By Andi Glogauer (SAFOLs Member)
Firstly, a disclaimer – I am fully certifiably Harry Potter obsessed. So, if a Harry Potter Lego set comes out, I am likely to buy it, not because it is Lego, but because it is Harry Potter.
The only non-Harry Potter set that I own is the flowers set.
Secondly, I am not an advanced builder, and I struggle with perceptual issues, so I get help from my son if I need it.
Thirdly, I like cute and shiny things, and the fact that this set comes with potion bottles, gold minifigures, a golden snitch and a chocolate frog meant that I was sold from the outset.
Unboxing the huge box revealed 22 bags; an instruction book (which has lovely information at the end of each section, as well as information about the designers) and a small sticker sheet. (Yay! Fewer stickers meant printed bricks.)
The first part of the build was the wand, and I couldn’t figure out whether the core was there for stability or a representation of the actual core of the wand (phoenix feather). Needless to say, it did both jobs well because you can swish and flick the wand without any issues. It does not actually work – although that is quite fortunate since my son tried to do a spell on me to keep me quiet…
Harry Potter’s glasses are lovely and have round pieces that I have not seen before (one of the things that we love when building Lego is finding pieces that are new to us) and can actually be worn if you want to. My only issue with the glasses is that they have no specific placement on the complete set. I have put them on top of the scarf.
The base formed by a pile of books is incredible and creates a stand and support for the huge Hedwig. I was fascinated by the engineering/technical side of the insides of the books, but I did need some help with some of them. The instructions were not always that clear to me, and I missed some steps without realising until a bit later – that was easily fixable, and I eventually got into a rhythm of how the build works.
It is not obvious that the bottom book is Tom Riddle’s diary if you don’t know any better, and I would have loved the designers to have added an ink splash or some writing on the book. The design of the open pages is wonderful and gives a very nice finish. I especially liked sliding the pieces into place rather than the usual pressing down of studs. The attention to detail on the books – particularly the spines and the angles that the books are placed is great. It looks so impressive that I think that the set would be ideally displayed where you can view it from all angles. You definitely miss out on seeing details if you place it against a wall or shelf.
And then we get to the great mystery… the box on top of the books. It is an ornate, black box with the initials “H.G.” printed on one of the bricks. Who is H.G.? We had a lot of discussions about this. It seems to be Hermione Granger’s, but then why would Harry have Hermione’s potions? We wondered if they had made a mistake, and it should have been H.P. More about spelling mistakes later.
Building a giant owl – a feat of design and engineering.
It’s a big owl, and although building some parts of Hedwig are monotonous and repetitive, it is incredible to see the owl take shape. The separator tool came into use a lot here as I sometimes struggled to see exactly where I was in terms of the placement of pieces. Once again, there were a few pieces that I had never seen before.
For anything that needed two elements built, it was a joint effort between my son and I. We built the elements simultaneously or he sorted pieces while I built. Each feather on the wings and the tail is attached by either a ball or a hinge joint which make it possible to adjust their angles. The attention to detail with black and grey highlights gives her a beautiful and realistic effect.
The exciting parts – shiny and colourful – the potion bottles look incredible and are very satisfying to build.
The bottle tops look like realistic stoppers. All the bottles can fit into the potion box. The labels for each bottle have meanings related to previous Lego sets, as well as classic Harry Potter references. As a bonus, the Felix Felicis vial glows in the dark.
The scarf is customisable to your choice of house. It seems quite a simple element compared to the rest of the build. I chose to use the colours of my house, Hufflepuff, but then wondered if it was true to the set because this is, obviously, Harry’s belongings, and then logic would say that the scarf should be in Gryffindor colours. I have also heard people complain that the colours for the scarf are too bright and not true to the colours of the Hogwarts houses.
The golden snitch is also a quick, but very clever, build and is attached to the base with a technic piece so that it “floats” next to the books and potions.
The last element is the acceptance letter which is hinged to look like it has been folded and unfolded and is placed in Hedwig’s claws.
There is room to add your own name on the acceptance letter – again, this is Harry’s set, and I’m not sure that I will write my name on it. Also, this is an adult set, and I don’t know how many adults want to write their name on a Lego set in permanent marker. There’s a lot of upset amongst Harry Potter fans (and Latin purists I guess) about a spelling mistake on the crest on the letter – “titillandos” instead of “titillandus”.
Overall, I think that the finished set is really stunning and makes a great feature piece for any Harry Potter (or Lego) fan. It towers over Hedwig 75979 and is definitely a conversation piece and a beautiful addition to my collection. I highly recommend it.