I absolutely adore the image of this puzzle, but oh my was it a challenge! Good thing I can be completely stubborn at times, because although I may have wanted to give up on this I never did. I wanted to light it on fire a couple of times, but I wanted to see the finished puzzle even more and I stuck with it. Isn't it gorgeous? It's not your typical puzzle image, and that's part of the draw for me - I gotta be me and I try never to follow the crowd unless they're headed towards someone selling chocolate!
This is a Schmidt puzzle, and usually their quality is excellent. This is the first puzzle of theirs that I've been disappointed with. The cut of the pieces was less than good, some of the tabs were completely broken off because the part connecting them was so thin. A couple of the pieces weren't broken on the initial sort, but they broke when I picked them up or tried to place them. I don't know the manufacturing process well enough to know what causes this, but it was completely frustrating! Here are a few of the broken and almost broken pieces.
A few broken pieces aside, the rest of the quality was quite good. Thick pieces with a linen finish, excellent fit, and lovely image reproduction. This puzzle came in a large commemorative tin, so perhaps because it was a special edition it was cut differently than the other Schmidt puzzles I've worked? I can't say for sure.
I knew going in that it would be quite difficult with all that black, but I love the image so much that I really wanted to get it finished. Normally if I'm assembling a puzzle and it feels like work then it isn't fun; I'm supposed to be enjoying myself! But once in a while I refuse to give up because I really want to conquer it - this was one of those times.
The lovely lady in the middle of the image was easy enough to work with all the skin, fishnet stockings and sparkles; it was the curtains behind her that tested me. At the edge of the curtains the black is a little lighter and you can see a pattern, but the rest of them are basically solid black. Yikes! I sorted the black pieces by shape and counted them (I just wanted to know how much of this puzzle was all black), and almost 400 of the 1000 pieces were completely black. I can't believe I didn't give up!
In the end I'm pleased with myself for finishing, it is such a striking image! It's mostly good quality, but the broken pieces prevent me from recommending this puzzle. It may have been an isolated problem, but this is a quality issue we puzzlers really dislike. If the pieces are broken, the puzzle is broken.
Overall rating: Good quality, but not recommended
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