Publisher: Heye (Germany), published 2004
Title: “Chinatown”, Artist: Hugo Prades, 2000 pieces
OUR RATING: 9/10
I finally worked this masterpiece I’ve had on my shelf for a while now. Fantabulous.
I’m quite a fan of the Heye triangular boxes. I love the fun shape and they shelve well in pairs of two. They’re sturdy and colorful and just a nice change from all the rectangular boxes. You can see one front side of this triangular box above. The box has the name of the image and artist on the front and has a copyright date on the bottom. Below is the back side, which shows the entire picture and has information about the artist and puzzle. No generic boxes here!
The top of the box is lovely for having face out on a shelf. It shows the name, artist and piece size and has a few fun character pull-outs.
Inside the box is a bag with the puzzle pieces (in excellent condition, no damage, puzzle dust, or unseparated pieces). It also comes with a large poster of the image on thick paper. You can see the front and back of the poster below. The back acts as a mini-catalog, which I love. Especially if you’ve gotten an older puzzle on ebay, it’s nice to see what other puzzles were in production that same year.
I knew I had to have this puzzle as soon as I saw it. It’s another Hugo Prades cartoon masterpiece, filled with comic figures and little vignettes. The Chinatown theme is certainly unique. I particularly like all the red in this picture and the dragons in the corners. Too fun! (Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)
You can see my Heye brand comparison here for details. To sum: Heye is one of my favorite brands. Although heye has a standard grid cut, there’s lots of variety in the piece shapes, as you can see in the close-up below. The pieces feel thick and have a nice, linen, non-glare finish to the pieces.
“Chinatown” is a fairly difficult puzzle. There’s lots of gold/brown and reds and I often had to compare an individual piece to the poster to figure out where it went.
The 4 dragons in the corners, the blue water, the rooftops, red arch, and the sky are easy to assemble first, then comes the matchy part! I’m rating this a 9 in comparison to Prades’s Ballroom puzzle, which I enjoyed assembling more because of the groups of like-dressed figures. In “Chinatown”, there’s one group of red-shirt-black-pants figures that you can assemble as a group, but most everything else is individualistic, meaning lots of matching to the poster.
“Chinatown” is a classic Heye that’s hard to find but worth the hunt. If you’re a collector of Heye, you’ll want this for your collection. If you’re less obsessive and don’t want to spend $100 or so for a rare puzzle, try the brand new Prades’s “Ballroom”, which is widely available.
Where to find:
Set up a search on ebay with email alerts and then wait.