I had to do two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine after returning to my home country from overseas. I was lucky to have the new Diagon Alley delivered to keep me occupied. This is an amazing set – one of those where you wish you can continue building forever, discovering cool details and impressive building techniques all the time. Here is part 2 of my review of this set…
The huge Diagon Alley (set 75978) was revealed a few months ago and has been the centre of attention of LEGO Harry Potter fans since. Due to overseas travel when it came out, I’ve only just got around to build it, but I must say I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience.
This is the second of my four-part review of the set. Part 1 of the review covered the first submodel, which had the Ollivanders and Scribbulus shops, as well as a general discussion on the box and its content in general.
In this second part, I will review of the next submodel, which mainly feature the Quality Quidditch Supplies shop, though there is also a doorway leading to the Daily Prophet wizarding newspaper. For those interested, I have previously done my own versions of both of these as part of my Diagon Alley display.
As mentioned in part 1, the minifigures will be discussed in detail as part of part 4 of the review, when all 14 figures have been built. Here, I will only mention the figure which isn’t there. Many have been complaining that Rita Skeeter isn’t one of the 14 figures. I assume it is because the set mainly covers the early movies, and Rita didn’t show up till the Goblet of Fire. The inclusion of the Weasley Wizard Wheezes joke shop is the expection, representing a Diagon Alley in the later movies (as explained in the roundtable interview with the lead designer Marcos Bessa)
For my own Daily Prophet, I have put together my own version of Rita Skeeter, with a how-to guide in this post. Hopefully, she will come in a future set or Collectable Minifigure series in an official form.
But let’s have a look at the second submodel.
As stated previously, this submodel covers the Quality Quidditch Supplies shop, which takes up most of the baseplate, as well as the entrance to the Daily Prophet, which is a newspaper in the wizarding world. The submodel is built from the pieces in bags numbered 6-9.
Bags numbered 6
The build starts in a familiar way, laying the cobbled stones and dark tan pavement. Then the walls are built up, though much of the front is left open in this initial step, as it is to be covered by a large window. To the right is doorway leading to the Daily Prophet. I’m not a great fan of such large stickers for doors. I wish LEGO would make a mould that would look like a door like that rather than rely on a sticker.
Here is how the front looked like once finished with the bags numbered 6.
Viewed from the back, we see the interior of the Quidditch shop to the right, with different Quidditch equipment on display, including uniforms and not least a Nimbus 2000 – my first memory from Diagon Alley when watching the movies.
To the left you can see the entrance to the Daily Prophet. Anyone entering would be greeted with a wall full of news clips and there’s a box full of the latest issue of the paper. I assume this passage ultimately would lead to a staircase leading up to an office, but neither is part of this submodel.
Below are some closeups of the buildings after this step. In particular I loved all the mini models for the Quidditch shop interior, which meant the repetitive work of building walls was interrupted with cute little models at regular intervals.
Bags numbered 7
I’ve just praised the mini models in the number 6 bags. On to the next lot of bags, this is all about building a window. No mini-models to break it up, and guess what – I’m still loving it! The level of detail in that big front window is incredible, as is connecting it to the building and see gravity pulling it down in an angle for that realistic leaning house look.
Here is what the front looks like after finishing the number 7 bags.
Looking from the back, nothing really has changed, apart from seeing the window where there previously just was an opening.
The really cool thing is how it is leaning forward and the Quidditch decoration above the entrance.
Bags numbered 8
The two first set of bags had only built the lower level, but this round of bags added some good height to the building and finishing the entrance to the Daily Prophet. And many would already here say – it is very pink – and it is a quite strong colour for such a wide wall, even when adding dark orange and dark tan elements. I’ll discuss the choice of colour later.
This is what the front looked like after finishing the bags numbered 8.
Turning around the model, we see the upper floor of the Quidditch shop is fully furnished too now, while the Daily Prophet doesn’t really have anything above then entrance than a spiderweb, which seems like a filler and a real room would have been appreciated instead.
Here are some close-ups to better see the details.
Bags numbered 9
With this lot of bags, the building has now been completed. The roof is somewhat simple but works well along with the other buildings to show variety in terms of shapes, heights and colours.
Here is what the front of the finished building looks like.
Turning it around, we see the interior of the small roofspace, where boxes of old newspapers are stored and rats roam wild.
One of the really cool things is all the banners hanging from the side of the building, helping to create that vibe we saw in the early movies from Diagon Alley. Along with the forward leaning window, this buiding in particular helps creating the right look. The following close-up photos show this.
In the following I will cover a few observations from building the second submodel.
Two new Quidditch uniforms
While I have mentioned it in my Roundtable Interview post, one of the really awesome things with the Quidditch shop is the inclusion of the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff Quidditch uniforms. Marcos Bessa, the lead designer, explained that as a Ravenclaw, he right from the start really wanted their uniform in the Quality Quidditch Supplies – and adding Hufflepuff as well, would ensure all four houses have Quidditch uniforms in their colours. As sets previously have been heavily focused on Gryffindor and Slytherin, I’m sure a lot of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws appreciate their inclusion!
With these, you can create Cedric Diggory or Cho Chang as seekers for their respective Quidditch teams.
Fantastic mini models
I’ve mentioned it above, and also when I built Ollivanders in part 1 of this review, but I really love all these mini models breaking up the larger build with cool, fast builds adding detail and colour to the model and variety to the build experience.
In part 1 of the review, I praised the windows – in particular for Ollivanders. I know it is going to be an ongoing theme throughout all four submodels – looking ahead on what is coming, but I still feel a shout out to the big window front of the Quidditch shop. It both looks amazing and uses a clever technique to have it leaning forwards.
Lots of pink
One thing that has been discussed a lot, is the pink colour of Quality Quidditch Supplies. And I must admit it is quite dominant given the size of the building. Talking to the lead designer Marcos Bessa earlier, he explained that based on the source material available, there wasn’t an exact match to LEGO’s current colour palette, and pink was found to be the closest available. The old lighter pink colour or sand red (which hasn’t seen much use in any sets) would have been more accurate. I think sand red probably would look quite well, but isn’t readily available.
Firstly, note that the set was provided free of charge to Blockwarts for review by LEGO’s AFOL Engagement team. The views expressed in this review are those of the author though.
Next, it has taken a lot longer to write up part 2 than I thought. Photo’s for parts 3 and 4 are pretty much ready though, so hopefully it won’t take as long for the next two parts to be published.
Overall, it was close to as positive an experience as the first submodel. It is still very good, the first one was just really amazing. The build experience was as high as for the first section, but I do get the point raised by many that it is “very pink”. I do like that it adds colour to the build, but maybe a slightly slimmer building (using a different colour above the Daily Prophet) or more patches of different coloured bricks would have toned it down a bit.
And while we are talking about the Daily Prophet, the space above the back of the entrance, and the roof space are more “fillers” than something inspiring. I know a Daily Prophet office room was considered, but as no such room were created for the movies, LEGO would basically be creating new IP. This would need to be cleared with the licence owner, and for strong IPs like Harry Potter, this can be very difficult to get to agreement on what such a room should look like. So I understand why there isn’t an office, but I may add one myself over time.
The positives far outweighs the negatives though. As said earlier, the building with its banners and leaning window really hits that Diagon Alley look, I had been hoping for. I’m halfway now and very, very much looking forward to continue with the next sections!
Are you planning to buy it? Consider using these affiliate links to LEGO’s Shop@Home and help to support Blockwarts that way (the price is the same for you, but Blockwarts get a small commission).
Check back soon for part 3.
Till then, Build the Magic!