New Heye Puzzles

I went to my local puzzle shop in Helsinki and was amazed to see some of the new Heye puzzles already on the shelves. They are not yet available in the German online stores where I buy most of my puzzles! No Opus 2 yet, though.


Gradient was the puzzle that I actually went in to get, but I picked up a few others as well…

The Zozoville puzzle is my first in this series.

Romantic town (by Ryba) is a new series where several puzzles form a larger image (like the Zoo-series by Marino Degano). I got one of the two puzzles now available in the series.

Inner Mystic is not the kind of puzzle I usually get, but it’s just so beautiful. Going to be difficult, though. I sort of thought I had gotten over buying puzzles that seem difficult even though the image is beautiful, but apparently not πŸ™‚


Logos, 2018-11-28

Logos, Tactic, 500 pieces. Completed on November 28th, 2018.

Encouraged by my flea market purchases I got a couple of new Tactic puzzles. Unfortunately, the quality is not the same in the newer puzzles. The pieces are much thinner, although not so thin that it’s a problem. It reminds me of Castorland. More annoying was that pieces don’t align exactly:

The left-hand piece is “shorter”.

This was, of course, a really easy puzzle, so I don’t know how this would work out in a more challenging puzzle. It seems that the quality has gone from excellent to passable 😦 Some of the edge pieces weren’t properly separated, but I pulled them apart.



Kaj Stenvall Collection: Waterhouse, 2018-11-26

What a relief to work on a good quality puzzle!

Kaj Stenvall Collection: Waterhouse (1993), Tactic, 500 pieces. Completed on November 26th, 2018.

This went really fast, only at the end with all the black pieces left did I slow down a bit. Since it’s a painting the texture of the canvas and brushstrokes helped with the lighter sections. Anyway, really good quality took me about two hours to complete.

The painting is by Finnish artist Kaj Stenvall, but if it looks familiar, it may be because of Waterhouse’s Lady of Shalott:

John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott, 1888. Inspired by Tennyson’s poem. Also available as a puzzle!

In 1989 Stenvall published his first paintings with familiar-looking ducks in surprising situations. He’s still painting new duck paintings. Some, but not all, are versions of famous paintings.


Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and Stenvall’s version.


Whistler’s Mother and Sky Channel by Stenvall.

The paintings are really popular, and many are available as posters. Tactic also released some of them as puzzles. The puzzle series has been discontinued, but it is not rare to find them at flea markets in Finland.

If you’re interested, you can find more of Stenvall’s workΒ here. It’s not all ducks, in fact, the recent ones are mostly Trump and Putin πŸ™‚

And if you should happen to come across a Tactic puzzle, the quality is great! (UPDATE: The new Tactic puzzles are not as good and have much thinner pieces.)


Heye’s 2019 Catalog

Heye’s catalogue for 2019 is available here! There’s some great stuff, but the best news is that Historia Comica Opus 2 will be re-released. I missed it the first time around and have been so cross with myself.

Historia Comica Opus 1 is the history of the world from the start of the current era in cartoon form:


Historia Comica, Opus 1, 4000 pieces.


Opus 2 goes backwards in time from there:


Historia Comica Opus 2, 4000 pieces.


Drawn, of course, by my favourite Heye artist, Marino Degano.

Opus 1 was originally released as an 8000-piece version in the late 90s with the title “2000 Years”. I have it, and I’ve completed it, but no picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it πŸ™‚ It came in two 4000-piece bags, but I was too lazy to put it back like that -next time it really is one 8000-piece puzzle.


2000 Years, 8000 pieces.


I have the 4000 piece version (Historia Comica Opus 1), but I’ve not completed it yet. So happy that I’m going to get my hands on Opus 2!

After Opus 2, my favourite new puzzle is the new entry in the Zoo series (Australian Habitat, also by Degano). Prades’ History River, Berman’s Patisserie and Adolfsson’s Regatta will also be joining me at some point…

17th and 18th Century World Maps

Maps, especially old maps, used to be one of my favourite puzzle themes, but eventually, I got a little tired of them. The same thing happened before with Alpine landscapes, but I would be happy to do either of those again.

World maps from the 17th and 18th Century usually show the two hemispheres as circles, and around everything, there are various illustrations, sometimes of ancient gods and myths, sometimes of scientists or scenes from world history. The world looks pretty much as it does on modern maps, except that Australia is usually missing, or at least severely disfigured. The first known landing in Australia by Europeans was by a Dutch ship in 1606, and even before that there were theories that there is an undiscovered southern continent (often present on maps as Terra Australis, Southern Country).  Information about the landing was probably not immediately available to the map makers at the time, and even if it were, it wasn’t nearly enough to produce realistic maps. Also, India often looks way too small, and the far east is somewhat disfigured. But all in all, you know it’s our earth, not, say, Middle Earth of Tolkien. Which can not be said for some of the really old (mediaeval) maps…

Here are some old map puzzles:

World Map 1630, Ravensburger 5000 pieces. Completed on May 18th, 2012. With scientists in the corners.
There’s even an in-process picture. Just getting started here.
Copy of Map of the World, 1639, Castorland, 1000 pieces. Completed on November 11th, 2007. Really bad photo, sorry.
Historical Map of the World, Schmidt, 1000 pieces. Completed on November 7th, 2007. This photo is even worse…
Historical Map of the World, Ravensburger, 5000 pieces. Completed on June 14th, 2008.
Map of the Earth 1749, Trefl, 3000 pieces. Completed on November 18th, 2011. One piece missing. But look! There’s Australia!
Copy of Antique World Map, Castorland, 1500 pieces. Completed on November 29th, 2011. No date on this one, but I’m guessing the 18th Century. The text is in French, not in Latin.
Copy of World Map, Castorland, 2000 pieces. Completed on May 27th, 2012. Strictly speaking, this doesn’t really belong here, it looks like a modern map made up in the old style. There are pictures of famous buildings, including the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, where construction started in the late 19th Century. (It’s still not finished…)

Tanlay Castle, 2018-11-25

I managed to finish the Play Time puzzle.

Tanlay Castle, Play Time, 1500 pieces. Completed on November 25th, 2018.
After I finished the sky I did the grass in the lower right-hand corner.
Then I just put in pieces here and there. The reflection in the water and the shadowy parts of the buildings were the last things to be filled in.

After the sky, the puzzle was pretty easy. The reflection is blurry enough that it was easy to tell what belonged to the real thing and what to the reflection (not always the case).

Even in the easy parts it sometimes happened that pieces turned out to be placed wrong. If you place a piece in a “corner” formed by two other pieces, you shouldn’t have to worry that the piece is wrong so that you can’t find the next piece – or the piece after that. Even in good quality puzzles, it happens that the piece is wrong, but usually, the wrongly placed piece has exactly the same shape as the right piece. This is not a problem, because you can still finish the puzzle without problems. It’s happened to me several times that I finish a puzzle, and then I can see that two pieces (usually in the sky) need to be switched.

The pieces themselves were sturdy, which helps a bit. Knowing whether or not a piece is correctly placed is even harder if the pieces are very thin.

I might do another Play Time puzzle, but it would have to be a great image, and definitely a lot less sky!

The Tower of Pisa

I’ve never been to Pisa, but I found two versions of the Tower of Pisa among my puzzle pictures. The cartoon:

Pisa in Motion by RS Crisp, Heye, 1000 pieces. Completed on October 27th, 2007.

And the traditional one:

Pisa, Clementoni, 500 pieces. Completed on July 19th, 2018.

Both good puzzles πŸ™‚

An Old Friend

I want to introduce you to the only puzzle I have kept from my childhood. It was my favourite for many years, and I’ve assembled it countless times.


The pieces are thin, not great quality, but I just always loved the colourful image.





It takes me about half an hour to complete. It’s a miracle there’s only one piece missing after all this time. Some other pieces are quite worn, but it still comes together quite nicely.

There is no date on the puzzle, but it must be from the 70s. On the top left it says “Moulin Rouge”, and on the side of the float below it says “Spring time in Paris”. The coat of arms could possibly be a simplified version of the coat of arms of Paris:


The fleur-de-lis (stylized lilies), and a ship on a red background are common to both images. (The Latin phrase means “It is tossed [by the waves] but does not sink”.)

Astronomical Clock (Prague), 2018-08-25

Astronomical Clock, Ravensburger, 1000 pieces. Completed on August 25th, 2018.
The lower sphere was the easiest.

This wasn’t easy, but not terribly difficult either. Great Ravensburger quality, of course.

Not at all coincidentally, I visited Prague in the middle of working on this puzzle (work, not pleasure). The actual clock was being repaired at the time.

Tanlay Castle, In Progress

I started on the Play Time puzzle I got last weekend. I think Play Time is no longer active, but it was a Dutch manufacturer. I couldn’t find anything about the puzzle online, except a picture on a Polish puzzle forum, where someone had finished it.


All the pieces have the same basic shape with two pegs opposite, and despite the “Deluxe quality” badge on the box my expectations weren’t high.

I started with the branches in the top right-hand corner. It went better than expected, it came together quite easily.
Then I pulled all the sky pieces, and things got a whole lot harder.
There were a couple of white clouds, but after that, it got pretty difficult. The pieces in a row alternate with one piece having the pegs pointing sideways and the next having the pegs pointing up and down. You can tell the orientation from the pieces, so I eventually separated the types into separate piles.
Even when I found a piece that fit, I couldn’t be certain it belonged there. I’ve seen worse, but it was not good. Even if I made sure the piece fits exactly with two (contiguous) pieces, it still happened that it turned out to be wrong. With only six pieces to go there was still something wrong and I couldn’t get the final pieces to fit. I took out about five pieces and did it again…
… and got lucky! Sky finished! I’m now confident I will finish this puzzle, I wasn’t certain before.