Publisher: WH Smith (UK), Released 2013
Title: “Winter Scene” by artist Sarah Adams, 1000 pieces
OUR RATING: 9/10
I’ve only recently discovered the WH Smith line of limited edition Christmas puzzles. They’ve been going on since at least 1998, but since WH Smith is a UK store, and they don’t ship overseas, they’re somewhat limited to being a UK product. Fortunately, you can find them on ebay. I’ll be working on a page of all the WH Smith Christmas puzzle releases over the years, but for now, here’s a review of the first one I’ve done, the 2013 puzzle “Winter Scene”.
First, what I like about the WH Smith limited edition Christmas puzzles is that they are all panoramic, which makes a nice change up from the usual rectangular fare. Also, the WH Smith puzzles have gold foil accents. While some of the early Ravensburger and Waddingtons puzzles had some gold foil, in recent years they have dropped this feature. So the fact that WH Smith is still doing it is much appreciated! It adds a certain special holiday feeling to a puzzle.
In addition, the puzzle images are very “British village” oriented. If you like British puzzles, live in Britain, or are just an anglophile like me, you’ll love the images.
The box itself is also long and narrow in shape. It’s made of very sturdy cardboard, top and bottom, and has a lovely design on top (bottom is blank). One small issue though–the long sides of the box have the puzzle name and image but the short sides are both blank. Since I’d be better able to shelve the puzzle vertically with the short sides out, this is not ideal.
I bought this puzzle used. There was no limited edition certificate, or indeed anything in the box other than the puzzle pieces, but I’m not sure if perhaps the puzzle shipped with it and it was just missing form my used copy. Not really a big deal to me either way.
The puzzle quality is quite nice, a bit similar to Gibson. The puzzle pieces feel thick. The cut is a standard grid type and mostly two-knob, two-hole. Like Gibson, there can be confusion over whether a piece fits in a particular location or not. In fact, toward the end of this puzzle, I had one piece with a leaf pattern on it that would not fit in the last spot left. I had to search over the puzzle to find the piece that was misfit elsewhere (but looked like it fit there) and swap that with my left-over piece to finish the puzzle. Fortunately, this particular puzzle has enough detail and pattern that it wasn’t a big issue and it was almost always obvious if a piece went somewhere or not.
As you can see from the photos, the colors are lovely and the image reproduction is sharp. There is quite a bit of gold foil on this puzzle. For example, all of the windows are done in gold foil.
This puzzle was delightful to put together. There was just enough of the various color areas (the blue sky, the yellow Cotswolds buildings, the white snow, the foliage) to be able to work on an area without referring to the photo constantly, but not so much that it grew tedious. The puzzle was of easy difficulty, and went together fast. I quite liked the various foliage bushes in the scene. As you can see in the close-up above, each bush has a different color so they’re easy to assemble.
Above: The left side of the panoramic puzzle.
Above: The middle of the panoramic puzzle.
Above: The right side of the panoramic puzzle.
A lovely Christmasy scene in the English Cotswolds, gold foil, a solid package design, thick puzzle pieces, and a quick and fun assembly. I definitely loved the WH Smith 2013 Christmas puzzle, and I’m looking forward to trying others in the series. Recommended!
You can find other Christmas themed jigsaw puzzles here.