Review: 4720 Knockturn Alley
Posted 20 February 2010 - 02:40 AM
Set Name: Knockturn Alley
Set Number: 4720
Number of Pieces: 209
Price: 20.00 USD (Now worth approximately 40.00 USD used)
Theme: Harry Potter / Chamber of Secrets
Year Released: 2003
First up are the instructions, since I don't have the box anymore. The cover features a funny but not accurate scene, where Harry is apparently shoplifting a bag of magic dust, while Lucius glares at him angrily. Many of the items in the shop have been moved closer to the window to advertise them as well. The border is a simple stone architecture, with some decorative owls.
Inside, we find a simple minifigs page and then construction of the chimney begins right away.
A random page shows us more of the instructions' layout. I find the rotated parchment to be distracting and unnecessary. Why couldn't they have kept it straight? Otherwise, color discrimination is fine and the instructions aren't hard to follow.
The only real "junk" ad found is for the Chamber of Secrets video game. I only played the first one, but the ad makes the second one look appealing enough.
The back cover features the lovely modular castle layout at its peak. You can see the Knockturn Alley and Quality Quidditch Supplies are outliers, and don't even get a spot on the map! Yet somehow, 4728 Escape from Privet Drive does.
Instructions:: Thoughts: Clear, easy to follow, and to the point, but a little distracting at the same time.
Next up are the pieces, meticulously spread for your viewing pleasure. You can see that the set has a unique color scheme: black, dark gray, and sand blue, with touches of dark blue. This is strange for a set even now, and I think it was even stranger back when it was released. However, just because it's strange doesn't mean it's not satisfying. I personally love the colors, simply because they're rare and gloomy.
Pieces of interest:
Here are some of the more interesting pieces of the set. The window is very useful as well as the arch piece. Owls are cool in dark gray, and the printed eye pieces are rather unique. However, my personal favorites are the purple jewel, the printed hand, and the brain piece. The hand represents a display that Harry gets ensnared in while looking around. The brain piece is rare, but very useful. I would love to see the piece come back sometime.
Pieces:: Thoughts: Cool colors, huge selection, and no stickers! I can't think of anything negative to say.
There are only two minifigs that came with the set, but if Lego had put the characters who appeared in the movie, there would only be one. Harry's shirt is movie-accurate, but I wish they had included a cape. The Lucius torso is incredibly useful, and includes such lovely details as pinstripes and a pocketwatch chain. Again, I wish he had a cape, but if you're a Lego Harry Potter fan, I'm sure you have some laying around.
No back printing for either, but back printing wasn't all that common back in the day.
Minifigs:: Thoughts: Lovely printing, especially on Lucius' torso. Capes could have been nice though.
The first phase of the build is the chimney that Harry slides out of. The pictures are at approximately 6 step intervals. The chimney is much more dense and complex than the rest of the set, which is why it only takes three less steps to build compared to the body of the shop. The build is very straightforward, and doesn't use and ingenious techniques, except for roof slopes and a tactic for locking the sliding plate in.
Then in 26 steps the rest of the set is done. This part is even simpler than the chimney, and utilizes a similar roof technique, as well as some minor SNOT.
Build:: Thoughts: No ingenious techniques are used, but there's little repetition and it's not very boring either.
The whole set:
And the set is completed! The colors all blend nicely and I definitely think they captured the mood of the location very well.
Taking a look from the back, we can see the details inside. I think there's a perfect amount of details, open space, and functionality. This side of the chimney looks amazing.
Let's take a closer look at the body of the shop. You can see the skulls by the entrance, the cash register and table, the side display, and the window display. Also note the small attic with a glowing spider.
The shelves of the shop have some gruesome decorations including a brain, two potions, a telescope of some kind, and a green glass. I really like the design of the side shelf.
The cash register is a lovely printed piece, and the hand behind is neat. The hand was actually next to the register in the book and the movie, so Lego really went all out on accuracy!
That table in the shop window looks fishy... oh my god it's a freaky owl! I really don't see the point of this, but I guess it's a semi-cool function, and it gives us an excuse for printed eyes.
The chimney is a little bit odd, but the front with the opening looks superb. The side view is probably the most awkward. The colors really work here!
One of the features I like is the rearranging capabilities. The chimney can move around, and the other two segments have a hinge. Here's another possible set-up that I find a bit more movie-accurate.
Here's a quick screenshot of Harry shooting out of the fireplace. Lego definitely captured the feeling, but maybe a little less sand blue would make it more accurate. Also, glass cases would really help.
Here's a brief functions video that showcases the chimney function. I think it looks quite cool!
Design: 10/10 Plenty of details are included, and yet there is room to move the minifigs about. The shop can be changed into different formations to keep things interesting and the color scheme really works.
Parts: 10/10 Amazing selection of rare sand blue as well as plenty of dark gray, black, and touches of dark blue. A few of the specialty printed parts, like the brain and the hand, are simply fantastic!
Build: 9/10 Not very boring, but it doesn't have too many interesting techniques. A simple process, but still an enjoyable one.
Minifigs: 9/10 Excellent torso prints, especially Lucius', but they could have used capes. The only other fig that could be included is Malfoy, who is more common.
Playability: 9/10 A few handy play features, like the fireplace, and the owl, and lots of accessories. It probably needs wands to get a 10, but there is quite a bit of stuff that can be done as it is.
Price: 10/10 Perfect piece/price ratio, and it even has lots of big plates! 209 for $20 is just great.
Total: 57/60 This is a pretty darn good set. It has lots of rare and useful pieces and colors, some great minifigs, and an excellent design. The only real downside is that it doesn't have wands or capes, which could make it a bit more interesting, but if you're a Harry Potter fan, supplying these shouldn't be a problem. I say that if you're willing to pay the price tag, go for it! I don't think you'll regret the purchase.
"Run for your lives! It's the undead traveling salesman!"
Thanks for reading!
Posted 20 February 2010 - 03:39 AM
Video of the set functions, reference pictures from the movie, and plenty of pictures, Bravo.
I remember really wanting this set when it first came out, but I never ended up buying it.
However, I did pick up Quality Quidditch Supplies, another excellent HP set.
The printed Brain piece is very nice, and I think it only comes in one other set (that Studios Frankenstein's Lab set).
Definitly a quality set.
Posted 20 February 2010 - 06:37 AM
Posted 20 February 2010 - 09:27 AM
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My name is Wilhalm Bloodaxe and I am back to be part of the Ragnarök Now Redux.
Lord Kenneth Valise, Level 1 Knight, 28yrs old human
Power: 4 Health: 10/10 Gold: 10
Inventory: One potion, a Greatsword (WP: 3) and a Shield (SP: 2)
Posted 20 February 2010 - 11:04 PM
These sets are now more than a dime a dozen, they have jumped up in price of course if you can find them.
My son would love to have this one, might try and get it for him.
The shop and chimney are both quite cool.
Keep on bricking !
Posted 21 February 2010 - 02:52 AM
That made me giggle
I never had any Harry Potter sets, but weren't they famous for all the special pieces?
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Posted 21 February 2010 - 03:18 AM
Posted 21 February 2010 - 08:03 AM
The set looks a bit average for $20, but when compared to a set like Quidditch Practice (the upcoming version), it does seem to be an excellent deal parts-wise.
Lots of interesting printed parts, and I like that chimney drop feature! The weird creature-table is cool, too.
Overall, if this was released today with updated fleshie minifigs, I would definitely purchase it, thanks to your review!
Posted 21 February 2010 - 12:12 PM
I just love your photography. Really nice angles.
I really like this set and I think you have done it justice with such a good review.
The sand and earth blue pieces in this set were such a big draw-card for me. I just love the colour scheme of this set and some of the really cool rarer pieces.
Thanks for another HP review. Lets see if we can cover them all before the new ones come out.
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To Be Is To Do - Kant
To Be Or Not To Be - Shakespeare
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Posted 21 February 2010 - 12:42 PM
I like the set, although I don't have it. These little shops released by LEGO are really nice because they fit in a normal tabletown. And there are so many nice pieces in there, like the hand tile and the sand blue pieces.
Posted 21 February 2010 - 02:59 PM
A great review showing a great set! This is among my most favourite Harry Potter sets. As most sets of the series, it features many useful pieces for other building projects. As you have nicels worked out, it has many printed pieces which I prefer over the new approach with the stickers. The hinge bricks remind me of the old castles able to fold open.
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