Puzzle Brand Comparison — D-Toys (wide variety sticker)

This page is part of our Puzzle Brand Comparison. You can find the overview page here.

REVIEW DATE: 10/23/2016         PUZZLE TESTED: “Classic Tales: Snow White” and “Cartoon Collection: Transylvania”, 2016

OUR RATING: 60 points, A Grade

CATEGORIES: cartoon, fine art, “Classic Tales” (fairy tales), horses, photographic landscapes, collage, and tropical images

CUT: Grid-cut          FINISH: semi-glossy

PIECE FIT:  normal                                    PIECE SIZE: normal

D-Toys website      Jigsaw Junkie’s D-Toys Coverage      D-Toys on Puzzle Warehouse

SUMMARY: 

D-Toys is a puzzle brand from Romania. Most of their puzzles have six piece shapes (designated by a “wide variety of shapes” sticker on the box). These puzzles have a standard grid cut with six different piece shapes. The pieces are slightly smaller than Ravensburger and less thick, but they are sturdy with solid blue cardboard backing and no bending or fraying. There is no piece damage and no puzzle dust out of the box. The image reproduction is excellent. The fit is about average, neither particularly tight nor loose, and small groups of joined pieces can be moved with care. The boxes are nicely designed but contain nothing but the bag of pieces. However, the bag is a thick, zip lock bag which is reusable. One down side of their boxes is that the puzzle name is not shown (probably due to translation issues) nor is the artist name given, even if the artist is well known. They carry a good number of puzzles in their image catalog and particularly excel at cartoon puzzles, fine art puzzles, and folk art/fairy tales puzzles. Their “Cartoon Collection” puzzles are commissioned images you won’t find anywhere else. Overall this is a solid Euro-style brand with some unique images worth collecting.

 

1. BOX  —  6/10

How deluxe does the box looks and feel? Is it sturdy? Will it hold up over time?  How nicely does it arrange on the shelf?

The D-Toys box is rectangular and about the same size as Euro boxes from Ravensburger and Jumbo. The size is 10.75″ x 15.25″.

Front:

The front of the box has a nice design. Below are two examples. I like the way a few characters from the Transylvania design have been pulled out and put in the “1000” on the Transylvania box. I also quite like the dramatic black and red. The “Cartoon Collection” logo is prominent but the name of this puzzle (“Transylvania”) is not shown anywhere on the box. The artist name is also completely missing. D-Toys told me via email that this image was developed in house and that’s why an artist is not credited.  Note that each puzzle in the “Cartoon Collection” has a different colored background instead of all being black and red.  The box top and bottom are sturdy and should hold up well over time.  Note the sticker in the bottom right of the box! 

dtoys_transylvania-box1

The “Snow White” box has a classy design. This puzzle is part of a series of four fairy tale puzzles called “Classic Tales”. The title of the puzzle (“Snow White”) and artist’s name are not shown anywhere on the box either. In this case, the artist is a Romanian artist named Kurti Andrea. Yet her name is also nowhere to be found on the box, not even in the copyright fine print. So that’s unfortunate. One other thing to note about this box is there is a difficulty rating on it — “High Difficulty”. That’s kind of cool. It doesn’t appear on the “Cartoon Collection” boxes.

dtoys-snowwhite-front

Quality sticker:

The D-Toys puzzle I reviewed a year ago had only two piece shapes and the pieces were pretty thin and the fit was very loose. You can see that brand comparison here. That puzzle didn’t score very well. However, D-Toys informed me that was part of a small run made for a specific contract. Their regular puzzles have six piece shapes and are thicker. There is a sticker on the box of these premium puzzles. You can see the sticker below. This brand comparison is evaluating that premium line. So if you’re in a store–look for the sticker!  D-Toys tells me there were not many of the two-shape puzzles made, and most puzzles in the US at this time should have the six shapes. You should be safe ordering online. However, if in doubt, check for the sticker when your puzzle arrives before you tear off the shrink wrap.

dtoys-snowwhite-sticker

Side:

The sides of “Transylvania” are quite attractive and dramatic with the black and red. I like the way they have pulled out characters from the image. Three of the sides have an enough visual information to be able to identify the image and piece count. Only the long sides have the “D-Toys” logo, which I would have liked on a short side also since I shelve puzzles short side out. The puzzle name and artist name do not appear on the sides.

dtoys_transylvania-box3d dtoys_transylvania-box3c dtoys_transylvania-box3b dtoys_transylvania-box3a

I’ll just show one of the “Snow White” short sides. Note the box is printed with the “wide variety of shapes” logo, which indicates this is a premium puzzle. However, not all premium boxes have this–“Transylvania” didn’t, so it’s best to look for the sticker on the front.

dtoys-snowwhite-box3a

Back:

The “Transylvania” back is mostly blank with some generic information.

dtoys_transylvania-box2

It’s back of “Snow White” showcases the “Classic Tales” series, which is quite nice. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t have a name or bio for the artist.

dtoys-snowwhite-back

The year of manufacture is given on both boxes:

dtoys-box-date1 dtoys-box-date2

 

Final Score for the Box Exterior:  

The box exterior scored 6/10. I deducted points for a generic bottom (on the “Transylvania” box), no puzzle title, and a complete absence of artist name on both boxes. I also would have liked the D-Toys logo on a short box side for shelving.

dtoys-sicker-box-rf

2.  INSIDE THE BOX:  9/10

How deluxe are the internal goodies (such as posters or brochures)?  When you remove the pieces is there puzzle dust, pieces stuck together, hanging chads, and places where the image has begun to separate from the backs?

The box came with the bag of puzzle pieces and nothing else. As you can see, there’s quite a bit of wasted space in a box this size.

dtoys-snowwhite-box3d4

On the plus side, the bag of puzzle pieces was in excellent condition. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged. There was no image lift or bent knobs. There was no puzzle dust. Also, the bag itself was sturdier than usual and has a resealable zip-lock top, which I’ve only seen with one other puzzle company (Pomegranate).

dtoys-snowwhite-bag

Despite the lack of goodies in the box, D-Toys scored well in this category by not having any deductions for damage and dust. I gave one point for the reusable bag.

FINAL SCORE: 

dtoys-sicker-box-inside-rf

3. PIECE THICKNESS:  8/10

How thick are the pieces compared to other brands? How does a piece feel in your hand? How easily are pieces damaged or bent during assembly and separation?

We use Ravensburger as our ‘benchmark brand’ for good quality thickness and density in puzzles. We compared D-Toys (the version with the “wide variety” sticker) to Ravensburger head to head, as you can see below.  The D-Toys piece is less thick than Ravensburger, perhaps around 5/8th or 6/8th as thick. The D-Toys piece is densly packed with very smooth cut edges and no fraying. Also, the pieces feel sturdy and not easily bendable. I’ve deducted 2 points for being thinner than Ravensburger, but I did not find the pieces so thin as to ruin the puzzle for me.

dtoys-box-thickness-rav2

Just for grins, I compared the D-Toys puzzle with the “wide variety” sticker to the first D-Toys puzzle I tested, the one with only two piece shapes. The D-Toys puzzle with the two piece shapes is also slightly thinner than the higher quality D-Toys puzzle.

dtoys-box-thickness-old

FINAL SCORE:

dtoys-sicker-box-thickness-rf

4. PIECE SIZE AND SHAPE:  7/10

Are the pieces standard shapes? Special shapes? How much variety do they have? Are they large or small?

The D-Toys puzzles with the high quality sticker boast “a wide variety of piece shapes”. How many are there?  There are six shapes. The cut itself is a standard grid-cut sometimes called a ribbon cut. In every corner the pieces match up exactly. Each individual piece is slightly different from other pieces of the same shape. In the two puzzles I did, I didn’t have an issue with a piece appearing to fit somewhere it didn’t really go, so that’s a definite plus. Overall the pieces are fairly standard in shape without anything overly creative or wacky.

dtoys-snowwhite-cu3b

The piece size is slightly smaller than Ravensburger. If you’re used to larger pieced brands such as White Mountain or Springbok, the pieces will likely feel quite small to you. But the size is on par with most Euro brands like Trefl, Educa, Heye, etc.

dtoys-size

FINAL SCORE:

I deducted a point for the pieces being a little smaller than Ravensburger. I also deducted two points for having a basic grid cut (-1) with decent variety in the piece shapes, but nothing particularly creative or unusual (-1). This is a personal choice–I prefer puzzles with a random cut. If you prefer grid-cut puzzles the cut is on par with most brands.

dtoys-sicker-size-rf

5. PIECE FIT:  8/10

Do pieces interlock well? Can it be confusing if a piece fits or not?  Can you move groups of pieces together? Does it look snug when it’s done?

The piece interlock on this puzzle is what I would classify as average in tightness. You can move small groups of pieces that are assembled around, but only with great care. They easily fall apart. Still, I was able to pick up a few joined pieces for a photo.

dtoys-fit

While assembling, the puzzle is not so loose that it falls apart when you accidentally nudge it with your arm or body while leaning over the table. So… about average tightness, neither noticably loose nor tight.

The finished surface is not as seamless and flat as some brands like White Mountain or Jumbo. The piece cut doesn’t ‘vanish’ into the puzzle picture. But neither is it so noticeable that you only see the cut and not the picture. Again, it’s about average.

dtoys-snowwhite-qual

Looking at the entire completed puzzle (below), you can see the cut but it’s not hugely distracting from the picture itself.

dtoys-snowwhite-main

FINAL SCORE:

dtoys-sticker-fit-rf

6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION: 9/10

Are the colors bright and vivid? Is the image sharp or feel like a bad Xerox? How is the finish/texture on the pieces?. 

The image reproduction is excellent on the two puzzles I tested. The lines are very crisp, which is critical on a busy cartoon puzzle like “Transylvania”. Check out the close-up below. (click for closer view)

dtoys_transylvania-cu12

The “Snow White” puzzle has a sketchier art style, which appears to be reproduced faithfully.  The colors are bright and true and not overblown. The darks don’t get too dark.

dtoys-snowwhite-cu6

The color variations in “Snow White” are very subtle, but the color differences were clear and didn’t get lost or muddy in reproduction.

dtoys-snowwhite-cu10

FINAL SCORE:

I deducted 1 point for a slight gloss on the pieces which can lead to some reflection under overhead lights, but the surface is not as glossy as many brands. Otherwise this category gets full marks.

dtoys-sticker-imagerepro-rf

7. IMAGE VARIETY:  12/10

Does the brand have a wide variety of fun images and good artists?

dtoys-sticker-3-in-one

Above: “Breughel: Autumn” 1000 pieces, “Fruit” 1000 pieces, “Cartoon Collection: Roman Amphitheater” 1000 pieces. (click for a closer view)

D-Toys offers puzzles in a number of categories.  They carry cartoon puzzles, fine art puzzles, “Classic Tales” puzzles (based on fairy tales), horse puzzles, photographic landscapes, collage, and tropical images.  They also carry puzzles with unusual piece shapes such as their “camy” puzzle (see below). I haven’t tried that one, so I can’t comment on it, but the piece shapes certainly look interesting. I’ve given them a point for trying something unusual.

camy-puzzle-64974

 

FINAL SCORE:

D-Toys catalog has a few gems and lots of fairly standard types of images. The highlight of their catalog for me is the “Cartoon Collection”, which is created in house (in other words — is specifically commissioned and not available anywhere else).  I also really like the “Classic Tales” puzzles by Romanian artist Kurti Andrea and the Breughel fine art puzzles. They did not earn my “I would order over 10+ puzzles from them right not” bonus, but didn’t rate my “I would order few to none” deduction either. I gave them a point for commissioned images and a point for the “Camy” puzzle with its very unusual piece shapes.

dtoys-sticker-catalog-rf

WHERE TO FIND:

D-Toys is located in Romania but they are carried by a US distributor and aren’t hard to find. Puzzle Warehouse has a good selection of D-Toys puzzles.

SUMMARY: 60 points

D-Toys is a puzzle brand from Romania. Most of their puzzles have six piece shapes (designated by a “wide variety of shapes” sticker on the box). These puzzles have a standard grid cut with six different piece shapes. The pieces are slightly smaller than Ravensburger and less thick, but they are sturdy with solid blue cardboard backing and no bending or fraying. There is no piece damage and no puzzle dust out of the box. The image reproduction is excellent. The fit is about average, neither particularly tight nor loose, and small groups of joined pieces can be moved with care. The boxes are nicely designed but contain nothing but the bag of pieces. However, the bag is a thick, zip lock bag which is reusable. One down side of their boxes is that the puzzle name is not shown (probably due to translation issues) nor is the artist name given, even if the artist is well known. They carry a good number of puzzles in their image catalog and particularly excel at cartoon puzzles, fine art puzzles, and folk art/fairy tales puzzles. Their “Cartoon Collection” puzzles are commissioned images you won’t find anywhere else. Overall this is a solid Euro-style brand with some unique images worth collecting.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD OUR D-TOYS ASSESSMENT AS A PDF HERE

JJ