Thursday, 23 November 2017

Ravensburger 3d Puzzle review : Leaning Tower of Pisa Night Edition

We love the Ravensburger 3d puzzles here at The Madhouse and are always happy to add another to our collection - we've already got quite a few, including a Medieval House, Tower Bridge, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, a Lighthouse Night Edition, some funky unicorn-themed storage pots and vases, and - arguably the most impressive of all - the whopping Disney Castle. They are always great fun to put together as a family and we end up with a realistic, sturdy and impressive structure that can be put on permanent display, usually in one of the kids' bedrooms.

The finished puzzles look very impressive and intricately designed, but they are actually quite quick and simple to construct because they only contain 216 pieces - an hour or two should be sufficient, especially if working as a team. The plastic pieces stay in place really well and many are hinged or, in this case, curved so that they automatically give you the shape that is required. All importantly, they are numbered on the back so you know how the pieces join up. (This would be a great addition for all puzzles actually, even the non 3D ones, and would undoubtedly avoid a lot of frustration, especially when dealing with large expanses of uniformly blue sky, which is my puzzle nemesis !)

The Leaning Tower of Pisa SB

What I love most about the monument puzzles in the Ravensburger 3d collection is the fact that they inspire the kids to go and find out more about the actual buildings that they represent. This one is extra special because Sophie has a school trip to Italy coming up in January and will get to visit Rome and Florence as well as the real life Leaning Tower of Pisa. Here are some of the interesting facts that we found out about the tower when we went googling :

- Originally the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but restoration work between 1990 and 2001 reduced the tilt to 3.97 degrees. Due to the marshy subsoil, there are several other lesser-known leaning towers in Pisa.

- The tower is 8 storeys high, 55.86 m (183.27 ft) on the low side and 56.67 m (185.93 ft) on the high side. There are 294 steps on the north side of the tower and 296 steps on the south side.

- Construction started in the year 1173 and was completed in 1372, but stopped and restarted twice over those 199 years due to wars, the first time for almost a century. This gave the underlying soil time to settle and compact and if construction had not halted, the tower would probably have toppled over.

As well as being a fun and educational family project, the finished puzzle has some serious wow-factor because, as one of the Night Edition monuments, it contains colour-changing LEDs in the base which turn it into a funky light show. (3 AA batteries required.)

 You can also opt for a plain white light which actually shows off the detail more clearly.

If you have a puzzle enthusiast in your family, or someone who would love a souvenir of a special place that they have visited, it would make the perfect Christmas gift, whatever their age.

Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.


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