Publisher: Vermont Christmas Company (US), published 2016
Title: “Dogs on a Bench” by Interlitho Licensing, 1000 pieces
Finished size: 24″ x 30″
OUR RATING: 8.25/10
Dog themed puzzles week:
This week we’ll be featuring puzzles that include man’s best friend! Join us for two reviews this week of dog-themed puzzles and a top ten list this weekend.
Box Quality: (8/10)
The Vermont Christmas Company box is rectangular and has a solid, sturdy top (above). The packaging design is very basic on the tops and sides. The artist name is not given on the front of the box.
The bottom of the back is plain white.
All four sides of the box are different. Two sides have a photo of the puzzle, the puzzle name, piece count and dimensions. Missing is the Vermont Christmas Company logo, which I like to have on the side for easy reference to the brand when the puzzle is shelved. One side has has a little information about the company provided in three languages.
Unfortunately, only the long sides include a photo of the puzzle and the puzzle name in English so you would not be able to shelve this puzzle with a short side out. Also, the artist’s name only appears on one side in a small copyright notice. No date of manufacture is given.
The box contains the bag of puzzle pieces and a promo flyer for Vermont Christmas Company. The flyer shows a few of their other puzzles.
Overall, I’ve rated the box an 8.
The Image: 9/10
This is a soft and appealing image that is a real treat for dog lovers. Many pet puzzles come in smaller sizes, like 300 pieces, so I was happy to see this larger image. The colors are bright with the blue bench, pink roses, blue hydrangeas, and green leaves. There’s a nice variety of dog breeds and all the dogs are super cute.
There’s a lot of fur in this image, with a smaller territory devoted to bright color and patterns, but the dogs are so appealing that I was looking forward to doing their fur.
I’ve given the image a high 9 score.
(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)
Puzzle Quality: (8/10)
You can check out my brand comparison for Vermont Christmas Company. In the brand analysis, I liked them well enough to add them to my list of brands I am comfortable buying anytime I like an image. This puzzle stays true to that analysis. I found the quality good.
The cut on this puzzle is not as random as a brand like Springbok or Sunsout. It’s similar to a grid cut–but not exactly. As you can see in the close-up below, not all corners line up and some sides have a wavy curve in them.There are a good variety of piece shapes. I liked the cut and enjoyed assembling the puzzle. The pieces were unique enough that I never thought a piece fit where it didn’t belong.
Another important issue for me is the thickness of the pieces, and VCC pieces, while not super thick visually, are hard and solid, not bendable or frayed. The image was firmly bonded onto the backing and there was no image lift. There was a small amount of puzzle dust. The final puzzle is not as flat and seamless as some brands, like Jumbo, Ravensburger, and White Mountain. As you can see above, the cut is pretty obvious at the end with a bit more “gap” visible between the pieces. The interlock has average snugness and pieces will definitely fall apart when you move them or pick them up, so you have to use care. The image reproduction is quite good. The pieces are glossy and there is some glare under overhead lights.
Overall, I’ve given the quality an 8.
I’d rate this puzzle as easy in difficulty. It took me three sessions to complete it, which is average for a 1000 piece puzzle.
I began with the puzzle border, which was pretty easy. Then I tackled the pink roses and green leaves along the top of the puzzle, and then the blue bench. These were the boldest colors in the puzzle.
The roses and leaves in the upper left is a pretty section that’s easy to do. Although the leaves are a random pattern, it wasn’t hard thanks to the strong tones. You can connect the brightest green bits together and then fill in the darker areas.
The blue of the bench is a unique color that doesn’t appear anywhere else. There are different ‘boards’ on the bench, both vertical and horizontal, so it took a little bit of finagling to get it right. I also did the orange-and-white pillows on day because because that’s another strong color/pattern that is unique and covers a relatively small area in the image.
During the second long session, I did the blue hydrangeas and began on the most distinctive fur textures.
The blue hydrangea pieces are easy to pull out, but there are several different pockets of hydrangeas around the scene. It’s easiest to assemble the pieces into “clumps” and then look at the box lid to see where they go.
The mop-like long hair on this dog made those pieces the easiest to spot for me. He got assembled first.
The darker brown dogs were next including the small brown puppy and the basset hound.
The terra cotta pots and yellow flowers are another “not fur” area that can be assembled quickly.
There a few other “not-fur” textures that can be filled in early on, like the pink tongues and the ball near the basset hound’s paws.
The third day was all about finishing up all the fur in the puzzle. There’s a lot of fur–most of it white, black, or light gray-to-beige. Each dog has a distinctive color, but most of the pieces read in the sorting bins as “light” and “dark”, so it takes a while for the eye to discern the differences– for example, between the black fur on three of the dogs.
Overall, I’ve rated assembly an 8. It’s a cute and enjoyable puzzle to assemble, but there is a large amount of similar-hued dog fur.
If you or someone you love likes dogs, you might want to consider this lovely puzzle from Vermont Christmas Company. It comes in a larger 1000 piece size, and its challenging to find pet puzzles in this adult size. The scene is soft and appealing with blues, pinks, and, of course, lots of gorgeous canines! The puzzle is of easy difficulty and took me three sessions to complete. The Vermont Christmas Company quality is good with hard, solid pieces. The cut is mostly a grid cut, but not all edges line up and some sides have wavy and diagonal edges. There is some glare under overhead lights due to a glossy surface. Assembly is fun but be prepared for a lot of dog fur in white, brown, and black.
Where to find:
Click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.