Toys and Games Reviews

Toys and Game Reviews

If you are a fan of puzzles the Ravensbuger Big Ben Silhouette puzzle will keep you busy for ages. This is a shaped puzzle which features Big Ben and other London landmarks.

Every so often I like to do a jigsaw puzzle. There is something relaxing about having a puzzle on the table and taking the odd few minutes to figure out which pieces go where. I take my time, adding a few pieces each time I pass the puzzle. Eventually the pieces all fall into place and there is a sense of achievement that comes with having finished. Recently I have been trying the Ravensburger Big Ben Silhouette  puzzle. The puzzle is in the shape of Big Ben and features Big Ben along with other famous London landmarks. When complete the puzzle will be a metre high.

 

Ravensburger Big ben Silhouette puzzle

 

Ravensburger Big Ben Silhouette Puzzle

The box is sturdy and contains a bag with the jigsaw pieces and a warranty.  The front of the box shows what the puzzle should look like when complete. As well as Big Ben you can see London Bridge, a telephone box, London taxi and a London bus. These are all iconic landmarks that visitors to London will be familiar with. The back of the box shows the other jigsaws in the silhouette range. The puzzle pieces are well made and sturdy. When joined together the jigsaw is smooth and it could be made into a wall hanging when complete.

I have to admit I am finding the Ravensburger Big Ben Silhouette puzzle a bit of a challenge. I am used to doing square or rectangular jigsaws. My usual approach is to complete the outside of the jigsaw and then fill in the middle. With this jigsaw this approach is more difficult. The curved nature of the sides does not make it easy to work out what goes where. The puzzle is also very large and I am going to have to move it off my jigsaw board in the near future as it will not fit. Before you start it would be a good idea to make sure you have a big enough area to assemble it.

curved pieces of Ravensburger silhoutte puzzle

 
I have managed to do some of the edges but have found a better approach is to try and put together some of the areas which have a distinctive pattern. The clock face is one of these areas and I have almost managed to complete this section. The walls of Big Ben are a little bit harder as all the pieces are of a similar colour. It will take me a while to figure this out. There do seem to be lots of areas which have similar colours. There are lots of areas with plenty of red, yellow and blue which makes completing the puzzle a little harder. Searching for the pieces becomes more of a challenge because of this.

Ravensburger big ben silhoutte puzzle

The easiest thing to do is to look for the pieces with detail on and try and fit these together. I had success with the front of the bus for example. It was easy to find pieces with lettering on and fit them together.

Ravensburger big Ben Silhoutte jigsaw

In Summary

I love doing jigsaws and have tried quite a few different ones like the Tower of London jigsaw and the Medieval house 3D jigsaw. The Ravensburger Big Ben Silhouette jigsaw is proving to be more of a challenge, it is a lot harder to do. Having said that I am enjoying the challenge. I will certainly be happy when I finally complete the puzzle. If you know someone who loves jigsaws this would be a perfect gift. Just make sure they have a table big enough to hold it first.

I was sent the puzzle in order to do a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

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The Tower of London is a historic castle standing on the banks of the river Thames in central London. It has been there since the time of William the Conqueror and has played a significant part in British history over the years. The ancient stones echo with dark secrets, the crown jewels are kept inside fortified vaults and ravens strut the grounds. Legend has it that if the six ravens ever leave then the tower will fall.  The tower is watched over by the Yeoman Warders who guard the tower. They are also known as beefeaters, the name given to them because their place as part of the Royal bodyguard entitled them to eat as much beef as they wished. The tower has also been a prison over the years and Anne Boleyn was held and executed here. It is a place that is filled with history and I would love to visit one day. Recently I have been doing the Tower of London Ravensburger jigsaw. It is a 1000 piece puzzle which is part of the Historic Royal Palaces series.

Tower of London 1000 piece puzzle from ravensburger

I had recently completed another puzzle in the series, Hampton Court Palace, a jigsaw I really enjoyed doing. I had every confidence I would enjoy this puzzle as well. The puzzle features eight pictures of the Tower of London which have been taken from the archives of Historic Royal Palaces. It also captures some of the more iconic parts of the Tower of London capturing the essence of what you will see on a visit there.

Yeoman warder at the tower of london on the Ravensburger jigsaw

The Yeoman Warder is holding one of the ravens at the side of the puzzle. The Yeoman Warders have formed the Royal bodyguard since 1509 and their origins stretch back to Edward IV. Each warder will have served in the armed forces for at least 22 years. The ravens are the guardians of the tower. They are protected and there are seven at the tower. They are looked after by the raven master who feeds them. Sometimes the ravens are badly behaved and as a result lose their position. This happened to raven George who was prone to eating television aerials. To the left of the Yeoman warder on the puzzle you can see Traitor’s Gate. It was built by Edward I to provide a water gate entrance to the tower. Prisoners were taken though it into the tower of London.

Crown Jewels on Tower of London Ravensburger puzzle

The crown jewels are kept at the Tower of London under armed guard in the Jewel House. These jewels are still used by the Queen in ceremonies like the opening of parliament. They are also a big part of the coronation ceremonies. They are recognised at the top of the jigsaw.

Guards man on tower of london ravensburger jigsaw puzzle

Another iconic part of London are the guardsmen on duty with their big black hats. One of these is shown on the left hand side of the puzzle. The only thing to indicate that it is modern day is the fact he is holding a gun. The jigsaw is a great virtual tour of the attractions of the Tower of London.

I found this jigsaw much harder to complete than the Hampton Court Palace one but am getting there slowly. I just need to complete the actual tower in the middle. It is a great jigsaw, ideal for occupying your mind when you want a few moments break. The reference sheet included in the box makes it much easier to see what the finished puzzle will be like. Purchases of the puzzle support the work of the Historic Royal Palaces so if you do buy one for yourself or as a gift you know you are supporting a worthwhile cause.

I was sent the puzzle in order to review it but was not obliged to say anything nice. I may complete the puzzle this week.

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Do you ever feel life is a bit hectic? I feel like this a lot of the time. Working, cooking, cleaning, making sure all the clothes are washed – it sometimes feels like a never ending cycle that needs to be broken. Every so often I take time out and attempt a jigsaw puzzle. There is something relaxing about putting together the pieces. Once you open a jigsaw there is a feeling that you must finish it. I hate letting the puzzle beat me. Recently I was sent one of the Ravensburger Historic Royal Palaces range to try. The 1000 piece puzzle of Hampton Court Palace was ideal for a few moments challenge as I rushed about. Inside the box there is a leaflet with a small picture of the puzzle and some information about the palace. This makes the jigsaw easier to complete as it is much easier to look at the smaller picture to see what pieces go where.

Ravensbuger Historic Royal Palaces - Hampton Court Palace jigsaw

Hampton Court Palace is somewhere I have never visited but as I completed the puzzle I felt as if I was on a virtual tour of the palace. The palace belonged to Cardinal Wolsey until he fell out of favour with King Henry VIII. The king seized the palace for himself and Hampton Court Palace is one of only two surviving palaces owned by King Henry VIII. The palace underwent lots of rebuilding work when it was taken over in the next Century by King William III. As a result there are two distinct palaces on the site, a Tudor palace and a Baroque palace. The jigsaw shows both of these as well as many details of the inside of the palace and the gardens.

Ravensburger historic palaces Hampton Court Palace

Ten statues of heraldic animals stand on the bridge to the moat leading to the great gatehouse. These are known as the King’s Beasts and were commissioned by Henry VIII before his marriage to Jane Seymour. Four of them can be seen in the puzzle and these are one of the easier parts of the puzzle to complete with their distinctive colours.

hampton-court-palace-7

The Baroque palace was designed by Christopher Wren, and was intended to be bigger and grander than Versailles. It is a striking building with a contrast between pink brick and pale stone. The back leads to the privy garden and ornate iron work gates designed by Tijou. These are shown on the puzzle and were rather a hard part of the puzzle to complete.

As well as the exterior of the palace and its grounds, including the maze and formal gardens we get glimpses of the interior of Hampton Court Palace.  Henry VIII’s Astronomical Clock was one of the first parts of the puzzle I completed. It is interesting to learn this is one of the few surviving medieval clocks. It was made prior to Copernicus discovering that the earth goes around the sun and depicts the earth as the centre of the universe.

hampton-court-palace-5

Murals from the ceiling in The Queen’s Drawing Room are also depicted and I found this hard to put together. The pieces have tangles of limbs from angels and other god like figures in the heavens. Finding which leg went with which arm and body was hard work.

Hampton-court-palace-3

I did manage to complete the puzzle in reasonable time which is amazing. I can sometimes take months to complete a puzzle if it is really difficult. The last 1000 piece puzzle I tried, called The Puzzle Factory took ages. I have had more success with the Ravensburger 3D puzzles like the Medieval House I completed. Ravensburger Historic Royal Palaces – Hampton Court Palace would be a great gift for anyone who likes jigsaws. It is lovely to learn some of the history behind the palace and see it taking shape as you do the jigsaw. Any purchase of a puzzle from the Historic Royal Palace range helps to support the work of Historic Royal Palaces.

Do you like doing jigsaws? What is the hardest one you have attempted?

I was sent the jigsaw in order to review it. My opinions are honest and my own.

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When I was given the chance to review the Ravensburger Puzzle Factory jigsaw I was happy to accept. I love doing jigsaws and the fact that the Ravensburger Happy Days Lake District 1000 piece puzzle had taken me months to complete had faded from my mind. I was attracted by the cheerful picture on the Puzzle Factory box, which shows a colourful and crazy scene of life in a puzzle factory. I was still happy at completing the Big Ben 3D puzzle in a day and was convinced I could easily finish this new puzzle.

Ravensburger puzzle factoryThe picture depicts the  magical secrets of a puzzle factory, specially created for Ravensburger by British artist Edmond Davis. I love the imagination behind the picture, the dump truck picking up the pieces in the jigsaw mine and then they are sent up the conveyor belt to be sorted.  The factory looks a fun place to work, with a swimming pool and clowns making an appearance. It is brightly coloured and eye catching.

Puzzle FactoryWith any jigsaw puzzle I try and do the edge first. It is quite hard finding all the edge pieces in a box of 1000 but when you do it is easy to identify where they go due to the colours. I then started to try and fill in a corner section by looking for all the blue pieces. The pieces are well made and fit together perfectly, the challenge is actually finding the ones you are looking for. A few weeks later and my optimistic view that this would be finished quickly has been shattered. I have not made much progress.

puzzle factoryThis is not a reflection on the jigsaw which is great, I think I just lack the skill to put together a jigsaw quickly. It does not help that I only get moments to myself and put a few bits together whilst cooking or cleaning. The jigsaw is a great distraction however and I am really enjoying doing it. I wonder how long this will take me to complete. Do you enjoy doing jigsaws? How long do they generally take you?

I was sent the Puzzle Factory jigsaw in return for an honest review.

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You may remember sometime ago I was doing a 1000 Ravensburger Happy Days Lake District Jigsaw puzzle. It took ages, about four months. The family would keep wandering in doing a couple of pieces and then wandering off again. We were determined to finish it and in the end we did. When I was asked if I wanted to review the Ravensburger Big Ben 3D puzzle I was happy to. The family needed a new challenge and having previously tried the Ravensburger Medieval House 3D jigsaw I knew this would not be such a long lasting challenge.  big-ben-4 3D jigsaws are not done in the same way as normal jigsaws. The pieces are made of plastic, some of which bend and interlock to make the corners. Each piece has a number and an arrow on the back and to do the jigsaw you need to join up the numbered pieces in the right order. The arrow tells you where to place the next piece. Having numbered pieces feels a little bit like cheating, but it works really well.

Big Ben 3D jigsawTo attach the jigsaw to the base there are little plastic clips. The other plastic pieces create the top and the sides of the clock face. We set to work building Big Ben. I find the best way is to set up rows of pieces across the table. This means you can search for the numbered pieces and place them in the right places as you go. Once all the lines for a section are complete I then start folding them and putting together the base of the clock.  This method seems to work well.

Big ben 3d puzzleThe base and clock face were quite straight forward. The roof was a little fiddly but in the end Big Ben was complete. The finished puzzle looks really effective  and looks nice sitting on a book shelf. I think it might stay there for a little while.

Big Ben 3D puzzleWe had great fun making Big Ben, my son got involved finding the right pieces and putting them in lines. Building the puzzle is a great way to spend some family time together.

We were sent the Ravensburger Big Ben 3D puzzle in return for an honest review.

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