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  1. It's a rainy and cold evening in Scotland, and you are on the Hogwarts Express as a first year student. You have noted other students have changed from street-clothes into the black robes with the crest of your destination on the front: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You do the same, and then notice the train slowing down, and finally coming to a stop at a small station marked "HOGSMEADE" on a wooden platform sign. You don't want to get too wet in your nice new robes, and feel a bit lost in the hustle and bustle of older students departing and railway staff getting luggage off the train and onto the platform. You spot your trunk on the platform and detrain. It's raining less hard now, and a slightly portly-looking, very tall man in a beard and fur-lined coat comes down the platform shouting above the steam engine's noise; "First years with me!" He leads you and about dozen other 11-year old's away from the nice and neat (and warm!) station down to a series of boats on the water's edge of a huge lake not far from the train. He leads each student into the boat, and then boards the lead boat himself. He taps the oarlock of his boat with his umbrella, and all the boats move away in sync by themselves. You are then astounded to see a huge castle, perched on rocky cliffs on the other side of the lake, lit up by hundreds of candles under the moonlight of the clearing sky. The man then shouts out to everyone assembled in the tiny boats; "Welcome to Hogwarts!" (small note: This movie concept art was taken from the Harry Potter wiki sometime in 2015. It is NOT mine.) I have converted and combined this Hogsmeade Station from two different versions found on Rebrickable, and made it my own using pictures and guesswork. This design is supposed to go well with set 76388 - Hogsmeade Visit - (or my Winter Village MOCs) but of course, in the official Harry Potter canon it's on the other side of the lake from Hogsmeade proper. (But I don't listen to canon!) The entrance to the employees-only ticket counter area is on the side furthest to the camera, while the nearest door is to the passenger waiting room. The model has two rooms under the removable roof, featuring seating from the Disney train set. One one side is the ticket office, with a cash register / ticket window and a sorting desk for tickets / packages. The other is the waiting room with a few bench seats w/ individual arms and a bulletin board. Starting amount of parts: 1,185 Parts found so far: 657 Parts still to find: 528 Over half of the parts have been found so far. (I've also started taking apart my Disney-inspired station for it's pieces, so that has made a dent in this project, with more to come as I start on the ground floor of that older MOC.) EDIT 4/15/24: Sorry for the REALLY late update, but I've finally gotten started on building this in real bricks! (only took three years, but whose counting?) It should be finished sooner rather than later. Thoughts, comments, suggestions, and complaints are always welcome!
  2. Confession time: I've had this building built since this time last year. I honestly forgot about it, and I'm just now getting around to giving it it's time in the spotlight. Also, my phone really messed up the color balance on some of the photos. (It's REALLY strange because all these pictures were taken at the same time!) Apologies in advance! This is a rebranded Honeydukes from set 76388 - Hogsmeade Visit - with a back half to the building and a second sales floor added on. Yes, that's supposed to be Willy Wonka standing out front of the shop next to the delivery truck, which itself is a heavily modified set copy of 40586 - Moving truck GWP. The front of the candy store by itself. There is no mistaking who owns THIS shop! Rear view of the building. The building can only open up to 90 degrees for inside access due to the overhanging structure of the roof and a few other items. This store has everything; a wall of Everlasting Gobstopper's in the four flavors, Scrumdidilyumptious bars, Square Candies That Look 'Round, new-formula Fizzy-Lifting drinks, a Wonka chocolate fountain, Exploding Candy (for your enemies), Lollipops of all kinds, and many more items. (Ok, so I didn't design most of the items in here. square candies and the Gobstopper wall are all I added of consequence to the inside. The rest of the sweets are repurposed / duplicated from the set, but they ARE in there.) I recreated set 40586 - Moving Truck GWP - in blue for delivering wily Wonka products from the Factory to the store. I changed the wheels, rear-view mirrors, front bumper, and extended the cab to seat two figures. You may be asking why I chose blue for the truck. The answer is simple: I had two blue wheel arches lying around unused, and this neatly solves that! The rear of the truck. As in the original set, the rear roof section comes off and the ramp slides out, along with the cabin doors opening up. The roof of the cab section also comes off to seat a driver at the wheel and a navigator in the passenger seat. The man, the myth, the legend: Willy Wonka! (This is supposed to be the classic Gene Wilder version, not the weird Johnny Depp one) That's all I got for these MOC's. Thoughts are appreciated - good, bad, or indifferent!
  3. Ok, so this house MOC is actually a MOD of a MOC. It was taken from a set of Shrieking Shack instructions by JL.Bricks and heavily modified into a facsimile of 1920's-style house... or, at least it's close enough to work with a de-winterized Winter Village line and / or Hogsmeade Village Visit without snow. (set 76388) See this Rebrickable link to see what I modified it from. I added a flip-open back like in Medieval Market Village. (set 10193 - It's hard to believe that set is 13 years old!) The building was originally winter (and Harry Potter) themed, but it clashed way too much with my other buildings that way, as they aren't winter themed. Basically, it's a normal, non-Christmas house now. The back of the house is a new design by me. I had to redo the roof from plates ands tiles (as it was originally shown) to slopes as it was too fragile. The lower floor features a coat rack, table w/ two chairs, and a steam heater borrowed from set 10185. (Green Grocer) Upstairs we have a bed (plus another steam radiator) with clock and framed map on the walls. More details are in the back of the house, such a kitchen stove, couch, along a with a few more living room details. There is a model railroad upstairs as well. This vehicle was originally inspired by @hachiroku's model of the staff car from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and can be found here in his photo-stream. The car can be seen above with all the furniture from the inside of the house. (This picture was taken before house construction started... I've broken enough reddish brown brick on this to just tear the innards out just for one picture!) Speaking of the car, here it is by itself. inside view of the car. Seats one in front and one behind. (if you can get your fingers in there, that is!) The rear view showcasing the spare tire as mounted on the trunk. As usual, comments, questions complaints, and suggestions welcome! EDIT 4/6/22: FINALLY, it's done! The house has been in-progress since August of 2021 and was starting to drive me crazy.
  4. I got a copy of set 76388 - Hogsmeade Village Visit on Saturday the 5th of February from the LEGO Store in my town. It will be heavily modified to fit into my existing setup, with back halves added to the buildings, same as I did to set 10217 - Diagon Alley set and heavily inspired by the style of 10193 - Medieval Market Village (both sets of which I've owned for over a decade now!) for use in my early-to-mid 1900's-town. You can find all those buildings, along with a few more, below. The Leviathan Inn Here are the pictures of "The Leviathan", which is supposed to be a bar / inn of some sort, and was formerly known as "The Three Broomsticks" pub. This building has a newly added back half and revised details on the inside, including more bench seating, a few beds upstairs, steam heat, drink dispenser tap, and a much-needed cash register. Side note: One of the dark green windows is backwards in this picture and has since been rotated into its proper place. The rear of the model. Unlike the revised Candy Shop, this building opens up to 180 degrees, allowing for the building's inside details to be more accessible. The entire rear half is new, along with most of the building's furniture and all the printed parts. Inside on the upper floor is a few beds for weary travelers, with two beds and two chairs. The room also features a steam-heater modeled after the one in the 2008 Modular Building, set 10185 - Green Grocer. The lower floor has tripled it's seating with two more "picnic" benches. I also added a drink tap to the counter beside a cash register. (the latter feature was sorely missing from the original set!) Wonka Candy Shop This is a rebranded Honeydukes from set 76388 - Hogsmeade Visit with a back half to the building and a (NEW) second sales floor added on. The name WONKA will go over the front door in printed 1 x 1 tiles I don't have in LDD, along with quite a few other parts missing from this model. ...and yes, that's supposed to be Willy Wonka standing out front of the shop. Rear view of the building. (Wonka should really look into getting that roof fixed as you can practically see inside the attic!) Also, the building can only open up to 90 degrees for inside access due to the overhanging structure of the roof and a few other items. This store has everything; a wall of Everlasting Gobstopper's in the four flavors, Scrumdidilyumptious bars, Square Candies That Look 'Round, new-formula Fizzy-Lifting drinks, a Wonka chocolate fountain, Exploding Candy (for your enemies), Lollipops of all kinds, and many more items. (Ok, so I didn't design most of the items in here. square candies and the Gobstopper wall are all I added of consequence to the inside. The rest of the sweets are repurposed / duplicated from the set, but they ARE in there.) Octan Gas Station (and 1920's fuel tanker truck) Here is my WIP version of my gas station and early tanker truck. I added a back wall to the building, made it look more late 1920's / early '30's by adding painted wooden siding, and removing the Christmas-time items as were originally installed by the designer. Also, several printed items are missing in this picture that will be added later. (Thanks to my brother who gave me the new 32 x 32 road plate for this project.) The truck was originally from set 10222 - Winter Village Post Office, while the building is inspired by Brick City Depot's Winter Village Gas Station, which you can see at their website. The Captain's Daughter Tavern This English style tavern was built from set 10193 - Medieval Market Village, and expanded by my brother to have an inside staircase and a better chimney. Rear view of this building. The inside of the model features a Frog on the bar (for no real reason), a inside staircase, and a bunch of seating on the second floor. Their is a gumball machine on the second floor at the top of the stairs. Backwash Bros. Saloon This model was inspired by set 79109 - Colby City Showdown from the 2013 Lone Ranger theme. I turned the 1 story bank into a 2 story saloon, complete with two lift-away sections to access the inside. This picture is from 2015, and the "neon" Saloon sign no longer exists. The first floor features the bar with old fashioned cash register, and a staircase to more seating on the second floor. The second floor features more seats and a piano. This level was originally supposed to be a game room, filled with pool tables and poker dealers. Unfortunately, the room never happened as the space constraints left too little space to place figures. The Adventuring Surplus Store This building was originally part of set 10217 - Diagon Alley, specifically Ollivander's wand Shop. I added a rear to the building and redid the interior to have more of an adventure supply / military surplus store. The store is currently owned and run by Bob from LEGO Universe, and features a few items from the game inside. The rear of the store features the back door. The shop only opens 90 degrees instead of 180, due to the roof being in the way. Inside we have weapons of various origins, from deep space to the distant past. Upstairs is the clothing section, with several space suits and battle armor on display. My Sig-Fig's House This building was originally the Blacksmith's shop from set 10193 - Medieval Market Village released back in 2009. I got it in 2011, near the end of it's production run. It has been turned into my mini-figures house, complete with furnished interior. Here is the rear of the house, continuing the wooden patterns from the front. The inside of the building features a couch, bed and a pot bellied stove. Their is a staircase, which was completely missing in the original set. Johnny Thunder's "Adventurers, Inc." Office (and Johnny's car) This Adventurers model was inspired by my original Johnny Thunder office building from 2015. I modified it into a corner building with a tower like in set 10255 - Assembly Square.The building is modular, and comes apart into three sections: roof, second floor and main floor. This model is my actually second tallest creation, as it's shorter than Lord Sam Sinister's Mansion and only slightly taller than my Saloon. The lower floor features a cabinet from set 10228 - Haunted House and a 1920's style ivory phone borrowed from set 10218 - Pet Shop. A hat rack (also from the Pet Shop set) is next to the wall opposite the desk. The far wall features some treasure from Johnny and his friends many adventurers, such as the Golden Shield from "Orient Expedition", a T-Rex tooth from "Dino Island", a trident from the "Quest for Atlantis", the replica hammer of the Thunder god from the "Age of Ragnarok", the helmet of a dwarf from "The Search for Middle Zealand", and many others artifacts. the upper floor features Johnny's bed, a stove, table with root beer bottle, and a radio / record player. This concludes my buildings I've built since 2013 that I still have built, with more to come. A few of these pictures are from 2015 and 2017... but I'll let you guess which ones. Any Questions, complaints, suggestions, etc. are welcome!
  5. I've been staring at Hogsmeade Village Visit (set 76388) for a while now (ever since pictures leaked!), trying to figure out how to fit it into my vintage city... I think I may have figured out how to do so now with the added rear halves and removed Winter snow parts. This model's front half was originally from the Honeydukes sweet shop portion of Hogsmeade Village Visit. I added a look-alike back to it, changed the color to red, and turned it into a small post office with inside details on both floors. I also added a truck I built in real life way back in 2011 - modeled after the official Winter Village Post Office truck from set 10222 - which is now back to being used for a postal truck. (I have determined said truck is styled like a Ford Model AA (wiki link) just based on the front end alone.) Yes, the model is missing nine parts not in LDD. This includes four each of parts 48208 and 48205, and one of 35563, all in black for the roof. Inside features are as such: - Ground floor has the public area, with pay counter and several boxes / crates waiting to be shipped. - Upstairs (even though there is no stairs!) is the sorting area with plenty of mail being gone through to be delivered to it's destination. Everyone may have heard of the Ford Model T and maybe it's successor, the Model A. But here is something you may not know: The Model T and later Model A both had trucks made from the basic principles of those cars. They were called the Model TT & Model AA, which is where this Lego model comes in, as it's based off a Ford Model AA truck. (or at least that's what I think it it is - the model was originally from set 10222, Winter Village Post Office.) The rear of the truck has two tail-lights and a license plate. MODEL NOTES: The building can only open 90 degrees due to interference from the roof and building footprint. (The post office will be built shortly after the Polar Express house, and then the heavily-modified 76388 tavern early next year.) Thoughts?
  6. A wild non-Hogwarts set has appeared in the June 2021 lineup. Let's take a look! 76388 Hogsmeade Village Visit | 2021 | 851 Pieces | 6 + 1 Minifigures USD $80 | GBP 70 | EUR 80 (variable) | CAD 120 | AUS$ 130 __________________________ Thanks once again to LEGO for providing these four Harry Potter sets for review. Check out my Hogwarts reviews if you haven't already: 76386, 76387, 76389 and combining them all. When images for the June 2021 Harry Potter wave came out, one set stood apart for NOT being a departure from the standards maintained for this rebooted theme since 2018. 76388 looks to contain two highly detailed buildings in a location that has never been done apart from a small Honeydukes included as a side build in 2004's 4756 Shrieking Shack. There are unique characters in screen-accurate outfits, and details aplenty. Is 76388 Hogsmeade Village Visit as good as it looks? __________________________ THE BUILD & PARTS The build for this set feels more in line with the majority of this line prior to this year, with lots of fiddly bits added for detailing, and such things as the angled roofs which satisfyingly fall into place with each other once they are all added. The buildings still make use of a few larger parts, but the build progresses more slowly and intricately than this year's Hogwarts sets. One of the best aspects of the build is that two instruction manuals are included, one for each building, making this set ideal to split and build alongside a partner or friend or family member. Here are the excellent spare parts, which include an unprinted white bowl, still-rare 1x1 stud with bar attachment in black, that printed 1x1 tile with a heart previously found in four Friends sets, the 1x1 with red swirl (not rare but mostly used in Friends), and cherries in red and magenta - always nice to have. In my reviews I actually haven't touched much on the Chocolate Frog cards. They're a nice little bonus but don't excite me personally. I hope they don't excite you too much either, because they are nearly impossible to collect without resorting to Bricklink (once they become widely available). In this set, I got duplicate McGonagalls. __________________________ THE MINIFIGURES The particular Hogsmeade Village Visit being depicted in this set comes from Prison of Azkaban, and minifigures have thus been chosen somewhat appropriately. The Students For Hogwarts students we get Harry and Dean Thomas in civvies, plus Goldenron. I always appreciate getting students other than Ron and Hermione, though they visited Hogsmeade at the same time, and Dean gets a lovely exclusive head and very repurpose-able torso. Harry has all re-used parts which aren't completely accurate, but not too bad really. Dean was barely glimpsed in this outfit in the film, if at all, but again he's so nicely done that that doesn't bother me. He was seen in Honeydukes, so he's a good choice as he can be browsing there while Harry is taking care of business in the Three Broomsticks. Dean's other face bears striking resemblance to his previous LEGO appearance, in the first Wizarding World CMF series. The only difference is the lack of cheek lines. Oddly, this is the second time in this theme that LEGO has changed a character's hair colour from dark brown to black: first with Madame Maxime, and now with Dean. The Adults For adults, we get Madame Rosmerta, the landlady of the Three Broomsticks; McGonagall in the outfit she wore when Harry eavesdrops on her, Madame Rosmerta and Minister of Magic Fudge discussing Sirius Black at the Three Broomsticks; and the Flumes, who run Honeydukes. All of these figures have outstanding details, though Fudge truly is missing to complete that scene. All four of these include brand new body prints that closely match their on-screen appearances. All four hair and hat pieces are recolours so far exclusive to this set, and Mr Flume gets a new double-sided head. The reused Mantis head works better for Rosmerta than it did for Bellatrix, and though Mrs Flume reuses the Helga Hufflepuff print which has already been reused for Mrs Weasley, I'd care more about Mrs Weasley getting an exclusive print than Mrs Flume. I'm happy as well for a repeat of this McGonagall face from her Hogwarts Moments book set, as those weren't everyone's cup of tea. All of them have delightful back of torso prints, McGonagall especially. You'll see lots of accessories within the builds, but Madame Rosmerta also gets a hammer - maybe to ward off unruly customers? Only the students and McGonagall get wands, which I haven't bothered to show. The acid pops head is much more enticing, and two are included. __________________________ HONEYDUKES Both of the builds included are obviously going to have details reduced from their on-screen appearances, and some incorrect proportions - it's a LEGO set after all. That fact alone doesn't bother me, and I will judge them both on their own merits and their success at capturing the essence of the source material. Exterior Honeydukes looks quaint and charming from the outside, with good asymmetrical detailing ranging from the mismatched chimneys to the snow on the roof to minor details like the placement of 1x1 grey tiles for added texture. The asymmetry continues on either side as stickered brick details and more 1x1 grey tiles are placed in different positions. The roof angles come together quite well too, forming somewhat complex shaping. There's an elephant in the room detracting from the exterior of the model, though, and not the cool new moulded elephant from the City line. It's the stickers. I don't mind stickered detail. They're not going to print things like 2x2 tiles all the time, or stickers like those used for minor brick detailing on the side of the building, and that's just fine. Honeydukes, however, is 100% reliant on the stickers. Without them, you'd have no lattice on the windows, and no pink at all. If you screw up their placement, the thing is doomed. And, even if you DON'T screw up the placement, you could very easily have trapped finger prints and air bubbles in your massive windows, like I have. I tried to be as careful as I could, and my alignment is ok, but the result is still very hazy and looks even worse in person. Interior The vibrant ground floor candy store and storage room above comprise the interior of Honeydukes. Let's take a closer look. The ground floor is filled with a variety of sweets along the walls and bigger displays of chocolate fondue and a glittery opalescent ball in the windows. It also has a removable sort of aquarium stickered on both sides that can be placed in the centre. I thought I knew the Harry Potter franchise well, but my knowledge has failed me again with this one! Both sides have further stickered details on the wall panels, which are easy to apply and create a fine illusion of a more packed store. The cash register area also has a few pleasing details such as the white bowl for weighing, and a couple of stickers. In my Chamber of Secrets review I wrote about the "usable space" test, and I'm happy to report that Honeydukes has plenty of usable space for posing figures. The 2x2 jumper plates were a good choice, and Honeydukes is surely often packed with candy-hungry students anyway. The upstairs simply has fireplaces on both sides. a Honeydukes storage box, a bucket and pot, and some more old bits and bobs stowed in the rafters. It too has enough room for a couple of figures, and would have more with the box removed. All in all, Honeydukes has great exterior shaping and detailing, and the interior offers lots of sweets in eye-catching colours with space to pose figures, but the massive, integral stickers are an equally massive pain. __________________________ THE THREE BROOMSTICKS In the films, The Three Broomsticks looks rather gnarly and has lots of odd angles, all of which have been straightened up for this set. Some people might wish that this location got the D2C treatment so that it could be reproduced more faithfully, but I think having varied locations at more reasonable and accessible price points is better. Exterior This building provides excellent contrast against Honeydukes, with a completely different style. There's still lovely asymmetry to be found, and sloped roofs intersected by windows, resulting in a building that looks eye-catching despite its muted colour scheme and not at all boxy, as one might expect a LEGO set to be. Stickers provide minor details on the front and sides, and are easy enough to apply. Once again, even stickers aside the build feels complex with lots of good detailing and a distinct look. Interior The ground floor, while fairly small, displays the pub portion of the Three Broomsticks, with a combination of brick-built and stickered detail. The stickered shrunken heads and painting are nice touches, while the high bar looks good with a slightly raised area for Madame Rosmerta behind it. Like Honeydukes, both side walls utilise stickers for extra depth and detail, and I'm fine with that. There's obviously not a tremendous amount of seating provided, though The Three Broomsticks feels like a communal enough place that separate parties could sit at the same table, like I've done here. There's also enough floor space for a few other customers, and for Madame Rosmerta herself. I also can't forget to mention the butterbeer mugs, appropriately making their next appearance after the second CMF series. Love as many of those as I can get, and the 1x1 white studs make excellent head on the beer! Upstairs contains a private room, presumably the one where Harry overhears Rosmerta, McGonagall and Fudge. There's a large, roaring fireplace in the centre with holly and a cup above, and a comfy arm-chair to one side with a sticker behind it. The other side has a small chest of drawers and stool, and a sticker that's quite difficult to see. I've boosted the brightness on the second photo so that you can see it's a Hogwarts skyline. This room also contains plenty of open space for staging figures. Madame Rosmerta isn't happy about that. __________________________ SET DRESSINGS In addition to the two buildings, the set also contains three small side builds to set the Hogsmeade scene: a lamppost, a bench, and a sign-board. All are simply but well designed. The signboard has stickers for both sides, with a more enraged Sirius on the reverse. __________________________ FINAL THOUGHTS & RATING All in all, 76388 Hogsmeade Village Visit meets and exceeds my personal expectations. It continues the high level of detail expected for the Harry Potter theme since 2018, with two intricate, visually varied models that complement each other and create a lovely little slice of Hogsmeade along with the snowy side builds. Parts-wise, it includes a wealth of useful parts in dark tan, including arches appearing in that colour for the first time, and the large rounded trans-clear pieces used for Honeydukes windows could be useful without their bothersome stickers. There's also the exclusive acid pops head, butterbeer mugs, and minifigure-scale candy aplenty. On the minifigure front, getting three unique characters is always delightful, while McGonagall and Dean provide excellent new prints. Even if you don't care for the characters, they have useful and not terribly specific prints, as well as some hair and hat pieces in exclusive colours. There's just one thing about the design that detracts from this set, and it's the massive bloody stickers on Honeydukes. Even though they're bad, I wouldn't go so far as to say they ruin the set. If displaying is your aim, from a distance the stickered windows have the desired effect, but up closer at all and they look subpar. They really needed to be prints to alleviate their issues. One other pretty minor gripe I got thinking about is the lack of animals. An owl, mouse, rat, frog or two or three etc would've been great and felt very Harry Potter-y. Minifigures: 9.8/10 - Harry is bland and somewhat inaccurate, and Fudge should've been included to complete the scene, but really these minifigures are fantastic. Pieces: 9.6/10 - Good variety including some exclusive recolours and prints, as well as thankfully two butterbeer mugs and plenty of accessories in Honeydukes. Lacking animals, though!  Design: 7/10 - It's only fair to knock this down because of the Honeydukes windows, which play a prominent role in the set. Every other design choice is good, though. Playability: 8/10 - Unlike Hogwarts, which is itself a magical building and thus should have more play features built in, these two shops are shops, so playability will all come down to using them like doll-houses and enacting scenarios. There's mostly enough space for that, though the seating area in the pub and the upstairs of Honeydukes are limiting. Price: 10/10 - I haven't touched on price until now, but it feels like a fine USD price for the volume of stuff and level of detail, as well as all of the well-done minifigures and accessories. Overall: 8.9/10 - This is a very strong score, though not perfect, for a very strong though not perfect set. Given all of the well-done design choices, I wouldn't want to ding it too badly because of the Honeydukes windows, though they are a real shame. Still, I heartily recommend this set for either what it is or as a parts pack. Though I ended up liking the new Hogwarts sets more than I expected to, more of this please LEGO! __________________ This concludes my reviews of new 2021 Harry Potter sets for now. I hope I provided some useful insights for you, and let me know if there's anything you'd like to see with any of these sets that I haven't already covered. Please leave a comment with your thoughts on the sets and/or my reviews, and also let me know if you'd like me to cover any of the other sets once they're available for purchase. I'll definitely be getting the chess one!