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Friday, 22 December 2017

Two from House of Puzzles

Todays' post, 22nd December 2017, comprises two photographs of jigsaws made by Scottish manufacturer, House of Puzzles (HoP). House of Puzzles is one of my favourite manufacturers as puzzles are superbly printed, made of strong card and include unique shapes integrated into their puzzle pieces. Please note the change of email address above.

On the left is a 250-piece jigsaw from the HoP, Isla Collection, featuring large pieces. Titled Steaming Along, the illustrative style artwork is by Susan M. Ridyard. It is a beautifully simple composition showing Oxenhope Station, busy with visitors at Christmas time. Oxenhope is near Haworth, famous as the birthplace of the Bronte sisters. It is the terminus of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway which runs along the valley from Oxenhope to Haworth and on to Keighley. 

The Ivatt 2-6-2 locomotive, No.41241 in the jigsaw picture - ex LMS (London Midland & Scottish Railway) - is currently under restoration at the K&WVR. It is part of a busy, pictorial scene including passengers, railway staff, driver and fireman, and several local children playing in the snow, nearby.

On the right is a 1000-piece HoP jigsaw which couldn't be more different than Steaming AlongGrow Your Own is an extremely detailed composition by Michael Herring comprising all sorts of gardening infrastructure and paraphernalia found on an allotment." Lots of good healthy things to eat come from Grandad's allotment", according to the legend on the box. Grandad is included in the picture along with two of his grandchildren and the obligatory dog. In the background on a branch line, an 0-6-0 'Jinty' tank engine is passing, heading two small suburban coaches; the driver is looking out of his cab at the scene below as he approaches a signal box. The allotment shed hosts a plaque showing the plot number, 27, and lots of equipment including refreshments for tea breaks. A  Ministry of Agriculture, 'Dig for Victory' poster, is pasted to the inside of the shed door dating the picture to the World War II period.

May I wish all supporters/viewers of my blog a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Two Current Jigsaws

Today's post, 15 November 2017,  comprises two photographs of jigsaw puzzles, currently available from two of our more prominent manufacturers.

The first example depicts a jigsaw from the Gibsons 'Panoramic' 636-piece series.  Titled Glenfinnan Viaduct, the artwork is by the famous transport artist Mike Jeffries. Featured in a panoramic vista is the first  mass concrete viaduct built anywhere in the world. Completed in 1898 and opened three years later, the viaduct stands at over 100ft in height and comprises 21 arches; it is just short of 1/4 mile in length. The builder was Sir Robert McAlpine, better known as 'Concrete Bob'.

 In Mike's painting, a Gresley 'K4' class 2-6-0 locomotive is shown heading a passenger service (possibly 'The Jacobite') over the single line viaduct on the West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig; Loch Shiel provides a superb backdrop.  The 'K4' class of 'Moguls' was built between 1937 and 1939, to combat the steep gradients and tight curves on this exquisitely, pictorial line.

The viaduct has featured in four (?) Harry Potter films.

The second jigsaw featured is a House of Puzzles example within the Laurel Collection. It is one of several, 250-piece jigsaws comprising large pieces, made for anyone, but for the visually impaired, in particular. The title of this 250-piece puzzle is A Grand Day Out and the artwork is by Susan and John Ridyard.

The location is Hawarth Station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, Yorkshire. The station is very busy with passengers, mainly visitors to Bronte country, and Hawarth in particular.  Judging by the casual summer dress for the visitors the artwork is set in late summer; a passenger train idles in the station. Some passengers have left the train as others are embarking, possibly on the return journey to Keighley.

 The train is headed by an ex Southern Railway 'Light Pacific' (4-6-2) locomotive designed by Oliver Bulleid, No.34092 Wells. The latter was built in BR days in 1949 as part of the 'West Country' class, and originally named Wells, but re-named City of Wells in the following year. After retirement from BR, she was restored to former glory over a twenty-five year period 1989-2014, finally rejoining the K&WVR on August 16th 2014. She began her latest duties named Wells, her original name.

If you are interested in buying any of my puzzles you have previously seen on this blog I am continuing the process of downsizing my collection and some of my 230 puzzles must go. Many have already been sold privately, or on Ebay. Let me know if you are interested, by email (changed email address directly above).

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Chad Valley (?) Child's Jigsaw

I've been meaning to post this puzzle for quite a while now so today, 4th October 2017, here it is.

I know little about this puzzle but something about it suggests the manufacturer was  Chad Valley. The title is also unknown as it appeared on Ebay as an untitled, unboxed and unattributed puzzle. It is however a delightful, wooden jigsaw of around 70 pieces, made obviously, with children in mind. The boy and girl are carrying a locomotive and a doll, respectively, and a suitcase is partly visible in the foreground. They are chatting to the engine driver. There is much more information pictorialised in this puzzle for inquisitive minds. A porter is lining up milk churns; another train is approaching from the right; a signal box is clearly shown and a large signal gantry completes a busy composition.
The locomotive in the picture is ex Southern Railway 4-6-0 No.30859, Lord Hood, one of Richard Maunsell's 'Lord Nelson' class, built between 1928 and 1929. This particular locomotive, No.30859, was built in March 1929.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Two from Clementoni

Today's post, 10th August 2017, features two jigsaw puzzles from the Italian company, Clementoni - the first time on the blog for this manufacturer.

First up is a 1000-piece puzzle titled The Great Marquess. 'K4' class 2-6-0 No.3442 (BR No.61994) was designed by (Sir) Nigel Gresley and built in 1938, especially to run on the Scottish West Highland Line. She is now preserved and owned by the Scottish farmer, John Cameron, who also owns 'A4' class 4-6-2, No.60009 Union of South Africa.  The 'K4' class of 6 was built at Darlington Works between 1937 and 1939.

The second photograph shows the 500-piece jigsaw titled Ffestiniog. The narrow-gauge, Ffestiniog Railway (FR) in Wales is described in detail in the earlier post of 20th May 2014. The locomotive in the jigsaw photograph was built as a 0-4-0ST (saddle tank) design in 1893, by the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds, for use on the Penrhyn Quarry Railway.  She was  hired by the FR in 1962 and purchased a year later.  She later ran with a tender attached as a 0-4-0 STT (saddle tank tender) and from 1970, as a 2-4-0 STT, re-built locomotive.

If you are interested in buying any of the puzzles you have previously seen on this blog* I am continuing the process of downsizing my collection and some of my 250 puzzles must go. Many have been sold privately, or on Ebay. Let me know of any you may be interested in by email (address directly above).

*Does not include the privately marketed, James Green puzzle, described in the previous post.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Artist James Green

Today's post, 21st July 2017, continues a previous series of posts covering jigsaws displaying the artwork of railway artists, past and present, who have contributed to the steam railway jigsaw genre. Philip Hawkins, John Austin, Malcolm Root, Don Breckon, Terence Cuneo, George  Heiron, Barry Freeman, among others, have all been included. James Green is currently one of the country's leading artists; he has marketed a set of three jigsaws, each in three different sizes, featuring his own steam railway paintings. They are 'heirloom' wooden examples, of 40, 250 and 1000 pieces, made by leading jigsaw manufacturer, Wentworth.  Jigsaws are titled The Flying Scotsman, Sir Nigel Gresley and Duchess, City of Leeds - Crewe North 1964.


I will post pictures of all three jigsaws in due course but at the present time I have only one to show -  a 250-piece example titled The Flying Scotsman. The train and locomotive of the same name are pictured at speed somewhere on the East Coast Main Line. The famous 'A1/A3' class 4-6-2 locomotive No.4472 Flying Scotsman, built at Doncaster in 1923, first graced LNER metals as part of the 'A1' class, sporting a GNR number, 1472. The locomotive received the number 4472 specially for the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. Most of the class were later upgraded to 'A3' status.  Look up previous posts for more info on this famous locomotive and train (input Flying Scotsman in the search bar above). In James's superb artwork the iconic locomotive is depicted in original LNER 'Apple Green' livery heading a rake of Gresley teak coaches; a Leyland Tiger TS8 Type B single decker bus is added to the background of the composition, for 1930's authenticity.

James's website  is a 'must see'.  The jigsaws are featured on the site. Much of his work  is displayed including a series of pictures showing how his artwork of Flying Scotsman was built up from an initial sketch to the final painting.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Two Stanier Classic Locomotives

Today's post, 29th June 2017, features two locomotives designed by (Sir) William Stanier for the London Midland Scottish Railway Company (known simply as the LMS). Stanier was Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LMS from 1931 until retirement in 1944. In my view he designed the best class of steam locomotives ever built - the 'Princess Coronation' class of 4-6-2 'heavyweights'.

The first picture features a jigsaw from Waddingtons of 1000 pieces, titled Midland Revival.  The jigsaw picture depicts a canal and railway scene, set in summer and beautifully executed by the artist, Barry Freeman. A canal boat, a symbol of simplicity, tranquillity and charm is compared with an express steam locomotive, a symbol of speed, power and majesty passing over a small canal bridge. The two ages of travel are superbly integrated in Freeman's pictorial composition. Human interest is provided by a family party  waving to the train; the boat passengers also acknowledge the train. A few ducks on the canal provide additional interest. The locomotive, a 'Jubilee' class 4-6-0 locomotive, No 5593 Kolhapur, is shown in true' LMS Red' livery

The second picture features an '8F' class 2-8-0  locomotive, No.8431, a Stanier freight locomotive (note the black livery)  which also carried out passenger duties when required. The latter is depicted in the jigsaw photograph. The 64-piece jigsaw by Philmar, part of a series of 4 (all featured in previous posts) is titled  LMS Locomotive Class 8F.

Friday, 21 April 2017

More Great Little Trains

On August 8th 2014 I posted two pics showing 300-piece jigsaws from the Philmar 'Great Little Trains of Wales' series of 6. In today's post, 21st April 2017, I will introduce you to three more examples from this set. Unfortunatley the last example I purchased, The Bala Lake Railway, had six pieces missing when I assembled it, one of the disadvantages of buying from the secondary market.

Picture one features the jigsaw titled Vale of Rheidol Narrow Gauge Railway. The railway runs from Aberystwyth to Devils Bridge and was opened in 1902 to transport lead ore to Aberystwyth harbour from the Rheidol Valley. Ownership passed to British Railways in 1948 and remained so until the railway passed into private ownership in 1989. It is now owned and run by a Charitable Trust. The Aberystwyth - Devils Bridge line has three locomotives currently running, Nos 7, 8 and 9.  The locomotive in the picture is a 2-6-2, No.7 Owain Gyndwr, built in 1923 by the Great Western Railway (GWR) at Swindon, along with No.8 Llywelyn. A brand new No.9 Prince of Wales appeared a year later disguised as a rebuilt locomotive, for accountancy purposes. These three locos replaced original locos, No.1 Edward VII and No.2 Prince of Wales. A diesel loco, No.10, can also be seen on the railway.

Picture two shows the jigsaw titled Fairbourne Railway, a 2ft gauge railway built in 1895, and 12.25 miles in length. The line ran from Fairbourne Village to Barmouth Ferry Station. It later changed owners and gauge several times until 1986 when it was re-built to 12.25 inch gauge. Four new steam locos were introduced - Yeo, Sherpa, Beddgelert and Russell. Under new owners in 1995 more money was raised for improvements and in 1999 the line was transferred to Charitable Trust ownership.  The loco in the picture is a 2-4-2 type named Sian. This little loco has a chequered history. She was built by a Stourbridge company in 1963 and delivered to the Fairbourne Railway a year later.  She was 'Americanised' in 1984 and sold in 1985 to run on the Littlecote House Railway in Wiltshire. She was de-Americanised on the Bure Valley Railway in 1992 but it wasn't until around 1997 that she was returned to her near-original guise, following other ownership changes and railway movements. Subsequent changes meant that she is now stabled at Windmill Farm Railway in Burscough, near Southport. The photograph used for the jigsaw was taken before Sian was Americanised in 1984 and sold in 1985.

NOTE : An advertisement in the latest edition (466) of STEAM RAILWAY Magazine states that Sian will be returning to the Fairbourne Railway for a Steam Gala on 27th-29th May 2017. Sian will be giving rides over the newly extended 15 inch gauge track.

The jigsaw shown in picture number three is titled Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway. The 2ft 6ins gauge, 8.5miles long railway (opened in 1903) runs from Welshpool to Llanfair Caereinion in Powys. It closed in 1956 - original engines No.1 Earl and No.2 The Countess were still in use. These locos were built by Beyer Peacock in 1902 and named after the Earl and Countess of Powys. They returned to traffic at Llanfair in 1963 when preservation work had begun. Several other steam and diesel locomotives can be seen on the railway including No.12 Joan,  built by Kerr Stuart in 1927, originally for sugar cane traffic in Antigua.

If you are interested in buying any of the puzzles you have previously seen on this blog I am now in a process of downsizing my collection and some of my 300 puzzles must go. The process has already started and many have been sold privately, or on Ebay. Let me know of any you may be interested in by email (address directly above).

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A Boxed Pair from Ravensburger.

In today's post, 19th March 2017, I am featuring two 500-piece jigsaws from German manufacturer Ravensburger, retailed in a single box. Both replicate the superb artwork of George Heiron.

The first, titled The Golden Arrow, shows a 4-6-2 locomotive designed by Southern Railway's Oliver Bulleid. The inaugural 4-6-2 built for the Southern Railway, No.21C1 Channel Packet (later renumbered 35001), was built in 1941 with the remaining 29 members of the 'Merchant Navy' class following,  up to 1949. In the latter year  the SR was an integral part of British Railways (1948). The locomotive was re-built under BR in 1959. Heiron's painting shows the UK and French flags above the buffer beam and number plate, with the famous headboard to the fore. The arrows on the side panels were also a feature of this luxury Pullman service. Passengers boarded the train at London's Victoria Station and alighted at Dover, where they caught the SR Ferry, S.S. Canterbury, to Calais. Here, passengers were transferred to the French equivalent of The Golden Arrow, called La Fleche d'Or  - destination, Paris.

Las Fleche d'Or is also the title of the second jigsaw puzzle. The luxury express is pictured about to leave La Gare du Nord station in Paris with passengers destined for Calais and the reverse, sea and land journey, to Victoria Station.

If you are interested in buying any of the puzzles you have seen on this blog I am now in a process of downsizing my collection and some of my 400 puzzles must go. The process has already started and several have been sold privately, or on Ebay. Let me know of any you may be interested in by email (address above).

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Fame Puzzles of Holland

Today's post, 15th February 2017, features two puzzles from a Dutch company that publishes under the Fame Puzzles brand. I have used one of the puzzles before but this post is improved by showing the two together.

First up is a 1000-piece example reproducing a Chris Nevard photograph, taken on the preserved Bluebell Railway in Sussex. Ex GWR 'Dukedog' class 4-4-0 locomotive No.9017 Earl of Berkeley is pictured in the untitled jigsaw, heading SR green coaches "near Waterworks", according to the legend accompanying Chris's original photograph. This class of locomotives was a hybrid class, based on the combination of two previous designs - the 'Duke 'class and the 'Bulldog' class. The class comprised 30 locomotives, built between 1936 and 1939. The loco is currently under static display awaiting overhaul.

The second photograph first appeared in the post of 26th August 2010. The 1000-piece, untitled puzzle features an ex Southern Railway (SR) 'U' class 2-6-0, No.1618, (built in 1928) complete with distinctive, white SR route discs, heading equally distinctive Pullman passenger stock. The pictorial setting of a glade of bluebells can be seen on the Bluebell Railway, at the appropriate time of year. The loco is preserved and owned by the Maunsell Locomotive Society. The photograph original was also by Chris Nevard.

If you are interested in buying any of the puzzles you have seen on this blog I am now in a process of downsizing my collection and some of my 400 puzzles must go. The process has already started and several have been sold on Ebay. Let me know of any you may be interested in by email (address above).

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Two more from Cheatwell Games

Today's post, 16th January 2017, features the remaining two, 250-piece  jigsaws from the Cheatwell Games' Sight and Sound set of four (in one box) - the first two were featured in the previous post. The set  of four all replicate the artwork of Barry G. Price and a CD of sound recordings of steam trains is also included in the box.

The first photograph (left) depicts an 'A4' class 4-6-2 locomotive designed by LNER Chief Mechanical Engineer (Sir) Nigel Gresley, No.60022 Mallard. The latter still holds the world record for a steam locomotive at 126 mph. The class of 35 were built between 1935 and 1938. The title of the puzzle  is Mallard. The title of the same artwork, available as a print from various Internet sources, is Mallard at Cockburn's Path. The class was well known  for speed and Mallard is pictured on express passenger duties. Six locos are preserved; two in USA/Canada, four in the UK (including Mallard).

The second jigsaw shows a 'Castle' class 4-6-0 locomotive designed by GWR Chief Mechanical Engineer Charles Collett, No.7005 Sir Edward Elgar, re-named in 1957, (previously named Lamphy Castle). The class of 171 were built in batches over 27 years, 1923 to 1950. The title of the puzzle is Castles and Pannier Tanks, as a small 0-6-0 pannier tank locomotive, No.9626  is also included to the right of the jigsaw picture. The title of Price's artwork, available as a print from various Internet sources, is Sonning Cutting. No.7005 is also pictured hauling an express passenger train; the pannier tank is on freight duties. Several examples of both classes are preserved on our Heritage Railways / Museums etc.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Two of Four from Cheatwell Games

Before I begin this post let me wish all the supporters/viewers of this blog, a very happy and healthy New Year.

This first post of 2017, 12th January, features two jigsaws from a set of 4 examples from Cheatwell Games. The remaining two will form the basis for my next post.The Sight and Sound collection includes, in one box, four 250-piece jigsaw puzzles replicating the artwork of Barry G. Price, and a CD of sound recordings of steam trains. Two of the jigsaws are described here.

The first shows 'Black Five' 4-6-0 locomotive, No.45360, designed by (Sir) William Stanier, heading a passenger train through some glorious countryside, on a single line. The location could possibly be Scotland - the 'Jacobite' running between Fort William and  Mallaig; but no specific details are given. The description on the reverse of the jigsaw box refers to the puzzle as Black Fives whereas Price's original painting has the title Stanier Black Five, mid 1950's. The huge class, '5MT', comprising 842 mixed traffic locomotives, were seen all over the London Midland & Scottish (LMS) region, on all types of duty. In later steam days, they were spread over much of the BR network. Several are preserved and running on our Heritage Railways.

The second picture features a 'Hall' class 4-6-0 locomotive No.4930 Hagley Hall,  designed by Charles Collett for the Great Western Railway (GWR). This title also appears on the reverse of the box although the title of Price's original painting is Hagley Hall, GWR. The '4900' class comprised 259 mixed traffic locomotives. No. 4930 is pictured on passenger duties, crossing a metal bridge spanning a river, probably on the Severn Valley Railway, where it is based. The loco is currently under restoration. Several of the class are preserved on UK Heritage Railways.