The mid-2021 wave of Harry Potter sets celebrate the 20th anniversary of LEGO Harry Potter. This includes a set with Fluffy the three-headed dog, which in many ways is similar to the Forbidden Corridor set released back in 2001. This is a nice homage to the origin of the theme, but how does it stack up as a set otherwise? Luckily LEGO has sent me an advance copy to review, so read on to see what you’ll get…
Set 76387 – Hogwarts Fluffy Encounter – 397 pieces
Price: US$39.99 / €39.99 / £34.99 / AU$69.99 / 349 DKK
With 397 pieces, the Hogwarts Fluffy Encounter set is quite a step up in size compared to the smaller Polyjuice Potion Mistake set I reviewed earlier.
It covers the third-floor corridor, which Professor Dumbledore points out in his welcome speech during Harry’s first year, is out of bounds to students. Dumbledore specifically warns that anyone who does not wish to die a painful death should stay away. As we later find out, this is where Fluffy, the three-headed dog, guards the entrance to the underground chambers, being one of several measures put in place by Hogwarts professors to protect the Philosopher’s Stone from falling into the wrong hands.
Let us have a look at the set…
Box and content
The front of the box shows two sections of the Hogwarts castle (a building and a tower) with Fluffy in front chasing Harry, Hermione and Ron. We also see the magical harp, which music caused Fluffy to fall asleep in the movie. At the bottom left is the 20th Anniversary of LEGO Harry Potter logo and the usual banner showing the included minifigures. In this set, we get four of them including a golden anniversary edition of Hermione Granger.
The side of the box typically shows the figures posed for various interaction, but not in this case. We do have Harry shown in 1:1 scale, but otherwise the side is taken up by the magical harp, which music has caused Fluffy to fall asleep.
One interesting aspect of this wave of Harry Potter sets is that the sections can be combined both by connecting Technic pins on the sides, but also in height. As seen on the back of the box, the building parts shown on the front can be recombined to form a two-level building rather than the building and a tower shown on the front. With more of the sets, there will be many possible ways to combine the parts.
This setup in particular allows the trio to get through the trapdoor guarded by Fluffy, though just below they might be trapped by the devil snare. Insert photos show the trapdoor function and again how Fluffy can be made to fall asleep.
In the lower left corner, it is listed that the set includes two random wizard card tiles, which is a new collectable item included in the 2021 anniversary themed sets.
Inside the box we find three numbered bags with LEGO parts, the instruction booklet and a small sticker sheet.
Let’s open the bags and start building.
I’ll start with covering the minifigures within the set, which includes 3 “normal” minifigures: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. In addition, we get an exclusive golden anniversary Hermione Granger minifigure along with two random wizard cards, which are explained in this post. The golden Hermione minifigure and two wizard cards are shown below.
The anniversary figures in this wave unfortunately don’t come with a printed stand as we have seen it for the Ninjago and Star Wars anniversary figures. Instead the anniversary print is on the back, which I guess is better than nothing, but I would very much have preferred printed bases instead.
Continuing with the normal minifigures, they don’t require any further introduction. This is yet another set with Harry, Ron and Hermione and while the figures are good representations of the characters, with nicely printed Gryffindor robes (two different types), it is a bit hard to get excited over yet another Harry, Ron or Hermione. That said, they are the obvious characters to include. But maybe one could have been skipped and replaced by say Professor Quirrell?
Still, three solid characters, all with printing on the torso fronts and backs and alternative face prints on the head pieces.
Apart from Harry, Ron and Hermione, the set includes a brick-build version of the 3-headed dog Fluffy, which guards a trapdoor. Fluffy may have been put to sleep by the magical harp placed by Professor Quirrell, but the trio has to get through the trapdoor quickly, before the harp stops playing and Fluffy wakes up.
The dog is built from the parts in bag 1 (which also included the parts needed for the harp and a couple of the minifigures). The entire body of the dog is built from bricks, while the three heads are based on a new mould, each with a different face printing.
The brick built body has articulated legs, which in this case is perfect to let Fluffy fall asleep on the floor. A moulded body, would have been expensive to make with articulated legs (which is why most LEGO animals have typically only one articulated part if any). While I am generally happy with how the dog has been designed, the light bluish grey bricks holding the heads with the ball joints really detracts. I wish they could have been covered somehow by other bricks (or even better, released in reddish brown – which would have been great for building trees too).
Below are a couple of photos of the dog, showing it both standing and fast asleep. The grey pieces are in particular visible from the side.
The dog should guard the corridor we will cover further down, but let me mention already here that it is a real tight fit to place it in the corridor, in particular if you want it standing. It took me a few attempts just to get it placed for the photo below.
To complete the coverage of Fluffy, it should be noted that the 2001 Forbidden Corridor set also included Fluffy. That was as a moulded figure, with no articulation of any joints, apart from the jaws of the three heads, which allowed them to open their mouths. As typical for that age, there was no printing of eyes and other details. Here is a comparison of the two versions.
Without the articulation of the legs, there is no way to represent the 2001 version of Fluffy being asleep.
Next up is building the two small sections of Hogwarts. To start with, bag 2 gives us the bricks needed to build the level 3 corridor, which Fluffy is guarding. The section is using the 8 studs deep modular system introduced with the 2021 LEGO Harry Potter anniversary sets. Using a common depth allows the modules to be combined in many different ways as exemplified further below.
For further flexibility, the roof is a separate section, to allow the modules to be stacked on top of each other. The sides uses the recent portal element, which looks great from one side – and is good for structure – but which unfortunately has a mostly open back side, which is exposed the way this sections are built.
The floor of the corridor has a trapdoor, which will lead to the next challenge for anyone looking for the philosopher’s stone. As shown in the section above, Fluffy only just fits in the room and needs to be removed to get anyone through the trap door.
Continuing with bag 3, we get to build a small tower. It is made out of three modules as shown below. Each of those are 8×8 studs, but are surprisingly built on a 8×8 plate with grille, rather than a normal plain plate. Maybe the normal plates were not in production in the right colours this year, but it would have worked better in my opinion.
Here are some close-ups of the different rooms. The lower room (left photo) is apparently the devil snare, though it took me a moment to figure out. It would have been more clear, if the vines had been green. The middle section which I call the watchtower, has a small balcony, but otherwise two torches are the only accessories there. Finally, we have the attic. I’m not quite sure what room this it is meant to represent. Maybe the deviation classroom (cooking tea for tea leaf reading – and runes on the wall)?
Here is the completed tower, as it looks when stacked.
We can now combine all the parts. As mentioned in the introduction, it is a nice homage to the Forbidden Corridor set from 2001. So here are the two sets side by side.
The 2001 set had the devil snare under the trap door. As shown at the back of the box earlier, you can rearrange the modules in the 2021 set to make it happen too. And if you combine with the Polyjuice Potion Mistake set as shown below, you get even more flexibility.
I really want to love this set – being the one of the anniversary sets that the most captures the feel of the 2001 era of sets. But the set is not without flaws, and might actually be the weakest of the entire wave.
The minifigures are ordinary – simply another set of Harry, Ron and Hermione in Gryffindor robes. I would have preferred to have one of them replaced by Professor Quirrell, or maybe a young Neville trying to stop them going on adventure?
Then we get Fluffy, which is a good build, with nicely printed heads and posable legs, so it can sleep. But for adult collectors, it is let down by the exposed grey bricks holding the heads (I don’t think kids will care as much).
As for the included parts of Hogwarts, the corridor works well (though it is only just big enough to fit Fluffy), but the tower could have been improved. The devil snare in the dungeon should have included something green really emphasise this is a plant. The other two sections of the tower seem without any relevance to the story, and could have benefited from for example one of them having the Mirror of Erised, to represent the Final Challenge (which was another of the original 2001 sets).
With only three normal minifigures and the golden anniversary Hermione (same amount of minifigures as the much cheaper Polyjuice Potion Mistake set), the set does appear pricey even when considering the decent sized Fluffy too. So this may be a set you would prefer to pick up on sale at some point.
That said, I still enjoyed the build – and playing around with the modular nature of the castle. It will be interesting to see how it can be combined with the much larger Chamber of Secrets set, which will be the next one I’ll review. I have already done early reviews of two other mid-2021 sets, you may want to check out:
As said, more reviews of the new 2021 sets are coming, so check the Reviews page later for any updates.
Till then, Build the Magic!
(Note that this set was kindly provided by LEGO for review. The views expressed here are my own however).