The Groke, 2019-01-18

The Groke is a rather complex Moomin character. On the one hand, she is threatening and scary, but she also represents loneliness. Everything she touches freezes. She longs for contact with others and warmth, but is unable to form relationships. She doesn’t speak.

[The Groke], Peliko, 500 pieces. Completed on January 18th, 2019.
Here she is seen gliding throuh the forest, and you can see the ice forming around her.


Some forest creatures hiding.
These two seem less scared.

Heye History

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has read my blog that I’m a huge fan of Heye puzzles.

I’ve already found out that the triangular boxes are older than I thought, and also that a lot of images get released again and again, sometimes slightly edited and often with a different piece count. I decided to see what I could find out about the early days of Heye puzzles.

There’s a short article on Wikipedia in German, where we learn that Heye Verlag (Heye Publishing Company) was founded in 1962, and that they originally published magazines and from 1964 also calendars. There is no mention of when production of puzzles started, but they say that the first cartoon artist, Mordillo, was signed in 1972. This may not have been for puzzles, though, but for calendars. It is also quite likely that the same images were used for both calendars and puzzles.

To find some old Heye puzzles I tried the Jigsaw-Wiki. The project aims to collect information on as many puzzles as possible, and since many of the contributors are German, there’s a good chance of finding many Heye puzzles. The oldest (dated) puzzles on the site are from the 60s (mostly  Ravensburger), and the earliest Heye puzzles I could find were from 1974. There are 19 Heye puzzles from 1974, at least 18 of them in triangular boxes (for one, there is no picture). It seems that Heye used triangular boxes and cartoon images right from the start, only later adding some traditional boxes and photo images!

Of the 19, 10 are by Loup and 9 by Mordillo – both of these artists are of course still much used by Heye. There were 2 puzzles with 1500 pieces, 11 with 1000, 3 with 750, 2 with 500 and 1 with 120.

Several of the puzzles have been re-released later.

This is from the current, 2019 catalog.

But it was already released in 1974, and again in 1981.

It’s great that they release old images again, and I hope they’re keeping an eye on Ebay and consider a re-release when the prices get silly 🙂

While looking at puzzles from 1974 I noticed one called the Letter Carrier by Ravensburger, from a painting by Carl Spitzweg (died 1885).  It seemed familiar, and look at this:

Romantic Town: By Day by Ryba, from the new 2019 Heye releases. Completed in December, 2018.


Spitzweg, The Letter Carrier.

There’s a lot more detail in the cartoon version, and while you can’t see it in the picture from the puzzle, it says “Im Rosenthal” both in the painting and the puzzle.

The cartoon version of the brief carrier, he’s hiding in the glare in the first picture.

It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the elements in Ryba’s version come from other paintings by Spitzweg. Anyway, the Romantic Town images were released twice earlier, in 1986 and in 2006. On the 1986 version it even says “frei nach Spitzweg” (freely after Spitzweg”).


Wanted was a Heye series, where you are supposed to identify a criminal hiding in the puzzle but not present in the picture on the box. Fortunately, my photos are so bad that they can’t possibly count as a spoilers 🙂 Also, this series is out of print.

Wanted! Where Is Jail Katie? by Loup, Heye, 1000 pieces. Completed on January 11th, 2008.

This edition was published in 2006, but there was an earlier version, without criminal Katie, and it was called Apocalypse, 2000 pieces, released in 2000 in a triangular box. The Apocalypse version has been rereleased and is currently available.

Wanted Where is Passport Forger Paul? by Loup, Heye, 1000 pieces. Completed on October 6th, 2008.

The same image has been released as a Heye puzzle twice before, in 1982 with the title “Riverside” (1000 pieces), and in 1998 with the title “French Kiss” (750 pieces). The 1982 version is already in a triangular box. I wonder when they started using those. I would have guessed the 90s, but obviously they’ve been around a lot longer.

A Blast from the Past (yes, shopping again…)

Twenty years ago everyone was getting ready for the new century and steeling themselves for the chaos that ensues when every computer everywhere goes haywire. There were some really interesting Sci-Fi films (ah, the age of The Matrix), and puzzle manufacturer Heye was also prepared. In 1999, I bought a “Happy New Year” type puzzle, which I completed around New Year. I don’t know where that puzzle went, but it was definitely gone in 2013 when I moved (obviously, I gave away a lot of puzzles ahead of the move, but this wasn’t among them). I always wanted it back, and now I have it:


I found it on Ebay, it was still factory sealed. This would actually work really well as a new year puzzle for any year, all they would have to do change is the title “Happy 2000”. Oh, and it glows in the dark! I’m doing this at the end of the year, for its 20 year anniversary.

Then I found another 2000-themed puzzle by the same artist (Jabo) on a Finnish Ebay-equivalent site. This was also a lot cheaper than Happy 2000, but it must be quite rare, I can’t find it on Ebay at all. Space Diner by Jabo, also factory sealed.


There seems to have been a series called Cosmo Puzzle 2000. I found some others by Googling, but I can’t remember having seen any of these puzzle before. The Jigsaw wiki knows of two further puzzles from the series. If I find any of the others at reasonable prices, I’m definitely getting them.

Less spectacular, but still nice:


Special Lovers by Matt (I guess artists didn’t have to think about googleability back then), also from 1999. I got this on the Finnish site as well, not factory sealed, but there was a picture of it complete.

1999 was obviously a great year for Heye puzzles 🙂


The Sinking of the Vasa, 2019-01-14

[The sinking of the Vasa] by Mauri Kunnas, Peliko, 500 pieces. Completed on January 14th, 2019.
This puzzle shows a famous scene from Swedish history (technically, it also qualifies as Finnish history since Finland was part of Sweden at the time), the ship Vasa floundering practically in the harbour on its maiden voyage in 1628. Since it was very close to shore, most people could be saved, but about 30 lost their lives. It was humiliating for the king to have his new flag ship fail so spectacularly, but an inquest was unable to determine the cause of the disaster. Experts have since come to the conclusion that the center of gravity was too high, which caused the ship to flounder.

The wreck is just the start of the story, though. In 1961, after years of careful planning, the wreck was brought up from the bottom of the sea. The shore was lined with school children who had been given the day off to be able to watch the old ship rise again after over 300 years. It is now in a purpose built museum, and if you are ever in Stockholm, you should go and see it. It’s a spectacular exhibit and very well presented. I’ve seen the ship twice, the first time as a child when it was still in the temporary location known as the Vasa Shipyard, and again about five years ago in the new museum.

Anyway, back to the puzzle. It’s a Peliko puzzle, bad quality as usual, and with one edge piece missing and one extra piece. Oh well. I also get more and more annoyed that they don’t bother to name their puzzles. The artist is Mauri Kunnas, a prolific children’s book author.

Missing piece and extra piece.
I love this little “self portrait” by the signature 🙂


Drottningholm Palace, 2019-01-13

What you might call a very traditional puzzle. Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. It was, of course, easy to pick out the pieces for sky, water, boat, palace and vegetation.

I think there is more variation in piece shape in the newer Schmidt puzzles, this must have had about 80% two-pegs-opposite-type pieces.

Drottningholm Palace, Schmidt, 1000 pieces. Completed on January 13th, 2019. 

I bought this used, and the pieces were in two bags. I thought it was going to be really easy at first, but then I found three corner pieces in the first bag 🙂 I think the puzzle is from the late 90s, it says 02 99 one of the bags, and it could be the one where the pieces originally were.

I ususally do the buildings first, but this time I saved the palace for last 🙂




My post from yesterday somehow got backdated to December, but I fixed it now.