REVIEW: The Beauxbatons’ are coming

75958 – Beauxbatons’ Carriage: Arrival at Hogwarts

While most of the 2019 Lego Harry Potter sets represent scenes that previous sets have covered, this one is refreshingly new, and in many ways it fills some gaps in what other sets have provided. The price point is quite high though, so how does it stack up?

Background

At the beginning of Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts, it was announced that the Tri-wizard tournament would be hosted by Hogwarts and students from two other schools would come to compete: The Durmstrang Institute and the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. They arrived on the day before Halloween by two very different means of transportation. We have previously had the magical Durmstrang ship (set 4768), which emerged from the Black Lake next to the wizard school. The students from Beauxbatons however came through air.

“… as the gigantic black shape skimmed over the treetops of the Forbidden Forest, and the lights shining from the castle windows hit it, they saw a gigantic, powder blue, house drawn carriage, the size of a large house, soaring towards them, pulled through the air by a dozen of winged horses, all palominos, and each the size of an elephant. “

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When LEGO posted teaser photos of the the previously unknown 2019 Wave 2 sets, it created a lot of excitement.

The 2019 LEGO Harry Potter sets are the first ever to feature the students from Beauxbatons, and this is a welcome addition to the LEGO Harry Potter universe.

The Hungarian Horntail Triwizard Challenge (set 75946) features Fleur Delacour, the chosen champion from Beauxbatons, in the first task of the Tri-wizard tournament, while the Hogwarts Clocktower (set 75948) includes both Fleur and the Headmistress of Beauxbatons, Madame Maxime, dressed up for the Yule Ball.

This set however, is all about the Beauxbatons’ carriage they arrived in.

Box and content

The front of the box shows the arrival of the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. Hagrid, well dressed up for the occasion, has been directing the landing of the carriage, and the visitors are disembarking. The blue carriage goes well with the colour scheme of the Harry Potter boxes. The background has the silhouette of Hogwarts towers, which looks great, but otherwise the green fields somehow have the carriage floating above it, which looks a bit weird as they are already exiting.

The front also shows that the carriage can be opened and turns into a two story interior to play with. This is probably the key play feature leaving little extra to show on the back other than how the carriage is opened, and that the chest can be removed and drawers opened.

So let us hurry on to see what is inside! Once you open the box you will find the instructions booklet, a sticker sheet, and three numbered bags with parts.

Minifigures

The set comes with four minifigures: Rubeus Hagrid, Madame Olympe Maxime, Fleur Delacour and Fleur’s little sister, Gabrielle Delacour.

Hagrid uses the same mould as the one from last year’s Hogwarts Great Hall set and the 2019 Hagrid’s Hut set. But while the figures in them had a Medium Dark Flesh coloured coat, this one is reddish brown and shows Hagrid dressed up with a shirt and tie underneath! Surely he’s trying to impress someone. He also comes with a bottle. We’ll get back to that one.

Madame Maxime, headmistress of Beauxbatons, may be the one Hagrid is trying to impress. She surely has the size and uses a 2x2x3 slope brick as dress under a normal torso to give that height we see in the movie. The proportions doesn’t quite look right compared to Hagrid though, as the arms of the normal minifig torso look very small on such a tall figure. A custom mould for the figure world obviously have helped but would be costly for a figure that is not a lead character and probably see little use in years to come.

Siblings Fleur and Gabrielle share the same hat/hair piece and uniform printed torso, but use different head pieces and Fleur has normal legs (with printed boots) while Gabrielle use the short legs with no printing. Gabrielle also come with a printed 1×2 tan tile depicting a letter with seal. That would look good as Hogwarts acceptance letter in a MOC.

Three of the four figures have printing on the back. Madame Maxime has both torso and the slope brick making up her dress printed, Fleur has torso and legs printed while Gabrielle only has the torso printed. It would have been nice having Hagrid’s back printed too to match the hairy look of the front. In practice the sides and arms probably would have to be printed as well to make it look consistent, making it costly to achieve.

Madame Maxime, Fleur and Gabrielle all have alternative face prints as well. In particular I like Gabrielle’s sleepy face.

The sleepy eyes on Gabrielle is not just for the bed in the carriage. Gabrielle played an important role in The Goblet of Fire.

The eight-year-old little sister Gabrielle was treasured by Fleur above anything else. So for the second task of the Tri-wizard tournament, she was taken into the Black Lake, kept alive and asleep under the influence of a magical spell, and was to be rescued by Fleur within an hour.

Fleur however failed to reach her due to a grindylow attack and realising this Harry brought Gabrielle to the surface of the lake, along with his own hostage and best friend Ron Weasley.

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Harry saves Gabrielle from the Merpeople (from harrypotter.fandom.com)

It is therefore a great supplement to the Rescue from the Merpeople (set 4762) from 2005, which only included Ron and Hermione (who was to be rescued by Viktor Krum). Here she has been added to a scene based around the 2005 set.

And before we finish with the minifigures, let us get back to Hagrid’s attire. For those who also has Hogwarts Clocktower (set 75948), this is the dress he was wearing for the Yule Ball, where he connected well with Madame Maxime (at least until he started asking into her parents).

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Hagrid and Maxime at the Yule Ball as seen in the movie

With the new Hagrid figure, you can recreate that scene in LEGO, should you have the Clocktower set with the other Yule Ball dressed up characters.

Hagrid and Maxime at the Yule Ball – LEGO version

Flying horses

Moving on from the minifigures, another key element is the winged horses. From Pottermore, we learn that these are called particular type is called Abraxans. They are the size of an elephant, and being described as palominos, they should have a golden coat with white mane and tail. The normal horse mould used here doesn’t quite have the size of an elephant, but it would have been impractical for a playset – and turned that into a very expensive one – should all have built to scale. It would have been nice with a tan coloured horse though to better represent the breed.

Hagrid is given the task to look after the horses while the Beauxbatons’ visit, though Madame Maxime is concerned as they are very strong.

‘I assure you that Hagrid will be well up to the job,’ said Dumbledore, smiling.

‘Very well,’ said Madame Maxime, bowing slightly, ‘will you please inform zis ’Agrid zat ze ’orses drink only single-malt whisky?’

‘It will be attended to,’ said Dumbledore, also bowing.

So we also learn that they drink single malt whisky. Now that empty bottle makes sense.

Have a sip…

The carriage

Most the the three bags are made up of bricks for the carriage. The building is fairly quick, but interesting with the techniques used to create the shape and opening side. Here is the set after bag one has been completed.

Bag two finishes the other side and adds most of the roof and decorative lamps.

There are quite a few stickers to be added – and they need to be carefully aligned. Wonder if some of them could have been replaced by more pearl gold bricks of various forms for ornaments.

Here it is show with after bag three is done. It may not be the size of a house, but the carriage is really well designed. I’m not a big fan of the horse connection however. It is a bit bulky, but it is probably required to make models that can be played with without falling apart.

Opening the side turns that into a second level. Now it’s much more the size of a house. This really enhances the ability for play and we have seen this feature in the Hogwarts Express from last year, and the 2019 Knight Bus.

The top section has a chest of drawers and two beds – a perfect place for Gabrielle to rest those sleepy eyes…

The lower section is perfect for a tea party.

Conclusion

The four minifigures are great, but only having only four in a set of this price point is in the lower end. The two flying horses help, but with the size of the carriage you get my initial thoughts when I saw the set revealed was “is that all”?

But having built it now, it has definitely grown on me. The carriage looks great, with the clever opening design.

The weak point there is the horse connection, which looks rather massive. Ropes would look better, but less practical for play. But even the current design has a very weak hinge that means the beam with the horses will not be held in place if you lift the carriage. So for a kid, this is only “swooshable” using two hands.

It is pretty large for small hands, but yet not huge – so I expect to see some attempts to supersize it from multiple sets (and thus increasing the number of horses in the span to four, six or more), in particular if it becomes available with a decent discount.

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But the really great thing with this set is how well it is filling gaps. It gives us for the first time the carriage the Beauxbatons’ arrived in, their students in uniforms, and Gabrielle Delacour – one more person to be saved from the Black Lake – and Hagrid ready for the Yule Ball. So I’m really glad I got this set in my collection.

Head over to my Reviews page for more review of the 2018 and 2019 sets. More coming soon…

Till then, Build the Magic!

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