The Wizarding World Wrebbit 3D Puzzles are a range of 3D foam puzzles that allow you to recreate famous buildings and vehicles from the Harry Potter series at home. Wrebbit sent us one of their Hogwarts Express puzzles to build ourselves and see how they work.
Each of the Wrebbit 3D puzzles comes with all the pieces you will need to complete the puzzle (many will need to be popped out from surrounding foam or have sections removed from them), and a sheet of instructions. That’s it, but then what else would you expect from a jigsaw?
The simple answer here is, they’re not. We were sent the Hogwarts Express and it was easily one of the trickiest puzzles my son and I have ever solved together, taking us the best part of a day over several sessions. We filmed the entire build using time-lapse which makes it look a whole lot easier to build than it really was!
*One of the biggest difficulties we faced were the instructions, or rather, the lack of them. The instructions sheet was incredibly vague and made an average set of IKEA instructions look like a copy of War and Peace. None of the illustrations were in color or even showed any detail of what was on the pieces (they were only basic outlines) which forced us to rely on the handful of photos on the box to figure out what we were building.
For an ordinary puzzle this would have been fine, but given that this is a 3D puzzle there were several sections that we couldn’t see at all—particularly sections that were underneath or even inside the train. We ended up leaving these until late in the build to figure them out by a process of elimination, which wasn’t great because often they were required structurally earlier in the process. Given that we had never built any kind of 3D puzzle before, we found the process surprisingly confusing.
*UPDATE: Full-color instructions are available to view and download on the Wrebbit website. A small note in the printed black and white instructions states this, one that every member of my family missed every time we looked at the sheet!
The finished product surprised me with both how large it is and the level of detail included. A look at the rear of the engine reveals not only Hedwig taking a rest on the edge of the driver’s compartment but the instruments used to drive the train faintly visible as well. There are even details on pieces hidden from view when the model is finished, which makes me wonder if there are interior designs on the building puzzles as well.
The finished model is fairly sturdy but it is still delicate and shouldn’t be handled roughly. You certainly wouldn’t want to play with it as it would be liable to collapse easily (ours has warped slightly just from being moved upstairs), which might come as a disappointment to some. I’ve also discovered bite marks on several pieces that jut out from the finished product, so presumably my cats think it makes a great chew toy…
At this point there are nine Wizarding World Wrebbit 3D puzzles available. These are broadly grouped into a couple of the main themes.
There are three Diagon Alley puzzles: Quality Quidditch Supplies, & Slug & Jiggers (305 Pieces), Madam Malkin’s, & Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour (290 Pieces), and Ollivander’s & Scribbulus (295 Pieces) which can be combined together into one large diorama.
A fourth Diagon Alley puzzle contains 450 pieces and is a full street scene by itself including Ollivander’s, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, and Quality Quidditch Supplies.
There are currently two Hogwarts puzzles: the Astronomy Tower (875 pieces) and the Great Hall (850 pieces). As you can see, these puzzles both contain more than double, in fact nearly triple, the number of pieces in any other puzzle making them by far the most challenging of the range.
*A very small model of the Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia has been produced but is only available as a promotional item.
I have wanted to try out Wrebbit 3D puzzles for a while now. I’m a firm believer that jigsaws help build important life skills including patience and problem-solving and I wanted to explore the differences between solving a traditional flat puzzle and one in three-dimensions.
Honestly, I found the experience different from how I imagined it. The lack of clear instructions and minimal photos on the box made it a lot more challenging than I initially thought; I can’t imagine how long it would take to complete one of the Hogwarts puzzles with nearly triple the number of pieces, most of which are (presumably) a similar grey stone pattern. I was also concerned about the amount of waste the puzzle generated. We threw out nearly as many foam pieces as were used in the finished puzzle and they were not recyclable.
That being said, we had a lot of fun building the Hogwarts Express. While it was certainly challenging, it kept just a few steps away from becoming annoyingly frustrating and I would certainly be keen to build another, although I think I would stick to smaller designs like the Knight Bus as both my son and I decided either Hogwarts Castle puzzle would be too much for us and wouldn’t be fun by the end.
Although our Hogwarts Express was provided for us by Wrebbit, I was pleasantly surprised by the prices because I had expected them to be much higher. Each puzzle costs around $25 to $45. It is worth pointing out that because all the puzzles are similar in price, you’re getting a much better deal buying the far larger Hogwarts castle sets than many of the smaller puzzles—if you’re up for that challenge.
As much as I like the finished product, it still bothers me that the unprinted edges of the foam pieces protrude at the corners. For this reason, I personally wouldn’t have finished Webbit 3D puzzles out as display models, but this is a feature you will find on any 3D puzzle and was something I was expecting from the finished item before I began. My son wasn’t at all bothered by the slightly clunky appearance of the finished Hogwarts Express and will be putting the train out on display in his room.
This was a great activity for my son and I to do together and it filled up most of a day during a school break. The instructions suggest that the Hogwarts Express puzzle is suitable for ages 14 and up but I found it interesting that this recommendation does not seem to appear anywhere on the outside packaging, which could lead to some surprises if parents were to buy a puzzle for a younger child. My nine-year-old found the puzzle difficult but was able to complete lots of it with guidance from me, so don’t let the 14+ recommendation put you off, provided you are prepared to help out!
This was one of the most challenging activities my son and I have completed together but it was a lot of fun. I would recommend it for anyone looking for an activity to work on together as a family. For the price of a family takeaway, you’ll get a full day or more of working on the project with an impressive model to keep at the end. What more could you want?
GeekMom received this item for review purposes.
This post was last modified on March 22, 2019 8:20 am
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