REVIEW: Hungarian Horntail Tri-wizard Challenge

With the first wave of the 2019 Harry Potter sets now available in North America as well, I better get on with my review of the 2019 sets. This time I’ll have a look at the Hungarian Horntail set. It covers the first Tri-wizard Tournament task, which has been covered before in the Harry and the Hungarian Horntail (set 4767) from 2005. How does it stack up?

Unboxing

As usual, I’ll start with the box. The boxart is great with good strong colours. But you somehow get a feeling that there may not be a lot in the set.

As usual, the back of the box shows the play features, of which there aren’t really many. The tent can open and the dragon can break free from its chain and chase Harry (as it did in the movie, the chain wasn’t part of the book).

In the box you’ll find two numbered bags with parts, two loose dragon wings, the instruction manual and a small sticker sheet (which in my case was slightly creased, though once applied you wouldn’t notice).

Minifigures

The set comes with four minifigures. One of them is of course Harry Potter, who faced the Hungarian Horntail the the Tri-wizard tournament.

Just as important are the other figures though as they were not in the previous Hungarian Horntail set:

  • Viktor Krum is making a welcome return, only seen in the Durmstrang ship (set 4768) in his Durmstrang uniform and the Rescue from the Merpeople (set 4762) in his half-shark form.
  • Fleur Delacour – this is the first ever minifigure of Fleur. Some may want the set just for this.
  • Cedric Diggory- 2nd version ever of Cedric (with the first released recently as part of the CMF series in 2018 – see my review here)

Being younger than the other contestants, Harry’s figure uses the teen legs introduced last year with the Harry Potter CMF series. The other three uses normal leg pieces.

With highly detailed torso prints, all figures are absolutely great representations of what they characters wore on the day of the first task in the movie. Cedric also has printed legs.

Another important point is Harry’s Firebolt broom. The simple addition of two parts make it look much more impressive and quite movie accurate.

All four minifigures have alternate facial expressions – so the happy faces can be replaced with scared looks – very appropriate when facing a fire breathing dragon!

The torso backs are printed on all of them. Fleur and Krum’s feature their wizarding school’s logos while Harry and Cedric both have their surnames printed.

So how is the dragon, really?

Of the four dragons that the contestants were to be paired with, the Hungarian Horntail was particular frightful. In the book, Harry (under his invisibility cloak) overhears Charlie Weasley commenting on the Horntail:

“… but I’ll tell you this, I don’t envy the one who gets the Horntail. Vicious thing. Its back end’s as dangerous as it’s front, look.”

He pointed towards the Horntail’s tail and Harry saw long bronze-coloured spikes protruding along it every few inches.

Unfortunately for Harry, he ends up drawing the Horntail!

The dragon itself takes the full first bag of bricks. It does look great, with a spiky tail and fierce look. The articulation is good, so it is easy to pose – and I’ll give to high marks for swooshability as well!

The vicious Hungarian Horntail dragon

When I saw the initial photos I wasn’t sure I would like it, but I must say it looks better than I had thought and does stack up pretty well against its counterpart released more than a decade ago. The photo below compares the two.

Given the fundamental difference in design a direct comparison is difficult. The new one being brickbuilt (the only larger mounded parts being the wings and headpiece) vs. the previous one that is made up very few, specially moulded parts. Basically, they have to look very different.

2018 dragon (left) vs the 2005 dragon (right)

Both look vicious, but the 2005 model has a more cartoon-ish look that some may prefer, but others may find rather pale in comparison. Also, the 2005 model being based on large moulded parts also means that articulation is pretty bad – and it poses best as flying. Overall, having looked at them side by side for a few weeks by now, I’ve come to prefer the new one.

But what else is in the box?

While the dragon might be the star in this set, there was still a bag with bricks left after the build.

This is for building two smaller models to supplement the dragon in covering the first task in the Tri-wizard Tournament. The contestants were to steal a golden egg from the dragon’s nest, and the first build is a small but neat looking nest, which most importantly has a golden egg, but also has a chain that prevents the dragon from flying after Harry. In the movie that chain breaks followed by the rather amazing dragon chase scene (this is quite different from the book, where Harry had to tease the dragon for a while to get it to leave the nest it was protecting and he then flew in and grabbed the egg).

The second build is slightly larger. It is a tent and could appear to be an afterthought to supplement the dragon with something. While far from impressive in size, it is good background of introducing all four contestants, as this is where they spend the time immediately before the task (nervously pacing back and forth) till Ludo Bagman blew the whistle to call out the next contestant.

Two small builds supplement the dragon 

The tent looks rather bare from the outside though. Only the front really has a bit of detail added around the opening.

The tent is hinged and opens up to reveal a bed and a small table with goblets, so the nervous contestants can have a sip of pumpkin juice, butterbeer or whatever their preferences are.  There is no way the four contestants could be pacing back and forth in this small tent, but opened up it does provide a good backdrop for play.

The four contestants in front of the tent

In comparison, the 2005 set included a larger section of the spectator stand around the arena instead of the tent. I think that was a better addition than the tent, but it wouldn’t have lent itself to the inclusion of the other three contestants. It could however had included both Ludo Bagman and Rita Skeeter, neither of whom has ever appeared as minifigure, so that would have been a drawcard too. Nice custom models of them have been made though, such as by lego3x11l.

img_20190226_1938002695897653905296026.jpg
The first Hungarian Horntail set from 2005

Conclusion

In summary, the box didn’t deceive. In the end I didn’t feel I got a lot for the money.

However, the dragon does look great, and you get four really good minifigures, which includes some characters new to the LEGO Harry Potter universe (it should be noted they also make an appearance in the more expensive Clocktower set, though dressed up for the yule ball).

The full set – yes, that’s all

The tent is the least impressive part, and makes up almost a third of the bricks. When open, it forms a good backdrop for play, but for display it is somewhat disappointing.

So this is really a set that you feel better getting on a sale, though I did buy it at full price and hasn’t regretted it.

This completes the third of my 2019 Harry Potter set reviews. Next up – when time permits – is the Clocktower, though I’m playing with the idea of reviewing some of the early sets from my collection too.

Till then – Build the magic!

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