Review: 100 Aussie Icons

Aussie Icons
100 Aussie Icons by Jim Tsinganos – Mr. Bob Puzzles – 515 pieces

100 Aussie Icons is a fantastic image, and made for a wonderfully interesting puzzle. This is one of two wooden puzzles sent to me for review, and I had an absolutely great time with the assembly. I’m so looking forward to the next one!

Mr. Bob Puzzles is an Australian puzzle company that has switched over from producing cardboard puzzles to making wooden ones. They primarily focus on the artwork of Australian artists, and are trying to avoid the well-worn path of puzzle images; I think that pitfall has been avoided, their catalog is full of interesting and not seen before images to choose from. The quality is excellent, with thick wooden pieces that feel good in your hands, and a cut that looks easy, but offers more of a challenge than you think.

There’s one thing I can’t show you with a picture – the smell. Mr. Bob Puzzles uses aromatherapy essential oils to give their wooden puzzles a wonderful smell. I can’t tell you what it is, because I have no idea the exact scent; all I can tell you is they smell amazing! Mr. Bob Puzzles believes in the health benefits of puzzling (there are 10 health benefits listed on the back of their boxes), and they are adding aromatherapy oils to their puzzles to enhance the assembly experience and add to the health benefits. It’s something I’d never heard of before, but I think it’s great and the scent in my puzzle room was truly lovely.

The first picture is after one day’s assembly. The second is when it is almost complete, all that’s left is the sky. The cut is seeming a simple one, with regular “puzzle” shaped pieces, but it’s quite deceptive. There are many straight edges on the inside of the puzzle, and it makes for a much more challenging assembly than I thought. I loved the added difficulty and it went together much more slowly than a 500 piece puzzle usually does for me. In my book that’s a plus!

Aussie Icons whimsies

According to the box, all Mr. Bob puzzles have Australia themed whimsy pieces, I love the kangaroo inside the shape of the country – very cool. Of course my favorite has to be the Sydney Opera House with my initials inside! ūüėć I’m not sure if that’s something they do for everyone, but I loved it.

Aussie Icons 3

I’m sure a good Aussie could tell you exactly who all these people are. I was almost positive that the flag bearer was Ian Thorpe (Olympic swimmer), but of course I was wrong; he’s one of the surf lifesavers. Other than that I have to confess to being an uninformed American who had no idea who the rest of these people were until Mr. Bob sent me a legend with most of the icons. I would suggest that perhaps there be a page on their website with a legend of them all so that we could see the ones we missed. This image is one of their bestsellers, and I’m sure a list would be appreciated by those of us who aren’t up to date on our Australian history.

Also, you can see in the top right of the picture that Mr. Bob has put his logo into the puzzle, very clever!

The artwork is so detailed and full of interesting people and things and it made for a most entertaining assembly. The puzzle is quite large, about the size of the average 1000 piece cardboard puzzle, and I found the large pieces are quite nice to work with. I was impressed with the quality of this puzzle, and it is most definitely recommended. I will add that I was equally impressed with their very quick shipping – this puzzle was at my door 5 days after it left Australia. Amazing!

Details:

  • Title:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 100 Aussie Icons
  • Artist:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Jim Tsinganos
  • Brand:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Mr. Bob Puzzles
  • Piece count:¬† ¬† ¬†515 pieces
  • Size:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Approx. 23 x 17 in. (54 x 43 cm)
  • Purchased:¬† ¬† ¬† N/A, sent for review

Quality:

  • Board:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†4.5mm wood
  • Cutting:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Excellent
  • Image:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Excellent
  • Box:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Excellent
  • Fit:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Excellent
  • Puzzle Dust:¬† ¬† ¬†None
  • Piece cut:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Grid cut, whimsy pieces
  • Piece shapes:¬† ¬†Very good variety
  • Finish:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Slightly shiny finish, lays flat

Overall Rating:      Excellent, highly recommended

 

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

 

Review: Big World

Big World
Big World by Ciro Marchetti – Milton Bradley – 750 pieces

If I’m being honest I’d tell you I was a little bit scared to start this puzzle. Look at the image, it’s gorgeous – but I didn’t know where I would begin. Once I started sorting the pieces though, I found a few sections to pull out and start with; when they were assembled it didn’t seem so daunting to keep going and filling in from there. Sometimes I have to just jump in and get myself going, most of the time it’s never as difficult as I think. ūüôā

Milton Bradley puzzles seem to have improved their quality quite a bit, I was thoroughly impressed with this puzzle and it’s quality. The pieces are on the smaller side, but not too much so. They had a good hand feel, fit together quite well, and had a very good variety of shapes. The image reproduction is excellent and did the artwork justice in my opinion, the colors are beautiful with no blurriness or fuzzy areas. Overall a very good quality puzzle.

Big World 1

There’s just something about peacocks, they make for wonderful puzzle images. This one is beautiful, and I wish the picture did it justice. It was one of the first things I assembled after the edges and even though there weren’t many pieces to it, it gave me a great sense of accomplishment.

Big World 2

This flying fish balloon and the ship below it –¬† great fun to put together!¬†The use of colors by Ciro Marchetti brings to mind images by Aimee Stewart – both artists produce absolutely gorgeous artwork. This one especially has a dreamy quality, a fantasy image that makes no sense but definitely looks like a world you’d want to visit (or at least I would).

I’ve been a little obsessed with assembling panoramic puzzles lately. It’s much easier on your back to not have to reach so far to put pieces in at the top; having the entirety of the puzzle very close to you is somehow comforting and I am completely enjoying working with them. I only have one more panoramic here in my stash, I guess that means I might have to arrange a shopping trip – these puzzles are good for my mental health.

Big World was more fun than I expected and had much better quality than I anticipated. If you’ve got a long enough workspace to assemble a panoramic puzzle this one is absolutely recommended – two peacock tails way up! ūü¶öūü¶ö

Details:

  • Title:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Big World
  • Artist:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Ciro Marchetti
  • Brand:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Milton Bradley
  • Piece count:¬† ¬† ¬†750 pieces
  • Size:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Approx. 11 x 34 in. (27 x 86 cm)
  • Purchased:¬† ¬† ¬† New

Quality:

  • Board:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Very good
  • Cutting:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Very good
  • Image:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Excellent
  • Box:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Average, sturdy
  • Fit:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Very good
  • Puzzle Dust:¬† ¬† ¬†Small amount
  • Piece cut:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Grid cut
  • Piece shapes:¬† ¬†Very good variety
  • Finish:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Slightly shiny finish, lays flat

Overall Rating:      Very good, recommended