They did look a lot more like the picture!
I wonder if they stitched the model in DMC then kitted it up with some off brand cheap floss. I frogged it all. I will restart it with DMC. Using my own thread I can do 3 over 2 for the darker colors if I feel it needs more coverage. The kit fabric is 28 ct evenweave, the quality is ok and I prefer 28 count since this pattern has over 1 sections.
Hopefully next month I'll have something good to share!