If you asked me to think of Hogwarts, I would probably tell you about the great hall, the tower with three crazy turrets, Dumbledore's office… hey, kinda exactly like last fall's 4842 Hogwarts Castle. I would not think of a bridge and two towers; this:
Set Title: Hogwarts (???)
Set #: 4867
Theme: Harry Potter
Film Connections: Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban, Deathly Hallows Part II
Minifigures: 7 (if you include Dementors)
Year of Release: 2011
Price at Release: USD 50, CAD 65, GBP 50
Buy it? Inventory? Bricklink Peeron LEGO
Just browse the pictures? Flickr set
Way back when Toy Fair happened this set was supposed to be called Battle for Hogwarts. But back then the Astronomy Tower globe had a map of Earth too, so clearly Toy Fair isn't the most reliable source for set info. Like 4865 Narcissa with Tree, I wasn't nearly as enthralled by this set as I had been with the last wave. I thought that with the rocky bases this set could not nicely integrate with 4842 Hogwarts Castle, and the big central bridge just looked kind of plain.
However, as it often happens when it comes to LEGO, I find myself buying a set because of the figures and convincing myself that I want the rest of the set as well. Four new figures isn't skimpy in the slightest, and it wasn't hard to tell myself that the towers didn't look half bad either. So let's see how they really stack up, super-subjective CloneyO style.
This box is a real beauty. Yes, this part of Hogwarts is standing out in the middle of nowhere, but my that nowhere is painted lusciously. LEGO hired a true artist to design these Harry Potter boxarts. (And, for whatever reason, the minifigures are also named in French! Oui! Encore! Bon Apetite!)
For 4842 Hogwarts Caslte, I was a little annoyed that for the actual size lineup on the top of the box LEGO actually scaled down the Dementor and McGonagall because they are taller than the rest. This time, on the other hand, all of the figures are pictured actual size, with the taller ones simply cutting off.
The back is the standard 2010-11 Harry Potter goodness. The layout with a little box for each section is quite pleasing, and leaves very little hidden about this set (which may or may not be a good thing). There's also a little box encouraging you to combine this set with 4842 Hogwarts Caslte, advice that I took for a picture later on in the review.
I would love to buy all of these artworks as posters, they are that gorgeous. This and the art for Hagrid's Hut are my favorites of all. I can't tell if the sky in the background is supposed to be at sunset or sunrise, but I'm veering towards sunset. I was a little surprised that there was only one booklet, but I'm happy about it. Frankly, I never see the need for more than one booklet.
It is quite a thick booklet, though, because many of the steps go so darn slowly. Honestly, I think even a little kid would be able to add more than two bricks per step.
In the back are the same pages that are also found in 4865 Ye Olde Spooky Tree, but bigger (duh). I'm still liking this picture of all the sets…
…and the El Moucho exciting Years 5-7 poster.
It wouldn't be a CloneyO Harry Potter review with out way more minifigure pictures than necessary, now would it? Nope. So I hope you enjoy this orgy of HP figures coming right up.
Let me start with what you'd expect: the figures in this set. Here are the good guys, featuring a whopping three freshly designed figures, one of whom has never been made in LEGO form before. All I will say about Harry is that I don't understand why he has a broom in this set, but ok. Neville's smirk face looks kind of stock, and not all that Neville-ish to me, but I love his sweater. It resembles the film costume very well. Lupin gets another pic later on for more commentary, but for now I'll say that I love getting another suit design, and it can be used for yellow figs too (or Mace-Windu-in-a-suit mashups). Sprout sports a lovely, Sprout-ish dark tan ensemble, but suffers like many female figures from being too tall. Sprout is short and dumpy, not big and tall like Julia Child!
Now for the bad guys: Goyle, Mr. Dementor III, and (another) Lucius Malfoy. Goyle's face looks a bit silly and old-man-ish to me, but he's a fairly unimportant character and I'm not all that irked. I'm sure most people will be quite glad to get another Slytherin torso. The Dementor is a Dementor, woohoo. As for Lucius, many could complain that we should've gotten a new Death Eater, like Yaxley or Dolohov or at least somebody else. But I think from the film trailer that Lucius actually does factor into the battle a little, so his inclusion makes a bit of sense. And I'm happy for another, because my last one had his face printed too far down.
Here are the chaps with reversible faces. Harry has his typical frowny face, Senior Dementor has his soul-sucking hole of doom, Neville looks cheery in a dumber sort of way, and Lucius is wearing a Death Eater mask, which I'm pretty sure he won't actually do in Film 8. Nice of LEGO to include both Lucius' golden locks and a hood, though. The one who I don't understand is Neville; I think LEGO wanted him to look angry, but he still looks happy. Oh well, at least they got his signature gap-tooth in (right?).
And here's everybody with a backprint: Goyle, Sprout, Lupin, Neville, and Harry. Looks like Slytherins crease their sweaters in the opposite direction to Gryffindors, doesn't it? Sprout's backprint is lovely and dumpy. Lupin's I find useless; not that I don't like the added detail, but really, it wasn't necessary. Neville's pixelated patterns are cool, and the designer has pulled off the semi-hoodie look quite well.
Now it's time for some minifigure comparisons!
That right there is quite a dramatic change! Well, the hair has stayed the same, and I never really understood the use of that hair for Lupin. I suppose that it sort of comes close to the look of his hair in the films, since he does have some over-hanging orangey hair, but Lupin never styles his hair this much. Really, besides for seeming too jolly, the new one captures Lupin's shaggy look from the new film quite well, while the old one is nice for his cleaner look in Prisoner of Azkaban. Overall, the new one is a better designed figure, but the old face did capture a lot of Lupin's character.
Last time Goyle was a minifigure, he had Harry on the back of his head, Voldemort style. I liked getting Malfoy's cronies back then, but really they did slip out of the books, so it isn't too bad that we haven't gotten another version until now. It's interesting that, last time, LEGO used the flat top hair piece for Crabbe, but this time they use it for Goyle. But it fits. Really I think the old one's face design is a little better. It's very strange, but it's got a nice sneering look to it. The new one is also sneering, but the lines around the new one's mouth do not work well.
I never did like the old version of Neville; he looked much too dumb, even if Neville is the brightest of characters. I really wish they had given one of the new one's faces the chiseled, bloody look that he has in the new film, but they didn't. Oh well. It's still a much nicer looking figure than the original.
And now, finally, we can assemble the crack team of heroes that Harry lead on his extremely stupid mission into the Ministry!
I couldn't resist the urge of snapping a Heads of Houses picture now that we have Sprout. My memory may be betraying me, but I believe that we have now seen all of the teachers that appear in the films as minifigures, besides for Slughorn. You could also say we haven't seen the Muggle Studies teacher and people like the Carrows as minifigures either, but we never actually see them teach in the films, so I won't count them.
There aren't a whole lot of interesting parts in this set, but I've selected a few. The globe pieces are probably the most interesting to everybody, but sand green hinges are rare, cheese and lime green parts are always nice, I always dig trans parts, slopes in the new PoP color are useful, that new tile/plate thing is new, cups are accessories, blue heads are rare, and I like writing really long sentences with a lot of commas.
I was expecting this sticker sheet, so it wasn't actually 'dreaded' by me. I don't understand why 2x4 tiles in some PotC sets were printed but these have to be stickered, but oh well. The stonework stickers add character to the set, and the others add nice detail, so I really do not mind these. None of them were difficult to apply.
SET - Bridge
The first part of the set to be built is the bridge (to nowhere). It's in the traditional LEGO Hogwarts color scheme, has some lovely dark green 'moss' underneath, and just overall looks fairly bridgy. The pillars at the far end look nice, and really it's rather plain, but nice.
The back is more open and ugly, clearly not meant to be displayed. Note that the hinged pieces for connecting the towers are not removable like the ones in 4842 Hogwarts Castle; these are stuck to the bridge. What's that? You noticed a mysterious round grill brick on a technic axle? Yeah, that would be the play feature, which would've been the only thing really giving this set the name "Battle for Hogwarts."
When you turn that mysterious round grilled thing, the bridge goes KABOOOM! Sort of. Actually the plates gets unsettled. If you do it with enough enthusiasm, it can work tolerably well, but halfhearted attempts produce a not-very-destroyed bridge.
The designer has chosen some trans-orange Bionicle/technic bits for the exploding feature, perhaps to call fire to mind. Really they just make me think of gouging the eyes out of some Bohrok and sticking them in here.
SET - Astronomy Tower
Next up in the instructions is the tower which the catalog terms the 'astronomy tower,' although the last Hogwarts had one of those two and it looked entirely different. Really there's no way to name it; it's just a tower, although it looks a bit different than the previous ones because of the open second level, which is quite a lovely design. It's still Hogwarts-y, but it sets this tower apart.
Level one: The Chamber of Secrets. No don't worry, it's not actually the Chamber of Secrets, it's really just the barren rocky basement, without enough room for play in there anyway. The exterior (in the above shot, and coming up more later) is nice, the exterior is nothing. You're supposed to put the green snake in here, so I'm hoping it's not Nagini.
The next level houses what LEGO calls the Room of Requirement. I'm guessing that this is the Room of Requirement because right before the battle certain students do use it as a hiding spot, and there are supposed to be beds with Gryffindor colored sheets. Still, they could've just as easily called it Gryffindor Dormitory, since it's just some bunk beds.
But wait, there's an unexpected play feature here! Yes, using those new type of plate/tile pieces, the bunk beds can be removed for access to the interior. So is that why it's the Room of Requirement, because the beds can vanish?
The next level is the open part with the lovely globe int he center. I suppose the globe's printing is supposed to be a sort of star chart, and that is why LEGO calls this the Astronomy Tower.
I was quite surprised by the stand for the globe. When I opened the set, I had no idea why there was a blue minifigure head with the knit hat, but the secret was then revealed. It's a tight fit under the globe, but that means it keeps the globe from bouncing around like the PotC one…
Here's the globe compared to the world map from PotC. This one's stand is much simpler, but I like it better. The other stand is a little too big for the globe. I think this new one could easily be used in Sci-Fi mocs to represent the map of another planet.
Finally, we come to the incredibly small Divination Classroom. There was a Divination Classroom in the second Hogwarts as well, but that one had a little room in it.
You see, there's barely room for a minifigure! The room looks fine as a set piece, but it's absolutely unplayable. I don't know if those wooden things are supposed to be tables or chairs, but in any case they can't be sat upon. This room is pretty much a fail.
SET - The Other Tower
The other tower also has a distinctive look, since it has a big open window with a railing. At first I found it strange to have those slope bricks overhanging studs on the plate, but it's grown on me. This is another well-executed tower, and the stickers aid to that.
I'm skipping the stony basement, since it's exactly the same as the other tower. The first floor here is taken up with… nothing. It's just two pictures. My question is, WHY. Why did this room get wasted? There's no play here, nothing exciting, nothing representing anything from the films. Why would LEGO throw in a blank room? This is just as bad as the stupid statue room in the last Hogwarts.
Leveling up from boring land brings us to the best room in the entire set: Lupin's office. Just like every other room in both Hogwarts sets, Lupin's office makes no sense in a tower, but who cares. The room is open enough for some play, the accessories on the desk are lovely, and the blackboard is super-cute. The placement of it is a little odd, but I'm not sure there would be any place better in here, since it is still small. The only thing that could've been better would be a little gramophone like the one that appeared in Lupin's Classroom.
The top of the tower holds the Mirror of Erised, or the Mirror that Sucks Away Your Soul (like a Dementor). Using the cramped interior of the big roof piece as a holding space for the Mirror was an effective idea.
The problem, though, is that the instructions have you place the Mirror outside of the roof, leaving very little space for a minifigure. See how silly Harry looks staring right into it?
The solution is simple, and the people who took the official set photos hit upon it: just move the Mirror back. Now there's plenty of room to seat Harry and have Dumbledore creepily hover over his shoulder!
Did you know that there have been three different version of the Mirror of Erised? Well here they are, from Hogwarts Classroom, The Final Challenge, and this set. Clearly, the new one is the best and most ornate, though I would've liked a reflective sticker. The brightly colored one is just silly, and the middle one is solely a sticker, though it's a nice thick lenticular sticker.
The three components come together nicely to form a complete set. The rocky bases really are nice, and the unique touches of each tower complement each other and give the whole set a distinctive, rustic look. It looks as Hogwarts is supposed to look; not bright and shiny, but weathered and a tad gloomy.
From a side-angled view, you can see that the towers are pretty skinny, but that's alright. They have to have some room for play inside. Also note the connection point on the base of the near tower, so that it can be connected into 4842 Hogwarts Castle.
The back is all about play, although which such cramped rooms that might be somewhat difficult. Still, there's a bit a kid might be able to do in each room.
So, the final test, how does this set look when put together with 4842 Hogwarts? The truth is, it looks wonderful. For some reason, the stone bases aren't glaring; they just work. The designers have done an excellent job creating a set that you really will want to add to the last Hogwarts. (To see closeups of all the action in this shot, check the Flickr set.)
I have found myself liking this set quite a bit, and certainly much more than I expected. Sounds exactly like my reaction to 4862 Gathering at the Tree doesn't it? Yes, yes it does. This being the second wave, LEGO could've just throw together a bunch of the figures they'd already designed, with just one or two new ones thrown in as a taste treat. But that's not what they did at all. Four new figures is quite generous, and makes this set somewhat tempting for that alone.
And then there's the fact that it's a very attractive model, and that it integrates perfectly into 4842 Hogwarts Castle. It's a good size; perfectly satisfying for fifty bucks. It doesn't have much in the way of play features, but it has the innate sort of playability that I've been going on about since my review of the Burrow. Hogwarts isn't about blowing stuff up or launching minifigures; it's about role-playing. This set has more Hogwarts rooms, and thus more role-playing possibilities, although some of those rooms are too cramped to be useful. Plus it has a sort of exploding bridge. So boys will like it too! Hooray!
Minifigures: 9/10 - I understand that Lucius and a Dementor aren't the most exciting figures, so I docked 1 for the haters. Ok haters?
Pieces: 9/10 - Nothing too exciting, but there are some cool and undoubtedly useful parts in there.
Design: 7.5/10 - The exterior is all lovely, but a lot of the interior space is not used all that well.
Price: 10/10 - This should be and is $50.
Playability: 6/10 - There is the play feature, and good old role-playing, but the lackluster parts of the interior take away from play possibilities.
Overall: 8.3/10 - Somehow I've ended up liking this set more than the last Hogwarts, but I guess it makes sense. That set was too big and expensive to have as much disappointment as it did, whereas this one is smaller and so has less things to fault. The finished model really is perfect for display, and some of the interior has enough charm to keep this grade on the higher end. It may not be everybody's thing, but I feel this set is certainly worth picking up.
C'mon, who doesn't want a new Neville?