Review: “4th of July Parade” by Bob Pettes, Sunsout — 8.25/10

Sunsout_4thOfJulyParade-box1

Publisher: Sunsout (USA), 500 pieces

Title:  “4th of July Parade”,  Artist: Bob Pettes

Finished size: 19.5″ round

OUR RATING: 8.25/10

It’s 4th of July Week!

This week at Jigsaw Junkies, we’re featuring 4th of July themed puzzles for the upcoming holiday. We’ve had gorgeous summer weather here in Pennsylvania and my family has been enjoying shorts and BBQs, heat and fireflies. I hope your summer has also gotten off to a great start!

I’ll be reviewing two July 4th themed puzzles during the week and doing my “Top Ten” list of all 4th of July puzzles currently available over the weekend. Happy 4th!

Box Quality (7/10):

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.

Sides:

Three of the sides are the same, showing an image of the puzzle, puzzle name. artist, piece count, and Sunsout logo. The fourth side has a bar code.

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Back:

The back of the box is plain white.

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Inside the box:

Nothing comes inside the box except the bag of puzzle pieces. There was a small amount of puzzle dust in this bag. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged.

The Image (8/10):

I’ve been seeing the round Bob Pettes Americana puzzles for a few years now, and I finally decided to try one for this 4th of July feature week. “4th of July Parade” is a nice image for a puzzle. The first thing I like about it is the round shape. I do a lot of puzzles, so I’m always happy to assemble something that’s a little different in some way. I love shaped puzzles and, while round puzzles don’t have as irregular a border as shaped ones do, it’s still a nice change from the standard rectangular puzzle.

The second ‘best thing’ about the image, to me, is the amount of detail. There are a lot of small figures in the puzzle, each with unique clothes and personality, making it a wee bit like a Jan Van Haasteren puzzle (though JVH puzzles typically have many more characters throughout). The composition, with the round path echoing the round puzzle shape, and the bandstand at the top center, is quite nice. The predominant color is green, but there’s a lot of red while and blue in the image too.

I also like that it is a full-on 4th of July themed image as there’s not too many of those on the market. I’ve given the image an 8/10 score. I would have given it a higher score if there wasn’t so much basic green grass texture in the image. There’s also a bit of fuzziness to the image, which I’ll point out below.

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Puzzle Quality (9/10):

Sunsout did well in our brand comparison. You can see our full brand comparison on Sunsout here.

Other than the underwhelming box, the quality of the Sunsout puzzles are quite good. This 500 piece round puzzle was, thankfully, no exception. The pieces felt thick and sturdy right out of the box and the connections were tight. I really enjoy the random cut pattern of Sunsout, Bits and Pieces, and Springbok puzzles. Interesting to note is that this particular puzzle is not as much of a ‘random cut’ as the usual Sunsout puzzles.  This puzzle is closer to a ribbon or grid-cut, but the corners of the pieces don’t exactly match up. So while there’s a fair variety of piece shapes here, they’re not as extreme as usual (see this puzzle for comparison). I’m not sure if this puzzle has more standard cut due to the 500 piece size or the round shape or for some other reason.

(click on any image for a closer view)

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Also, the image is a wee bit fuzzy, as you can see in the extreme close-up below. I’m guessing this is because the original painting is quite small (smaller than the 19.5″ puzzle size). But honestly, the close-up below is larger than life size and it’s not really very noticeable whilst working the puzzle in real life.

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Assembly (9/10):

This puzzle is easy to assemble with a smaller 500 piece size and no real monochrome or challenging areas. It’s easy to find and isolate the border pieces, so I did the border first. Next I did the blue sky since it’s a small area of the puzzle. Also the bandstand is easy to identify with its vertical posts, diagonal grid patterns, the roof, and the colorful stone foundation.

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The brown path is a fun section to assemble because there are ‘clues’ in the forms of the figures, or parts of figures, as to which part of the path a piece belongs to. Doing the path early on also anchors quite a lot of the puzzle since, again, the path runs throughout. So the path gives you plenty of ‘edge’ to work off of once it’s done. I quite liked this ‘ring within a ring’ aspect of the puzzle.

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After doing the path, many of the figures in the puzzle are done, so it’s easy to pick out the rest of the pieces with figures (such as the ones on the grass and in the bandstand) and go ahead and work those, placing them approximately where they go in the composition if they don’t yet attach.

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Finally, you can fill in all the green grassy areas. That’s the one thing I didn’t love about this composition. It has quite a lot of plain green grass, which might have been broken up with some flower patches or toys or more color variation or something similar. Of course, this image was a painting first, so that wasn’t really a consideration when the artist painted it, but would have made it a slightly better puzzle. Even so, the grass isn’t particularly hard to fill in once you have the other areas done.

Overall, I would rate the assembly an ‘8’ but I added a point for the round shape which made this puzzle more fun and interesting tfor me.

Conclusion:

This 4th of July themed puzzle is an easy family project for those warm summer evenings. The round shape makes for an unusual and fun puzzle assembly. There are plenty of small figures throughout to discover as you put the puzzle together. Like most Sunsout puzzles, the pieces feel thick & sturdy. However, the cut is close to a grid cut with standard piece shapes even though corners don’t quite meet up. There’s a lot of green grass in the image, but objects and people break it up in most areas of the puzzle. The brown path with its marching figures is particularly fun to assemble. Recommended for anyone who likes Americana or holiday-themed puzzles.

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Where to Get It:

Just click on the logo below:

PWLOGO

 Jane

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