Hyper-realistic animal shaped puzzles? Yes please! Madd Capp Puzzles are my favorite animal-shaped puzzles. I recently learned why there are not as many companies the produce shaped puzzles. Each of the unique-shaped jigsaw puzzles requires its own unique tool. Unlike circular or square puzzles which can use the same tool for different designs. Madd Capp Puzzles’ I AM Bear, for instance, has a different tool than I AM Panda, and the 550-piece I AM Wolf has a different tool than the 300-piece I AM Wolf, and so on. Madd Capp has 48 puzzles which equals 48 tools.
Coming in at about 520 pieces, I am Longhorn was a little intimidating at first. The pieces have subtle shade differences and random shapes. Both of these add to the challenge of assembly. My biggest tip for this puzzle is to organize by color. With the shades being so close to the same, grouping the pieces by similar hues is incredibly helpful. I used the new Cobble Hill Sorting Trays to keep my pieces organized. (Side note, these sorting trays are really neat! The base has holes which is SO useful when you have a dusty puzzle. Puzzle dust happens and these offer a great solution to sift out the dust while keeping your pieces flat and organized.)
As I assembled, I started with the easiest part first – the horns! It was pretty easy to get this part together since the shapes and colors are so distinct. From there, I moved onto the top of the head and ears. In the photograph, the light is hitting these parts of the longhorn which makes the colors brighter.
I moved onto the other more distinct details – the eyes and snout. I cannot get over how amazing the snout is. You can practically feel the moisture. It’s definitely my favorite detail on this puzzle.
I filled in the rest of the puzzle, saving the darkest and hardest section for last. As is my tradition, I shouted JIGSAW with the placement of the last piece.
One of my favorite things about Madd Capp Puzzles are the pamphlets with facts. I always learn something new. For I am Longhorn, there is an awesome comparison chart of the average size difference between the male and female longhorns. Even though the females do not stand much smaller than the males, they are about half the weight. So fascinating!
It’s not a square puzzle, so it’s not a square box! Madd Capp Puzzles are packaged in a five-sided box, so you can stack the collection vertically like a library of books, with the fifth panel facing out.
When looking at the individual pieces, they are very high quality. It is a semi-gloss finish which comes in at about 2 mm for thickness. Here are a few piece comparison pictures:
If you follow Madd Capp Puzzle on Instagram or Facebook you will probably see some product displays – which are so cool! I wondered if the retailers assembled and glued the puzzles for display. Turns out that at the end of each Madd Capp Puzzle manufacturing run, they create half-cuts (like posters) for our retailers to use as product displays. Half-cuts are also known in the industry as kiss-cuts — the blades of the puzzle tool “kiss” the chipboard with a light enough cut to score it and make indentations of the puzzle pieces, without cutting all the way through to make a puzzle. How cool is that! I had no idea!
Madd Capp Puzzles also come in a range of sizes. The smaller 100 piece puzzles are perfect for children. The pieces are a great size for little hands and the pamphlets of facts add to the fun! My personal all-time favorite Madd Capp Puzzle is I am White Tiger. It has the perfect balance of challenge and enjoyment with the small size and minimal colors. And those blue eyes really pop! The fit is also phenomenal – you can check out my Instagram post to see how well the I am White Tiger puzzle holds together.