Review: “At The Sunflower Inn” by Tom Wood, Sunsout – 8.5/10

Publisher: Sunsout (US), published date 2017

Title:  “At The Sunflower Inn” by Tom Wood, 1000 pieces 

Finished size: 20″ x 27″

OUR RATING: 8.5/10

Puzzle of the Month

This is the Puzzle Warehouse “PUZZLE OF THE MONTH”. So if you are in the POTM club, you will be getting this selection with no effort required on your part! For those who want to order the puzzle, there is a link at the bottom of the page.

This is the first month the “puzzle of the month” will be curated, meaning it was hand-selected and everyone will get the same puzzle (unless you swap it, which you may still do). We’ll be reviewing these puzzles on Jigsaw Junkies.

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. The name of the puzzle, and artist’s name 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.

Back:

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

Sunsout_LadiesGardenClub-Box2

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 small amount of puzzle dust in the bag. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged.

The final box score is 7.

The Image:  (8/10)

I like rural farm scenes, and this image looked like it would be a nice challenge with all those sunflowers. I also like the bright colors and the hand-painted style. There are nice, large color areas (like the red barn and blue house) to assemble too. And the signs with text on them are always fun to piece together (there are a lots of these in Wysocki images). The art style is a little quick and loose and not as detailed as some.

I’ve given this image an 8 score.

(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 2017 puzzle has the “very random” piece cut of Sunsout, as you can see in the close-up below. This is my favorite type of puzzle cut. It provides a more interesting and varied assembly experience and also very few “it looks like it fits but it really doesn’t” moments because the piece shapes vary so widely.

This puzzle fit was looser than I am used to with Sunsout, which probably means this unit was cut at the end of a run when the blades were duller. It wasn’t a major issue, but it did have a tendency to come apart when I moved it on the board–unlike my usual experience with Sunsout. Usually the fit is quite tight.

The image reproduction and colors are excellent. The image is from an original oil painting so the art style isn’t super crisp, but the lines, such as on the Inn sign, were sharp.

There is a glossy finish to Sunsout puzzles, which can cause glare under overhead lights at night. That wasn’t an issue with this puzzle because there are few dark colors in the composition.

Overall, I’ve given quality a 9 score.

Assembly:  (9/10)

This is an moderately challenging puzzle that took me three sessions to complete, about average for a 1000 piece puzzle.

DAY ONE:

As usual, I assembled the puzzle border first. There are some odd-shaped pieces in the border that I didn’t recognize as border pieces initially, only finding them later, but most of the border pieces was have a traditional flat-end shape. With the sky, tree leaves, and other designs around the border, assembly wasn’t difficult.

I decided to leave the sunflowers for later, since there are a whole lot of them. I first assembled the blue sky, since it’s a small section. The blue house and red barn have unique/artificial colors, plus the texture of the building siding, and that make them easy to find. The green hills in the background are a lighter yellow-green that’s unlike the green in the sunflowers, so those pieces aren’t hard to find either. Since I had my puzzle board turned so the top end of the puzzle was facing me, I went ahead and assembled the areas up there on day one.

The blue house takes up a fair amount of area, and with the sign, wreath, windows, door, etc, there are a lot of features that break up the blue and make it easy to decipher where the piece goes.

The large white “V” on the roofline acts as an internal border pattern. It was easy to build the random orange leaf pattern off of that since it’s not a large area.

The red barn, red quilt, and brown striped house fill out the top of the puzzle. These are all easy textures to identify on the pieces and easy to assemble.

DAY TWO and THREE:

The first things to get assembled in the lower part of the puzzle (after turning my puzzle board) were the signs. The bright colors and writing on the signs are fun to work and were my favorite part of the puzzle.

The dark posts in the foreground have strong dark/light vertical patterns.

The dirt path that leads from the foreground to the house has a unique tan sunlight-striped texture. This path makes a nice anchor point in the middle of the puzzle from which to build out the sunflowers.

I assembled everything in this puzzle *except* the sunflowers, saving those for last. The sunflowers equate to a lot of random yellow/orange/green random pattern. However, one thing that helps keep this area from being frustratingly difficult is that the sunflowers get smaller as they go into the background. You can tell on a given yellow piece if the texture of the petals is small/fine or large. For example, you can see in the close-up below, that the small sunflowers near the blue house are often made up of only a few pieces, and you can see the small orange centers and fine fringe of the petals.

The large sunflowers in the foreground have very large orange centers and each flower is made up of many pieces. The yellow petals are much larger overall. So you can pretty much identify if a piece of sunflower belongs in the back or front. It still is a nice amount of challenge though! I really enjoying piecing this section together.

Overall, I’ve given assembly a 9 score. The large color areas, such as the sky, blue house, tree leaves, and red barn,  made some sections of the puzzle easy and relaxing, while other areas, like the sunflowers, added a nice amount of challenge.

Summary:

“At the Sunflower Inn” is a fun puzzle to assemble with a nice mix of easy areas (such as the blue house, red barn, and lettered signs) and more challenging areas (all the sunflowers). I enjoyed this pretty rural scene with its bright colors and hand-painted style. The piece cut is very random, which gives a lot of variety to the assembly process. There are no dark areas or boring spaces. I saved the sunflowers for last, but, though this part is more difficult than the rest of the puzzle, the sunflowers get smaller towards the house, and this size difference helps keep the sunflowers from being frustratingly hard. They were a good little mental exercise. A fresh and relaxing summer puzzle. Recommended.

Where to find:

Click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.

PWLOGO

JJ

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