With so many of us sheltering in place during this pandemic, it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a huge resurgence in a popular hobby: assembling jigsaw puzzles. There’s been a real demand for new and interesting puzzles, especially with them disappearing from stores almost as fast as toilet paper. It’s lucky timing that Mondo’s Puzzle Party puzzles were recently released. As you may recall from my preview article back in April, these are popular artist-created movie posters that have found new life as 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles.
Enter ‘The Iron Giant’
With art by DKNG from a 2016 poster from the film of the same name, The Iron Giant when completed is 19″x27″. It retails for $20 and as of this writing is currently sold out, but I’m told they’re expecting reprints and do have several other puzzles currently available on their website.
When you open the box, you’ll find all the puzzle pieces sealed in a bag, as well as a mini poster that you can use as a guide while assembling the puzzle.
The puzzle pieces themselves are of a very nice quality, and cut precisely. The print on the front is vibrant, with a bright white finish on the backs of the pieces.
Assembling The Puzzle
First things first…if you’re relatively new to assembling puzzles, then you may want to look into getting a set of puzzle trays to help sort and store the pieces while you work on the puzzle. These inexpensive trays will not only make building your puzzles more enjoyable, but they’ll keep any stray pieces from ending up on the floor or in a pet’s stomach. I’m using the Becko Stackable Puzzle Sorting Trays but there are many brands and shapes out there.
When you’ve got a rectangular jigsaw puzzle as with the Puzzle Party puzzles, it’s generally good practice to start with assembling the border, as those pieces are easy to identify due to their flat sides.
One thing I quickly discovered is that some of the pieces have shapes which are very similar, but don’t quite fit. I had to take caution to make sure that the fit was precise. Thanks to the quality of the puzzle cut, this wasn’t at all problematic once I realized that I had to take a little extra care in fitting pieces together.
Once the frame was assembled, I had to decide where next to proceed. I chose to work on the lower part of the puzzle where the movie title was.
As you can imagine looking at the illustration, this ended up being a very challenging build. To not get frustrated, when I hit a mental dead-end working on the puzzle, I’d shift gears to build a different area. After completing the bottom part of the puzzle, I moved to working on the moon at the top:
And once the moon was complete, I had a good jumping off point to start building the Iron Giant himself. Once he was built, I moved on to the areas of night sky, and finished the puzzle by putting in the clouds. You can see my build progress in this slideshow:
And finally, here is the completed The Iron Giant in all its glory:
‘The Iron Giant’: Final Thoughts
This was a very challenging puzzle! Especially so as I was trying to build it in relatively short order rather than proceeding at a leisurely pace. I also had to take a bit of an enforced break in the middle of my build to playtest the prototype for a board game (you may have spotted it in the background of one of my photos). But all the while I was playtesting that game, in the back of my mind I was craving a return to working on The Iron Giant. Yes, the build could be occasionally frustrating…but the frustration was all worth it when I fitted in that final puzzle piece and had a beautiful completed image laid out before me.
The Iron Giant is a jigsaw puzzle with gorgeous artwork that will put your puzzle-making skills to the test. I found it incredibly satisfying to build and look forward to making more Mondo puzzles in the future.
As I mentioned before, this particular puzzle is currently out of stock, but keep an eye on the Mondo website for them to reprint and restock. And many other puzzles are currently available, including some like Gremlins and Spider-Man VS Doc Ock which were previously sold out. Head on over to the Games & Puzzles section of the Mondo website to get your puzzle on today!