REVIEW: Forbidden Forest – Umbridge’s encounter

Set 75967 – Forbidden Forrest: Umbridge’s encounter

Price: US$29.99 / €29.99 (DE) / €29.99 (ES) / £24.99 / AU$49.99 / 270 DKK / 359 NOK

In 2018 we got the Aragog’s Lair scene from the Forbidden Forest followed in 2019 by Expecto Patronum, which was also set in the forest. Now the calendar says 2020 and we are fortunately enough to get yet another Forbidden Forest set. This one brings us for the first time in LEGO both centaurs and Hagrid’s half-brother Grawp, as well as a return of Professor Umbridge, who otherwise has been hard to get as minifigure. So many positives – but does the set as a whole stack up well?

Background

This year’s sets are mostly focused on books 5-6, which this particular set covering the iconic scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, were Harry Potter and Hermione Granger lead Dolores Umbridge, headmistress of Hogwarts, to Hagrid’s half-brother Grawp (who is a giant). There, they are also met by a herd of centaurs, and after Umbridge offends them, they carry her screaming off deep into the forest. Many sees this scene as one of the brightest highlights in the otherwise rather dark Order of the Phoenix.

In was one of the sets I already back mid last year predicted we might see this year, though I hadn’t thought that Grawp would be included as well. So I was really exited when I learned about this set. So let’s hurry on and see what we get…

Box and content

The front of the box is of course based on the well known design used for the 2018-20 LEGO Harry Potter sets. Under the logo banner at the top, the main feature is the photo of the elements included in the set, with a graphical background to add to the mood. For this set, they have chosen the background well; a dark, damp forest. A banner at the lower left shows the five “minifigures” included.

Turning over the box, its back shows that the included tree can open up revealing some of Grawp’s treasured items and that Grawp can sit down as a normal minifigure. Otherwise it simply shows a couple of more friendly scenes you can roleplay with the set, where the front is a more dramatic scene.

The top side of the box gives us a close up of the included minifigures.

Inside you find two numbered bags with parts (253 pieces), two instruction manuals and a small sticker sheet.

Let’s open the bags and see what is inside.

Minifigures

The set includes three “normal” minifigures:

  • Hermione Granger
  • Harry Potter
  • Dolores Umbridge

We have seen plenty minifigures of both Harry and Hermione. With Professor Umbridge, it is a different story. The inclusion of her in a relatively cheap set is appreciated as she is quite rare – featuring only in the very hard to get 2007 Hogwarts Castle (set 5378) and the somewhat more readily available 2018 Bricktober pack, which was however not available for general retail sale either.

Hermione and Harry come with printed torsos only while the Umbridge minifigure also has printed legs, which completes her dress nicely. The printed faces and included hair pieces are well representing the characters.

As it generally was the case last year too, the figures included in this year’s sets are made with torso prints that closely matches what they were wearing in the movie scene the set is representing. So if you are re-watching The Order of the Phoenix you will see Hermione in a striped sweater and Harry wearing a grey hoodie leading Umbridge in a pink dress (not that practical for a hike in the forest) deep into the forest. I really like this.

All three comes with alternative face prints showing anger (Hermione and Harry) and fright (Umbridge).

They also all have prints on the torso backs, though noting spetacular, but add to the compleness of the figures.

The centaurs can be considered “almost” minifigures as they include normal minifigure torsos, heads and hair pieces. What make them special though is the new horse-body piece to which a normal minifigure torso can be attached.

Two centaurs are included in the set – both identical, with exactly the same torsos, heads, hair and armed with bows.

The centaur head has two facial expressions – a stern look and an angry look.

I’m expecting these centaurs to be hugely popular among the wider group of LEGO fans who are into knights and fantasy scenes. But let us continue with the actual build.

The build

The first bag of pieces gives us Harry Potter, the two centaurs and the bricks needed to build a tree. The tree is bigger than what we have seen in the 2018 and 2019 Forbidden Forest sets, which is good as it need to be somewhat substantial when viewed next to a giant!

The tree opens up revealing a storage for Grawp’s items, including a lamp, some food and most importantly, his treasured bicycle handlebar with bell, which he shows Hermione and Harry when Hagrid first introduces them to Grawp.

Overall, the tree looks fine and has a decent size. It matches well the style of the small tree in the 2018 Aragog’s Lair set, while the trees we got in the 2019 Expecto Patronum set used a very different design.

Continuing with bag two, we get Hermione, Professor Umbridge and the bricks required to build the giant Grawp. It is a fairly quick build as well, and the outcome is a giant which relative to a minifigure is proportioned well

Initially, I was a bit annoyed by the lack of articulation of legs and arms, but then realised that what they have done is basically creating a large scale minifigure, explaining the lack of joints for knees, ankles and elbows. The minifigure shape is most obvious when looking at the legs and the angled sides of the torso. As such I quite like that idea, but the figure is rather hard to pose for that reason.

Most decorative parts are stickers, but the head is printed for some reason. It might have been considered too hard to apply a sticker precisely on that part.

Starting with the head, it works pretty well overall, though the hair looks a bit layered. But you can rearrange the bricks if you want another haircut, as my example here below.

Continuing with the body, the holes in the exposed Technic brick on each leg detracts from the visual appearance when seen from the side. Similar can be said for the grey ball-joints, which are used to attach the arms to the body.

He looks otherwise fine from the front, but absolutely nothing has been done to make the back look pretty, which is a shame. For most uses, that does not matter, but I have already seen examples of how others have modified the back make it look more appealing.

Instagram user micmacpadwac have posted some ideas for how to improve the model as per below.

But even without modifications, Grawp looks great next to the tree and the minifigures – a true gentle giant.

Conclusion

When the new 2020 Harry Potter sets were revealed, this was among the ones I was looking most forward to. Now having built it, I’m still very happy for it as the figures are amazing, but I had probably expected a bit more from the actual build experience – as two two main builds are quite simple. Most of the value is really in the figures.

With the minifigures, I am glad Umbridge can be carried away with style – hopefully never to be seen again… Those centaurs are truly amazing and I may end up with multiple sets, just to build up a centaur army.

As for Grawp, I appreciate his inclusion in the set. As such, I’m a bit torn between whether this brick build version is preferable over moulded giant figure (and instead include additional bricks for another tree). But after some consideration, I am glad they opted for the brick build giant – I think they really nailed the scale. And if you are super keen for it to look better, there are scope for relative simple modifications that can improve the visual appearance in particular from the back.

Together with the review of the Room of Requirement last week, I’ve now covered the two smallest 2020 LEGO Harry Potter sets. I have a few other posts planned till I continue with the 2020 reviews, but be sure that all 2020 sets will eventually be covered on the Reviews page!

Till then, Build the Magic!

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