The Completed Puzzle
I initially discovered the existence of this puzzle a couple years ago while browsing the Puzz3d.org website, the fansite of a person far more obsessive about puzzles than I. The Chateau Chenonceau puzzle looked quite interesting, with the long bridge and series of arches. However, it was made in 1994 and no store sold it. I even went to Ebay, reactivated my long unused account, and bid on a couple I saw, but never succeeded.
About two weeks ago I happened to be browsing Amazon.com and decided to see if they had any 3D puzzles. A few targeted searches later I came across this puzzle for fifty dollars. Now, I am more than a little leery of buying something on Ebay, due to the constant mentions I hear of scams and the absolute terror that is Paypal.
806 pieces - minus 7
All Wrebbit 3D puzzles have to be completed in two steps: you first assemble all the "walls" or other flat sections, then you assemble the puzzle. The first part is always the most time consuming. I completed this puzzle over a period of four days. I figure it took about ten hours total to finish the whole thing. The first three days was putting all the flat sections together. I started with the cool section: i.e. the arched bridge. This was fairly straightforward. The pieces of this puzzle each look different enough that I could easily tell if a piece belonged in this section or not, and so I made steady progress. Once those were mostly complete, I started in on the base, and then the roofs. While doing the base, I first noticed that I was missing pieces.
After I had completed most of the major sections, I was left with a whole mess of small, narrow pieces that looked almost identical. These later turned out to the the towers on each corner of the main castle, although I did not know that at the time. After sorting them by color, I managed to get them all togther. Once everything was complete, I started the assembly.
The bases standing up
Once the bridge section was assembled, the rest of the construction went quite quick. There is one piece near the front turrent that you have to put in upside down, and it almost hidden by the pieces on top of it. The box even had a picture of this, but due to the perspective of the photo I could not tell what was going on. For a few minutes I feared that I was missing another piece, but I eventually found it buried under a pile of roof pieces and I placed it in the rightful place.
On the whole, I am quite happy with how the Chateau Chenonceau turned out. I am a bit surprised that the pieces are self supporting with no cardboard supports like most of the newer puzzles have. And even though it is missing seven pieces, the fact that these puzzles are three dimensional means that they are not as noticable than had they been a flat puzzle. The entire thing holds together quite well, even if the bridge section feels a bit "light" due to it being hollow on the inside with no bracing.
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