Name: 71043: Hogwarts CastleTheme: Wizarding WorldYear: 2018Pieces: 6020Price: £349.99 / $399.99 / 399.99€ Resources: Bricklink, Brickset, Lego
*Set was graciously provided by LEGO for our review. Please be assured that the opinions in this review are my own and do not reflect those of LEGO.
Hello everyone and welcome to my review of the highly anticipated Hogwarts Castle. This set was one shrouded in rumors and mystery- would it combine with the earlier minifigure scaled sets? Would it be micro scale? Would it even be Hogwarts? When LEGO showcased this beast - The second largest set parts count wise as of the time of this writing, only beaten by the UCS Milenium Falcon 2.0), and largest nanoscale set as a result - I knew we’d be in for a treat with this one. So is this set worth picking up? I might have spoiled my answer a bit there, but read on to find out!
First, please do note that this box was sent to me from Denmark and so the packaging here is the Euro variant that will have less information that the one released in North America. The box art here utilizes the same striking blue backdrop as the minifigure scaled sets, however this time around they did not place the banner at the top featuring any Harry Potter characters. Size wise, as you might expect this is both huge and heavy. In fact, the box is the exact same size as the one for the Creator Expert Roller Coaster, and also much heavier.
From here you can see the sets many details highlighted, but don’t look to closely now, we will get to those in due time.
I was hoping this set might get the treatment of the Falcon’s spiral-bound instructions, considering this set is larger than he original falcon in terms of parts count, but alas we get 4 standard manuals there’s a bit of information in here about the design of the set.
A word about the contents of this set since this is the best place to put it, and as you may know by now he focus of my reviews lies more in the finished model rather than the parts selection- this set comes packaged with 38 bags of parts, each one labeled with a unique number so at no point will you be using more than 1 bag. For a set with so many tiny pieces, this is certainly a welcome strategy.
As a man who A) has a “paint by stickers book” in his house, B) Ordered and applied reprolabels for Transformers Generations Metroplex and C) Used to adore Exo-Force, it takes a lot for a sticker sheet to scare me away. This set however does bring back the need for the term “Dreaded Sticker Sheet” because there’s a lot to be seen here. Don’t get me wrong, these all look absolutely fantastic, and if it was down to the choice of stickers or omitting all of these details I will gladly pick stickers . But be warned, you will want to have tweezers at the ready.
Hogwarts House Founder Minifigures
As you might expect, being the equivalent of a "UCS" set and also being microscale, this set comes with a selection of Minifigures mounted on their own display stand. And, to continue the theme of the Wizarding World sets, they look stunning; We get the four founders of the Hogwarts Houses; Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazaar Slytherin, and Rowena Ravenclaw. You slowly build up these figures over the course of the build, getting one every few bags.
Rowena and Helga feature alternate faces. I'm not sure if this was a mistake or not (with my history of review sets, I always get strange happenings), but you do get a second copy of Godric's beard.
As expected, they all feature some lovely back printing.
Since this set is microscale, the focus of course is on utilizing nanofigs- and man, it comes with a lot. Here we have Voldemort, Filch, Snape, McGonogall, Dumbledore, Bellatrix, Lupin, and Umbridge. They all feature an impressive amount of printing at this scale. They aren't perfect, sure, but for figures this small I think lego has outdone themselves here.
In the way of known students, we have Draco, Hermoine (Well, I think this one is supposed to be her, anyway...), Harry, and Ron. Also we get three unprinted figures, meant to represent Black and White Chess Pieces and the Hogwarts Architect. In this set, you get two of each of these unprinted figures, though the build only calls for one of each, so you get some spares for your collection.
Since this is Hogwarts, you needs students to fill the halls! As a result, you get 3 students from each house.
You also get 5 Dementors, which are black molded versions of the Emperor Palpatine microfig.
We begin the build of the set with some small little boats. They are very simple yet quite smart in their design, and feature a blue piece to imitate “water” being separated by the boat, though to be honest if this element was in a trans shade of plastic the effect would be much improved. It’s also a little difficult to get any more than one Microfigure into these boats, as all of the studs are unusable due to the horizontal window frame
Aragog and Hagrids Hut
Hagrids Hut is a construction you build at about the midpoint of the build. I had totally forgotten this was in the set, and while I was building it I had no idea what I was constructing, but it was instantly recognizable when done. Even for a small structure like this they did a wonderful job of capturing some key details. When I first placed the spider down my thought was “well that’s out of scale” and then it hit me that this was Aragog, and I have never appreciated a spider mold more than I did with this.
Another little build you get to put together is the Hungarian Horntail. I must say I am surprised that no stickers were used on this model- it’s surpsijngly articulate, able to bend at the head, move at the wings in two places, the legs, and two joints in the rear body. A small brown stud with “nipple” is included to mount his foot to a stud, though really I wish they had just given two of these.
No, this isn't the Whomping Willow I review just a few weeks ago- this one is tiny, and just as cool in it's own way. Not only does it look surprisingly good for it's small size, but can also spin, has moving "arms", and even comes with a nano-Ford Anglia.
You begin the build of this set just as you would begin your journey to Hogwarts- at the entrance. It’s a simple start, though even here you start to notice the detail of this set, as there is a sticker placed inside of here that you otherwise will hardly ever see.
Framework for Section 1
Unlike the minifigure scale Great Hall set, this set properly builds up a rocky cliff-face meant to separate Hogwarts from the water. Basically you connect some technic beams, slap some BURPs on, and cover them with a variety of slope pieces to make them look pretty. It’s used to good effect, though I will say this is the first set where I’ve reslly had to check what parts are needed for each step as I kept missing parts. Some variation is added to the build for the tower later on, and we can also see the Chamber of Secrets being constructed.
The first major building we complete in this set is the Great Hall. We will take a look at the detail of this later on.
One of the only truly repetitive constructions in this set are the walls that make up the largest tower . Construction of these walls takes up 3 of the sets 38 bags.
It was cool to see them come together, however- these pieces cover up the same pre-fab round elements used in the minifigure Great Hall set. Do note that in the picture above I still had one section to go, hence the gap to the left of the Tower.
Youll get to see the completed Tower soon, but here’s a look at the inner workings of that top part
First Half Complete
The first half is mainly comprised of the Great Hall and Dumbledore's Tower.
Here we can see the technic beams which eventually will connect to the second half.
Second Half Beginning
The second half of Hogwarts starts off very similar to the first, again we start with a Technic Frame...
Similar again to the first half, we utilize BURPs and build up the rest of the foundation. We'll take a look at those little details in there later.
Moving forward we start on the next two sections of building. Again there is a wide variety of building techniques used here, the build is so compact and uses so many parts to achieve such little details.
Next comes this little bridge section. This was a rather satisfying section, as it all connects together so seamlessly in the end.
We add the bridge to the second half, and continue building. As you can see and likely would expect, some structural elements use brighter colors, but unlike in a large Technic set, I really don't feel that was needed here, especially considering how many numbered bags there are.
Second Half Done
Add on a few more grey towers and we are done!
Again, there's a lot of little rooms here, all of which we will take a look at.
The most satisfying part of this build is getting to merge these two halves together into a simply amazing representation of Hogwarts. Its stunning, from the proportions to the details they've managed to fit in. While this set is second only to the UCS Falcon in part count, it's not nearly as large, I mean even the Creator Exper Roller Coaster outsizes it- but it's still a big set, and an extremely heavy, dense, and detailed one at that.
When we spin this around to the rear, that's where people's opinions on this set get divided. Many are happy with this, while others would have preferred for this set to simply remain a Hogwarts model, and thus be completed on the backside. Me personally, I prefer what they've done here. A completed build would add more repetitiveness, and I will never really see the back of this; but at the same time, I have all of these really cool little sections to look at when I want to, which creatively use elements to bring this to a nanoscale.
Now it's time to start looking at the details of this beast. Starting off we have this courtyard; Do take note of the uniquely printed windows, you'll be getting a lot of those here.
Here we have the entrance to the Great Hall, which features opening doors and that Architect statue.
The stained glass effect used here is great, allowing for plenty of light to shine through to light up the multitude of colors.
I'm not really sure why this section has these exposed studs... anyone?
Here we can see some of the neat effects of SNOT being utilized- also a fun detail is the clear mounts for the Dementors to fly above Hogwarts.
As mentioned earlier, the Horntail can connect to the rooftop here.
Chamber of Secrets
One of my favorite rooms is the Chamber of Secrets, which uses the Nagani mold that came with the Voldemort Minifigure, and flips the scale to become the Basilisk here. I love that even a little black tile is included to represent Tom Riddle's notebook
The rotating staircases are a signature element of Hogwarts so it was cool to see them here (and yet they can move left to right.) You get two different sections, each one with an arrangement of different photos... but if I'm being honest, this is one of my least favorite parts of the set, I just don't think they look all that great, perhaps it's the narrow shape of the tower throwing me off here.
Moaning Myrtle Bathroom
Above the staircases sets this bathroom here.
Something to mention is that the placement of these rooms isn't really very accurate nor to-scale, but that's to be expected. Dumbledore's office is filled with little details, even having the sorting hat and Phoenix on the walls in sticker form.
It's a bit of an off place for it, but you also build up the Gargoyle statue,
The Great Hall goes to show that at the smaller scale, this can still have even more detail than the larger variation of this model that was just released. I love the look of the windows even from here, all four flags hanging at once, and..and....is Voldemort trying to have lunch with the kids?
Heading over to the right side of the castle, we once again see that stained glass put to work.
It's quite a task to achieve some of these shapes, but they did a great job here.
Again there are so many ways to build up a turret, but this set has a highly detailed and compact way of doing so. This creates a much better look than using some larger prefab parts.
Flying keys utilize some clear-backed stickers (and if we ever see a microscope quidditch field, I could imagine that utilizing a similar technic for the snitch, bludgers, etc.) and also a brown paintbrush to imitate a broomstick.
We get the large scale chessboard, which of course brings in the white and black nano figures from before.
Chamber Of Secrets Message
Defense against the Dark Arts Classroom
Again I love the ways that they took regular elements and used them in this microscale sort of way, first the broomstick and now these magnifying glasses.
The one room that really jumps out is Umbridge's office. I like the plates on the wall, and do note it's a little tough to get her in her seat, but this area is a little too loud and not quite as polished as some of the other areas.
Mirror of Erised
A small sticker and a golden plate create this Mirror, and even a red stud is places on the ground to imitate the Sorcerers stone.
Some nice little couch builds are used here, simple but effective
Here's another room I don't love so much, I find the sticker to be very jarring when compared to the oversized cauldron and potion bottle behind the figures.
A note about the details
Here's the thing about this set; it has a lot of detail. So much, in fact, that I'm still finding little details as I look at this thing, and I build it! (Case in point, I just realized while writing this review that the red stud was the Sorcerers stone.) And while I could show you every little detail of this set in this review, I consider this like a good movie; build the set yourself, m and you'll find that there are even more little details that I haven't shown off here or talked about.
How do I even bring to give my thoughts on a $400 set, the second-largest parts count set, at that? It's important that you know what to expect with this set- it's a very, very expensive Architecture set, modeled after Hogwarts, with some extra attention paid to the interior. That's really what it is, It offers that same level of interesting build technique and produces a great looking final model. It's got a ton of nano-figures, some very nice exclusive mini figures, a mind-boggling variety of parts, and offers you a build that's both exhausting but also engaging throughout the whole model. If you want a Hogwarts set, this is it. It will not get better than this, plain as that. I'm sure we will see more Hogwarts sections to be added to the Great Hall in future minifigure-scaled sets, but already that pales in comparison to the accuracy this set has.
Do I recommend it? At $400, there are quite a number of choices for you, but as far as large sets go I think this is a great value at only $400 for a 6020 piece set, part of a license, no less. It does what it needs to do, and even if you don't like the rooms on the back, I think the front view of this set really sells itself. It's an experience to build, and there is something to be said about the detail in this. I own the Creator Expert Coaster, and that set came close in price to this monster, but the build experience was absolutely nothing compared to this- for Harry Potter fans, this is a dividing set. You could get all of the mini figure scaled sets in wave 1 with $30 to spare, or get this set. Me? I'd go with this set, easy. And for people who aren't fans of Harry Potter, I think this set offers a fun build, not only due to it's complexity but also thanks to the constant game of guessing "What is this representing in this nano-scaled world?" I know at $400 this set will be out of reach for many, and for many others you've already secured it. But if you have the means, I say go for this one, make this your $400 Lego set purchase, or prioritize this over getting all of Wave 1.
But man, I really hope we see some more Microscaled additions in the future...I'd love a micro Hogwarts Express and Quidditch Field.