Balloons Over Paris Puzzle 
by Guest Writer Roberta Shore

We invite you to read Roberta Shore's review on the following jigsaw puzzle. Since she has discovered the advantages of jigsaw puzzling, she has reviewed/journaled several that will be available on this website.  Balloons Over Paris Amazon link

Balloons Over Paris

Dowdle jigsaw puzzle
Random Cut
300 Large Pieces
Finished Dimensions: 20” x 16”

Balloons Over Paris Puzzle - Roberta's Review

Balloons Over Paris

Dowdle jigsaw puzzle
Random Cut
300 Large Pieces
Finished Dimensions: 20” x 16”

Balloons Over Paris

Dowdle jigsaw puzzle
Random Cut
300 Large Pieces
Finished Dimensions: 20” x 16”

My Confident Puzzler Rating: Easy and Fun!

In the late eighteenth century, Paris, France was the epicenter of experimental balloon flight. The very first hot air balloon was tested on June 5, 1783. The first hydrogen balloon was tested that same year on August 27th. The first experimental balloons

were unmanned. Only five and a half months later, the first manned flight occurred on November 21st. But, before any human, one was sent up with a sheep, a duck, and a rooster to see if they could survive 1500 feet (about 1/4 mile) altitude. Ballooning taught the world about meteorology, geography, the atmosphere, and opened the doors to modern aviation. How far we have come!

Quality: Excellent! There is a slip sleeve on the box with the full illustration. The box itself is sturdy and quite stylish. It is covered inside and out with an old world map, and flips open from a magnetic closure. Inside was a sealed bag of pieces, a small poster, a thank you card with promotional info, and a zip lock bag to store the disassembled puzzle. The poster items were numbered and on the back was factual information and a list of little known facts, or humorous, possibly accurate descriptions. Color match of the pieces to the images was perfect. There was some puzzle dust. The sturdy, easy to handle pieces have some sheen. None were damaged or together uncut, and none were missing. Piece fit was pick up off the table tight.

Getting started: Find the edge pieces and sort by color. I do sort by color when that is the optimal option (i.e, pure gradients, defined sections of color / texture). Otherwise I will sort specific objects. In any case, my sorts are as detailed and defined as possible. So for this small piece count puzzle, it was easy to turn all the pieces right side up on my board and find my choices. I sorted light and darker sky, clouds, the Eiffel Tower, The buildings on the lower left, the buildings on the lower right, the trees and bushes, the center walkway and buildings under the tower, the hills, and each balloon. I was able to piece together almost all the balloons during the sort. I also had a tray of basket parts and odd bits. I know, I know, many reading this are wondering if all that is really necessary. Maybe not for 300 pieces, maybe not at all, but it’s what I always do. For me, it makes construction so satisfying. It lessens or eliminates frustration, it shows noticeable progress, and it adds to the fun of puzzling.

Construction: Whatever your sorting technique, the build order I used was really useful. I built the frame first then worked from the bottom putting in the buildings, greenery, and walkway. Next I built the Eiffel Tower and filled in the hills. At that point I could attach most of the balloons I had pieced to the frame, or the Tower, or each other. The rest was putting in the clouds and sky and that last tray of baskets and odd bits. Voila! So much fun!

Final thoughts: I am a slow puzzler - yes,my sorting takes a lot of time, but I’m not even talking about that. I just don’t see a reason to rush the process. After all, the act of puzzling clears the mind and offers calm. For me, this puzzle was completed so quickly I wished it had been 500 or even 1000 pieces. Eric Dowdle is a fantastic artist whose paintings are filled with details. I liked this one because it had a lot of “air.” But I can certainly recommend checking out the Dowdle collection. I have only done a couple others, “busy” is not my favorite style, but the quality is notable. And if it isn’t they will make it right.

My grades: Quality A+, Fun Factor A+


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About: Wood Cut vs. Cardboard Jigsaw Puzzles

Exploring the Differences

Jigsaw puzzles are a beloved pastime, offering hours of entertainment and relaxation. While cardboard puzzles have been the traditional choice for many years, wood cut puzzles have gained popularity in recent times. In this article, we'll delve into the differences between assembling a wood cut jigsaw puzzle and a cardboard jigsaw puzzle, with a particular focus on the modern-day laser scroll cutting machines used in wood cut puzzles and their role in creating accurate whimsies.

1. Materials and Durability

The most apparent difference between wood cut and cardboard jigsaw puzzles lies in the materials used. Cardboard puzzles are crafted using thick, sturdy cardboard layers, while wood cut puzzles are made from high-quality wood, often sourced sustainably. The use of wood imparts a distinct tactile and visual appeal to the puzzle pieces, providing a unique and durable puzzle experience.

2. Precision and Interlocking Mechanism

Wood cut puzzles are known for their precise cuts and interlocking mechanisms. In the past, these puzzles were hand-cut, requiring skilled artisans to carefully shape each piece. However, with advancements in technology, modern-day wood cut puzzles are crafted using laser scroll cutting machines. These machines use precise laser technology to cut intricate shapes, ensuring a snug fit between the puzzle pieces. This precision enhances the overall puzzle-solving experience and allows for seamless assembly.

3. Whimsical and Irregular Pieces

One of the standout features of wood cut puzzles is the inclusion of whimsical or irregular puzzle pieces. Whimsies are specially shaped puzzle pieces that are not part of the traditional puzzle image. They can take various forms, including animals, objects, or unique designs. Laser scroll cutting machines are instrumental in creating these whimsies with accuracy and intricacy, adding an element of surprise and delight to the puzzle-solving process.

4. Artistic Appeal and Collectibility

Wood cut puzzles are often chosen for their artistic appeal and collectible nature. Many wood cut puzzle manufacturers collaborate with renowned artists to create exquisite puzzle images. The combination of high-quality wood, precise cutting, and stunning artwork elevates the overall aesthetic and makes wood cut puzzles highly sought after by puzzle enthusiasts and collectors.

5. Puzzle Size and Complexity

Wood cut puzzles are available in a range of sizes and complexity levels. Smaller puzzles with fewer pieces are suitable for beginners or those seeking a quicker puzzle-solving experience, while larger puzzles with thousands of pieces offer a more challenging endeavor. The use of laser scroll cutting machines ensures that even intricate and complex designs can be accurately reproduced, allowing for a seamless assembly regardless of the puzzle's size or difficulty level.

6. Environmental Considerations

Wood cut puzzles often boast eco-friendly credentials due to the sustainable sourcing of wood materials. Many manufacturers prioritize using wood from responsibly managed forests or utilize recycled wood, making wood cut puzzles a conscious choice for environmentally conscious puzzlers.

Embrace the Unique Experience

Whether you choose a wood cut or a cardboard jigsaw puzzle, both offer their own unique experience and appeal. Wood cut puzzles impress with their tactile feel, precision, and whimsical pieces, while cardboard puzzles provide affordability and a wide variety of designs. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on personal preferences and the type of puzzle experience you seek.

So, whether you're captivated by the elegance of wood cut puzzles or prefer the classic charm of cardboard puzzles, there's no shortage of delightful options to explore. Embrace the differences and enjoy the wonderful world of jigsaw puzzling, one piece at a time!

(ChatGPT, personal communication, June 20, 2023)