Publisher: Heye (Germany), published 2016
Title: “Cats in Paris” by Sven Hartmann, 1000 pieces
Finished size: 27.6″ x 19.7″
OUR RATING: 8.75/10
NEW HEYE WEEK:
One of the most exciting events of the puzzle year for me (and probably for all cartoon puzzle fans) is the announcment of the new puzzles from Heye. Heye only has one big release a year and they announce it in November. That’s like getting all your gifts for the next year all at once!
I have the new 2017 puzzle info so this week I’m doing a feature week on Heye puzzles with two reviews and then, on the weekend, I’ll post the new 2017 Heye puzzles. Hint: they’re awesome.
“CATS IN PARIS” by Sven Hartmann REVIEW
Box Quality: (10/10)
This cartoon puzzle comes in Heye’s signature triangular box. See the front above. The two sides of the front show the central area of the puzzle, the puzzle name, artist name, Heye logo, and piece count. The triangular boxes are fun and so beautifully designed.
Top and Bottom:
Instead of having ‘sides’ like a rectangular box, the Heye triangular boxes have a top and bottom. I love to shelve my Heye puzzles top out, and the top is perfect for that. It shows a detailed close-up from the puzzle image, the piece count, and Heye logo.
The bottom has the artist name, puzzle name, piece count, dimensions, and year of manufacture.
The back of the triangular box shows the complete puzzle image, the Heye logo, and the puzzle and artist name.
The triangular boxes come with the bag of puzzle pieces and a big poster. This puzzle, though, also came with extra goodies — a 2016 mini catalog and a flyer about Heye. That’s a lot of material for a box! The bag of pieces was in excellent condition with no damage to the pieces, fully separated pieces, and a small amount of puzzle dust.
As you can see below, the poster is basically the same size as the completed puzzle.
The back of the poster shows other Heye titles out in the same year (in addition to the catalog that’s in the box). Really sweet.
I’ve given the box a perfect 10 score. It’s really top of the line in the puzzle industry.
The Image: 8/10
I’ve reviewed quite a few Heye cartoon puzzles in the past, and I wanted to take a look at a Heye puzzle that wasn’t in the same category. While I would still consider this a “cartoon puzzle”,because the cats are cartoony, it’s not Heye’s signature “busy cartoon puzzle”.
This image by Sven Hartmann is interesting. It’s fairly monotone with all golden-to-orange tones. Only the individual cats have different colors. It’s also a simpler design with quite a large area of sky and the citiscape. There’s a peacefulness to it.
I choose the puzzle because I love the city of Paris, I liked all the cat characters, and I thought the sky looked like an interesting challenge. That turned out to be the case during assembly. The sky has a nice amount of color variation worked into it and that keeps it from being super difficult. And the cats were fun.
Overall, I’ve given this image an 8 score. It’s cute and different enough to be interesting as a change. I wasn’t as fond of it as I am of the regular “busy” Heye cartoon puzzles.
(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)
Puzzle Quality: (9/10)
Heye is a premium, German-made puzzle brand that ranks very highly in our brand comparison. You can see our full brand comparison on Heye here.
This is a brand new 2016 puzzle and the quality is very good. The fit was a little tighter than a few other 2016 Heye puzzles I’ve done this year, which is a good thing. The pieces feel thick and have a nice matte finish. The image reproduction is excellent, as you can see in the detailed close up below. The puzzle is grid cut, but there’s a good variety of piece shapes. I never had any question about whether or not a piece went somewhere (which is really good, because the cityscape and sky would have been a terror). Also, having the poster to work with is really helpful. Everything about Heye just feels like a high-end German boardgame.
Overall, I’m giving this puzzle a 9 score for quality. The only reason it didn’t score a 10 is because the puzzle cut is a standard grid and I prefer a random cut puzzle and the fit could have been tighter.
I’d rate this puzzle as having moderate difficulty. It took me three evenings to complete, longer than average for a 1000 piece puzzle.
I assembled the border first and then the cityscape and Eiffel Tower.
The cityscape pieces were the easiest to identify and pull pieces for because of all the ‘windows’. The Eiffel Tower is similar in texture to the cityscape. The city is redder around the Moulin Rouge windmill (shown below), so that area went together first, and then the city spread out from there.
The French flags around the Eiffel Tower, and the tower itself, were easily recognizable in the sorting bins.
One day two, I worked on the cats and the sky.
For the foreground cats, I began with the large French flag that curls around the cats and then worked on individual characters. Each cat’s fur and posture is unique, so this section was more like a traditional Heye “busy cartoon” puzzle. As always, it was fun and interesting to see all the little details come together like the ‘cat selfie’ below.
It’s interesting to try to identify all the French tropes in the image, like the painter. (Love the cat ears on the Mona Lisa.)
The sky is such a pretty color, and I enjoyed working it. Sometimes it’s nice to have a large area like this where it’s all about matching up exact colors.There’s a lot of variation in the sky. I started in the lightest white/yellow area around the sun in the center, and then worked out as the sky color darkened to gold, orange, and rust.
The edge of the sky is a dark orange. The sky was one area where I really appreciated the fact that, unlike Gibsons and Educa and a few other brands, the Heye pieces are all quite different in shape so pieces rarely appear to go where they don’t actually belong. Otherwise this sky could have been very tedious.
On the third day, I finished the puzzle. As you can see in the ‘work in progress’ image above, the last section to be done was the dark browns. The stone of the gargoyle is similar to the dark brown background behind the cats, so there was a fair amount of left-over “dark browns” to do in at the end.
Overall, I’ve given “Cats in Paris” an 8 score for assembly. It was an interesting puzzle, but harder than anticipated and without as much detail to hold my interest when compared to most Heye cartoon puzzles. I would do another Sven Hartmann puzzle, and, in fact, I really like the looks of the new 2017 one!
“Cats in Paris” by Sven Hartmann is a moderately difficult puzzle from Heye. The cats in the foreground are all unique and you can figure out where the pieces go by comparing them to the large poster that’s included. The sky, cityscape, and gargoyle areas of the puzzle are more of a challenge to put together, though the strong color variation in the sky keeps it from being tedious. There’s lot of interesting details to discover, French cliches and tropes the cats act out. As always, the Heye quality is outstanding with sturdy pieces, a matte finish, and a wide variety of grid-cut piece shapes. If you like cats or have a fondness for Paris, you’ll enjoy this one.
Where to find:
You can find this puzzle at Puzzle Warehouse. Click on the logo below. Grab it during the Thanksgiving weekend sales!
More in this series.
There is a new puzzle from Sven Hartmann in the 2017 line-up, and it’s definitely my favorite of the Sven Hartmann’s so far. I’ll be covering it this weekend. There’s also “Cats in Venice”, which is currently available.