Set Name: Quidditch Practice
Set #: 4726
Theme: Harry Potter
Year of Release: 2002
Price at Release: USD $12.99
To coincide with the release of the second 'Harry Potter' film, "Chamber of Secrets", LEGO released its third wave of HP-themed sets, and one of them was this little guy, intended to fill a gaping whole left by the first movie sets: Quidditch. While the castle and a couple other sets included a broom, there were no sets centered around Quidditch, and this filled that slot nicely for the time being. LEGO remade this set in 2010, called 'Quidditch Match' and included more minifigures and a higher price. The question is: how does this set hold up ten years later?
Here is the original box, the standard size for sets of this price range during the early 2000s.
Why did I get this set? Well, two reasons. The minifigures, particularly Hooch and the uniforms. And because it was a nice change from the standard castle-sets that most HP sets inevitably are. Plus, for $13 USD, it was not a huge investment.
This set includes three minifigures: Harry Potter, Madame Hooch, and Draco Malfoy. And for a set of this size, that seems pretty appropriate.
It wouldn't be a 'Harry Potter' set without the titular character. At least here he is in a more unique outfit: his Quidditch uniform. It actually looks really nice, especially for a 2002 release. The only disappointing element is that the red in his cape does not match the red in his shirt.
Here he is from behind, no back printing. Mismatched red cape.
Next we have Malfoy. He has his usual face and hair, but now with his Slytherin Quidditch uniform. At least his green cape and green uniform match. Overall, a very good-looking figure.
Not much to see here. Good looking green cape; the same one they gave Gilderoy Lockhart in the 2002 Dueling Club.
And lastly we have the teacher herself, Madame Hooch. She looks pretty good, and less crazy than her 2010 counterpart. Her hair is appropriate, and the details in her torso are VERY nice. Her face has actually been reused twice; both times in 2003 SPORTS themed-sets as a snowboarder and skater.
Here we have her cape, and boy does it look nice! This is also better than her 2010 release since they gave her a plain black cape in the re-release. I love this cape.
Here's a snapshot of just some of the many accessories this set includes. Seen here are a bludger, the Golden Snitch, and a Nimbus 2001.
The four accessories needed for a game of Quidditch come in this convenient chest, just like in the movie.
Here they are out of the chest: 1 quaffle, 2 bludgers, and the Golden Snitch itself. I really like the gold piece; its rare and can only be found in two sets (in gold chrome). The other three balls are alright I guess, although it would have been nice to see unique pieces for them since they aren't true spheres due to the hole on the bottom of them.
LEGO decided to include this little contraption for more playability. It's basically a catapult, and you can use it to catapult the quaffle and/or bludgers into the three hoops.
The box demonstrates how you can use it to play.
I decided to give it a try, since the performance of this "play feature" would ultimately determine my playability rating...
Much to my surprise, I actually had some luck with it. In the set-up seen below, I was able to get the bludger through the hoop within my third try.
If you get bored with that, you can always use it as a teeter-totter for Harry and Malfoy...
THE 3 HOOPS
Next we have the three hoops themselves. In an actual game of Quidditch, you would need six (since each team has three to defend), but this still recreates the essence of Quidditch I suppose. Nothing too exciting here.
They all have identical bases, with slightly different length TECHNIC pieces to create the different heights.
One nice feature of them is that you can attach the players' legs to them to make it look like they are flying without using any clear pieces.
Next we have a spectator's stand. Again, it creates the essence of Quidditch like the hoops do, but it only holds one minifigure which is extremely pointless. It's actually ridiculous to have such a large architecture devoted to just one person.
Here it is from the back, nothing too exciting.
There are times I really like LEGO's sense of humor, and here is one example of that. Under the chair you can find a printed piece that shows a spider, spilled bag, and a bone. Three things certainly found under every spectator's stand.
There's also a compartment at the base of the tower. Don't look! Madame Hooch is changing...
I sure bet Hooch loves having this tower all to herself...
The stand also features two really nice printing pieces with the Gryffindor and Slytherin shields painted on, both exclusive to this set.
I wonder if Malfoy is going to launch the bludger at the hoops or Hooch...
CONCLUSION AND RATINGS
Minifigures: 8/10 - Overall, there's a good selection of figures included in this set. 3 is a fair amount, and all three of them were new at the time of release. The uniforms look great, and Hooch is nicely-printed.
Parts: 7/10 - There's some unique pieces in this set, and a lot of random parts in general, but most wouldn't have much substantial use in other situations.
Build: 5/10 - Really basic and dull; there aren't really any interesting building techniques found in this set.
Price: 9/10 - The amount of pieces for the price is very fair, and with a price tag this small, it's hard to complain.
Design: 4/10 - Everything here captures the idea of Quidditch, but just looks really stupid and simplified. The hoops are far too short and the stand is pointless since it only holds one fig.
Playability: 6/10 - The catapult works, but gets really old really fast. Not much here to keep you entertained for long.
Overall: 67% - With a set this small and for such a low price, its hard to complain about feeling ripped off. And for a set released over ten years ago, its very nice and not too far behind the quality of LEGO today. The minifigures are printed nicely, and there are nice details found in this set. My main problem with this is that the idea of Quidditch deserved a larger set, more at the $30 or $40 USD price point. It would have been nice to see stands that hold more than one person, a complete field, and more people. The 2010 version is nice that it includes Marcus Flint and Oliver Wood, but also features the same stupid one-person stand.
While I'm not disappointed with the set, I am disappointed with LEGO for missing a great opportunity for making a really cool set that would have been larger and more accurate.
Edited by Phil Slender, 01 September 2012 - 07:44 AM.