Reviewed by Shelley Owens
From the Ciro Marchetti fantasy art range of puzzles, this 2000 piece jigsaw by Schmidt is definitely a challenge! Moated Castle is beautiful image of ornate castle buildings, a night sky filled with hot air balloons and doves with sailing ships and swans reflected on the water surrounding them.
Our first dilemma was it sheer size – 968 x 692mm when completed, it was to take up two thirds of our dining table! Now for seasoned jigsaw enthusiasts, I suspect that this would not be an issue as they perhaps have a dedicated jigsaw table, a carrying case or roll-up mat for storage – bear that in mind if purchasing as a gift and add a large roll mat if they don’t already have one!
This is definitely a high quality product and the first thing that impressed me was the box itself. Sturdy and finished to a high standard, its glossy finish would look good on any enthusiasts shelf! The beautiful image is clear and easy to follow when building the puzzle, the finished size is clearly marked on the box sides and the reverse carries six images of further puzzles in the range of various sizes to tempt you!
Inside the box the puzzle pieces were in a thick, clear plastic bag and I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of puzzle dust which was a big tick from us and another sign of a good quality product! While separating our edge pieces from the other puzzle pieces I noted that the pieces are of a good quality cardboard and very cleanly cut with no jagged edges, peeling or tears. The image finish is of a good standard too with the colours matching the original image on the box unlike cheap puzzles that often have poor colour quality.
The puzzle piece shapes are pretty standard cuts but do have a wide variety, there were no particularly abstract shapes and the pieces interlock securely. This is particularly important in a large puzzle such as this as I believe most people will need to pack this away and complete over a period of time. Each piece is around an inch by half an inch in size which adds to its complexity and it took us a good two weeks to complete, working on it for an hour or two each day. This has been our most challenging review to date but has definitely been a fun, team effort with lots of help from all the family in completing this fantasy art puzzle!
As a 2000 piece, fairly challenging puzzle, this is not for a total novice or younger child. Our 14 year enjoyed completing it as much as us adults but the image is fairly complex – a great Christmas or birthday gift for jigsaw lovers.
Available to buy from Coiled Spring Games at www.coiledspring.co.uk.