REVIEW: The Shrieking Shack & Whomping Willow

The next wave of LEGO Harry Potter sets is coming soon and LEGO has kindly provided me with copies of most sets to make early reviews of what to expect. One of the ones I have been looking most forward to is the Shrieking Shack, which is finally making a return as LEGO set. Here is my review of that one…

Set 76407 – The Shrieking Shack & Whomping Willow

Price: US$89.99, £79.99, €89.99, CA$119.99, AU$149.99, DKK799

This set covers two iconic locations from the Harry Potter movies: the Shrieking Shack and the Whomping Willow. We met the latter in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, where Harry and Ron crash-landed the flying Ford Anglia in the rather ill-tempered tree. That version of the tree was included in the Whomping Willow set back in 2018.

We didn’t get to see the Shrieking Shack till the next movie though (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), but the Whomping Willow featured prominently in that movie too, though it appears more leaning that in the previous movie. It is that leaning form which is included in this set.

For me, the star is the Shrieking Shack though. Before we get started on the build, let’s revisit the story behind the it. We initially learn that it is an abandoned house in Hogsmeade. For many years, the local villagers thought it was haunted as they often heard screams coming from the house.

 “…and the Shrieking Shack’s supposed to be the most severely haunted building in Britain.”

 Hermione in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

We later find out that the Shrieking Shack was used by Remus Lupin for his monthly transformations into a werewolf. Madam Pomfrey would escort Lupin to the house before his transformation. To keep him in, the door and windows were all boarded up and the only access was through the tunnel from Hogwarts. The screaming heard from the house on those days was simply Lupin biting and scratching himself while in his werewolf form. Professor Dumbledore did nothing to put the rumours of the house being haunted to rest, to ensure Remus had a place to stay around full moon, safely separated from people he could otherwise harm.

That must be enough of an introduction. Let’s have a look at the actual set…

Box and content

The box is kept in the usual blue style, with logo’s at the top and a photo of the set filling out the main parts of the box otherwise. The front of the Shrieking Shack is shown to the left and the Whomping Willow to the right. A small insert banner at the bottom left shows the six characters included as minifigures.

Turning over the box, you can see the set from the back. The interior of the Shrieking shack looks nicely detailed. Arrows indicate that part of a wall can open up and that twisting a knob on the tree can make the top spin around. Three insert photos show additional detail and play features, in particular that three characters come in their animal forms as well – and a feature that allows Lupin to transform to and from werewolf (depending on whether the moon is out or not). These features will of course be discussed further down in the review as well.

Finally, the box shows that you’ll get four collectable wizard card tiles in the box. As we shall see, these are in the same series of the 16 we got last year. So there are no new characters to collect.

Inside the box, you find the instructions, a sticker sheet and six numbered bags with parts.

I was surprised to see the set required that many stickers. I think they could have got around with just half of them at most without any loss of “detail”. So that is a bit disappointing, though I’m getting pretty good at applying stickers now.

Minifigures

The set includes six characters as minifigures: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin. But as we shall see, you actually get seven minifigures in total as Lupin in werewolf form is its own separate figure (in previous sets, the normal minifigure would have been used, just replacing the head with a wolf’s head.

So this is yet another set to include Harry, Hermione and Ron. Harry and Hermione are identical to the new prints we first saw in the Hospital Wing set back in March. The version we get of Ron has been used for a number of years from memory. Below you can see the trio from the front. All three of them have nicely printed torsos.

Turning them over, you can see they also have their torso backs printed. In addition, they all come with alternative face prints as shown below.

Continuing with the “adult” characters, these are brand new versions. They all look great, with very detailed prints making them easily recognisable. In the 2019 version of Sirius Black (the set Expecto Patronum), he came with printed legs as well. Here it is only Peter Pettigrew that got printed legs (as he had it in 2019 – Rise of Voldemort).

From the back, we can see they as expected also have printed torso backs – and I’ve also shown their alternative face prints.

All three could turn into animals and the set comes with their animal form as well – Sirius as the big black dog (know to the trio as Snuffles), Lupin as werewolf and Peter Pettigrew as the rat (which ended up as Scabbers, the pet rat at the Weasley’s house).

I’m glad they included all minifigure parts for Lupin in the werewolf form. The legs in particular helps to show he’s no longer human.

Before I continue, I will also mention the four collectable wizard tiles that were included. These are from the same series of 16 different to collect, which was introduced last year. Also, it is completely random which ones you get, which is clear from what I got this time. I got three identical among the four! That is the first time I’ve had that happen.

Now it is time to get started on the actual build.

The build

The first bag allows you to build the gate/fence in front of the shack along with the base of the Whomping Willow. Here is the fence for a start. It looks great in the snow.

Next up is the Whomping Willow – starting with the base.

A feature next to it is a rock formation that can be spun around, allowing Professor Lupin to transform into a werewolf as the moon’s glow appears from behind the clouds.

Next up is adding the trunk and branches of the tree. These parts come in bag 2. Here, I’ve added the base of the trunk.

The trunk itself is quickly built followed by the top, which can rotate and four identical branches.

Here is the completed model of the Whomping Willow having finished bags 1 and 2.

As noted previously, the Whomping Willow’s top can spin around and its branches bend to hold minifigures while spinning. This is done by turning a knob at the base.

With that sorted, the Shrieking Shack is next. The photos below show the progression when building the ground level. I really liked it – being so asymmetrical that nothing feels like a repetition.

Note the turntable bases on the top. This is to apply the top level on an angle to the ground level. It is clipped on to the white round plates that are placed under the floor as shown below.

This upper floor includes a couple of larger pieces of furniture.

Next, we have to finish the walls and add the roof.

With the roof finished, the only thing remaining is to add the chimney. It is built sideways and attached to exposed studs on the side of the building. It works quite well that way.

This gives us two levels we just need to stack.

With that done, here is the completed Shrieking Shack. It looks pretty stunning how it leans and twists.

Here it is seen from different angles.

Adding the Whomping Willow shows you what you’ll get if buying this set.

Coming soon

So when can I get it, you may ask? The sets are available 1 June 2022 in Europe, Australia and I assume most other countries as well, though for USA and Canada it is slightly later: June 19, 2022. Thinking about heading to LEGO.com to preorder/order? Please consider using our affiliate links to go there. It is the same price for you, but Blockwarts get a minor commission as well, which I use to help running this site.

Conclusion

Overall, I really like this set. It adds to the Hogsmeade winter scene we got last year (Hogsmeade Village visit) and finally gives us an updated version of the Shrieking Shack, which has not been released as LEGO set since 2004. While we have seen the Whomping Willow more recently, the 2018 set it was included in has been retired for a couple of years now, and is getting hard to find.

I think the Shrieking Shack is really well done, capturing its leaning and twisting form from the movies much better than what I thought would be possible. The Whomping Willow is less impressive, but does the job overall. The rotating part with its branches is an interesting idea and I’m thinking I might have to motorise this for display purposes.

The set is quite expensive though, even when considering six (seven if counting the werewolf) really good minifigures are included.

Combining it with the Hogsmeade set from last year gives you a nice village in winter time. I’m hoping we’ll get a Hogsmeade station too (or additional shops). Could we see any of that coming in September, when we often see a small selection of new sets revealed? Time will tell.

Till then, Build the Magic!

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

You can check all my other reviews here.

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