Harry Potter fans around the world rejoiced when LEGO unveiled their new microscale set of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Clocking in at an impressive 6,020 pieces, it takes 2nd place (as of release) in terms of the brick total to the UCS Millennium Falcon (75192).
LEGO has been really looking after AFOLs as of late, with a number of largescale sets being released in the past 18 months. Although it's not kind to the wallet, they have been targeting the older fans with some really juicy sets.
The LEGO Hogwarts Castle (71043) is a beautiful rendition of the spell-bound castle from the popular movie and book series, Harry Potter.
So what should one expect when opening up a 6,000+ piece set? Well, I hope you've got your wizard hat on and can conjure up a pot of coffee because you're going to be building for a while.
The Hogwarts Castle comes with 37 loose bags filled with LEGO parts. Also included are 4 instruction manuals and 4 sticker sheets.
One of our gripes about this set is the sheer amount of stickers required. These include things like the banners for the various houses, doors, wall-art and portraits. On one hand, we get that creating these as designed bricks would significantly up the price of this set, but we all know stickers can be a frustrating experience at best.
As mentioned previously, this set is a microscale set. Therefore, minifigures are too large for the castle. Having said that, 4 minifigures are included, and they just happen to the founders of the four student houses.
They Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazar Slytherin, and Rowena Ravenclaw. This is the first time these characters have appeared in a LEGO set, so we're sure fans are going to be super excited about these minifigs.
Also included is a whopping 27 microscale of various characters. Also included at 5 Dementors and a few unprinted microscale figures used as statues.
Although only four of the microscale figures are officially named in the instruction booklets (Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Harry Potter, and Draco Malfoy), we had a lot of fun in the office trying to guess who was who. We won't spoil the guessing game, but there is a surprising amount of detail in the scaled down figurines.
On to the build.
The initial stages are about building the foundation of the great hall and Dumbledore's tower. Straight off the bat, you're presented with some really interesting building techniques as there are a lot of non-standard angles involved in this build.
There are a few Technic beams used, but LEGO fans will be used to this with larger sets.
After building the foundation, the next part is the cliff-face, which really helps the castle standout (rather than being built on standard baseplates). There is a great use of randomness and colour variation and we feel it really helps create a sense of authenticity - as well as making this a great set to display.
Fans of the movies and books are going to love all the iconic details included in this set, including the Chamber of Secrets which is situated at the base (unfortunately, we forgot to take a photograph - we're sorry!).
After the base is complete, the next stage is the Great Hall and Dumbledore's tower which make up bags numbered 8 through to 21. One of the fun parts of this section are the stained glass windows. At a microscale, these are simply made up of a 1x1 transparent studs/plates. But they really do set the ambience of the Great Hall.
Round shapes are always a challenging build for LEGO and there are some really interesting build techniques used to complete the castle's tower.
However, if you have built the Apollo Saturn V set, you'll probably recognise some of the techniques used to create this 4 storey replica of Dumbledore's private area. There is even a Hungarian Horntail dragon that you can position on top of the spire!
The great thing about this set is how all the details are exposed on the inside of the build. Unlike a traditional modular building, where you have to remove layers/sections to see what's inside, Hogwarts is essentially split in half.
On one side is the exterior, showcasing the grandeur of the set. But turn it around and you can see all the intricate detail inside. It's a really dynamic set, and depending on your mood, you can experience two very different but fantastic sides to this build.
The second half of the build focuses on the library and dormitory area. Again, this part of the build is filled with lots of interesting and challenging build experiences. To help with portability, the base connects to the main buildings using Technic pins, much like how modular buildings can connect to one another.
After a dozen or so hours, we finally finished the build. Measuring at over 58cm (22") high, 69cm (27") wide and 43cm (16") deep, Hogwarts is one of the most visually impressive sets that we've had the pleasure of building.
LEGO did a truly remarkable job on this one, as the castle is stunning from all angles!
If you're a Harry Potter fan (and let's face it, who isn't!) this is a must-have set to add to your LEGO collection. And even if you aren't, this set is just so awe-inspiring, that you'll have to get one anyway!
It goes without saying that we're huge Harry Potter fans around the Light My Bricks office. Therefore, we wanted to make something really special for this mammoth set.
Here at Light My Bricks, we're always trying to come up with new and innovative ideas to make your LEGO sets look the best (especially in the dark)! So we knew we had to come up with something really special for a set like this.
Before we get into that, let's take a sneak peek into the lighting process.
Hogwarts Castle has a lot of lighting opportunities. This is great, but figuring out where to connect everything and hook it all up into a circuit is always the main challenge.
One of the first points of interest is the entrance into the Great Hall. Although it is quite subtle, there are some stained glass windows above the doorway that look absolutely gorgeous when lit up. We knew straight away that this was going to be something special.
Next were the street lamps that adorn the exterior of the buildings. Because of the ample amount of lamps, we had to be mindful of the expansion boards to keep everything connected. However, at the end of the day, these street lamps really help give a nice glow to the building and helps keep the exterior just as interesting as its interior side.
Moving on to the interior, there are some great candlelit flames that line up the inside of the Great Hall, coupled with a flicker effect, and it really sets the ambience for a movie scene recreation.
Right underneath the Great Hall is Chamber of Secrets with its ominous looking statue and snakes pouring out of the crevice. With a strip light attached to the hidden ceiling space, we created a really creepy looking entrance to a pivotal part of the series.
The other part of Hogwarts Castle we absolutely loved working on was the iconic spire of Dumbledore's tower. As mentioned previously, there are some serious building techniques going on in this section, especially since it is a curved area.
Because of its height and cramped space, we were worried about whether we could get any lighting up there, but fortunately, once the exterior panels were removed, there was some space to play around with the thread an extra long connecting cable with.
From there, we made the top of the spire was lit up, as well as each floor, using simple bit lights capped off with some round 2x2 curved plates.
With all the lengthy wiring required, it does get pretty messy, so we were glad to find out that the tower top was quite hollow and allowed us to tuck away the filled out expansion board and wiring.
There are a whole host of other lighting features that we could go on about, but we wanted to reserve some blog space to talk about some of our new components.
These include the:
If you've seen our Hogwarts Castle YouTube video, you'll see that the exterior lights that illuminate against the walls of this set can cycle from colour to colour. Our new RBG strip lights contain 2 individual lights, just like our traditional strip lights, and can project 9 different colours!
These can be connected to our RBG Expansion Boards (for specially designed RBG Connecting Cables) to an Infrared Remote Control, where you can play around with light settings such as:
Our new lighting effects plus remote control will give you so much more playability and display options and we're proud to have it released with our Hogwarts Castle lighting kit which is available now from our online store!