Review: “Wharf Street” by Benjamin Williamson, Springbok — 7.75/10
Publisher: Springbok (US), 2016
Title: “Wharf Street” by Benjamin Williamson , 1000 pieces
Finished dimensions: 24″ x 30″
Review by Jane
OUR RATING: 7.75/10
Box Quality: (8/10)
The box is made of very sturdy cardboard and has a nice design on the front. The artist, Benjamin Williamson, is only listed in a small copyright notice.
The back of the box has a generic Springbok image.
All sides show the Springbok logo, a photo of the image, the piece count, and dimensions. The name of the image is shown on two sides. The artist name is only shown in small print on one side in a copyright notice. The puzzle release year (2016) is listed in the copyright info.
Inside the box:
The box contains the bag of puzzle pieces (in excellent condition), a small warranty card and a postcard.
The Image: 8/10
Here is a link to the original photograph by Benjamin Williamson.
To be honest, when I first saw this puzzle and decided to review it, I thought it was a painting, but it is actually a photograph. The photo has a lot of painterly qualities to it though–the street lights, the way the cobblestones sparkle, the purple in the sky, etc. So it is an image that can appeal to both those who prefer painted puzzles and those who prefer photographic puzzles.
What drew my eye initially in this image was the reflection in the water. I thought it would make for an interesting assembly experience, which is true (more on that later). It is a fairly dark puzzle. Though the color in the image catches your eye when you look at the whole thing, really when you are putting it together, a large majority of the pieces are pretty dark. It’s a very attractive image, but it is challenging to assemble and there’s a whole lot of the cobblestone texture to work through.
Above: The completed puzzle. Click for closer view.
Puzzle Quality: 8/10
I really like Springbok’s quality. You can see my full brand review here. The piece cut is random, as you can see in the close-up below. The pieces are large (this 1000 piece puzzle is 30″x24″, compared to a 1000 piece Ravensburger which is 27″ x 20″). The fit is very tight, one of the tightest on the market. You can pick the entire puzzle up when you’re done without it falling apart. The pieces are thick and heavy and the image reproduction is good. A piece never seems to fit where it does not. The final fit is as seamless as possible so you see the image and not the cut, as you can see in the photos here.
On the downside, there was some puzzle dust with this one, and I had more glare from the shiny puzzle finish than usual. It was possibly more of an issue because of the number of dark pieces, and also all the cobblestone pieces, which are black/gray/silver and are harder to see clearly under direct light.
This puzzle was pretty difficult. I started with the border. And then since so much of the foreground is the cobblestones, I tackled that early on. There are a ton of cobblestone pieces. As you can see from the close-up below (click to get a bigger view), the cobblestone pieces are black with a sort of silver glittery pattern on them, which is a bit fuzzy in resolution in places. Like foliage, this is basically a random pattern so you just need to look for pieces which are more or less exactly the same shade of silver/gray/blueish, and have similar amounts of black on them (from the cobblestone shadows). Also, as the cobblestones recede into the distance, there are more shadows and the bands of ‘silvery glitter’ get smaller, so you can match those up. But the cobblestones were all too similar, they covered too much area in the puzzle, and it got to be a bit tedious.
The best bits of color are the flags, both in the street proper and in the reflection. This central area of the puzzle was the most fun to assemble. I did like the added element of the reflection. For example, if you got a piece that has part of the American flag on it, you have to figure out if it goes in the upper or lower part of the puzzle. It reminded me a bit of Otter House’s “Spot the Differences” puzzles. I would have liked more of this in the puzzle, but it’s a fairly small area really.
The night sky, fortunately, does have shades of purple in it, and there is relatively little sky, so it wasn’t too hard to assemble.
In sum, the most pleasing aspects of putting together the puzzle were the Springbok random cut and tight fit, and the central area of color and reflection. But the cobblestones and darker areas are challenging and too repetitive.
If you like random-cut puzzles, larger pieces, and a bit of a challenge in your jigsaws, you’ll love “Wharf Street” by Springbok. The photographic image has painterly qualities. The central part of the image, with the bright colors, flags, and reflection in the puddle, is fun and easy to assemble. But the large amount of cobblestones in the foreground are tricky to piece together, and there’re quite a lot of dark pieces too. The Springbok quality is excellent with a tight fit and creative cut. But the surface of the puzzle is shiny and does give off glare under overhead lights.
Where to find:
You can find it at Puzzle Warehouse. There is currently an 11% off sale going on for all products.