REVIEW: Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets

It has been no less than 19 years since LEGO last released a Chamber of Secrets set. That was back when the minifigures within the Harry Potter theme still had yellow heads. So it is great news that LEGO has finally made a new version as part of its 20th Anniversary of LEGO Harry Potter series of sets due to hit the shelves in June 2021. LEGO has kindly sent me an advance copy to review. Read on to see what you’ll get…

Set 76389 – Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets – 1176 pieces

Price: US$129.99 / €139.99 / £129.99 / AU$229.99 / 1249 DKK

With almost 1200 pieces, the Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets set is the largest of the 2021 anniversary Hogwarts sets. When built, the set measures over 15.5 in. (40 cm) high, 15.5 in. (40 cm) wide and 4 in. (11 cm) deep. As we shall see later on, it can be combined with other sets in the series, to create an even larger castle.

The whole anniversary wave is covering scenes from the first three movies, with this particular set focusing on the second movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

The set covers the an interesting range of locations at Hogwarts, including:

  • Professor Lockhart’s Office
  • Professor Lockhart’s Classroom
  • Astronomy Tower
  • Great Hall
  • Chamber of Secrets

With the theme, and the tan/sand green colour scheme, the set has a vibe from the 2001/2002 era of sets, with elements both from the 2001 Hogwarts Castle (set 4709) and the 2002 Chamber of Secrets (set 4730, a brief discussion of this set, can be found in my post 20 years of LEGO Harry Potter – Part 2).

I’m in particular excited by Professor Lockhart’s office and classroom, as they have not previously been covered in LEGO sets. Similarly, the Chamber of Secrets is a very welcome addition, with its last (and only) appearance being in the aforementioned 2002 set.

Let us hurry on to have a look at the set…

Box and content

The front of the box shows the included parts of Hogwarts, as viewed from the outside. As such, it looks pretty impressive, with the Great Hall sitting on top of a cliff and a tower next to it. Behind is the silhouette of more castle towers lit up by the full moon, while the basilisk is fighting Harry Potter in the front. At the bottom left is the 20th Anniversary of LEGO Harry Potter logo and the usual banner with the included minifigures listed. We get ten of them plus a golden anniversary edition of Lord Voldemort.

On the side of the box, the ten normal minifigures are shown along with some of the included accessories, and an illustration of the 1:1 scale of a minifigure.

Turning over the box, the back shows the castle as seen from the inside. It is quite impressive, and given this may be why most will buy the set, I’m surprised they didn’t have a teaser photo on the front as well. From the main photo, you get a good overview of all the included rooms, with the Chamber of Secrets dominating the lower half. To the left an insert photo shows the modular nature of the set. A series of smaller insert photos above show additional details or play features, such as the duelling club scene in the Great Hall.

In the lower left corner, it is listed that the set includes six random wizard card tiles, which is a new collectable item included in the 2021 anniversary themed sets. I’ll get back to them later.

Inside the box, you find the instruction manual, a sticker sheet, two dark tan 8×16 plates and ten numbered plastic bags with LEGO pieces (two bags are numbered 4). As seen below, the sticker sheet is packed along with the manual in plastic wrapping, making sure it stays flat in the box.

Let us open the bags and start building.

Minifigures

First up, I will have a look at the minifigures. The set includes 10 normal ones: Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Colin Creevey, Albus Dumbledore, Gilderoy Lockhart, Professor Sinistra, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Luna Lovegood, Tom Riddle, and Nearly Headless Nick.

In addition to those ten, we get an exclusive golden anniversary Lord Voldemort minifigure along with six random wizard cards, which are represented by 2×2 tiles with a famous wizard printed on each. I got six different ones out of the 16 cards that exists (more information on the wizard cards can be found in this post). Returning to the anniversary figure, it unfortunately doesn’t come with a printed stand as we have seen it for recent Ninjago and Star Wars anniversary figures. Instead the anniversary print is on the back – not very useful, as figures rarely are displayed with the back facing forward. That said, I really like the golden figures in these anniversary sets and hope I will be able to get a full collection.

As for the normal minifigures, I must say the selection is pretty awesome. We get for the first time releases of Colin Creevey, Justin Finch-Fletchley and Professor Sinistra as well as hard-to-find figures like Gilderoy Lockhart, Tom Riddle and Nearly Headless Nick (the latter as glow-in-the-dark figure).

We also get minifigure torsos with Ravenclaw robes (Luna Lovegood) and Hufflepuff (Justin Finch-Fletchley), which will be great sourcing extras of to create additional students from those houses.

Below, I have shown a couple of photos of Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley and Colin Creevey. They are all in their Gryffindor robes, with two different torso prints used, which is good for variety. While Harry and Ginny are well represented in the LEGO Harry Potter universe, Colin has not been made previously. Being such an interesting (though Potter would say annoying) character, I decided to make my own version of both him and his camera a few years ago, as explained here.

As most other recent figures, they all have printed torso fronts and backs, as well as dual face prints. As both Ginny and Colin Creevey got petrified by the basilisk, it could have made sense having one side of their faces appear asleep. The legs are unprinted, and of the short (unarticulated) kids leg pieces.

Each of the three come with an accessory of some sort, Harry with the Sword of Gryffindor, Ginny with Tom Riddle’s diary and Colin Creevey with his trusted camera with flash (of course).

Next, I will cover the students from the other houses. We got one from each of Hufflepuff (Justin Finch-Fletchley), Ravenclaw (Luna Lovegood) and Slytherin (Tom Riddle, though obviously he wasn’t a student at the same time as the others). Justin is one of the Hufflepuff’s often mentioned in the books, so it is great to see him as minifigure finally. Luna used to be rare as minifigure, but since the 2018 revival of the Harry Potter theme, we have seen a number of versions of her. That leaves us with Tom Riddle to comment on. While he was included in the 2002 Chamber of Secrets set, that was with yellow “skin”. The only flesh coloured version of Tom Riddle was the exclusive figure in the Magical Treasury book last year, so his inclusion in this set is much appreciated.

All three characters have nicely printed torsos (as mentioned, in particular I welcome the torsos with the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw robes). The back of the torsos are also printed – and as you would expect, all three also come with alternative face prints. Tom Riddle is the only one with leg printing, having light bluish grey legs, with black printing used to show the long black robes. Unfortunately, as it is often the case with leg printing, it doesn’t fully extent to the edges, and the sides are not printed either, so the effect is not great when viewed from an angle.

Finally, I will look at the included Hogwarts professors. We get Albus Dumbledore, Gilderoy Lockhart and Professor Sinistra. I will include Nearly Headless Nick in the mix too, as a long-term Hogwarts resident. They all look great. I don’t know how many versions of Dumbledore we have got so far, but I really like this version, in a typical bright Dumbledore-ish coloured dress, with highly detailed printing. Lockhart is probably the least impressive, but still looks really good, in a classic Lockhart outfit. I probably prefer the older (2002-era) hair style though. With Lockhart only otherwise available in the exclusive (and expensive) Diagon Alley set, it is good to see him in a normal set.

Professor Sinistra is another new addition as LEGO minifigure, and is really well done. The printing is amazing, and the use of a dual moulded wizard hat/hair piece as we saw for McGonagall in the Hogwarts Moments – Transfiguration Class set adds a nice finish. Finally we see a return of Nearly Headless Nick, who otherwise only has been available in the 2018 Great Hall set. This time he comes in glow in the dark white colour, which is a great choice for a ghost.

All with all other minifigures in the set, each comes with torso front and back printing and dual face prints. It should also be mentioned that both Dumbledore and Sinestra have printed dresses and Nearly Headless Nick has printed legs.

The quality of the printing keeps impressing me, but in particular Dumbledore and Sinestra stand out in this set.

The build

Having covered the minifigures, I’ll move the attention to the actual build. Each bag generally gives you a section or two for the modular Hogwarts castle.

The first bag gives us the parts needed to build two 8×8 rooftop modules for Hogwarts and the basilisk.

The basilisk looks pretty amazing, and much more realistic than the 2002 version. That said, I liked how the 2002 version could loose its fangs, allowing them to be used to stab Tom Riddle’s diary. I’ll avoid any comparison with the basilisk released with the 2018 Great Hall set, which didn’t turn out well.

The two rooftops cover the Astronomy tower and a battlement for the castle. The latter includes a trans-clear bar, which can be used to attach figures to make them look like flying above the castle. It can be Harry practising on his Nimbus 2000 for Quidditch, or maybe the ghost Nearly Headless Nick.

The Astronomy tower includes a large telescope, a star map and a globe/sphere in glow-in-the-dark material. It is simple, but works well. As seen, both rooftops utilises the 8×8 lattice plates rather than normal plates. I would much have preferred normal plates (such as used for Lockhart’s office covered later on), but I assume LEGO may have had some reason opting for the lattice ones – maybe it is to give more light to the rooms below?

An interesting thing to note is the “chocolate frog” sitting in the middle of the photo to the right above. It turned out that all bags had a frog – typically in brown, but in a few cases in another colour. Maybe it is a task for Neville Longbottom (though not included in the set) to find his pet toad Trevor (one of the toads is green, and could be that one)? Or maybe the set designer had been given a challenge to include a frog/toad in all sections? Maybe caretaker Filch needs to call the pest controller? I’m actually curious to know why those toads are there now…

Lockhart’s classroom and office

Next we turn our attention to Professor Lockhart. To my delight, we get both Professor Lockhart’s classroom (from bag 2) and office (from bag 3). The rooms are of course complete with multiple paintings of Lockhart, and a spare wig for the professor.

One of the things I have been looking most forward to since the sets were revealed is to get the two blue Cornish pixies, which Lockhart can set free in the classroom. What can possibly go wrong? Surely, Lockhart knows the exact counter-curse. I definitely need more of those menacing pixies…

The classroom also includes the classic painting of Lockhart painting himself. Also worth mentioning is the new 3-armed candelabra piece seen on the photos below (upper right photo).

As for the office, it includes more paintings/photos of Lockhart, but otherwise just a table and chair, which he needs to sign pictures for his fans. For those following the frog quest, the one in the office is hiding behind the chair.

They had reached Lockhart’s classroom… ‘You could’ve fried an egg on your face’ said Ron. ‘You’d better hope Creevey doesn’t meet Ginny, or they’ll be starting a Harry Potter fan club.’

‘Shut up,’ snapped Harry. The last thing he needed was for Lockhart to hear the phrase ‘Harry Potter fan club’.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Great Hall

The next module is the Great Hall, which is made from the two bags numbered 4 for the room itself, while bag 5 allows you to build the roof over the hall. Here is what it looked like having finished bags 4.

Adding the roof, makes it quite clear from the outside that this is the Great Hall. Overall, it is a pretty good build, working within the constrains the modular system allows (only 8 deep plates). But if compared with the most recent version we got in the 2018 Great Hall set (see review here), this version is both smaller and less detailed.

In particular, we miss the table for the teachers, but instead we do get something, we haven’t had before – Dumbledore’s lectern (see top left photo below). This is a simple, but effective build mainly based on the new owl mould with spread out wings from last year, which when made in pearl gold looks pretty much like his lectern in the movies. Only a few months ago I was experimenting with making my own version of the lectern, which also included candles.

The photos also shows the banner hanging from the ceiling (with the Sorting Hat hiding behind), and something that could be a chessboard in the corner of one of the roof sections.

The Great Hall also includes a play feature to allow Lockhart’s infamous duelling club to be recreated. This is a nice revisit of the scene otherwise only covered in the 2002 The Duelling Club (set 4733). A table has a hinge, that allows the whole top to tip over (as illustrated at the back of the box). Unfortunately, we don’t have Draco Malfoy included in the set, to allow him to duel with Harry, but you may have him from a different set.

“Scared?” Malfoy muttered, so that Lockhart couldn’t hear him. “You wish.” said Harry out of the corner of his mouth.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Below, we have Harry duelling with Justin under Professor Lockhart’s supervision.

Chamber of Secrets

The remaining 4 bags builds various modules associated with the Chamber of Secrets. Firstly, bag 6 contains the bricks needed to build a small underground module, which has a slide leading down to the floor. A number of bones on the floor suggests that once down there, getting up may not be possible.

It works well representing the slide that led from the entrance in the Girls lavatory to the dungeons outside the Chamber of Secrets. But you can’t enter the chamber without getting trough the door. This door, which has seven snake heads acting as locks, is one of the iconic props from the second movie (which led to me building my own version of it).

Bag 7 is a smallish bag, but it has the parts needed to build a small structure featuring this door. The key to opening the door is to say “open” in Parseltongue. It may take some practice if you are not Harry Potter.

Overall, I think the door looks nice and is clearly recognisable, though I have seen other versions with 6 or 8 snakes included (such as my own).

But what about the frogs, you may ask? As seen above, it sits just behind the small window in this module. For the previous module with the slide, look for the white frog next to the slide on the photo below.

This leaves us simply to complete the Chamber of Secrets itself. This is built from bags 8+9. As the Great Hall section, this is a decent sized module, and quite fun to build, in particular the head of the founder of the Slytherin house, Salazar Slytherin.

According to the legend told by History of Magic Professor Binns, Salazar Slytherin was responsible for the construction of the Chamber of Secrets, and it was specifically created for the purpose of purging the school of all Muggle-born students. He put a statue of himself there, and it is through its mouth the basilisk emerges. So in this set, the section filling the statue’s mouth can be taken out allowing the basilisk to slither through.

I really like the looks if the room overall. The section also comes with a small extension to the floor in the Great Hall. This adds an extra row of tables, with breakfast for our hungry Hogwarts students. I love the cereal packages with Pixie Puffs and Cheeri OWLs.

Here is the Chamber of Secrets with the Great Hall added. The Great Hall does look majestically sitting there on top.

The observant readers will have noted the green frog here…

The completed model

Now we can put all the modules together. While modular, there are not that many ways that makes sense if this is the only set you have. Here is my setup, which is pretty much as shown on the box.

I really like how the Great Hall look on top of the cliffs, but otherwise the model misses the taller towers we have had from the 2018-2020 series of Hogwarts sets.

As previously mentioned, the set combines with other sets from the anniversary series. This for instance will allow the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets from the girls bathroom (from the Polyjuice Potion Mistake set) to sit over the slide that leads to the chamber (included in this set). Some of these possibilities are shown below.

The instructions manual includes a page that shows how the various modules across different sets can be combined.

The new Hogwarts First Flying Lesson set can also be combined with the other sets shown above, though this set only includes a single module (see brief coverage here) and will not add too much extra flexibility. It will be interesting to see if any future sets will supplement what we have, maybe covering later movies?

Having covered the early Harry Potter sets in a series of posts earlier this year, I noticed that having the Chamber of Secrets positioned under the Great Hall in this set is similar to how the 2001/2002 series of sets could be combined as shown on the old poster below. This may be intentional given the anniversary theme of this wave of Harry Potter sets.

Old poster from 2002 showing how the different 2001 and 2002 Hogwarts sets could be combined/stacked.

Conclusions

Overall, this is an interesting set, with nice minifigures and many great rooms. As noted, I really like the Chamber of Secrets modules and the new basilisk, as well as Lockhart’s office and classroom. The modular nature makes it very flexible to customise, but it must be acknowledged that the constraints it imposes in terms of the sizes of each module, makes the set look less movie accurate than for example the Hogwarts sets released in the last three years.

I like that these anniversary sets cover many of the same scenes as the original series of sets. I also appreciate the classic look due to the return of the sand green roof. I know this is not movie accurate at all, and it is purely for nostalgic reasons I like this, having many of the early Harry Potter sets. It will be interesting to see what colour roof next year’s Harry Potter sets will have. I’d expect we may return to last year’s style, adding a few castle parts relevant to the last movies, such as the bridge and courtyard.

The fact that this set differs in style from the previous years’ sets may detract some. I should say that the Technic holes on the sides should fit with the previous series, so you can combine them though you may want to swap the sand green roof with dark bluish grey pieces eventually.

Continuing on the slightly negative side, I’m puzzled why they decided to include the Astronomy tower, given we had a full set featuring that just last year. It is great to finally get Professor Sinistra, but maybe they could have given us a library instead, along with the librarian Irma Pince (another character, which has not been made into minifigure yet). Hermione spend a lot of the second book/movie in the library researching the legend of the Chamber of Secrets.

Another note is that some parts that have been used are clearly not made to be seen from all sides. It is annoying visually (see examples below), but I assume it is due to limitations in what you can actually mould.

That said, it is still a good set, with lots of detail, nice new rooms, a great basilisk, Cornish pixies and an amazing selection of minifigures. And I enjoyed building it – and playing around with the modular nature of the castle. As I explore this, may do a separate post about this. Note that I have already done early reviews of three other mid-2021 sets, you may want to check out:

As usual, these are also available on the Reviews page. As I get the remaining 2021 sets, look out there for reviews.

Till then, Build the Magic!

(Note that this set was kindly provided by LEGO for review. The views expressed here are my own however).

7 thoughts on “REVIEW: Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets

  1. The designer of the set Nick Vás work hard to include animal moulds in sets and this has several. He is most known for adding frogs in a lot of the sets he designs. He has even made a list of them:
    https://brickset.com/sets/list-37710
    So that is why the set has all those frogs. Stranger that not a single one of the other sets has a frog in a wave that focus on chocolate frog cards.
    Do not start me about the owls, 20 years ago owls where plentiful, this year only this normal set has them. However I do appreciate that we get a barn owl for the first time 😀

    Btw Was Ginny petrified from the basilisk? I thought it was Tom Riddle who made her “sleep”

    Like

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