Review: “Vintage America” by Kate Ward Thacker, Buffalo Games – 9.5/10
Publisher: Buffalo Games (US)
Title: “Vintage America” by Kate Ward Thacker, Buffalo Games, 1000 pieces
Review by Melodie
MELODIE’S RATING: 9.5/10
JJ: This review is provided by Melody. Our first guest review. Yay!
This puzzle also comes in 2000 pieces. I am reviewing the 1000 piece version. This is one of Buffalo’s Signature Collection puzzles.
Box Quality: (9/10) The puzzle came in an 8×8-inch, sturdy box. The graphics on the front are colorful and sharp. Two sides of the box have an image of the entire puzzle, while the other two sides have a close-up of a section of it. On one side you can find in tiny font the artist’s name, Kate Ward Thacker. The back of the box just has some standard info about the company.
One of my favorite things about Buffalo is that the company is very environmentally friendly. There is no shrink wrap, no plastic bag for the pieces, and the puzzle is made in the USA from 100% recycled paperboard. Because there is no shrink wrap the box top and bottom are glued on the inside. I slip a table knife around the sides to open it, but some may not like that this leaves some glue or a little tearing of the inside of the box, but you can’t see this when the box is closed and it’s definitely not a dealbreaker for me. The back of the box had some general information about Buffalo and a note that a poster was included. There was no info about other puzzles available on the outside of the box.
Speaking of the poster, this is one of my favorite things about a Buffalo puzzle. While some other brands have posters for at least some of their puzzles, I have found one in every Buffalo I’ve ever had. I like the size as it is easy to hold completely open in one hand yet large enough to see the detail. The poster also includes some information on other puzzles in the series. It’s too bad the back of the box doesn’t include this info as well.
The Image: 10/10 The image is a combination of a cute collage of vintage postcards and license plates and a map of the United States with drawings of some points of interest. It’s educational but with the fun twist of the postcards and license plates it’s definitely not a boring, traditional map puzzle. The artwork is sharp and clear. The image is colorful and has plenty of variety to keep your interest. Even the map itself has some fun drawings. The artwork is licensed from artist Kate Ward Thacker.
Above: The completed puzzle. Click for closer view.
Puzzle Quality: 9/10 Buffalo makes an excellent quality puzzle. The pieces are sturdy and very well made. I had no issues with tearing, hanging chads, or any other quality problems. There were no missing pieces. This puzzle is part of the Signature Collection, and has a matte finish to reduce glare. Buffalo uses a standard grid cut, which I prefer over odd-shaped pieces, with one difference – some of their pieces have a zig-zag on one of the sides, which you can see in the image below.
The fit of this puzzle is not as tight as some would like, as you can’t pick up large sections without the pieces coming apart. This is not a big deal to me, and when the puzzle is together the fit looks tight enough to frame if that’s what you’d like to do with it. However, I have deducted a point as some people may not like not being able to easily pick up sections to move them.
Assembly: 10/10 Buffalo makes assembling their puzzles easy, especially with the inclusion of the wonderful poster in every box. With this brand the corners of adjoining pieces will always meet, so you won’t often find that you have trouble figuring out which piece goes where. The only tricky part of putting this puzzle together is figuring out the pieces of the large “America” text, but the shading of the text as well as some clues on the top and bottom from the adjoining images didn’t make it too challenging. The varying images of the postcards and license plates were easy and fun to put together.
I did the border first, then the map, the postcards and license plates, and filled in the “America” text last.
Conclusion You can’t go wrong with a Buffalo puzzle. They are excellent quality puzzles and the company has a good catalog of images to choose from. The poster inside the box is a great bonus. Some of my other favorites are their Charles Wysocki puzzles, particularly their humorous “The Cats of Charles Wysocki” series. This is my favorite brand of puzzle, and I highly recommend it.
Where to find: I have had some difficulty with ordering directly from the Buffalo website, however, their customer service was wonderful when I did have the problem. I would advise finding them elsewhere rather than ordering from Buffalo directly. They’re easy to find (Barnes & Noble, Target, and many other chains carry them), or you can order them from Amazon or through Puzzle Warehouse, to name a few options.