REYNOLDS COLLECTORS' WORLD


THE 18,000 PIECE JIGSAW PUZZLE

 


In July, 2005 I commenced an 18000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Please contact me if you are completing or have completed this puzzle.

At that time it was the Largest commercially produced Jigsaw in the World  - it contains 18240 pieces - made by Ravensburger Puzzles - it measures when completed approx 9' x 6'. 

The puzzle I am completing is called Tropical Impressions and consists of South American animals and birds at a waterfall. Ravensburger also produce a companion puzzle - The 'Historical World Maps' puzzle.  There are 4 bags to each puzzle labelled A, B, C & D (the print on these bags is very faint but it is there, you just have to look carefully).  Each bag contains 4560 pieces to make one quarter of these gigantic puzzles.   

I saw someone wishing to sell the maps puzzle and described it as follows “The historical world map on the top left of the picture guide (Bag A) is called 'Novus Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica' and was probably designed by Nicholas Visscher under another name (Pseudonym).  The map on the top right (Bag B) 'Orbis Terrarum Nova et Accuratissima' is also by Nicholas Visscher.  The map on the lower left (Bag C) is from Johanne A Loon and the map on the lower right (Bag D) is by Ortelius Abraham.   I started this puzzle, but after many months I feel I won't complete it (a photo showed how much he managed to do on just 1 quarter (1 bag) of this puzzle - not a lot).   This is a real challenge for any Jigsaw fanatic or crazy person who is willing to give it a go. I had great fun doing this and I don't like to be beaten, but I must say this has beaten me and I can never see myself finishing it.   So go on, have a go, can you manage to complete this fantastic jigsaw puzzle.  ”

So I started the puzzle with some trepidation but as I have always liked doing puzzles and managed a 1000 Tower Press “Impressions of York” when I was ten I am hoping I will manage better than the gentleman did with his map puzzle. I am hoping it will be no more difficult then the 4000 Renoir Impressionist painting I completed.  I was a bit disappointed that the puzzle came in four separate packets as really you are doing four separate puzzles of 4560 pieces, which then fit together.  I was tempted to merge all the bags together but decided that by doing this I might be too cleaver for my own good.  On a more practical note I can complete each quarter on a board sitting at waist level whereas if I tried to do the whole puzzle together I would have to do it on the floor and kneel or bend down.

PROGRESS SO FAR

The picture has a two-piece edge of plain green pieces and each quarter has an inner border also two pieces wide.  I opened the bag containing the top right corner, which I thought was marginally the easiest quarter, and sorted out the green outer pieces.  I just about put together the straight edge pieces, which form the outer edge put then decided that it would be soul destroying to try to put together the normal pieces that fit to these and also form a two piece wide inner border.  So it was back to the drawing board and I had to sort through the pieces again to find all the pieces that have some green border and some of the actual picture on them.  These I managed to mostly fit together to form an edge framework.  I then sorted out the yellow, red and blue pieces, which make up the four macaws on this section of the picture.  I have now pieced together the yellow and the red pieces and I am now making a start on the blue.

I decided to keep a rough note of how long I will spend completing the puzzle.  I do them for enjoyment and the time is not important to me but so far I have spent 14 and a half hours completing it.

18000 Ravensburger Jigsaw 15 hours

I believe a group of old people completed the map puzzle so these puzzles can be completed.  If you are completing one yourself or another large puzzle or have completed one let me know. 

I have continued to put pieces in over the summer months by 38 hours I had completed most of the birds and the foliage.

18000 Ravensburger Jigsaw 38 hours 

I have continued with the more difficult sections remaining of the waterfall background.  This I completed by September and it has taken me 57 hours to complete the middle picture section of the first quarter.  By October I have now spent another 7 hours trying to complete the plain green border edge of the puzzle at the top and right hand sides.  This consists of about 400 pieces and is two or three pieces deep plus the straight edge. As all the pieces are the same colour this section is proving extremely difficult.  I can see the need for a green inner border edge so that the four sections can join together but the outer green border just makes the puzzle extremely difficult and less rewarding.

By November I have now finally completed the green border but it has taken 21 and a half hours to do it.  Hopefully now I have worked out how the green border fits together it will not take a long to do the next green border.  It has though taken 78 and a half hour to complete the first quarter of the puzzle.

Ravensburger 18000 top right quarter completed

 I have now started on the top left-hand quarter.  Although no quarter is particularly easier than any other this corner has a red billed toucan, some red flowers, two brown monkeys and a yellow snake so I would judge it to be on balance the next easiest.  I decided to do this quarter next as in the winter months the natural light is not as strong. 

For this quarter I have sorted the pieces out into about eight piles including one pile with anything of the green border on it.  I have then sorted out the green border pieces that also have some of the main puzzle on them.  I was the able to construct them into an inner border.  By early November I have put together the red toucan, the red flowers and the monkeys.  By mid November I have now completed 15 hours work on this quarter.  I have now completed most of the snake in the top left hand corner and quite a lot of the purple flowers. 

Ravensberger 18000 jigsaw top left hand corner after 15 hours

I next pieced together the forest floor at the bottom of the picture. I then worked on the green pieces, chiefly the palm fronds in the middle and top right corner. This is shown in the picture below which was taken on 9th January, 2006. 

I then worked on pieces of vine trunk that had an edge and then filled in the middle sections of the darker vines.  There were then a lot of odd pieces left in various area before I finally completed the picture section of the puzzle by doing the light tree trunk in the middle of the picture.  By the end of January it had taken 58 hours to complete this second middle section of picture, remarkably similar to the 57 hours the first middle section took although with the second section I had not touched the outer green pieces at all.  Another approximately 21 hours lay ahead of me to complete the green border of the second section although I had hoped to reduce that somewhat. 

Things started off well and I put the bottom row in without much problem.  After 15 hours I was well on the way to completing the border but then to my absolute horror I realised that the pieces of the right hand edge of this section would in no way fit into the pieces of the left hand edge of the first section! After 150 hours of putting the puzzle together so far I just couldn’t believe that the puzzle was defective and that one of the four sections would not fit with the other.

My guarantee numbers on each bag are

A|875351 0240580201

B|875373 0240566901

C|875376 0240566901

D|875380 0240514201

If your bags are the same numbers as these you will encounter the same problem.

 

On 8th February 2006 everything was put on hold and I contacted Ravensburger to try to sort the problem out.  The company were very helpful within their limitations.  No one else had encountered the same problem and they couldn’t tell me whether all the puzzles they had produced of this picture had the same bag numbers.  Eventually the only way they could resolve the problem was to refund the cost of the puzzle, which I accepted as I felt that I had suffered a lot of inconvenience and the puzzle was not going to fit together to a standard one would expect from one of the best manufacturers in the world..

 

I posted a query on the http://www.jigsawsandpuzzles.com/forum/ web site, which is a jigsaw puzzlers chat/comments site.  In June I had a reply from Maarten Storms who has completed this puzzle.  He has the same bag numbers as me.  He was able to reassure me that although the pieces that link the four sections do not fit to the same standard as the rest of the puzzle they fit together well enough that from a distance the overall effect is acceptable.  This cheered me up greatly and I decided to finish the outer green border of the second section, which I did in August.  With the problems I had with trying to work out why the two section did not fit together it took me almost 25 hours to finish the green border compared with 21 hours for the first green border.

 

I have now spent about 15 hours working on the third section of the puzzle. For this quarter I have again sorted the pieces out into about eight piles including one pile with anything of the green border on it.  I have then sorted out the green border pieces that also have some of the main puzzle on them.  I was the able to construct them into an inner border.  I put together the red and purple flower pieces next and then considered completing the mottled coat of the jaguar but having looked at the pieces decided it would be too difficult at this stage except for some pieces that also have leaf fronds on them.  Instead by September 2006, I am working through the large number of green leaf pieces and separating out the vine trunk pieces. This is resulting in a large area of bits and pieces that will gradually fit together.

After fitting the vine and leaf pieces together the Jaguar was next.  Some of the areas of it are quite dark but I gradually worked up from the lightest area at the head and it was not too much of a struggle. I then did the edges of the large leaf fronds to the left of the jaguar and then filled in the remainder of the green fronds.  This left the most difficult part of the puzzle, the off white areas of ground round the jaguar.  However, this quarter proved to be the quickest to do and by the early November I completed the inner section in 52 hours compared with 57 hours for the first middle section.  The green border then had to be completed.  I was determined to spend less time on it that the previous quarters.  I spend more time sorting the pieces into piles of the same sort of piece.  I had the previous quarters to compare and I concentrated on fitting in three lug and other non-standard pieces first.  To my delight it only took me a further 11 hours to compete the green border comparing very favourably with the 25 hours it took me to complete the previous green section.

So by mid November the whole quarter had been completed in only 63 hours.

 

The last quarter looked the most difficult with quite a lot of water.  I picked out the purple flowers and butterflies first.  Next were the red flowers.  The young jaguar was not as difficult as the large jaguar in the previous section.  The black cat was though more difficult.  I next worked on the green leaves and the fish.  Next on the list was the vine stems.  This then left the difficult areas of the rocks and the water. 

By the end of February, 2007 I had completed the picture section of the last quarter.  It took me just under 58 hours to complete this section, about the same length of time as it took me to complete sections one and two.  It then took me another 12.5 hours to complete the outer green border.  This was a bit longer than the previous section but the bottom edge was more difficult than other sections.

 

So by March 2007 I have completed the puzzle and feel proud of my achievement. The whole puzzle has taken me 294 hours to complete.

 

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