Review: “Santa on the Roof” by Sergio Botero, Lafayette Puzzle Factory – 8/10

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Publisher: Lafayette Puzzle Factory  (US)

Title:  “Santa on the Roof” by Sergio Botero, 1000 pieces

Finished size: 20″ x 27″

OUR RATING: 8/10

CHRISTMAS IN JULY WEEK:

This is Christmas in July week here at Jigsaw Junkies and Puzzle Warehouse. That means you’ll get triple points for new and existing rewards club members and $4.99 flat rate shipping all week long [thru Sunday 7-17-2016]. Here at Jigsaw Junkies, we’re featuring a couple of fun Christmas puzzles this week and we’ll have a new brand comparison for Vermont Christmas Company on the weekend.

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Box Quality:  (7/10)

This is only the second puzzle by Lafayette Puzzle Factory  that I’ve ever done. The first was done for our brand comparison of Lafayette here.

This box is a smaller box (8″x8″) similar to Buffalo Games or Ceaco. That’s nice for saving space on the shelf. However, it does mean a smaller reference picture for use when you’re assembling the puzzle (the image itself is only 5.5″ x 7.5″). Buffalo Games adds a large poster inside the box to solve this problem, but there is no poster included with this Lafayette puzzle. To be fair, the $8.99 price for a Lafayette 1000 piece puzzle is considerably cheaper than Buffalo ($15.99 for the same piece count). I didn’t find it particularly a problem to use the small box image on this puzzle, since the image is fairly straight-forward and it’s not important to see fine detail. But those with vision challenges will have an issue.

The box is quite sturdy and the design is good.  The back of the box has general information about the puzzle company along with a few images of their puzzles.

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All four sides of the box are different. They all have a photo of the puzzle, the piece count, and the series name “Puzzle Collector Art”. One of the sides has the artist name. None have the puzzle name or the Lafayette logo.

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Inside:

The box contains the bag of puzzle pieces and a small card about the Lafayette website.

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There was a fair amount of puzzle dust in the bag.

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The pieces were in good condition with no image lift or bent pieces. There were quite a few instances of 2 pieces still connected that needed to be broken up while sorting the pieces but they were all fully cut through so it wasn’t a big deal.

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Overall, I’ve given the box a ‘7’, deducting points for a small reference image, the bare bones contents, and nothing about the artist or puzzle image on the box or inside.

The Image:  9/10

The “cut away view of a house or factory” idea has been around in puzzles for a dozen years or more. The rooms end up being little vignettes, which gives the image a collage-like effect without actually being a collage. Steve Crisp’s “Summer House” is a good example of this type of image. I like puzzles in this vein, and felt it was about time to try another Lafayette, so I was happy to have the chance to review this puzzle for Christmas in July week.

This image is an illustration in a nice, soft art style. I like the night time colors with the feeling of glowing light inside the house, the moonlight, and the Aurora Borealis in the sky. There’s some nice detail in the interior rooms, though perhaps not as much detail as in Steve Crisp’s images. Overall, I’ve rated this image highly at a ‘9’.

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(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)

Puzzle Quality: (8/10)

See my full brand comparison on Lafayette Puzzle Factory here.

The puzzle I used for the Lafayette brand comparison was a gold foil puzzle, which gave it a little extra ‘oomph’. This puzzle doesn’t have the foil. It did, however, come in a shrink wrapped box instead of the ‘cut to open’ box in the brand comparison, which is an improvement.

The cut of the puzzle is a standard grid-cut, as you can see in the close-up below. The pieces weren’t particularly thick, but they did feel hard and solid. I didn’t notice any damage on any of the pieces, no bent knobs or image lift.

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The interlock was neither tight nor especially loose. Pieces will fall apart if you try to move a block of assembled pieces, so you have to slide them or move them carefully. There was no confusion over whether or not a piece fit somewhere. The image reproduction was good and well bonded to the backing. The finish is nice and flat in the end. It is a glossy finish, so you may get reflections from overhead lights.

Overall, the quality was better than the bargain quality the price implies (retail: $8.99), and good enough for an enjoyable assembly experience.

Assembly:  (8/10)

Easy difficulty. This puzzle is a little more straight-forward than “Christmas Cuckoo Clock”, which I reviewed on Wednesday. While that puzzle had similar red and gold areas throughout that took a little more thought, “Santa on the Roof” has distinct areas in vignette fashion. Each room of the house has a different color pattern. The snow, trees, and roof are all unique areas that are not large enough to be frustrating, and even the dark areas in the puzzle have considerable color gradation so they’re not hard to piece together.

DAY ONE:

After assembling the puzzle border, I picked out the areas with the most color. These included the Aurora Borealis, the aqua and pink rooms in the house, the green kitchen, and some of the brightest yellows. The gray striped dining room wallpaper was also fairly easy to find.

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DAY TWO:

The wooden parts of the house, Santa and the reindeers, the trees, and the snowy roof came next. Assembly was pretty quick. This puzzle took me only two evenings and was a relaxing and pleasant experience.

Below: The puzzle with only the ‘dark pieces’ remaining. Sorry for the bad lighting and overhead light glare, but I didn’t want to stop for the night so I took this image quite late, then finished the puzzle.

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Between the moon, the Aurora Borealis, and the heavy light purple-to-dark purple gradation in the sky, the sky and background weren’t difficult at all.

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Overall, I’ve rated assembly an ‘8’. It was fun and enjoyable though fairly basic. There was no frustration of pieces appearing to go where they didn’t or need to ‘disasemble’ and the interlock and piece quality remained consistently good throughout.

Additional Photos:

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Summary:

This is a pretty and easy to assemble Christmas puzzle at a bargain price and better-than-bargain quality. The cut away house design gives the puzzle a collage-like effect, with separate areas of color and pattern to assemble. The Lafayette Puzzle Factory quality is decent with pieces that were clean cut and not easily bent. The image is bright and well-bonded to the backing. There was no image lift or damage to the pieces. The cut is a standard grid cut with a good variety of shapes. There was never any confusion about where a piece fit. The illustration style is lovely with nice color and detail throughout the image. This is a recommended addition to your collection of Christmas puzzles.

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Where to find:

Click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.

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JJ

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