Woodland Seasons by Gibsons

Photos and Thoughts After Completing A Gibsons Brand Puzzle For The First Time

What attracted me to this image was the nature theme, fresh colors, and the delicate and vivid use of watercolor. I thought it was a refreshing look, too many seasonal themed puzzles have this dated appearance that I really don’t like– a sort of drab-toned, 90’s church-mom family calendar thing. Or maybe it’s just that one from Cobble Hill? I don’t know. What I do know was I saw this one and I wanted it!

Never done a Gibsons puzzle. The box is underwhelming. It looks okay- but the small image, plain blue border, and small title gives it an amateurish appearance. No biggie, it’s what’s inside the box that counts, but for better shelf sales I think a design revamp would boost the box appeal.

Sealed with two round stickers that removed easily with no damage to the box. Inside, puzzle was packaged inside a plastic bag. Some puzzle dust, but not too bad.

It included a “poster”, however it was very tiny. Increasingly, puzzles are including larger prints that I actually find too cumbersome, they cover up so much of the puzzle itself they are always getting in the way. So, I actually came to appreciate the small size of this print for general reference, but it was not much help at locating smaller details, especially for a 2000 piece puzzle.

First impressions of the pieces were good. I’ve honestly never encountered pieces quite like these. Definitely the thickest pieces I’ve encountered. The cut is excellent. Edges are so clean, very well glued and pressed– I didn’t find a single one with any lift or fraying. No warping or rounding at the piece edges. Like seriously, the cut and sturdiness of these pieces is top notch.

Look how thick that thing is! Oh yeeeeah.
Look how clean and sharp those edges are! No fuzz. No indent. No rounding. Ooo baby.

The surface of the pieces was a bit unique as well. I anticipated it to be shiny like the box cover– most puzzle companies use the same paper for the box and puzzle. But instead these have a sort of waxy, semi-matte feel and look. (Another reason the box design ought to be redone. Most puzzlers will see the box and assume the pieces are made of the same shiny material). I’m not in love with the look. Whatever the finish is on these it gives them a kind of mottled, uneven appearance.

See how uneven and bumpy the surface looks?

Like, this is the way shiny things look when they’ve been handled too much without a good cleaning.

So I’m not too into this finish– it doesn’t look matte, it just looks….not-shiny.

Also, here is where the puzzle dust that was in the box behaved in another way unique to this brand that I have not ever seen before. The dust was adhering to the puzzle surface.

Two pieces before dust removal. It doesn’t just fall or blow off. You have to wipe it off.
Same two pieces after being wiped clean.

That top piece is probably the worst I encountered, but there were plenty with the dust on them, and it was just another way in which the pieces gave the impression of being dirty, despite being brand new.

I had worried about these pieces being a tight fit. I thought the cuts were so clean and precise they would be overly snug, but they weren’t at all. They had a very good balance so you could easily pick up and move a small section of pieces without it collapsing, but when I took the puzzle down it crumbled pretty nicely– probably about 80% total piece detachment. Cool, sounds like super official phrasing there.

Piece uniqueness I’d put at Good. Overall the pieces are unique enough, but I did have enough false fits that it was starting to bug me by the end. Worked okay for this puzzle because the image has so much variety, but anything with a lot of uniformity or sections of solid color would not be recommended for this brand.

Sorting and piecing the image itself was very fun. It looks like it will be easy to sort, at first glance. Then as you start flipping pieces you realize there’s more color matching across the seasons than it appears. I approached it by doing the borders around all the seasons first. Then the words, season by season. After that I pulled out the yellows and eventually I got familiar enough with the pieces I was getting a good feel for the colors of the autumn section.

This is a puzzle I think works well to sort by instinct rather than close inspection. By that I mean you aren’t necessarily trying to pick out a specific color or item but you just look over your pieces and if something nudges at you as having the right tone or feel you pull it aside. Using that method for autumn I was about 95% successful at avoiding pieces from the other sections. Same for winter. From there I went with purple flowers– blue flowers–greenery– animals.

The clean edges on the pieces gives the finished puzzle a nice smooth look, not too much image disruption from the pieces. Wish these pictures had turned out better, but it was getting late when I took them. I’m resurfacing a table with white stain and moving to better lighting for future posts.

Overall I would give the brand a 7/10. It has some points against it because of the waxy finish, false fits, and sticking puzzle dust, but overall this is a brand I would buy again. It’s got an excellent cut, good fit, and sturdy pieces. The MSRP of $32.00 is a bit higher than I’d like for 2000 pieces, but I don’t hate the price. 10-15% discounts are handed out like party favors these days so it should be easy enough to bring the price down to make it a solid buy.

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