Review: “Classic Tales: Snow White” by Kurti Andrea, D-Toys — 8.75/10
Publisher: D-Toys (Romania), published 2016
Title: “Classic Tales: Snow White”, 1000 pieces
Finished size: 27″ x 18.5″ (68x47cm)
OUR RATING: 8.75/10
This week I’m taking a look at the brand D-Toys from Romania. I did a brand comparison on them over a year ago, but apparently the puzzle that I evaluated was not reflective of their main puzzle line. I agreed to take another look, so this week I’ll be reviewing two of their puzzles and doing a new brand comparison evaluation on the weekend.
Box Quality: (8/10)
The box is rectangular, solid, and sturdy. The packaging design is decent with a cream background in a faux linen print. I like the fact that it has a difficulty rating on the front (see above) . This puzzle says “High Difficulty” (I’d say ‘moderate’ but I may not be the typical puzzler). The artist name (Kurti Andrea) is not given anywhere on the box, not even under the copyright notice (D-Toys is listed there). Curiously, the name of the image, “Snow White” is also not stated on the box anywhere. Only “Classic Tales”, the entire series of fairy tale puzzles, is listed.
The D-Toys puzzle I reviewed a year ago had only two piece shapes and the pieces were pretty thin. I did not care for that puzzle. However, D-Toys informed me that was part of a small run made for a specific contract. Their regular puzzles have six piece shapes. There is a sticker on the box of these premium puzzles. You can see the sticker below. I can confirm the quality is much better in this puzzle. 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. So 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.
The bottom of the back features the “Classic Tales” puzzles by Kurti Andrea, which is rather nice. I like being able to see the entire series. There are four of them — “Snow White”, “Arabian Nights”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Princess and the Frog”. The manufacture date (2016 in this case) is shown in a small copyright notice on the back.
All four sides have an image of the puzzle and the piece count. Only the long sides have the “D-Toys” logo, which means if you shelve puzzles short side out (as I do), the logo is not visible. The puzzle name and artist name do not appear on the sides.
The box contains nothing except the bag of puzzle pieces.
The bag of puzzle pieces is a little nicer than usual. It has a ziplock top so the bag is reusable. Also, there’s no puzzle dust at all visible in the bag, as you can see in the photo below (very unusual). The pieces are fully separated and there’s no damage to them.
Overall, there are some pluses and minuses on this box. I’ve given it an 8 score.
The Image: 10/10
Kurti Andrea is a Romanian artist who creates folk-style images with interesting patterns. You can see more of her work at her website here. When I first saw these puzzles on the market in January, I was immediately interested in them. They have a fantasy element to them but also fit in the “folk art” category. I’m happy to report that the image is as interesting to assemble as you might expect.
“Snow White” has three distinct patterns that cover good-sized areas in the puzzle–the white and blue wallaper, the pink dress, and the red carpet. I’ll get more the into that under assembly, but visually I find this design very pretty and it looked like a good puzzle design.
I always appreciate when puzzles bring new artists to my attention. I don’t have many opportunities to go to museums, so puzzles are my “art fix”. These four “Classic Tales” puzzles are a wonderful find of a brand new (to me) folk artist. I’m also a fan of anything literary, so I like the fairy tale tie-in.
This image gets a full 10 score.
(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)
Puzzle Quality: (8/10)
The quality on this D-Toys puzzle is really pretty good. This is a grid-cut puzzle, but as I mentioned above, there are six different piece shapes in the puzzle and each individual piece is fairly unique. Despite the vast quantities of repeating patterns in this puzzle, I never had a problem telling if a piece really fit or not. The pieces are also decently thick and on a nice blue cardboard. I’ll get more into that in my brand comparison this weekend.
Piece size is standard-to-small. They’re a bit smaller than Ravensburger but about the same size as Heye or Gibsons. The fit is normal in tightness. It’s neither particularly tight nor loose. You have to use care when moving assembled pieces or they will fall apart, but the puzzle doesn’t disintegrate with a ‘nudge’ the way some loose-fit brands do. The image reproduction is excellent, as you can see below. The surface is a light gloss. The final finish is fairly flat and seamless. The image is strongly bonded to the cardboard and there is no trace of image lift, even after separating badly joined pieces.
Overall I’ve given quality an 8 score. Based on the two puzzles I did this week, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another D-Toys if I really liked the image.
I’d rate this puzzle moderate to difficult. The challenge of the puzzle is two large areas of random pattern (the cream wallpaper and the pink dress) and one smaller one (the red rug). Depending on how much of a challenge you’re in the mood for, this may or may not be your cup of tea. I like easy puzzles, but sometimes it’s nice to do something a bit more challenging like this puzzle. It was never frustratingly hard (like some) but it was definitely a little more work than usual. Still, it took me two and a half sessions, which is on par for a 1000 piece puzzle (usually 2-3 sessions for me.
I assembled the border first. The easiest parts of the puzzle are the girl’s face and blue top and the blue inset painting.
At the bottom of the puzzle, the red rug is a random pattern, which is a little tricky, but it’s not a very big area. The bottom of the ‘forest’ in the skirt is a plain light pink, which is not used elsewhere in the puzzle. And the brown on the deer is also easy to find.
In the second session, I did the cream wallpaper. The edge around the girl’s hair and the blue painting helped knock out a bit of this wallpaper random pattern, as did the border of the puzzle itself. So there weren’t a huge number of “wallpaper only” pieces. The girl’s hair is a bit challenging because it’s very dark, nearly black under overhead lights. But again, there aren’t too many pieces that are “hair alone” with no border that helps you identify where it goes.
In the cream wallpaper there are various lines and leaves you can match up. Although these appear all throughout the wallpaper, at least you can sort of tell if a piece is worth trying in a particular spot or not, based on how the lines would match up.
Also in the second session, I did some of the distinctive objects in the pink forest, like the birds and the birdhouse. The vertical brown trees are an easier texture to pull out and complete than the pink leaves.
It took me about another half session to finish the pink forest. Although the pink leaves are a random pattern, but is some variation. There are some orange and blue leaves down by the deer, a few birds in the forest, and the vertical trees.
Overall, I’ve rated assembly a 9. I liked the unusual nature of the puzzle with the three areas of random pattern, and enjoyed the challenge of assembling it.
This fairy tale puzzle of “Snow White” is one for the adult puzzler. Its use of random patterns adds a nice challenge to assembly, but it’s not frustratingly hard. The colors are bright and cheerful, and there are a lot of details woven into Snow White’s skirt for you to discover as you puzzle. The lovely folk art style illustration is by Romanian artist Kurti Andrea. The D-Toys quality on this puzzle is good with sturdy pieces, six different piece shapes (in a grid cut), and a nice flat finish. Recommended to fans of folk art, fantasy puzzles, and those looking for a little bit of challenge. Moderately difficult.
Where to find:
This puzzle is 15% off for the next three days (til 10/21/16). Click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.