Review: “Gobbler Farms” by Dona Gelsinger, Sunsout — 8.25/10
Publisher: Sunsout (US), published 2013
Title: “Gobbler Farms” by Dona Gelsinger, 1000 pieces
Finished size: 35″ x 27″
OUR RATING: 8.25/10
THANKSGIVING PUZZLE WEEK:
This week I’ll be reviewing two Thanksgiving-themed puzzles that I love. On the weekend I’ll be doing a new puzzle round-up since most “Thanksgiving” themed puzzles were part of our Top Ten Fall Puzzle list.
The Sunsout boxes are very large and square in shape. They’re oversized compared to most boxes on the market. This takes up more shelf space but also provides a nice big image when you use the box lid for reference.
Three of the sides are the same, showing a tiny image of the puzzle, puzzle name, artist name, piece count, finished size, and Sunsout logo. The fourth side has a bar code. Sunsout does a good job of promoting their artists, and you can find the artist’s name on the box front and all four sides. Unfortunately, the year of manufacture isn’t given. “Gobbler Farms” was probably released in 2013, because I’ve found reviews online dating back that far. It’s been in print for a while!
The back of the box is plain white and made of a thinner cardboard which is easily damaged in storage.
Nothing comes inside the Sunsout box except the bag of puzzle pieces and a very small paper slip with the company url and a short blurb. There was some minor puzzle dust. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged.
The final box score is 7.
The Image: 9/10
This puzzle ranked highly on our Top Ten Fall Puzzle list. I’ve had this puzzle for a while, but never reviewed it for the blog. It’s one of the best Thanksgiving-themed puzzles in print right now, in my opinion. I love the large turkeys, the large pumpkins, and the bright fall leaves. I’ve seen other puzzles with turkeys, but they’re often quite small in the composition. Here, the turkeys are really the theme of the puzzle.
The image isn’t perfect. This seems to be a digital image where some items were taken from low-quality photographic sources and so they are very blurry. For example, the small yellow and green squash in the front of the image–they’re so blurry that I had no idea what this area was during assembly, not until the puzzle was done and I could step back and look at it overall. In general, the depth of field/blurry effect is not consistent throughough the image, with some things ‘blurry’, as from a camera lens, but others objects that are further away, or at the same plane, not blurry.
Despite this quibble with the art, I’ve scored the image a high ‘9’, because I just love the colors, theme, and composition.
(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)
This puzzle is from 2013, and I think Sunsout quality has improved. (That’s always a good thing!) This puzzle was quite different from other Sunsouts I have reviewed recently like the brand new “Red River Crossing“, which got a ‘9’ quality score. The pieces on “Gobbler Farms” are quite oversized, and the entire puzzle is very large. It barely fit my JigBoard 2000, and this is a 1000 piece puzzle. If you like larger pieces, you’re in luck with this one!
The pieces felt thinner to me than the 2016 puzzle, and the piece cut is not as random and creative as on “Red River Crossing”. Overall, I preferred the 2016 puzzle. But “Gobbler Farms” is still decent quality, especially if you do like oversized pieces.
The finish is quite flat and seamless, similar to a White Mountain, as you can see in the close-up below. The colors and image reproduction are good. (The ‘blurriness’ I mention above is part of the art itself.) There is a glossy finish which creates glare under strong lights. The turkey feathers (variations of dark brown) were difficult to distinguish at night under overhead lights.
As usual, the fit is snug, making it easy to move joined pieces around.
I’m giving an 8 score to quality on this puzzle.
This puzzle is easy-to-moderate in challenge, and it took me two long evenings to complete.
I assembled the border first, then the bright oranges and reds. If you look at the work-in-progress image below, it looks like many more pieces were assembled than actually were. That’s because the puzzle’s dimensions are just huge! So it looks impressive when you’re done.
The pumpkins are easy to do because a) they’re super bright orange and b) they have some lines or shadows of darker color that you can follow.
The leaves are also mostly bright orange, but they have a different, veiny pattern than the pumpkins. There’s quite a lot of variation in shade, from light yellow to dark rust. Overall, the pumpkin and leaves are easy to assemble.
Once you’ve done the leaves at the top, the blue skin fills in pretty easily. There aren’t that many blue sky pieces and the sky goes from light to dark.
The man-made elements, like the tractor and the barn, stand out from all the ‘leaf and feather’ pieces, and are quick to assemble.
In my second session, I finished the puzzle. The most challenging part of the puzzle are the darks–namely, the turkey feathers. I did the bright ‘halo’ around the male turkey first. Those pieces are easy. But all the inner copper brown feather lines got lost in the overhead glare under night-time lighting.
That bit of challenge to the puzzle was worth it, though, because you’re putting together the turkeys! They’re definitely the prettiest part of the puzzle. Aren’t they cute?
Other ‘darks’ in the puzzle include the tree bark, which appears in various places around the image.
It’s amazing to look at the final phtoos and remember how few of these bright feather highlights were actually visible at night!
I’ve given this puzzle an 8 for assembly. It probably would have ranked it higher if I had done the puzzle during daylight hours, but the glare from the glossy finish made the highlights on the turkey feathers mostly devolve into “black”, and so the turkeys were less fun to assemble than they could have been.
I’ve given this puzzle 1 bonus point for being one of the best fall-themed puzzles on the market. It ranked #2 on our Top Ten fall list!
If you’re looking for a fall or Thanksgiving-themed puzzle, you won’t find one than embodies the mood more than “Gobbler Farms”. I love the large turkeys and pumpkins in this image and the bright fall colors. This puzzle is oversized with very large pieces. It’s the size of many 2000 piece puzzles when done. The Sunsout quality is good, but the gloss on the pieces made some of the turkey feather highlights hard to see when I did this puzzle at night under overhead lights. The final puzzle is impressive and would look good framed. Recommended.
Where to find:
This puzzle is 15% off for the next 3 days (through 9/30/2016).