Puzzle Brand Comparison — Falcon De Luxe

This page is part of our Puzzle Brand Comparison. You can find the overview page here.

SUMMARY:  59/70

Falcon de Luxe is an old English puzzle brand (dating back to the 18th century) that is now owned by Jumbo, a Netherlands puzzle company. Falcon’s line is focused on traditional English scenic images ala Gibson.  Like Jumbo, Falcon’s quality is very high, similar to Ravensburger.  Their images are fairly limited, but they publish a few gems regularly. They also do a nice annual limited edition Christmas puzzle.

1. BOX  — 9/10

How deluxe does the box looks and feel? Is it sturdy? Will it hold up over time?  How nicely does it arrange on the shelf?

Like Jumbo and Ravensburger, Falcon boxes are a traditional rectangular shape, about 10″ x 14″.  The boxes are very, very sturdy, both top and bottom, and should hold up well for many years.  They are shrink wrapped.

Front:

Most Falcon boxes are hunter green, but it so happens the one I bought for testing is a nice holiday red.  As you can see below, the box design is attractive.

Falcon-1

Back:

The back of the box is not blank, but it doesn’t have any information particular to this puzzle or artist.  Still, I like the little thumbnails of some of their other puzzles and the information on the brand’s quality is nice.

Falcon-2

Sides:

The sides of the box are attractive and arranged so that you can store the puzzle vertically and still show the image, puzzle name, piece count, and company logo.  One side contains a detailed list of the box’s contents and instructions for gluing the puzzle.

falcon-3

2. INSIDE THE BOX  — 9/10

How deluxe are the internal goodies (such as posters or brochures)?  When you remove the pieces is there puzzle dust, pieces stuck together, hanging chads, and places where the image has begun to separate from the backs?

This particular puzzle, “Santa’s Christmas Present”, came with a number of goodies.  First, there was a whole additional 500-piece puzzle, a 2014 calendar. (Note that most Falcon puzzles do not come with a second ‘free’ puzzle, but this one does.) There was also a packet of puzzle glue powder in the box so you can glue the calendar puzzle together. There was also a little plastic hanger tab for the finished calendar puzzle.

Each puzzle came separately bagged with a small photo of the puzzle in the bag so you can tell which is which.

Personally, I really like it when puzzles include a mini catalogue or brochure showing this year’s full line-up. With that, this would have rated a 10, but 9 is pretty good!

There was little to no puzzle dust, the pieces were well separated, and there was no sign of image lift or other damage to the pieces.

falcon_2 Falcon_1

 

3. PIECE THICKNESS — 10/10

How thick are the pieces compared to other brands? How does a piece feel in your hand? How easily are pieces damaged or bent during assembly and separation?

Falcon pieces feel nice and thick, which is no surprise given that Jumbo is the parent company. As you can see below, the piece thickness is nearly comparable to Ravensburger (maybe just a touch thinner).  The pieces have a pleasingly dense feeling and you can see the cardboard is very tightly packed.

Falcon

4.  PIECE SIZE & SHAPE — 8/10

Are the pieces standard shapes? Special shapes? How much variety do they have? Are they large or small?

Falcon puzzles are manufactured by Jumbo, so their size is comparable to the Jumbo pieces shown below.  Fairly standard German puzzle piece size.

comparison-1

The piece cut is very similar to Jumbo (JVH and Wasgij). It’s a standard grid cut, but there’s a good variety of piece shapes. I rate it an 8 in this category simply because I prefer more unusual piece cuts (ala House of Puzzles, Bits and Pieces, Sunsout, etc). Click for a close-up of the photo below to see the piece cut in detail.

Falcon_SantasChristmasPresent_CU1_SM

5. PIECE FIT– 9/10

Do pieces interlock well? Can it be confusing if a piece fits or not?  Can you move groups of pieces together? Does it look snug when it’s done?

The piece fit is very good.  Unlike Gibson, I never had any difficulty thinking a piece went somewhere where it did not.  It’s not quite as ‘textural’ a fit as Ravensburger’s “soft click technology” fit, but it’s very good. The back of their box touts a more ‘seamless’ end result. Hmm. Yes, I suppose I see that, at least compared to cheaper brands.

It is not, however, as tight a fit as Sunsout or Springbok.  If you lift a section of puzzle, you have to take care that it doesn’t fall apart.

Falcon_SantasChristmasPresent_CU2_SM

 

6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION — 7/10

Are the colors bright and vivid? Is the image sharp or feel like a bad Xerox? How is the finish/texture on the pieces?

I must say, I was a bit disappointed in the image reproduction for this puzzle. Yes, the image is painterly and not a super crisp art style, but the image on the box appears considerably more crisp in detail and more colorful than the puzzle. Below is the comparison (click for a closer view). You can see that the fine detail is definitely fuzzier on the puzzle and the blues are much more muted. I know this isn’t usually the case for Jumbo puzzles, whose JVH and Wasgij puzzles are absolutely flooded with tiny detail (and as Jumbo is the parent company of Falcon, their quality is usually similar).  But it was definitely the case in this sample, so I’ve dinged their score in this category.

Falcon

7.  IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS — 7/10

Does the brand have a wide variety of fun images and good artists?

Falcon’s image offerings are fairly limited. They focus on traditional British images (of which I am a fan–see British Puzzles). Their images are mostly scenic landscapes or nostalgia. But I find their selection is generally more limited (and a bit more “square”/bland)  than Gibson puzzles, the other big UK brand.  Of note in the Falcon line up are their colorful Jim Mitchell puzzles and their “About Britain” series. They also publish puzzles by artists that are on other brands such as Howard Robinson, Derek Roberts, Steve Crisp, and Trevor Mitchell.

Falcon’s Limited Edition Christmas puzzles are on their 3rd year.

3-in-one_Falcon

Above:  Falcon’s “Seaside Shopping” by Jim Mitchell (500), “Piglet Pals” by Howard Robinson (500), “Summer Haze, Cotswolds” by Czes Pachela (1000).  Click for close-up.

Falcon puzzles are on the Jumbo website and in the Jumbo catalogue–see the line-up here.

SUMMARY:  59/70

Falcon de Luxe is an old English puzzle brand (dating back to the 18th century) that is now owned by Jumbo, a Netherlands puzzle company. Falcon’s line is focused on traditional English scenic images ala Gibson.  Like Jumbo, Falcon’s quality is very high, similar to Ravensburger.  Their images are fairly limited, but they publish a few gems regularly. They also do a nice annual limited edition Christmas puzzle.

3 responses to Puzzle Brand Comparison — Falcon De Luxe

  1. Billsville Mike says:

    Your info about Falcon’s history is incorrect. They were founded in the mid-1970s by Harry Jondorf:

    “Having worked for British puzzle pioneer Tower Press since 1948, Harry Jondorf quit the company in 1965 to co-found Arrow Games. It produced puzzles with up to 4.000 pieces in the early ‘70s, supposedly the first label to reach this piece count. At odds with investor Milton Bradley, who saved Arrow from bankruptcy in 1972, Jondorf left in 1976, instantly setting up a new company, Falcon Games (..) ”

    https://www.flickr.com/groups/2106384@N23/discuss/72157635011251861/

    While I love puzzles from the UK line of Tower Press/Arrow/Waddingtons/Falcon and beyond, they all have in common the sub-par printing quality that is typical of UK printmaking. Their images are usually washed out and faint, compared with German or Italian prints, which are the best in Europe although probably a notch below Japanese print in terms of clarity and sharpness.

  2. Billsville Mike says:

    Your info about Falcon’s history is incorrect. They’ve only been around since the mid-1970s:

    “Having worked for British puzzle pioneer Tower Press since 1948, Harry Jondorf quit the company in 1965 to co-found Arrow Games. It produced puzzles with up to 4.000 pieces in the early ‘70s, supposedly the first label to reach this piece count. At odds with investor Milton Bradley, who saved Arrow from bankruptcy in 1972, Jondorf left in 1976, instantly setting up a new company, Falcon Games (..)”

    Source: flickr DOT com/groups/2106384@N23/discuss/72157635011251861/

    While I love the whole line of British puzzles from Tower/Arrow/Waddingtons/Falcon, there’s no denying that the sharpness of print in all these producers is sub-par. In my opinion, Germany and Italy have the best print quality in the Western world, with Japanese makers probably eclipsing that with even better sharpness and color reproduction.

  3. doug says:

    Hello, I have unopened falcon collectors items The lady of Schalott (no 3301), Louis xiv in his state coach (no.3464), Summer (no 3466) and opened but not assembled,The Hon Mrs Graham (no 3414). Would anyone be interested in purchasing these puzzles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Pingbacks & Trackbacks