Review: “Peace” by Sam Timm, Sunsout – 8.5/10

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Publisher: Sunsout (US), published date ? (still in print)

Title:  “Peace” by Sam Timm 1000 pieces 

Finished size: 19″ x 30″

OUR RATING: 8.5/10

Inspirational Puzzles Week

For this last week of 2016, we’re featuring inspirational puzzles to put you in a contemplative and hopefully positive frame of mind for the new year. I’ll be reviewing two puzzles in this category this week and have a top ten list on the weekend.

Box Quality:  (8/10)

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. The name of the puzzle, and artist’s name (Sam Timm), is prominent on the front. I really like how the artist is featured on both the front and all sides of the box.

Sides:

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 and no puzzle image. Unfortunately, the year of manufacture isn’t given.

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Back:

The back of the box is plain white and made of a thinner cardboard.

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Inside:

Nothing comes inside the Sunsout box except the bag of puzzle pieces and a very small paper slip with the company url. There was a lot of puzzle dust, so open the puzzle piece bag over a surface that you can easily wipe clean. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged.

The final box score is 8.

The Image:  (9/10)

When I started to look for Inspirational puzzles, I was drawn to this image by Sam Timm. It looked so peaceful and meditative, and it looked like a total change from the types of busy puzzles I normally assemble. I thought it would be interesting to give it a shot, and definitely more of a challenge with all the blue sky and water.

The image itself is quite beautiful. It’s very soft in feel with all the blues and the white snow. It’s also a panorama in shape, which is always a nice change up from the usual rectangular puzzle. The image is from an original painting and you can clearly see the brushwork in the puzzle. The colors are amazing. It would be a great puzzle to frame. It’s not easy to do but very worth the effort!

I’ve given this image a 9 score.

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(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)

Puzzle Quality: (9/10)

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

This Sam Timm puzzle has the usual good quality of Sunsout. The pieces are sturdy and fairly random in cut, as you can see in the close-up below. The piece size is above average but not huge. The fit is snug enough to be able to easily moved groups of attached pieces, which I really appreciate. In fact, you can lift the finished puzzle by one corner and it doesn’t come apart.

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On the down side, there is a glossy finish, which causes glare under overhead lights at night. This was definitely an issue with this puzzle because there is so much blue. Being able to see the precise shade of blue is critical, especially at the end (which for me were the darkest blue pieces). I finished the last of this puzzle in the morning in order to be able to better see the colors in natural daylight.

Overall, I’ve given quality a 9 score.

Assembly:  (8/10)

I knew this puzzle would be different than the ones I normally do with such vast amounts of sky and water. I knew it would be a challenge. And it was, but it wasn’t as hard or frustrating as I thought it might be thanks to the intense shading. I’d rate it as a moderate-to-difficult puzzle.  Let’s take a look….

DAY ONE and TWO:

As usual, I first assembled the puzzle border. The border is easy on the sides of the puzzle but pretty much pure blue at the top and bottom. By lining up my pieces, flat side down, in rows and just trying likely-looking connections, I was able to build growing chains of pieces and finish it without too much trouble.

After the border, I did the lightest pieces (the whites), which included the snowy banks and the church and church reflection.

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The little  church and its reflection are the focal point of the image and they’re very sweet. With the lights in the window, the church looks inviting and it makes you want to open the door and go inside. The church’s reflection is slightly grayer, so it was easy to distinguish from the real church.

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After doing the church and whitest snow pieces, the next step was to complete ALL the pieces that aren’t solid blue. This includes the trees and banks of the lake, both on the ‘top’ and in the reflection. This part of the puzzle is fairly straight forward. There are a lot of similar “bare tree limb” pieces, but the sporatic use of fir trees helps to break that up and there aren’t so many tree pieces overall that it’s difficult. The curve of the trees against the sky helps orient the pieces.

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The trees and their reflections look pretty much identical, but if a piece doesn’t go “on top”, you can simply try it “on the bottom” until you find where it fits.

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The moon is fun to do. It’s grayer in the water, so it’s easy to tell the two moons apart.

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DAY THREE AND FOUR:

Once you’ve placed every piece that has ANYTHING on it that’s not solid blue, it’s time to tackle the sky and water. Fortunately, there is heavy shading in the blues that help narrow down the section you are working on at any given time. Check out the slice below. The darkest, nearly black blue pieces are at the border in the top and bottom of the puzzle and the blue is lightest in the middle. There’s no referring to the box lid here. This part of the puzzle is all about distinguishing precise shades of color and eyeballing matching the connector/hole fit.

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I worked by picking out the lightest pieces from the sorting tray, working those, picking out the “next lightest” pieces and so on. I did the lighter blue bits, maybe 80% of the blues, the evening of the third day. But as the blues got darker, I found the overhead glare made it more difficult for me to distinguish the “dark blue” from the “very dark blue” and the “nearly black” pieces. So I held off and finished the puzzle the next morning in natural daylight, which helped a lot.

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Overall, I’ve given assembly an 8 score. I quite enjoyed doing the puzzle, and it was a bit meditative because there’s less “stuff” going on to see. It was a nice change from the types of puzzles I normally do. However, this type of puzzle wouldn’t be a frequent choice for me. I still prefer my usual “busy” puzzle.

Summary:

“Peace” by Sam Timm is a lovely and challenging puzzle. The peaceful winter scene is serene and will put you in a meditative frame of mind as you work on it. The snow, church, and trees in the puzzle are fairly straight-forward to assemble, even with the added challenge of the reflection. Working the blue sky and water, though, is more difficult. There’s strong color shading in the puzzle, so much of the image is assembled by discerning one shade of blue from quite similar shades of blue, and looking for matching hole/connector fits. I found this a nice change from my usual “busy” puzzles and enjoyed the extra challenge. The final puzzle is beautiful. The Sunsout quality is very good, with sturdy pieces and a nice random piece cut. I like that you can move around a set of joined pieces without them falling apart. Recommended for those looking for a little more difficulty.

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Where to find:

Click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.

PWLOGO

JJ

1 responses to Review: “Peace” by Sam Timm, Sunsout – 8.5/10

  1. Chris says:

    Beautiful puzzle but I know I would have trouble with the glare and with the similar shades of blue. It really is a lovely puzzle though.

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