REVIEW: Hogwarts Moments – Defence Against the Dark Arts Class

I have had the opportunity to have a look at the new Hogwarts Moments series before they hit the shelves 1 March 2022. Following from the four “class room” sets in the series released last year, I will here have a look at Defence Against the Dark Arts, which was one of many subjects taught at Hogwarts. Here’s my review…

76397: Hogwarts Moments – Defence Against the Dark Arts Class

Price: US$29.99, £24.99, €29.99CA$39.99AU$49.99NZ$54.99DKK 269.95

LEGO’s AFOL Engagement Team has kindly provided me the opportunity to do an early review of the new LEGO Harry Potter sets to be released in March. Following from my reviews of Hogwarts Hospital Wing and Hogwarts Magical Trunk, I will in this post review one of the two new buildable books in the Hogwarts Moments series.

Four books in that series were released last year – each associated with one of the four Houses at Hogwarts, covering the classes taught by the head of the Houses. They were well received, so it is not surprising that two new “books” are coming, covering other well known subjects taught at Hogwarts. In this post, I’ll cover Defence Against the Dark Arts (often abbreviated to DADA). See below for my other reviews of books in this series:

Defence Against the Dark Arts was one of many subjects taught at Hogwarts. During Harry’s seven years at the school, it had a different teacher each year. This set covers Harry’s fourth year (The Goblet of Fire), with Professor Madeye Moody as the teacher (or at least they thought it was him).

A very, very rainy Sunday morning, I sat down to build this set. This is what I learned…

Box and content

Similar to last year’s series, the box is “book shaped” in the sense it is taller than it is wide. The front shows the book as main feature. As I also mentioned last year, the box and the photo on the box are both pretty large compared to the actual book when built, which could disappoint some customers.

Apart from the book itself, the included minifigures are shown in front, with the usual banner in the lower left corner listing the names of the characters they represent. In the lower right corner is a small insert photo of what the book looks like opened up.

Looking at the back, we get to see how the opened book looks in more detail. In its opened form, the book represents Professor Moody’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, with Alastor “Madeye” Moody about to cover the three curses declared unforgiveable by the Wizarding Society in 1717.

Small insert photos at the top show additional detail, including that Madeye Moody can be turned into Barty Crouch Jr, who was impersonating him in the movie, while the real Moody was trapped in a chest in his office (also shown).

Inside the box, you will find the instructions, a sticker sheet, two numbered bags of parts and a few loose larger pieces to build the book cover. The sticker sheet was lying loose in the box, but was in good shape.

But enough looking – let’s get building…

Minifigures

As all other sets in the series, the set includes three minifigures. In this case we get Professor Alastor (Madeye) Moody, Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom. Nice with a set not including Harry Potter for a change.

The torso prints are highly detailed as usual, in particular Madeye Moody, who also comes with printed legs. While the design of Moody’s printing is rather similar to the version in the 2018 Collectable Minifigures series 1, the colours of his coat and trousers differ, and the head print is slightly different too.

The minifigure torsos with printed Gryffindor robes used for Hermione and Neville are the same as used for Harry and Parvati in the Divination Class set to be released at the same time. It is different from the 2021 books, which had the students just wearing grey sweaters rather than covering robes. All three figures have their torsos printed on their back too.

The figures also have dual face prints, with those of Hermione and Neville shown above. For Madeye, the alternative print is for when he is representing Barty Crouch Jr (along with a change in hair piece) as shown below.

Overall, three very nice minifigures. But let us hurry on to the actual build.

The Build

Bag 1 gives you two of the figures (Hermione and Neville), the parts needed for a few small models and then get you started on the book cover. The small models are a desk with two chairs along with a text book for the class.

Each book in the series have had a unique tile listing a well-known charm or subject from the class in focus. In this case, the tile shows the Dark Mark, nicely made with LEGO minifigure skull head.

Then you get started on the book cover. It is made from some quite large pieces and is thus quickly built. Once done, it needs three larger stickers applied on the inside, but luckily the book cover front in printed. I’m not a fan of the big stickers. While I found them quite easy to apply straight, it is for some reason hard to avoid air bubbles under them. Make sure the surface is dust-free before applying, as that is often causing that issue.

Then you start building some of the class room extending out from the book. As seen, it required many more stickers to be applied. This is not a set for you, if you don’t like stickers!

The last step when building bag 1 is to add a window on the upper spine as shown below.

Bag two adds more wall segments that can be folded out from the book cover as well a a few smaller models. You start with building the wall segments and attach them to the book.

The class room looks great, with Madeye’s many Sneakoscope shown, along with colourful jars.

Next you build three small models – a chest with a micro “Madeye” figure inside, a blackboard where Alastor is about to list the three unforgivable curses, and a table to undertake experiments.

The chest lid is flat rather than rounded and is a new element released this year.

A spider is also included – as Moody took one from a glass jar and used it to demonstrate the effects of the Cruciatus curse – one of the three unforgivable curses – in the first lesson he gave the Gryffindor students during their fourth year at Hogwarts.

Neville obviously didn’t like the demonstration of the Cruciatus curse

Cruciatus is the curse which was used by a group of death eaters on Neville’s parents (Alice and Frank Longbottom) causing so much damage that they were admitted to the permanent ward at St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries as cases of insanity. Barty Crouch Jr and Bellatrix Lestrange were among those death eaters. 

A corner in the back represents Moody’s office – separated from the class room. Here, Barty Crouch Jr can be himself, while the real Moody is trapped inside the trunk.

Give me a hair little fella, I need to brew more polyjuice potion.

The book looks great when unfolded and minifigures on display in the class room.

But if you are space constrained (which many who have been collecting for years might be by now), you may prefer to have the your books in the series folded up and displayed as books instead.

All content but the minifigures can be packed within the book

As usual, the full content (minus the minifigures) can be packed up inside the book. Minifigures can be attached to the studs on the top if desired (unless you have space to have them out in front).

Conclusion

Last year’s sets in the series proved popular among collectors, including younger Harry Potter fans. At least two are of those are retiring this year and I’m sure they will be well sought after.

The Defence Against the Dark Arts is a great follow up to those sets. As the 2021 sets, the minifigures are of high quality, and the class room, when extended out, looks great. It is very reliant on stickers though which requires a steady hand to apply. Also, some of the mini-models have some design compromises, to ensure they can stack within the folded up book. Together those issues does detract somewhat, but overall, this is an nice addition to the Hogwarts Moments series.

After this, there is only the Divination Class set left to review of the March releases. Check back on the reviews page soon – it should be available in the next few days.

Till then, Build the Magic!

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

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