Review: 10217 Harry Potter Diagon Alley
Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:18 AM
This is my first review. Just came back from my dark ages in Nov last year. This is my first Harry Potter set, and I'm quite sure I'm the one of the first in Singapore to own and build it.
Name: Harry Potter Diagon Alley
Year of release: Jan 2011
The total build time took 5 hours, as compared to MMV 8 hours, despite the fact that this set has more pieces. TLG had numbered the packets this time round, making hunting for pieces easier. It also has less 1x1 rounds, so the big pieces ratio are higher than MMV. This equates to better value for parts?
One of my bag 2 burst in the box, making a mess. Luckily I have no pieces missing.
Stickers & instruction booklets:
Interestingly, the stickers this time round are made of transparent plastic, so they are more durable and re-stickable. The transparent background made it possible to stick them on any background.
Building 1 - Ollivander's Wand shop
The minifigs in Diagon Alley comes with their respective building. In Ollivander's, there are Hermione, Ron and Ollivander himself. All heads has 2 faces! We've already seen Hermione's and Ron's faces. Ollivander's horror face looks like him facing Voldemort in the HP7 scene.
This building has the smallest base plate of the 3.
The wand shelf. The wand boxes are all stickers.
Completed level one facade
Building the inside
Building 2 - Borgin & Burkes
Borgin & Burkes comes with 4 minifigs - Lucius Malfoy, Fenrir Greyback, Fred and George Weasley. All 4 of them have 2 faces. As mentioned by others, Fred & George have the same heads.
The base of Borgin & Burkes. The left rotating base is used for the skeleton, where the right is used for the vanishing cabinet.
Level one facade
Something interesting here, the fence are attached to skeleton legs! Innovative!
Building 3 - Gringott's Bank
This is the biggest building of the 3 and contains the most packets and parts. It is the only one that can swivel in and out, open and close. I took the most pictures of this building.
I forgot to take a photo on the contents, but here's the bags.
Finally Harry Potter appears. He and Hagrid is found with 2 goblins on the last building. Here, only Harry Potter has 2 faces. The goblins' heads should have printing on them, my son is afraid of their faces. Hagrid's body came as a whole part. Only his head and hair are removable.
The front base of Gringott's bank
Level one facade without the profile pillars
New unique piece: 2x2 round profile bricks
Level one with pillars
Adding the signboard for Gringott's Bank
Building level two and more profile pillars
The bank safe. It is definitely not as big as the one shown in HP1, where Harry took a ride into the basement.
Gringott's front view - opened
Gringott's front view - closed
Gringott's side view - closed
Gringott's back view - closed
Gringott's back view - opened
Gringott's Bank with minifigs
Presentation wise, this set is very colorful and beautiful. It has the same feel as MMV, as it portrays the daily life of the magical world. Right now, the two sets rank top on my display cabinets. Would be good if we have some generic wizards and witches manning the 'sales' outside the shops. But there are 11 minifigs here, so nothing to complain about.
Playability wise, this set is not an action set, so I 'play' it by shuffling the buildings and minifigs around. Here is an alternate layout of the set:
The challenge here is to merge this set with the rest of the Harry Potter sets. But unfortunately I dun have them.
Design: This set is perfectly designed! Each building are uniquely different from one another. Ollivander's is bright and colorful; Borgin & Burkes is dark and eerie; Gringott's Bank is majestic and vintage. The designer is the same person as MMV and Pirates Soldiers Fort. I'll buy all sets designed by him!
Value: This set has 2025 pieces and cost $150. Enough is said.
The designer used many uncommon parts. Example: the 2x2 round profile bricks are new, the green 2x1 bricks on Ollivander's have grooves and the white 2x1 bricks on Gringott's have strips. My point is, they are not built with common bricks so commonly found on other sets. I think I will buy 2 more boxes.
Build-experience: Although it took me 5+ hours to build, I spent 3 days doing it. I found myself wow-ing at the curve facade of Ollivander's and Borgin, the semi-circular roof top of Borgin, the crooked profile pillars of Gringotts, and turning the 3 buildings into an alley. Visitors to my house loves it!
Overall: If you have budget for one big set, buy this. If you want to buy Hogwarts Castle, buy this instead. This looks so complete. It kinds of invite me to expand the alley. The difference made by the Lego designer is humongous, as Diagon Alley has a totally different feel with the other HP sets.
Lastly, I didn't know a review takes such a long time! But it was satisfying.
More photos here: Flickr
Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:43 AM
So I'm not the only one who got an Ollivander with tanned hands I still wonder how that could have happened, maybe another brown torso with dark flesh hands (the only one I can think of is the cemetery warrior one) is produced on the conveyor belt right next to it and they somehow got mixed up, who knows Oh wait, the cemetery warrior set is out of production, so that rules out my explanation...
P.S.: Nice vitrine you've got there
Edited by Lego-Freak, 01 February 2011 - 11:51 AM.
Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:57 AM
This set looks great, but I guess two or maybe even three will be needed to do all the customizing...
The minifigs are awesome, and so are all the little details... I love the buildings and their color schemes/details. This set is just lovely!
As for me, in as much as I love Harry Potter, I'm looking to make my medieval town bigger and this set looks just perfect, with so many ideas, parts, details, itens and objects, even if a couple of things need to be cut out.
I really like yor review and the set. Thanks!
And as lightiningtiger would say... I'm a conformist!!
EDIT: for some reason, the forum is automatically changing K-e-e-p--o-n--b-r-i-c-k-i-n-g to I'm a conformist... :(
Edited by Artifex, 01 February 2011 - 11:59 AM.
Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:58 AM
Regarding unique bricks: all of those are also in other sets. 1x1 round bricks are from Atlantis temple set, green 2x1 with groove are from Green Grocer (idea of using skeleton legs as fence is also from there) and 2x1 with strips is also not so un-common.
Otherwise, I really like this set. It's price sets it nicely between MMV (which has similar number of minifigs but less bricks) and modular sets (which have more bricks but less minifigs). And its licensed set, so one would expect higher price.
If you get another copy this could aslo be nice parts pack, because selling minifigs (assuming you dont need more than one of each) could bring down price nicely.
Posted 01 February 2011 - 12:35 PM
Currently playing as the Sheriff Kenneth Emanuel in Tamamono's Silver City Mafia
Posted 01 February 2011 - 04:41 PM
You are right about taking this set over the lastest Hogwarts Castle set. I have both, and after nicking the minifigures from the Castle set, that set sits in the box, bricks akimbo. I already have all but one of the Hogwarts Castle sets and do not even feel like putting this latest one together. But the Diagon Alley set, I could not wait to get cracking on this beautiful set!
I might just give this a center spot of honor in my living room, it's that spectacular.
P.S. My Olivander has flesh colored hands - I guess mine hasn't been dying wands!
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