NOTE: This Review is best viewed in a full screen
Name: The Shrieking Shack
Set Number: 4756
Theme: Harry Potter
Sub Theme: The Prisoner of Azkaban
Price: GBP 39.99, US$ 50
Recommended Age: 8 - 12
Resources: Brickset Peeron Photobucket
With the recent release of some reviews of the amazing new Harry sets, and the new Harry Potter Video and Board games just released, I thought it would be nice to have a look back at what is arguably one of the best Harry Potter Lego sets released (so far?). It is just called, the Shrieking Shack but actually contains Honeydukes and the infamous Transfiguration Shed. This set is well worth having a look over.
The box art is lovely, with the three buildings set out across a snowy Hogsmeade.
The box is large (for a HP set) bigger than Hagrid's Hut but smaller than Hogwarts Castle. The Back of the box shows one alternative build and the buildings viewed from the back.
The booklet is large, I was quite surprised that there was only one booklet as there are three separate builds in this set.
A random page of the booklet showing the second floor being built.
This booklet is full of interesting little mistakes; Sirius looks a little too much like Harry for his own good, and Remus looks like he is going for a run. Also there is Peter somehow managing to Transfigure himself into Padfoot.
The back of the booklet also includes two different alternative builds. One with a few buildings in Hogsmeade including a Pub, and the other is a kind-of arched hall thing, that the whole group is hanging out in.
Pieces of Interest:
a. The turntable piece is used on the bottom of the house is one of the more interesting features of the Shack. It add nicely to the creaking, moving feel (as described in the book) of the Shack.
b. These Wooden Plank tiles are awesome. The wood grain is realistic looking and they are perfect for 'boarding' up a dilapidated hovel like the Shrieking Shack. The piece is also found in the Temple of Mount Everest set.
c. Found separately from its body in 41 different sets between 2002 and 2009, this Skull piece never fails to impress with it's evil, but cute face.
d. This cute little Blue Spell book, created by TLG in 2000 for a Belville set has been used in five HP sets since. Including this one, they included a second Book as an extra.
e. This TransBlue spell piece has a similar story to the book above, they were both in the same Belville set in 2000 and have featured exclusively in HP sets since. It is a pretty little piece with minute detail shining in gold.
f. The cute little frog comes in 31 different sets ranging from SW, HP, Indy and Castle.
g. This white, double concave piece was first used in 1976, it is a perfect example of how TLG have kept their brilliant ideas going for decades.
h. The use of a train window coupled with lattice shutters makes an interesting combination to add to a house, but it seems to work perfectly in this set.
i. The Dark Stone coloured trapdoor was first used in a Spiderman set, followed closely by this one, it is used as the trapdoor to the tunnel that leads to Hogwarts. I am so glad TLG included this, even if it is in the wrong spot.
j. These printed window panes are so cool, with the detail in the glass panes and the rows of jars down the bottom make the shop front look realistic and just perfect.
k. Shirley Temple would be proud... these un-poetically named 'signal holder with red and white spiral pattern' pieces are used as signage on the front of Honeydukes store. These two lollipops are adorable and such a great addition to this set.
l. This is my favourite picture of this set. These brightly coloured jars are the epitome of this store, they look delicious, fun, bad for you, everything you look for in a Candy Shop. The use of TransColours is a stroke of genius, TLG have done such a good job including these pieces.
m. This D-basket was first used in a set in 1992 and has been consistently used over the years, so it is not so uncommon, but is a great piece to get your hands. In this set it hangs on the counter and holds the cherries.
n. The tan slope with Green Cash Register pattern is exclusive to 4 different HP sets. I have commented about how detailed this piece is in the past and I still stand by those words. This piece is gorgeous.
o. Boasting both a red and a green apple, I am blushing at the amount of food you get from this particular set. It is so good to see a set that TLG haven't held back for it, like the Medieval Market Village but older.
p. These Red cherries are available in 18 different sets, here's hoping they are sugar coated or the have no place in a Sweet Shop.
q. This yellow Belville plate is great to add to any Lego house, pub, or store, and the bright yellow colour adds to the bright and cheery feel of the Sweet Shop.
r. Lego and Chocolate, what more could a girl want in life? This detailed, printed (and half eaten) block of chocolate is so cool.
s. These RedBrown and TransPink Popsicles have been used in a few Scala and Belville sets, in this set they are another brilliant touch in the Honeydukes store.
t. This piece is used for Sirius Black in his Animagus form as Padfoot the dog.
u. This piece is used for Peter Pettigrew in his Animagus form as Wormtail/Scabbers the rat.
I really like this Peter Pettigrew (Wormtail/Scabbers) minifigure. His light Grey suit is the same colour as Scabbers, it has been made to look loose and wrinkled. There is no print on the back, and I really don't think it needs any. His face is really cool, his little bit of facial hair is enough like a mustache to look realistic, but whiskery enough to give him a ratty feel.
This Top View shot of his head shows how cool his head really is, with the hideous and creepy balding circle of thin ratty hair.
Harry Potter is in some casual clothes for this set, a maroon t shirt covered with a grey jacket and tan pants, (not exactly the most attractively constructed outfit, but Harry can get away with wearing just about anything.)
Remus Lupin! Wow! The detail in this minifig is just beautiful. From his slightly torn jacket with large buttons to the long scars across his face. The dark green suit it just awesome and his hair is so suave, it is available in three different colours in only eight sets. This is a very unique Minifig, and nicely put together.
Lupin after transforming into a Werewolf is shown here with his light Grey cloak on. The Werewolf piece fits nicely over his normal head for a quick change. I really love the choice of Dark Green and Light Grey.
Sirius Black is wearing his Prison clothes from Azkaban, but at this stage they are torn and ragged (from hiding out in caves and the constant transformations into a dog). The grey and black striped outfit, like all the other minifigs outfits, is very detailed but without printing on the back. I can't say his face looks much like Sirius from the movies, Sirius was first seen in the movie 'The Prisoner of Azkaban' that came out on June 4, 2004. This set was released around the same time, so it is possible that the designer was working from the book description only.
All the minifigures with accessories and animal counterparts. Well, Harry can't morph into an owl but it is the other animal in the set.
There is quite a large amount of the slighty rarer orange brown color in this building. It makes for some really great MOCing peices. This building would have been nicely done as a slightly larger and separate set, but it is still great in this one.
The base of Honeydukes, is nicely done with the hinge (playability) and the trapdoor.
We start by quickly building up the walls, I really like the Brown and Orange Brown together. but as with all HP sets there is always a few extra colours thrown in for good measure. In this case, White, Black, Dark Grey and Tan.
The Finished Product:
The front of the shop is cute and inviting, with a glimpse of sweet treats through the pained windows.
The view from the back (open) shows how all the colours fit together nicely and how all the wares are spread across the store.
The view from the front (closed) gives us a different perspective on the store. From this angle is makes me wonder why they did not include a door.
This angle shot shows the store as it can be when using the hinges to advantage, I can't see too many school children clambering in there at once when it is closed.
The Transfiguration Shed
The Finished Product:
The internal workings of the Transfiguration Shed consist of two chambers. When the button on top is pushed down the chambers rotate picking up what ever is under the chamber and sweeping around to the back where is is kept until the chamber is rotated again. In the video, it shows how the second time round the minifig always falls over. I have tried it on many surfaces and it is near impossible to turn minifig into animal and then back into minifig and keep the minifig standing. If anyone else has mastered this technique please let me know!
The Shrieking Shack
Now for the bulk of the set, where most of the pieces come into play. The usual mix of colours again, very nice to MOC with.
We'll start with the turntable, this piece provides one of the most obvious playability feature of the building, allowing the house to turn 360 degrees, shake and what-not.
The bottom floor is done, this level has two playable features; the lift-top coffee table and the secret back in the fireplace.
The second floor has the drop down bed, the mechanism is made with a few Technic pieces and handle on the outside of the building.
The Finished Product:
The completed Shack stands tall and spooky, I can just imagine it on a snowy hill in Hogsmeade with some children hanging around the fence, too afraid to go in. Maybe a fence and some trees would have been nice in this set also.
The back view of the Shack shows how the roof is held at an angle with some Technic pieces that rotate so the roof can tilt upwards and outwards.
This side of the Shack shows the Skull mechanism that when pulled, releases the bed on the top floor and it will swing downwards dumping whomever . It is a nicely designed technique and the Skull adds to the spookiness of the Shack.
This side of the Shack has the secret entrance to the fireplace, it has a nice little handle for kids to use.
This shot shows the house at an angle on the turntable. It glides quite smoothly when you turn it.
The Complete Set:
All of the buildings together gives us the perspective of how large and creepy the Shrieking Shack is and how small and cute Honeydukes is. I can just see it being crowed with young witches and wizards on outing day.
The Final Verdict:
Design: 9/10 The design of each individual building has been thoroughly thought out, with Honeydukes having the trap door, and so many lovely things inside. The Shrieking Shack being filled with little secrets and traps and the fact that TLG included the Transfiguration Shed is just amazing. It is really a very funny item, it does look a little too bulky for me to want to add is as a regular shed in any other MOC but from the perspective of a massive Harry Potter fan I think it is so cool. The range of colours and pieces you get in this set is just amazing, you just have to look at the POI section of this review to see that.
Build: 9/10 I really enjoyed building this set, the fact that you get to build two different buildings from scratch makes this set an amazing build. It is cool to see how all the little tricks and traps are set in the Shrieking Shack. It is also fun to try to recreate the alternative builds in the back of the booklet. (Something I would recommend doing, just for the fact that they don't include these alternate builds in most sets anymore.)
Playability: 9/10 As this set is aimed at 8 - 12 year old kids, I'd say that the playability is very high up there. With trapdoors, and secret compartments, the turntable and so many minifigures this set is just begging to be played with. From the perspective of an AFFOL, it still think this set is great to 'play' with. There is so many great pieces to MOC with, in fact I have recently used most of the Honeydukes pieces to create Fred and George's Wizarding Wheezes.
Minifigures: 10/10 I am giving the minifigures 10/10 because, firstly there are 4 and we are also giving their animal counter parts. Secondly because they are very movies/book accurate, especially Peter Pettigrew. The printing on his head is one-of-a-kind. I love it and think it is a MUST have for any fleshy fan.
Price: 8/10 As all Licensed Themes are bit pricey this is no exception. But is it worth it anyway? I think so, and I hope that this review has convinced you also.
Overall: 9/10 I just love this set and think it the best Harry Potter set right next to Hagrid's Hut and the Graveyard duel and the Hogwarts Express... okay so nearly all the Harry Potter sets rock! This one especially with so many pieces, great colours, so much potential and such accuracy. This set is definitely one of a kind for now but we all hope it will be upstaged in the future.