Review: 76389 Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets

Posted by CapnRex101, 06 Jul 2021 16:30

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Hogwarts Castle has experienced considerable changes repeatedly, particularly as each model focuses upon different sections throughout the beloved school. LEGO has preserved surprising continuity among the modern Hogwarts Castle expansions though.

However, 76389 Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets abandons that standard, instead comprising various modular structures. Beyond connecting together horizontally, different levels can be successfully rearranged. Moreover, an excellent selection of minifigures accompanies the structure, including numerous exclusive characters.

Minifigures

Five students are included, representing three Hogwarts houses. Harry Potter remains among them and features his traditional tousled hair component and an unchanged double-sided head. These seem appropriate for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, while the torso is shared with Ron Weasley from 76387 Hogwarts: Fluffy Encounter and looks marvellous.

LEGO frequently introduces updated Hogwarts robes, hence Ginny Weasley features another adjusted design. Her uniform displays the same Gryffindor emblem as Harry’s attire, albeit with the robe fastened. Such consistency is appreciated and will hopefully remain intact across later waves, establishing an enhanced balance between continuity and authentic variation.

Colin Creevey also belongs to Gryffindor and is among the Basilisk’s victims. This minifigure features an exclusive medium nougat version of Han Solo’s hair element with an ideal double-sided head, capturing Colin’s excitable personality. Ginny’s appearance could be enhanced in that regard, perhaps including a vacant expression to denote the influence of Tom Riddle.

These minifigures carry suitable wands alongside unique accessories. Harry wields the famed Sword of Gryffindor, returning from the second series of Collectable Minifigures, while Ginny is accompanied by Tom Riddle’s diary. Unfortunately, the cover features a sticker and the internal page is blank. Colin’s camera looks good though, including an enormous flash.

Despite remaining absent from the story until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Luna Lovegood represents Ravenclaw here. Various alternatives could have been provided instead, including Penelope Clearwater or Terry Boot. Penelope would be splendid, given her encounter with the Basilisk during the book. Luna looks superb though, integrating her distinct blonde hair piece. Unfortunately, this freckled head is shared with Ginny Weasley.

Justin Finch-Fletchley seems more appropriate to include, given his important attendance at Gilderoy Lockhart’s duelling club. The minifigure features yellow Hufflepuff robes and therefore contrasts against Luna’s robes, denoting Ravenclaw house. These designs integrate wonderful detail that continues across the reverse, although this double-sided head is extremely common and improved variety would be beneficial.

Once again, both minifigures are equipped with wands. Luna also includes another decorated book which portrays Gilderoy Lockhart’s dubious work, Year with the Yeti. This cover has been dramatically simplified when compared with the source material, although the central portrait of the author is present. The printed tile from 76383 Hogwarts Moment: Potions Class is mounted inside.

Albus Dumbledore frequently wears colourful robes onscreen, although this magenta design apparently takes inspiration from early Dumbledore minifigures instead. The ornate decoration appears absolutely spectacular, incorporating fantastic metallic silver patterns. Purple and gold highlights are also present through the centre of Dumbledore’s clothing.

Furthermore, the beard and hair components feature fantastic texture, returning from previous renditions of Hogwarts’ mercurial headmaster. They appear excellent for this character and his double-sided head seems suitably cheerful, although both expressions are hidden beneath the extravagant beard. As normal, Dumbledore includes his recognisable dark tan wand.

4730 The Chamber of Secrets was released during 2002, containing Gilderoy Lockhart. This famous character has enjoyed impressive popularity since then, although few minifigures have been produced. Unfortunately, this example appears rather bland, lacking the dramatic cape or vivid colours which are associated with Lockhart. Nevertheless, the metallic gold waistcoat and elaborate cravat appear fittingly ostentatious.

Among the numerous Hogwarts teaching staff, Aurora Sinistra seems comparatively obscure. Nevertheless, the minifigure is certainly welcome and looks tremendous, matching the intricate decoration on Dumbledore and Lockhart. Additionally, this design compares favourably with the onscreen professor, who traditionally sits beside Albus Dumbledore during feasts.

Professor Sinistra’s hat seems particularly majestic and her double-sided head is unique, with happy and stern expressions. Lockhart’s facial expressions seem excellent too, returning from 75978 Diagon Alley and encapsulating his dubious confidence. Both minifigures wield dark tan wands, matching Dumbledore and Justin Finch-Fletchley.

Nearly Headless Nick appeared in 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall during 2018 and this ghoulish minifigure closely resembles its prior equivalent in certain respects. The character’s fourteenth century attire includes consistent detail and corresponds with the source material. The metallic silver accents are particularly outstanding and continue across both sides of the torso.

Of course, the primary difference between this minifigure and the earlier version is that Nearly Headless Nick now glows in the dark! The glowing effect looks reasonable and the contrasting decoration stands out beautifully. Additionally, I like the frightened expression which represents Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington’s petrifying encounter with the Basilisk.

Following his appearance with the Harry Potter Magical Treasury reference book, Tom Riddle returns here. This minifigure features appropriately angry facial expressions and the traditional Hogwarts robes look good, reflecting Tom’s period at the school. Unfortunately, the omission of dual-moulded legs substantially detracts from the design, since they would have been effective.

Two decades have passed since LEGO Harry Potter was launched, hence golden minifigures appear throughout the summer selection. Anniversary Lord Voldemort accompanies the set here, consisting exclusively of pearl gold components. These seem comically inappropriate for Lord Voldemort, particularly given the addition of metallic gold sparkles!

However, the Dark Lord’s intimidating appearance remains intact, featuring a grim expression which demonstrates brilliant continuity with Tom Riddle. The character’s distinctive nostrils are also present. Conversely, viewing the minifigure from behind reveals the twentieth anniversary branding, which decorates the six celebratory characters across the collection.

The Completed Model

Hogwarts Castle stands beside the Great Lake, atop spectacular cliffs. Previous renditions of the structure have commonly excluded this environment, although including the subterranean Chamber of Secrets requires such elevation. The resulting model looks impressive and differs considerably from its predecessors, appearing most reminiscent of the classic 4709 Hogwarts Castle from 2001.

This structure comprises three primary sections, which are connected using Technic pins and can therefore be reconfigured easily. When displayed in the standard arrangement, shown on the packaging, this model measures 40cm across. Moreover, separate levels can be removed and swapped around, as demonstrated below where the balcony and tower are reversed.

While the onscreen cliffs appear relatively featureless, some appealing texture and highlights are present here. The olive green elements look excellent, although the flaming torches seem somewhat out of place. The combination of three neighbouring 2x4x6 rock components is also awkward, giving the appearance of complete regularity and symmetry across the cliffs.

Nevertheless, the combination between these rugged cliffs and the building appears realistic, especially where the rocks gradually diminish to incorporate tan walls. Moreover, I appreciate the dark blue elements positioned along the base, representing the Great Lake which extends before Hogwarts Castle and contains the mysterious Giant Squid!

Hogwarts Castle was constructed during the tenth century and exhibits some evidence of that age, despite the influence of magic. Medium nougat masonry bricks are accordingly dispersed among the tan components, to good effect. The distinctive Hogwarts crest looks superb as well, complementing 76387 Hogwarts: Fluffy Encounter where a similar crest appears. However, the smaller model lacks texturing beside the crest.

Among the numerous structures which constitute this school, the Great Hall is potentially the most recognisable from the exterior. This design definitely captures some significant features, including the elongated windows and enormous spire atop the roof. Unfortunately, the smaller spires along the edge of the roof are missing, deviating from 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall.

The most conspicuous difference between this version of Hogwarts Castle and its numerous recent predecessors is the roof colour. Dark bluish grey became established during 2018 but sand green returns here, originating from classic sets. I understand the reasoning behind this decision, which acknowledges the twentieth anniversary, although dark bluish grey roofs look more accurate when compared with the movies.

Detailed interiors are an unerring feature of different Hogwarts Castle models and this design maintains that convention. The cavernous Great Hall includes surprisingly vibrant colours and provides pleasing space for minifigures, although 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall overshadows all other depictions of the chamber from that perspective, as the name suggests.

Two stickered cereal boxes are positioned on the dining tables. Pixie Puffs and Cheeri Owls both originate from the Harry Potter films and these stickers faithfully recreate the packaging designs that appear onscreen. Various goblets and teacups are also provided, alongside two chocolate frogs and a croissant. Additional food accessories would have been welcome here.

Gilderoy Lockhart’s duelling club also takes place inside the Great Hall, where the banqueting tables resemble fencing pistes. Both tables are wide enough to accommodate duellists placed on top and one table can launch a minifigure, perhaps portraying Lockhart’s easy disarming by Professor Snape. Of course, it was pretty obvious what Snape was planning to do!

The launching function works nicely, although it certainly impacts the appearance of the table. Additionally, the elevated staff table has been removed and replaced with a pearl gold lectern which corresponds with various Harry Potter movies, integrating an attractive carved owl. The ubiquitous fireplace is included as well, lacking the size of its equivalent from 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall, but replicating important details.

Separate house banners have been supplanted by a single Hogwarts banner, which combines the varied house colours. Otherwise, the rafters contain some intriguing accessories, including one decorated jar and a glow-in-the-dark crystal ball. This is simply assembled using a glow-in-the-dark minifigure head beneath the trans-clear spherical helmet developed for Mysterio.

Furthermore, four alternating black and white tiles represent the wizard’s chess board which Ron Weasley sometimes brings into the Great Hall. Raising the Hogwarts banner reveals an even more important accessory, the Sorting Hat. This is traditionally housed in Dumbledore’s office, although I appreciate its integration, making such efficient use of space.

The famous Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom appears regularly throughout the Harry Potter series, adapting to reflect each professor. Gilderoy Lockhart’s classroom is immediately recognisable, including two desks with chairs and numerous accessories. The new candelabra component appears particularly appealing and includes multiple useful connection points.

However, the most prominent feature is definitely the painting that displays Gilderoy Lockhart creating his own portrait! This looks absolutely excellent when compared with the film and the neighbouring photograph conveys Lockhart’s incredible vanity. Nevertheless, I think there was an opportunity to provide even more references here, perhaps including Lockhart’s quiz or the character’s ‘Most Charming Smile’ awards from Witch Weekly!

Cornish Pixies and the professor releases some into his classroom, evidently underestimating their proclivity for carnage. Two such creatures are included here, most closely resembling the component created for Baby Groot. Their mischievous faces look fantastic and I love this trans-opalescent blue colour. The integration of bars as their hands is also ingenious, allowing these pixies to hold accessories.

Several additional images are displayed in Professor Lockhart’s office, each taking inspiration from photographs which appear onscreen or in promotional materials. For example, the photo that displays Lockhart beside an unusual magical creature originates from this image. Another sticker portraying a signed picture is placed on the professor’s desk, again matching the film.

Gilderoy Lockhart’s lustrous hair is internationally renowned. However, his attempted escape before entering the Chamber of Secrets reveals that Lockhart’s hair is actually a wig! Another medium nougat hair component is accordingly provided on his desk. Unfortunately, no hidden storage compartments are available for the wig, which seems like a missed opportunity.

Six chocolate frogs are distributed throughout the castle, including inside Lockhart’s office and on the balcony outside. They accompany the six Chocolate Frog cards which are supplied and will be discussed separately, once I have collected them all. The balcony also features a broom and an articulated trans-clear support, where Nearly Headless Nick or a pixie could be secured.

The spectacular Astronomy Tower is among Hogwarts’ most distinguishing structures. 75969 Hogwarts Astronomy Tower captured the tower quite accurately, hence this smaller section is disappointing by comparison. Of course, Professor Sinistra might conduct lessons in differing locations, in which case the simplified tower contains perfect equipment. The telescope looks especially attractive.

Removing the sand green roof provides a good position for stargazing and the stickered star chart looks wonderful, including a reference to Tahu’s classic mask! The symbols underneath appear authentic too, with a LEGO sextant accessory beneath those. The tower also contains another glow-in-the-dark accessory, depicting a crystal ball or perhaps a spherical star map.

While the above ground structures are impressive, this model focuses substantially upon the titular Chamber of Secrets. This occupies the entire underground level and combines several sections of the complex, beginning with the entrance slide. Numerous bones are scattered on the floor which corresponds with the source material, although additional rocks could improve the design further.

76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake connects securely above the slide, lining up neatly and allowing minifigures to drop from the bathroom into the underground area. The function is extremely effective and splitting connected locations between sets should provide tremendous opportunities for future products, if this modular system for Hogwarts Castle continues.

However, the slide also functions without the supplemental set, cleverly including a removable rock panel where minifigures can access the slide. The feature is fairly basic but demonstrates outstanding versatility. Moreover, the entrance is successfully hidden because little evidence of its presence is apparent from outside, when the rock element is attached.

While travelling down the slide reaches the cave network underneath Hogwarts, an enormous door protects the actual Chamber of Secrets. This door includes decorative snakes which look splendid, although their arrangement is imperfect. Nevertheless, I appreciate this effort to build these details rather than relying upon stickers. The surrounding trans-green cylinders are good too, despite deviating from the film.

The door opens smoothly and I like the circular portal. Unfortunately, the location of this door seems strange because it cannot be accurately connected between the slide and the primary chamber. I think another attachment point, perpendicular to those already included, should be positioned beside the slide, ready to secure this door when necessary. The tower fixed above the entrance appears odd too, but I appreciate this unique owl.

Salazar Slytherin’s sinister visage stands prominently within the Chamber of Secrets and this recreation captures magnificent detail from the source material. I love the billowing hair which surrounds Slytherin’s face and this rounded shape resembles standard minifigure heads! I am less satisfied with the colour matching between the light bluish grey elements and the stickers which form eyes, although varied shades of grey are already visible.

Removing another rock component opens Salazar Slytherin’s mouth, faithfully replicating the emergence of the Basilisk. Once again, the function is successfully hidden when viewed from outside, except for the inclusion of two dark bluish grey robot arms. These are required to lock the removable section, although I think the mechanism could have been subtler.

Limited space is available to accommodate the Basilisk. Nevertheless, this creature can slide through the mouth of the statue, flanked by two sculpted snakes. These distinctive parts were developed for NINJAGO, but this combination of light bluish grey and trans-green plastics has never appeared before and looks brilliant. The archways appear fittingly elegant as well.

LEGO has released three unique depictions of the Basilisk, beginning with 4730 The Chamber of Secrets and followed by another design with 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall. This animal seems much more similar to the example from 2002, integrating specialised elements when necessary and measuring 28cm in length. Even that considerable size appears reasonably modest beside minifigures, especially around the head.

The head shape closely resembles the source material, despite being relatively small. Ridges are correctly positioned and the printed eyes look appealing, alongside dual-moulded teeth. In addition, I think using this Velociraptor jaw component was sensible, even though the teeth are significantly smaller than the fang which is hidden inside the mouth of Slytherin’s statue.

Olive green was definitely an appropriate colour choice, featuring tan and dark tan highlights which look reasonable. The articulation is somewhat limited, but does enable various options when displaying the Basilisk and the joints are completely hidden, using Technic pins. I would have preferred better integration between the neck, the body and the tail, but that would likely necessitate another exclusive element.

Overall

The mysterious Chamber of Secrets is an important location and has been underrepresented throughout the LEGO Harry Potter theme. 76389 Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets should prove accordingly successful and definitely satisfies me, combining numerous important details from the movie. The minifigures are also enjoyable, although potential remains to improve Gilderoy Lockhart and Tom Riddle.

Additionally, I think the new Hogwarts modular system provides significant potential, especially because smaller sections may now be sold separately. I imagine that enhances the opportunity to produce less prominent locations from Hogwarts Castle, such as enlarged common rooms or different classrooms. Unfortunately, the most significant weakness of this set is the price, which feels rather expensive at £129.99 or $129.99. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend this set following a discount.

This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review represents an expression of my own opinions.

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