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One of my favourite LEGO Harry Potter sets is Diagon Alley (Set 10217), which was released back in 2011. Today, LEGO has officially revealed much bigger Diagon Alley (Set 75978) – giving us six of the iconic buildings and no less than 14 minifigures to go with it. It is available for sale from tomorrow. While not cheap, it looks stunning and I’m sure it will be a popular set. Let’s see closer at what you get…
Diagon Alley may be my favourite location in the Harry Potter universe and I’ve built my own model over the last couple of years. It has been a big undertaking though and now LEGO has provided a “package” that gives you most of this in one big set, to be available from 1 September.
With 5544 pieces, this is one of the largest LEGO sets ever to be released and specific to Harry Potter, the second largest set after the 2018 Hogwarts castle with 6020 pieces.
In terms of footprint, it is equally impressive, being 29 cm in height × 102.4 cm in width × 13 cm in depth, or in other words four baseplates wide and half a baseplate deep.
The set includes:
- Scribbulus Writing Instruments
- Quality Quidditch Supplies with Daily Prophet office entrance
- Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour
- Flourish and Blotts (book store)
- Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
Each building has an open back and detailed interior
The buildings are divided into four different segments, each a baseplate wide, which can be displayed as a long row (on a shelf) or as two rows opposite each other, or however you otherwise like it. Let us have a look at the four segments in turn.
Ollivanders and Scribbulus
The first section covers Ollivanders famous wand shop and Scribbulus Writing Implements, which as the name suggests is a stationary store for wizards and witches, selling quills, ink, parchment, etc.
Both buildings look absolutely stunning with detail, including the iconic curved bay windows of Ollivanders.
Ollivander’s featured in the 2011 Diagon Alley set as well, looking somwhat similar, though with a different colour scheme.
For Scribbulus, it is the first time ever it has been featured in a LEGO set. Hagrid took him Scribbulus Writing Implements next, and his spirits uplifted slightly when he saw a bottle of Colour-Change Ink
Quality Quidditch Supplies
This building is probably the one that looked most different from what I had expected, but (as discussed later) is an accurate representation of how it looked in the early movies. I really like the forward leaning windows – really capturing the feel of the old leaning buildings you see in the movies.
The interior is very detailed with a mix of uniforms, brooms, etc. including the famous Nimbus 2000 on display in the front window.
Next to be Quidditch shop is an entrance to the Daily Prophet office. Unfortunately, Rita Skeeter is not included.
The shop previously has appeared in 2003, but at a much smaller scale.
Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour and Flourish and Blotts
Both of these stores are appear for the first time ever in a LEGO set. Both are beautifully done.
Harry spend many hours during the Prisoner of Azkaban sitting at the ice cream shop, while staying at the Leaky Cauldron.
The book store feature the “Lockhart” book signing scene, which is a great addition. Also, watch our for Lucius – he may try to sneak an old diary into Ginny’s book pile.
Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
As another first, the set luckily include Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. It is one of the most iconic stores on Diagon Alley and my post about my own model of it has been one of my most read posts ever. So I really like that it is included, even though it didn’t appear till the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
As with the other buildings, the store front looks amazing. The inside is probably the one with the most detail too. It is full of coulourful and fun Weasley’s products, including love potions.
Next to the shop, there is an opening leading to Knockturn Alley with a small sign. Hopefully, we’ll get some shops for that one later.
The set includes 14 minifigures:
- Harry Potter
- Hermione Granger
- Ron Weasley
- Ginny Weasley
- Fred Weasley
- George Weasley
- Molly Weasley
- Draco Malfoy
- Lucius Malfoy
- Florence Fortecue
- Proffessor Gilderoy Lockhart
- Daily Prophet photographer
The included minifigures is a great selection for a number of different scenes. All have nicely printed torso’s but only Lucius Malfoy have printed legs too. In particular, Molly Weasley would have been much better with a printed dress piece, which seems like a missed opportunity.
The design process
Photos of the set was leaked ahead of the official reveal, and some discussion has been around the look of the building and how they differ from the Diagon Alley at Harry Potter Studios in London. However, as with many other things during the movies, Diagon Alley changed (magically), as some of the early buildings used for filming were reused create Hogsmeade and then other shops added later on. Similarly, Hogwarts looked very different in the last movies compared to the early ones (and don’t get me started on some of the character transformations too).
This set focuses on the early look of Diagon Alley – with the exception of the iconic Weasley Wizard Wheezes, which didn’t open till the Half Blood Prince.
To achieve that, it has been a long design process with a lot of research going into it. Marcos Bessa, LEGO Harry Potter Design Lead commented: “I love how faithful the final design is to the architectural details in the film. You can barely see some of these buildings zooming past your screen, but we tracked down different photographs from the sets – some of them from nearly 20 years ago – to make sure everything is spot on. Diagon Alley is the biggest set I’ve designed to-date and I am really proud of how it has come together.”
This is a truly magnificent set, impressive in scale and with so much detail. The cost may be a hindrance for many though.
It captures the buildings covered well, though it should be noted that some key buildings are not included. Most noticeable is the lack of Gringott’s Wizarding Bank and the Leaky Cauldron. I hope we will instead see one or both of these as separate sets in 2021. A set covering Knockturn Alley would also be appreciated.
Time will tell. Till then – Build the Magic!
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