand again — from what I’ve read online it seems their puzzle quality is very inconsistent and that is just not cool.

    I couldn’t even imagine getting as far as you did with that puzzle above. Too tedious and boring and tear inducing. I hope your next puzzle is much more enjoyable.


    1. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with MasterPieces; the puzzles I’ve done lately have all been quite good, but there can be inconsistencies with many brands. Puzzles and puzzling seem to be so subjective, what drives me crazy may not bother someone else at all and vice versa.

      I tried hard to keep going with Winter Aspen but it actually started to depress me having to work at it so hard! I hope your next puzzle is much more fun as well. 🙂


      1. Anonymous Person

        I just can’t give Masterpieces another chance — the puzzle piece quality was so poor and my puzzle was missing pieces. Although I’m glad for your sake that you’ve had good experiences with Masterpieces lately. There are a lot of brands (Buffalo comes to mind) where the quality is consistent so that is nice.

        I would have been depressed too — just like you said, puzzling is supposed to be fun and relaxing, not tedious and frustrating. I don’t mind a challenge but I could never have even tried my hand at the puzzle you attempted above.


    1. It is a beautiful scene, and I might be tempted to do it as a regular sized puzzle, but as a mini puzzle – YIKES!

      Thanks Leo, I tried to stick with it as long as I could. Are you doing any puzzles lately? I enjoyed reading your colorist posts, I would love to see you post about puzzles too. 🙂


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  6. Anonymous

    This post has made me feel a lot better. I stopped just under 400 pieces. After a month of the unfinished puzzle sitting on the living room table, I decided it was time to call it quits. It’s really nice to know that I was not alone in what turned out to be a really depressing struggle…

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. T

    I am currently doing this puzzle and actually enjoy how hard it is! However, it is missing at least 2 pieces for certain, and for that it makes it frustrating, knowing it will never truly be “finished” because of the mfr. defects.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. T

        Yes, I am still working on it! Right now I am probably at about the same place as your photo, less one corner piece and one piece of snow (pretty sure they don’t exist in my set). I hope I can finish it, it’s definitely slow going. Thank you for your review, it’s nice to know others are out there! lol 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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