POTM Review: “Eiffel Tower”, Ravensburger 9/10

Publisher: Ravensburger, 2015

Title:  “Eiffel Tower”, art by Ravensburger, 960 pieces 

Finished size: 41.5″ x 30″

OUR RATING: 9/10

Puzzle of the Month: January 2018

You’re in for a treat with January’s puzzle of the month. This shaped Ravensburger puzzle is a fun and challenging start to the new year. If you are in the POTM club (click here to check it out), you will be getting this selection with no effort required on your part. For those who want to order the puzzle, you can direct order it here.

I spent three sessions over the holidays to assemble the puzzle. Here’s my review.

Box Quality:  (9/10)

As always with Ravensburger, the box is heavy and sturdy with a slick professional design. The box front is shown above. The front shows the image, the Silhouette logo (that’s Ravensburger’s shaped puzzle line), and the piece count. The box size is roughly 10″ x 12″. The front of the box is the only picture you get of the puzzle image, but it is large enough to work from.

Back:
The back of the box features the Silhouette line and shows the other puzzles in the line. It’s nice to see the other puzzles available and to get an idea of their size in the photo of the NY skyline with the couch.

Sides:

The sides feature an image of the puzzle, the piece count, Silhouette and Ravensburger logos. The year of manufacture (2015) is on one side. The artist is simply credited as “Ravensburger”, so this image was likely done in house. I can shelve this puzzle with any end outwards and have a one-glance reference to what the puzzle is. All Silhouette boxes are blue like this, so they make for a nice-looking collection on the shelf.

Inside:

This puzzle comes with the bag of puzzle pieces, a single sheet flyer about Ravensburger’s quality guarantee, and a mini catalogue that shows all their current puzzles.  I love getting these catalogues. Ten years from now, it will be a handy reference to what other puzzles were available at that time. There was very little puzzle dust in the bag. The pieces were undamaged and fully separated.

Overall the box the box rates a 9.

The Image:  10/10

I love shaped puzzles. They make a nice changes from the traditional rectangular puzzle and are usually a little more challenging as well because of the varied edge. This Eiffel Tower puzzle is quite a large and impressive shape (at 41.5″ tall), which is just neat. But I also like the fact that the wide area of the puzzle has a collage of Paris landmarks in a hand-painted art style. Overall the puzzle could hardly be more “Paris” in feel. And the various items in the collage provide different colors and textures to piece together. I also really like the heavy blue outline around the shape, which helps the border pieces go together more easily.

I’m rating the image a perfect 10.

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

Puzzle Quality: (8/10)

Generally, I really like Ravensburger quality. You can check out my Ravensburger Brand Comparison page here. The Silhouette puzzles are a little different because of the demands of a shaped puzzle. The pieces are overall smaller than they are in a regular Ravensbuger puzzle, and there are more odd shapes rather than just being a grid puzzle. In fact, there are at least 3 “mini Eiffel towers” in the puzzle, like the example below.

So as you can see, the pieces around these mini towers are not like the regular straight-up grid puzzles of Ravensburger at all. The pieces are still thick and sturdy and backed by quality blue cardboard. The image reproduction is spot on and the orientation of the puzzle–which must surely be tricky with a shape like this — is perfect. There was equal amounts of blue border all around the edge.

The only nit I have on quality is that the fit is pretty loose. You have to be careful during assembly not to accidentily nudge a section and break it up. The fit becomes more secure the larger the completed area though. A looser fit is to be expected with unusually shaped pieces like the “mini tower” shown above since there aren’t as many knobs connecting things. Personally, I like having these usually shaped pieces, so I’m wiling to work a little more carefully to deal with a looser fit.

There is a matte finish, and I didn’t have any trouble with glare on this puzzle. The edges are nice and clean with no fraying or tags.

Some areas of the puzzle have a bit more of a traditional grid layout, as you can see below. And the edge itself is very irregular. There’s enough variety in the size and shapes of knobs and holes that I never thought a piece went where it didn’t belong.

Assembly:  (9/10)

This was a challenging puzzle to assemble, but one I enjoyed.  I’d rate the difficulty moderate-to-difficult. It took me three sessions to complete.

DAY ONE :

When you first open the bag, you’ll notice a ton of blue edge pieces. So I pulled all of those right away. There are also some straight-edged pieces that don’t have the blue on them. These appear on the bottom of the puzzle at the “feet” of the tower.

I worked first on attempting to assemble the entire edge. However, I didn’t get the entire thing done. I got areas of it completed but there are places where the connections just aren’t clear until more of the puzzle is done. You can see the “final border” result below.

After I gave up on assembling any more of the border, I put together the tower at the top. It’s pretty narrow and the steel tower grid texture is easy to pull from the other pieces. The grid pattern is tighter at the top and “looser” (with more sky) near the bottom, and the left side is “more open” than the right. Those details help you figure out where a piece goes within the tower.

DAY TWO :

On the second day I started with the reds and white. There’s quite a lot of orange and red in the right-side “foot” of the tower. There are three structures in white, each one with a slightly different texture and shade.

The reds and oranges on the right “foot” on the tower make this my favorite part of the puzzle. Or is it the food?

The white arch in the bottom center has nice detailing to help in assembly.

The other large white structure has a gridded tile pattern.

The Moulin Rouge in red and pink is another fun area to assemble. I wasn’t able to do the border in this part of the puzzle until I’d assembled the Moulin Rouge. As you can see, a lot of the edges pieces along here abut the next edge piece with a flat edge rather than connecting to it with a knob, and some of the pieces are small and have very little detailing besides the blue border.

Other structures which are distinctive and easy to assemble are the brown castle….

And the aqua Metropolitain subway sign.

DAY THREE:

By the third session, I’d assembled most of the structures and high-color areas within the puzzle. What was left over were a lot of greenery, which crops up in various places, and some of the less distinctive brown/gray buildings.

Montmarte and Notre Dame.

There’s another “mini tower” in this section of the puzzle.

Here’s a better look at the completed sections of the puzzle.

The bottom….

The mid section…

And the top.

You can see that this puzzle is so large, it didn’t *quite* fit on my 2000 piece JigBoard. It ran over just a little bit at the top and on one side, but this was easy to work around by just assembled those overhanging bits separately.

Overall, this puzzle is challenging but very rewarding. I’ve given assembly a 9.

Summary:

“Eiffel Tower” by Ravensburger is the ultimate Paris-themed puzzle. The puzzle is super large at 41.5″ x 30″, shaped like the Eiffel Tower, and filled with various hand-painted landmarks and Parisian goodies. The irregular edge has a large blue border, which helps you identify and piece together the puzzle’s outline. The interior offers a collage-like mix of buildings, food, and signs. I especially liked the food and cafe images in the lower right foot of the tower.  This is a more challenging puzzle due to the irregular border and the interesting “whimsey” shapes within the puzzle. The quality is quite good with thick, sturdy pieces and a matte finish. Recommended for puzzlers looking for something a little different.

Where to find:

If you are in Puzzle Warehouse’s “Puzzle of the Month” club, you’ll receive this puzzle in January. If you want to buy it “ala carte”, click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.

PWLOGO

JJ

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