Price: £59.99 / $69.99 / €69.99 Pieces: 753 Available: Now
When Dobby stops Harry Potter from boarding the Hogwarts Express, Harry and Ron have to find an alternative route to school, “borrowing” Arthur Weasley’s charmed Ford Anglia. Unfortunately, they crash and find themselves entangled in the Whomping Willow. This set includes both key components from the comic sequence, the car and the tree, along with another section of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. There is plenty in the box, but does it all come together in a way that makes it worthwhile?
Be prepared if you purchase 75953 Hogwarts Whomping Willow, it is going to be very difficult to be content with just this set. For the latest round of Harry Potter sets, the LEGO Group went back to the formula employed in the earliest days of the theme – making different sets from the line able to combine into something far more epic. This set will not look quite finished until joined, as intended, with its counterpart 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall. Just because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, that does not mean that 75953 is a weak set… quite the contrary in fact.
The LEGO Group developed a bit of a formula for Hogwarts sets through the years. Most included some version of the Great Hall, a dormitory (usually Gryffindor), a requisite classroom and a space for the owls along with some other locations referencing specific book or movie locales. 75954 took care of the Great Hall and 75953 picks up the slack, providing the rest of the locations. Snape’s classroom, a potions work area with display case and a Gryffindor bedroom fill its halls while an owlery adorns its tallest tower. While each room is small, there is more than enough detail to satisfy. Even if you never acquires 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall, there is plenty here for a thoroughly enjoyable play experience.
Part of that play experience comes from the inclusion of two supplementary models depicting the Whomping Willow and flying car. I am torn on these inclusions. They are well executed and part of a much loved sequence from the official stories, yet I don’t feel like they add a lot of value to the set. From a display perspective they add a bit of scenery, but not a lot, and their play potential is limited. Personally I would have loved to have seen more of the castle, but then it would have looked a lot like 75954 which I am guessing is why they were included; to provide a truly different feel to this set.
In keeping with the other sets in this year’s Wizarding World theme, an impressive number of minifigures are included, six in total, which feels generous considering the price point. These include the three main heroes, Snape and Argus Filch with a delightfully detailed balding head. Seamus Finnigan rounds out the characters included. Each comes with multiple accessories and details. All are exclusive to 75953 Hogwarts Whomping Willow except for Snape and Hermione.
You should go into a purchase of 75953 Hogwarts Whomping Willow with your eyes wide open as to what will almost certainly happen – you will end up purchasing 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall to go with it. These products were designed to go together and while they can both exist independently and still be satisfying, they are better together. This is not a bad thing as both sets are excellent and worthy of being in your collection.
While this set may be improved by being paired with the larger Hogwarts model, it still works well in its own regard, providing enough of Hogwarts to have something to fiddle with as well as two other key icons from the early Harry Potter stories.
This product was provided for review by the LEGO Group.