Hello fellow muggles! It's September, which means it's back to school for the students at Hogwarts. And what better place to get all your wizarding school supplies than in Diagon Alley? I've been a Harry Potter fan ever since the first book was published and this magical shopping street has a special place in my heart as Harry's first trip there with Hagrid was the first time we ever got a glimpse of the wizarding world. Some parts of the alley have already been adapted into Lego over the years, but never at such a large scale, so does this set finally do Diagon Alley justice? Let's go "through the bricks" as LEGO puts it and find out!
Set Number: 75978 Name: Diagon Alley Theme: Harry Potter Release Date: September 1, 2020 Pieces: 5544 Minifigs: 14 Price: £369.99 / $399.99 / €399.99. Links: S@H Brickset Bricklink S@H description:
The box of this set is huge! It's the same size as that of the Ghostbusters HQ. Since this is a European box, it only has the set number and name on the front along with the age suggestion which is 16+. Fortunately, even though this is aimed at adults, it doesn't have that boring, depressing black background as many of the other recent AFOL-oriented sets do. Instead, it has the same dark blue color as all the other HP sets and features a vibrantly colorful view of Diagon Alley under a partially cloudy sky on the front. There is also a minifig lineup. the Wizarding World logo, and a profile view of the back of the set showing off its impressive length.
On the back of the box, there is a profile view of the front of the set and another view of the back of the shops with the four modules separated along with names for each of the shops. Above each module is a close up of the interiors that recreate scenes from the books/movies: Harry getting his first wand at Olivander's, Draco getting the Nimbus 2001 from his father, Harry and the Weasleys attending Lockhart's book signing, and Hermione and Ginny eyeing the love potions at the Weasley's shop. All of these scenes are very charming (no pun intended), although that last one is a bit odd since it's from Half-Blood Prince and the girls look way too young to be looking at love potions.
There are four more close up scenes on top of the box. I especially like the first two as they recreate the scene from Chamber of Secrets where Hagrid guides Harry out of Knockturn Alley and they meet up with Hermione who fixes Harry's glasses. The other two scenes which show Ron getting ice cream with Harry and shopping at Scribbulus with Hermione weren't shown in the movies but are things that happened in the books and look very nice as well. There is also another minifig lineup. Hedwig is the figure that is highlighted to be at 1:1 scale, although all of them seem to be 1:1 scale to me.
The long bottom () just shows some choking Hazard warnings.
The sides are nearly identical as they both feature a smaller version of the front box art. There is a Lego Life ad on side, and name translations of Diagon Alley and Daily Prophet Photographer on the other. I assume all the other names are pretty much the same in every language.
Inside the box there is another box and a bunch of bags numbered 9-20. There are two bags for each number, a large one with a stripe and a smaller one without. Excuse me if I don't lay them all out for you since that would probably cover my entire floor.
Inside the white box there are 4 dark bluish gray 16x32 baseplates, a bag of large plates, a bag with the instructions and stickers, and the rest of the bags numbers 1-8. Again, each number has two bags, except for number 6 which has 3, meaning that there are over 41 bags of parts in total in this set!
And... wait... Is that a secret bonus set for number 21?! How exciting! What could it be? Stick around until the end of the review to find out!
Unfortunately, this set comes with a ton of stickers, four fairly large sheets of them to be exact, each labeled with an A, B, C, or D to correlate with one of the modules/instruction booklets. Even the book covers which are normally printed get stickers here and several of the stickers are shop signs that are broken up into up to 4 separate stickers. I'm pretty sure this is what many AFOLs' boggart looks like.
The only new printed pieces in the set are 1x6x5 panels and 1x2x5 bricks with window frames printed on them which look quite nice and should be very useful for MOCs. Other printed pieces include the Daily Prophet tile that has appeared in many sets before as well as the 1x2 danger stripes tile, the 1x2 Wingardium Leviosa tile (pardon me, "Levi-o-sa"), and the 2x2 window glass covered in newspapers from the Stranger Things set which are not pictured here. We get one brand new mold in this set, the wand box, of which there are 10 included, all in dark brown. It's 1x3x2/3 large and has similar features as the 2x2x2 crate. It uses 1x3 tiles as the lid and just like the crate it can be stacked to create an interesting pattern. We also get several new recolors such as two of the new ice cream glass that Ginny comes with in the latest CMFs in trans. orange. This set comes with not one, not two, but three new colors for the door with window: dark green, dark red, and light yellow. We also get our first dark brown broom along with other parts in new or rare colors. There are also some pieces that haven't appeared in an unprinted form before such as the 2x4 rounded tile from Super Mario in tan, the 2x2 triangle tile in sand green, a Ninjago skull, and Minecraft baby zombie heads. That's the benefit of having stickers instead of prints I suppose.
There are 4 instruction books, one for each module. They have a higher quality cover than normal instructions and each one has a little blurb about the shops you're about to build at the beginning which is a nice touch. The inventory is listed at the end of the second book which is kind of random.
The instructions are easy enough to follow, although it was a bit tough for my shortsighted eyes to distinguish between all the dark reds, browns, blacks, blues, greens, and tans at times. That's not unusual for instructions these days though.
Towards the end of the final instructions book there is a full page dedicated to the team that worked on this set and a few words from the model and graphic designers which provides a great glimpse into the development process of a set like this.
On the back of the last booklet, there is an ad for the rest of the summer wave with a text bubble saying that these sets have "limited availability", so if you're interested in any of them, I'd pick them up while you can, especially if you're in the States.
There are over 14 minifigs in this set. Let's begin with the most obvious ones, the main trio Harry, Hermione and Ron as seen in Years 1-2. As you can see in the "magically" moving picture below, they all come with a new torso that shows closed school cloaks with a Gryffindor crest on them. Hermione and Ron come with the same head as they do in other sets and look just as adorable and screen-accurate as ever. Harry on the other hand comes with a new head that has a delightful smile on one side and worried expression with dirt on his face and cracks in his glasses on the other as he had during the Knockturn Alley scene in Chamber of Secrets.
The new torso has a hood printed on its back which is a nice touch.
Here are some screenshots from Chamber of Secrets for comparison. It's clear that these torsos were designed specifically for the Diagon Alley scene in that movie since they have casual clothes on under their cloaks instead of shirts, sweaters, and ties as seen in the rest of the scenes at Hogwarts.
Besides Ron, we get four more Weasleys: Molly, Fred, George, and Ginny. The only ones missing in this set from the Diagon Alley scene in CoS are Arthur and Percy Weasley which is a shame, but we already got half the family, so I guess it's alright. Molly comes with young Qi'ra's hairpiece in dark orange along with a new dark brown jacket torso and unprinted skirt. Her head is the same as that used for Helga Hufflepuff in the UCS Hogwarts set (Maybe she's related to Helga Hufflepuff? Probably not, but I'm sure there's a fan theory like that out there.). It works quite well for her. It has a smile on side and a determined grin on the other which would be perfect for a recreation of the "Not my daughter, you bitch" scene. The twins come with the same heads as in the CMFs, but with the shorter hair that they had in Half-Blood Prince. Their torsos are new and have different colors for the vest, shirt, and tie for each twin just like they had in the movie. It's nice to see these three characters finally getting some more love from Lego.
Both Molly and the twins have back printing: A hood for Molly and some buttons for the twins.
Here is a comparison with the previous versions that we got of these characters. The Qi'ra hair is perhaps not perfect for Molly as her hair needs to be curlier, but it's certainly much better than the old Hermione hair that they used on the figure from 2010. The Fred and George figs that we got back then were pretty close to the ones we get here, although in the old Diagon Alley set they were literally the same fig, so it's nice to see that they gave them some individuality this time around.
Like the trio, the outfits are specific to scenes in Diagon Alley. Molly's is from Chamber of Secrets and the twins' are from Half-Blood Prince and they look very accurate.
Aside from the Weasley twins, we get three more characters that work in Diagon Alley: Garrick Ollivander, Florean Fortescue, and Bozo the Daily Prophet Photographer. They all come with brand new torso and head designs. While Ollivander and Fortescue use the Doc Brown hair in gray and dark brown respectively, Bozo has a recolor of the S14 Whacky Witch's hat/hair which works surprisingly well for him. He comes with a clever little build for his old-timey camera.
All three have nice back printing as well. Here you can also get a better look at Bozo's alternate face.
The Ollivander in this set is not much different from the one that came in the GWP Micro Diagon Alley from just 2 years ago. The only real difference aside from facial expressions is the torso which has a slightly different printing and is cast in dark red. It's nice that they went the extra step to make him different and didn't just include the same fig.
Comparing both figs to Ollivander's appearance in the films, the brown jacket actually looks more accurate, but it's not a big deal. He looks pretty spot on otherwise and so do the other two Diagon Alley workers.
Don't worry, I didn't forget about Ginny! Here she is along with the Malfoys. Unfortunately, the set doesn't include Tom Riddle's diary to recreate the scene where Mr. Malfoy slips it into her cauldron, but I suppose that would render Moaning Myrtle's accessory from the CMFs nonexclusive. Her head and hair are the same as those of Maisie Lockwood from Jurassic World and the same head as Susan Bones from the Great Hall set, but they work well enough for her. Her torso on the other hand is new with a dark pink cloak print. Draco Malfoy has the same head as in the Great Hall set, but comes with a new torso that is similar to that of the trio, but with a Slytherin crest and a shirt collar and tie showing under the cloak. His father Lucius comes with a blond version of the Dumbledore/centaur hair and some nice new torso and leg printing.
Like the other figs, they all have back printing which is always appreciated. While Draco and Ginny have double-sided heads, Lucius does not. I really like Ginny's adorable sad face.
The last version of Lucius that we got was already pretty close to perfection, but the new hairpiece, shorter cane, and more detailed torso and leg printing do make him even better. The only thing that I don't like on the new figure is the face. It works well enough for him, but it's just a generic head that appears on dozens of other figs. The personalized snooty face on the old fig suits him much better, not to mention that it also came with a Death Eater mask on the other side, and I also like how he looked with a cape. The new fig with the old face and maybe a cape would make the perfect Lucius fig.
I'm not sure why they gave Draco a shirt collar and tie as he didn't have those during the Flourish & Blotts scene. They could have easily reused the design of the Gryffindor torso and just switched out the crest. Oh well. Ginny is the least movie-accurate out of the three as her hair looked very different and her cloak looked more dark red to me than dark pink. That's not to say that the fig we got looks bad though, in the contrary.
Since this set seems to be mainly based on the Diagon Alley scene in Chamber of Secrets, the inclusion of Gilderoy Lockhart was as he would say "pfffretty obvious" and I was excited to finally get an updated version of him as it has been 18 years since we got a minifig of him. Unfortunately, the fig we got in this set turned out to be a pretty big disappointment. The new face print and Chris Pratt hair that they chose for him don't really capture Kenneth Branagh's brilliant portrayal of the character very well at all. I do kinda like the cartoony embarrassed alternate expression that he comes with for when one of his spells inevitably goes wrong. We also get Hagrid in this set and he is the same as in the Great Hall and Hagrid's Hut set which is fine since that is accurate to the Diagon Alley scenes he appears in.
Lockhart comes with a cape that is lilac on one side and dark yellow on the other. If you take it off, you can see that he has some detailed back printing.
Honestly, I liked the old version of Lockhart much better. His hairpiece and smarmy grin represented the character much better in my opinion. Here is a picture of both versions along with a shaved Hagrid so that you can see his face. Still no alternate face for him sadly.
The oddest thing about Lockhart isn't actually his face or hair, it's his outfit. It doesn't match any of the ones that he wore in the movie. The one he wore during the Flourish & Blotts scene that this is supposed to be based on was blue. The color that we got looks closer to that of the pinkish outfit that he wears a lot during the rest of the movie, but it's lilac. This would probably make Lockhart happy as that is his favorite color, but to me it's just confusing. Is it meant to be some kind of amalgamation of the two? Who knows. Hagrid on the other hand looks... like Hagrid. Nothing to complain about there.
While they aren't really characters, we do get two more minifigs: Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw Quidditch player mannequins! It's exciting to finally get Quidditch uniforms for these two houses which don't get nearly enough love, although it's a shame that they don't come with capes. We also get a new tan owl with a cute sleepy face and the new Hedwig figure with the spread wings that appears in a few of the other summer sets. I don't think it's actually meant to be Hedwig in this set, I think it's just one of Daily Prophet's delivery owls, but let's be honest, we're all just going to use it as Hedwig anyway.
The uniforms match the design of the Gryffindor and Slytherin ones that we got recently, and just like those they have hoods printed on the back. There is only one of each of these torsos included in the set, so it will be difficult to assemble entire teams with these. Hopefully they will appear in a cheaper set down the line, perhaps a Quidditch player minifigure pack like the recent Hogwarts students one.
I'm not going to show you all the stages of the build because otherwise we would be here all day and I don't think any of you have time turners to make up for that lost time. So, let's just quickly take a look at just a few points of the build.
As mentioned before, the build is broken up into four modules. It starts with the shops on the left and progresses down to the right. The first module you build includes Ollivanders and Scribbulus Writing Implements. I really like how the cobblestone street is made out of various random round plates and tiles. This is what the build looks like after bags 1 and 2.
The next section is the one with Quality Quidditch Supplies and the Daily Prophet. Below you can see what the store looks like after bags #6, right before you add the storefront which is only attached by two Technic pins at the top to give it a slight forward-leaning angle, a very interesting technique which I've never seen on a building like this before.
The third module includes Florean Fortescue's ice cream parlor and Flourish & Blotts. I like how they achieve a wavy look for the roof of Fortescue's using alternating sizes of slopes and the brick-built SNOT awning is pretty nifty too. I also love the intricate SNOT work and little dragon statues made out of flippers and Ninjago sword hilts on the exterior of the bookstore. This is where we're at after bags #12:
Lastly, you build the largest and most colorful module using 12 bags of parts, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes with the Knockturn Alley entrance. There are lots of interesting techniques here and the SNOT work on the window frames is more complex than you might expect. In fact, there are clever SNOT techniques all throughout the set. Trying to align all the stickers on the shop signs is a PITA though. Here is the shop after bags #16:
Feathers and fangs, branches and claws, burned sausage and cheese. No, these are not the ingredients for a strange magic potion, they are just some of the literally hundreds of spare parts left over after the build. In addition to the usual bits and bops, there are also a couple of extra wands and some black lipstick which should make the goth minifigs in you Lego town happy. Well, as happy as goths get anyway. I'm not sure if I should keep the sprue from the wands. Do you keep the sprue? Let me know in the comments.
The Completed Set
Welcome, reader, to Diagon Alley! 5544 parts and several build hours later, the alley is finally finished, and it looks very impressive! When combined, the four modules form one side of the alley. The whole alley is 128 studs long, 16 studs deep, and about as high as an average modular building.
At first, I thought Lego had just taken random shops and placed them next to each other, but as I was rewatching all the movies while building this set, I payed close attention to the layout of Diagon Alley in the films and I was happy to see that Lego's recreation of the movie set is actually quite accurate to how it appears in the first two movies. In the following screenshot, you can see Ollivanders in the back with Scribbulus next to it and Quality Quidditch Supplies with the Daily Prophet entrance in the foreground. It all looks just like the Lego version, except for the DP entrance which is a bit more simplistic.
Here is a picture of the ice cream parlor and bookstore from one of the extra features on the Chamber of Secrets DVD. When you compare the Lego version to this, it looks very accurate as well.
The reason why the Daily Prophet entrance looks different is because it seems to be based on its appearance in The Half-Blood Prince. I'm not sure why, but the filmmakers changed the design of Diagon Alley for that movie. As you can see below, Scribbulus was now to the left of Ollivanders instead of the right and the Knockturn Alley entrance is to the left of Scribbulus instead of to the right of Flourish & Blotts which got a complete redesign, while QQS was taken out completely. This movie is where they added Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes to the alley as you can see in the back. TLDR: Lego's version of Diagon Alley is a mix between its appearance in Chamber of Secrets and Half-Blood Prince. I like that as it combines both versions of the alley that we have seen into one cohesive model. As you can also see in this image, all the buildings should actually have four stories, not just 2 or 3, but it's understandable why Lego reduced their size.
However, if you don't like how it looks in the movies, you can mix and match the shops as you please thanks to the shops being built on separate modules and only connected via a single Technic pin. You can even split the alley in half and put the halves in front of each other as I have done for the title image at the beginning of the review to form a full street, although that makes it hard to see the beautiful facades. Here is one example of a rearranged alley:
Sadly, I don't have the previous Diagon Alley set that was released, so I can't compare them, but I do have 4723 Diagon Alley Shops, the first Diagon Alley set that was released in the very first wave of Lego Harry Potter way back in 2001. It was a small, overly colorful set with two 8x8 vignettes that looked like they were cobbled together out of leftover parts from Belville and obviously it's nothing compared to this year's Diagon Alley set. Lego Harry Potter sets sure have come a long way since then. Although I have to admit that I actually quite liked that set. I still remember my mom buying it for me at a bookstore back in the day and I think it captures the spirit of Diagon Alley quite well in such a small space rather than the actual look of it in the movies: A whimsical couple of little shops with a wide array of witch and wizard items. Keep in mind, the set designers back then had nothing to go off of than the books and maybe some concept art for the first movie. It was a neat parts pack and a cheap way to get Hermione in casual clothes.
Let's take a closer look at the individual shops, starting with Ollivanders and Scribbulus. The exterior looks nice and detailed with all the hanging signs, candle lamp, and textured bricks. The bay windows on Ollivander's shop have trans. yellaw glass panes giving the shop a cozy glow. It's not really accurate to the films, but it's a nice effect all the same.
All the modules are open-backed for easy view and access to the interior. On the roof of Scribbulus Writing Implements is a chimney with trans. clear rod stuck on it which holds the flying owl. From there, there are steps leading up to the roof of Ollivanders which has its own pair of chimneys - one of them is short and offset, the other is long and crooked, giving it a nice whimsical touch. On the back of the building, there are stairs sticking out that lead from the ground floor of Ollivanders up to the upper floor. I guess you're just supposed to imagine that the shops continue past the baseplate towards the back.
Inside Ollivander's shop, there is a desk with a cash register, some paper, and a quil. Each display window has a single wand on display as described in the books, and behind the desk there are shelves full of fake wand boxes made out of various plates and tiles. However, there is one 1-brick high gap on one of the shelves which holds a real wand box that you can pull out which is pretty neat. The layout of the interior is inaccurate, though, as the desk should be facing the entrance door and the stairs should be on the right and going up towards the back, but there is a reason for why it is like this which we will talk about later.
Under the stairs, there is another pile of wand boxes, both real and fake ones. Inside Scribbulus Writing Implements, there is a table with a paper, a quill, and a lamp as well as shelves full of more quills, scrolls, and ink bottles. The scrolls are cleverly built out out of tan cones and ice cream cones while the quills are represented by plumes of different shapes and colors. The display window features an open scroll and a few more quills. This should make all you Pirates and Castle fans happy as this set comes with 7 white and 5 red single feather plumes as well as 2 dark red and 1 blue triple feather plumes, plus at least one spare for each. What I don't like about this store is that the grate under the display window is open towards the street instead of being covered up like in Ollivanders and there is a 1-brick high drop behind the door. Adding some tiles to serve as steps like in Ollivanders and other stores would have been as easy fix.
Going up the stairs, there is what I assume is Ollivander's wand making workshop. It has a swiveling chair, a desk with a candle and a wand, a ladder, and more shelves full of fake wand boxes. Like on the shelves on the ground floor, there is one space for a real wand box. There are more wand boxes in one of the windows and a lamp in the other. The use of a hinge brick for an open drawer on the desk is not a new technique, but still pretty clever. All of these details give the workshop a nice cluttered feel. On the other side, above the Scribbulus shop, there is a small living room for whoever runs that shop. It features a fireplace and a small cabinet with a skull and a potion bottle on it. The potion has the same design as those Minecraft oddly enough. There is also neat, old-looking couch with a carpet in front of it, both of which have been placed DiagonAlley across the room. Get it?
Let's move on to Harry and Ron's favorite store, Quality Quidditch Supplies. As mentioned before, I like how they recreated the forward-leaning storefront and the printed window bricks look great on it. I also like how they built the mobile with the quaffles and Golden Snitch hanging in front of the door, although they are missing the three Quaffles hanging from the banner above the awning. It's also nice to see the small window panes covered in newspapers from the Stranger Things set reused at the top of the building. The pink color of the upper floors seems a bit bright, but the dark red, sand green, and tan color scheme for the ground floor looks great.
You may recall the press release for this set referring to the Daily Prophet section as an "entrance" rather than an office. That's because that is literally all it is - a big empty entrance way. There is only a box of newspapers (all of which are fake except for the one in front) and a spiderweb. It looks very boring and makes that whole quarter of the building feel pretty pointless. I think they could have put a printing press, a desk for developing photos/stories, or many other more interesting things here. And like with Scribbulus, there is a 1-brick high drop after the door which could be easily fixed.
The QQS section of the building looks pretty good though. On the left side of the store, there is a display window with the Hufflepuff uniform and a broom as well as a rack with some Beater bats, including an extra thick one. To the right, there are shelves with the Nimbus 2000 displayed on top and with what I assume are meant to represent folded uniforms. Based on the colors, I'm guessing these are uniforms for each of the Hogwarts houses, although it's odd that they chose to represent Ravenclaw with dark gray plates instead of dark blue ones.
For what it's worth, they tried to add some detail to the Daily Prophet entrance with a big sticker showing various newspaper headlines and a Sirius Black wanted poster hung on the wall. There are references to Voldemort's return, so this part of the alley must take place during Years 6-7. It's kind of odd how chronologically all over the map this set is. There is another "Have you seen this wizard" poster on the other side of the wall.
On the second floor, there are more shelves with uniform plates, a box with another black bat and two Quaffles, the Ravenclaw uniform, and a broom display with a sign inviting customers to "feel free to test-fly any of our brooms". It's a bit odd that they don't seem to sell any Bludgers or Snitches. Maybe they're out of stock. Above this floor there is an attic which seems to belong to the Daily Prophet as it has boxes and stacks of newspapers. It's almost as pointless as the the entrance, but the addition of a rat with a literal cheese-slope is a cute detail. There is a hatch on the left of the attic that provides access to the roof where there are more newspapers on the floor. There are a total of 6 of these printed "The Boy Who Lived" newspaper tiles in this set. It would have been nice to at least get a new newspaper print, but oh well.
Next is the store that many of the minifigs included in this set are centered around, Flourish and Blotts, along with Fortescue's ice cream parlor. Again, I really like the detailed exterior of the bookstore with its different shades of green, especially the boxes full of brick-built books to the sides of the entrance. Fortescue's also has some nice details such as the table and chairs in front of the parlor with miniature versions of them sitting on top of the roof. The chairs use fangs as the feet which is an interesting technique that I wouldn't expect in an official set.
Now THIS is a bookstore! If you were disappointed by how small and bare the bookstore in the latest modular building turned out to be, this set will likely scratch your bookstore itch. All the dark colors give it an old bookstore feel and there are shelves and piles full of books on each floor. Plus, the open back makes it much easier to access the interior than in the aforementioned modular building. Like in Ollivanders, there are stairs sticking out of the back that lead up to the balcony above, and like with Ollivanders, this is actually inaccurate as the stairs should be going up towards the back, but since the back doesn't exist, this is understandable.
To the left of the stairs, there is a large bookcase with various brick-built books in different colors and sizes and a precariously stacked pile of books that uses one of the trans. clear crooked minifigure stands from the DC CMFs to hold the top book at an angle. I love the use of the 1x1 "bump" brick as I like to call it as book spines. It's a shame that they didn't make the shelves like in Ollivanders where there could be a space to put a real book piece among the fake brick-built ones. As it is, you can't take any of the "books" off the shelf. I like how the bookcase looks, though, with the grill tiles adding some nice detail. I just don't like how mixed the colors are on the side. I wish they would have stuck with just brown parts there. Fortescue's interior also has some shelves along with a counter. The shelves hold glasses for serving ice cream, including the new wide glass. Unfortunately, the tall glasses are nearly impossible to remove as they are tightly stuck between the shelves. The glass dome on the counter on the other hand is easily removable as it only rests on a lipstick piece.
There's not much under the stairs aside from a window display advertising Lockhart's new book. I wish they would have added some more books here like there are in the movie, but I do like that column next to it with the nice sand green details. On the right wall of Fortescue's, there is the list of daily suggestions as seen in the movies, complete with the misspelling of "Fortescue's" as "Fortesques" (yes, that was actually in the movie). Today's suggestions are chocolate with peanut butter , black beer & raisin , and bat juice and earwig.
On the balcony of the bookstore, there is another bookcase with another pile of books. Inside the bay window, there is a lamp and a book rest with a generic brown book with the levitation charm tile. Above Fortescue's, there is cozy little living room where good old Florean sit in a completely SNOT armchair and sip on some tea. There is also a tall lamp, although it doesn't have anything to represent a light bulb inside which is kind of odd. A simple trans.-clear or -yellow stud would have done the trick.
Since the building doesn't include the back of the store where Lockhart's book signing actually takes place, they included the desk where he does the signing as a separate little build. It's simple but fine looking desk with a mat, a quill, and a stack of black books next to it which I believe are meant to represent copies of Lockhart's book "Magical Me".
Having the books attached to the desk wouldn't be a problem, except it's very obvious when you look at it from the back since the leg on the other side of the table is black instead of tan. Yet another minor odd design choice that could have easily been fixed.
Last but not least, we have Weasleys' Wizard Weezes. The twins' joke shop really stands out among the other stores, not only because of its size, but also because of its color. The orange and lavender facade really pops and the giant Weasley statue is certainly an eye-catcher as well. It all looks very polished, except for the Technic holes on top of the bay windows which I wish they could have covered up somehow. Also, that gray 3x3 plate on the roof looks out of place and I wish they would have used a lavender plate instead. There are some nice details such as that orange/purple paper spinny thingy (anyone know what it's called?) which can technically spin as it is mounted on the bars of robot claw pieces, but I wouldn't recommend it since there is some resistance and each of the slope pieces is mounted on just one stud, so they can break off, or worse... get misaligned. The Knockturn Alley entrance gets kind of lost next to the WWW, but it looks good for what it is. The slanted window and street sign give it a nice creepy, wonky look.
There is a dark gray lever behind the top of the corner of the building which when moved back and forth makes the giant Weasley twin lift its top hat using a gray Technic liftarm behind the statue's head. It's a simple mechanism and it doesn't move as much as in the movie (and there certainly isn't a magically appearing/disappearing rabbit either), but I appreciate that they included at least one play feature in this giant playset. There is nothing in the instructions on how one could motorize this feature, but I'm sure someone will figure it out. Normally, there should be a window behind the head, but they probably made it a solid wall to hide the mechanism, meaning that they had to sacrifice accuracy for playability, which is perhaps why there aren't any other play features in this set.
If you thought the exterior looked colorful, wait until you see the inside! The interior is bursting with all shades of orange, purple, pink, and green and I love it. There are so many shelves and piles of various little packages and objects that it really feels filled to the brim with fun magic products! It looks so fun and whimsical, just the type of feeling you expect from a magical joke shop. On the side of the building there are stickers advertising some of their products such as Jinx-off. This is easily my favorite of the shops in terms of interior detail. This building comes with a separate build for the love potion fountain, but there is enough space to put it next to the register as you can see here.
The ground floor has the striped cash register, shelves with various jars and boxes, and a pile of boxes under the stairs, including one with a Dancing Doxy.
On the second floor, there is a pot of lollipops, a pile of Fred Weasley's Basic Blaze Boxes, and a few more shelves with a golden goblet, a blue crystal, and various little packages. I really like the stairs here with the randomly colored banister and the balloons hanging on the side. On the third floor, there are a few more boxes with the WWW branding, a geode, some dark blue trophies, and other little packages. This wide variety of products seems really fun, but you get a little disappointed once you realize that just like the books in Flourish & Blotts or the ice cream glasses in Fortescue's, many of these objects are stuck on the shelves and you can't take them off to play with them, so there's actually not much to do in this whole big shop.
As you may have noticed, Each module has Technic connection on both the side and the back. This is so that you can connect them back to back to form a full modular building. In order to be able to do that, you can swing the stairs in Ollivanders and the balloons on WWW inward and lift up the stairs in F&B.
Once connected, this is how they look. The different modules combine to form a modular building fairly well and the roofs line up seamlessly. If nothing else, it's a more space efficient way to store/display the set.
Here they are between two modulars. Aside from the different style of sidewalk, they fit into a modular city pretty well. It doesn't take much imagination to pretend that these are regular muggle stores in an old English district of your town. Of course, WWW sticks out a bit due to its wacky colors, but it makes sense if you think of it as a toy store. It's pretty cool that the set designer has included this option.
That's all there is to say about Diagon Alley. Did we forget anything? Oh yes, the mystery box! For those of you who want to know what's inside, click below to open the spoiler section. Anyone who doesn't want the surprise spoiled and wants to find out for themselves, continue to the ratings.
Design: 5/5 - This set looks fantastic! There are so many little details and aside from some small inaccuracies and minor odd design choices, it looks just like the Diagon Alley in the movies.
Build: 5/5 - The build is long and fairly complex with many interesting techniques. It starts with the smallest, darkest module and ramps up to the largest, most colorful one, giving you the sense that the build gets progressively more challenging and fun as you go. The surprise build at the end is the cherry on the cake!
Minifigs: 4/5 - There is a decent amount of figs included and they all look pretty good except for Lockhart who really could have been better.
Playability: 2/5 - It's a big doll house, but a lot of the objects are stuck in place. You can lift a hat and... that's about it.
Parts: 4/5 - There is a wide assortment of colors with several new recolors and a new wand box mold. I just wish more of the parts would have been printed.
Price: 5/5 - $400 may be a lot to drop on a Lego set, but it's a very fair price for what you get, especially considering other licensed sets of this size.
Overall: 4/5 - I had a magical time building this set while rewatching all the movies and the end result looks amazing. It's a great combination of scenes from different movies to give you a timeless recreation of this iconic location from the world of Harry Potter. The fact that you can easily integrate it with the modular buildings is a nice option and finding the secret bonus set inside was a very peasant surprise. However, it's clearly designed to be more a display piece than a playset which is disappointing, even for an adult-oriented set. AFOLs want to play with their plastic wizards too dangit! Also, many have been saying that they should have sold each module separately which is understandable since the $400 price tag is hard to justify for many, especially during these rough times, but I think the idea was to have a modular Diagon Alley out of the box where the main feature of the set is the ability to rearrange and display it the way you want and it's a fair price for 5544 pieces. I don't think you would have the full Diagon Alley experience otherwise, so I understand why they did it this way. If you do have the money for it, I can definitely recommend it, not only for Harry Potter fans, but also Modular fans and fans of detailed Lego builds in general. I hope Lego will make more sets like this, such as a Hogsmead in the same style! I could also see them doing add-on sets to this such as Gringotts. This modular style also lends itself to builders designing their own modules to add to the Alley. I can't wait to see what people come up with.
With that, I would like to thank you for reading through this long review and give a big thank you to Lego for sending me this set for review. I hope you enjoyed it. Please don't forget to rate the set using the poll above let me know what you think of it in the comments! I look forward to your responses.
To finish off, here is a potential situation that you will run into when you try to play with this set: