In a move that surely had the LEGO Group’s bean counters grinning from ear to ear, this summer’s 20th anniversary sets have split a key moment in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets across two models, taking advantage of the wave’s modular approach – aping that of the original Harry Potter sets – to sell the second-floor girls’ bathroom (which hides the entrance to the chamber) separately.
While the particular scene depicted in 76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake actually comes long before our venerable trio discover that hidden entrance, that strategic decision does mean the cheapest model in this wave faces an uphill battle to become a successful standalone set.
— Set details —
Price: £17.99 / $19.99 / €19.99 Pieces: 217 Minifigures: 4
— Build —
Where two of this year’s 20th anniversary sets call back to very specific models from the original range, 76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake takes the essence of a 2002 set and uses it to fill in a gap from the classic LEGO Harry Potter line-up.
Much like 4735 Slytherin, this updated model focuses on Harry, Ron and Hermione’s attempts to infiltrate the Slytherin common room in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by using Polyjuice Potion to commit identity theft. (It’s very, very easy to get away with crimes in the wizarding world.)
But while that original set depicted the second half of the sequence, in which the disguised Harry and Ron successfully trick Malfoy into spilling certain secrets, 76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake is more concerned with what comes before.
If you’re reading this review without any prior knowledge of the Harry Potter books or films – maybe you just really like tan LEGO bricks – the set’s title should allude to the fact that something goes very wrong for one of our characters, leaving Hermione resembling Millicent Bulstrode’s cat rather than Millicent Bulstrode’s cat’s owner.
Hermione’s cat form is one we’ve never seen before in LEGO, so that’s already one solid reason to pick up 76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake. But it’s not the only one, because this set takes the premise of last year’s 75966 Hogwarts Room of Requirement – a slice of the wizarding school at a wallet-friendly price point – and configures it into something much sharper, more detailed and far more substantial.
That’s not necessarily in the build – 76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake will take you all of 20 minutes to assemble (although the mix of sand blue and white bricks is a welcome distraction from the Hogwarts sets’ heavy reliance on tan, dark tan and grey) – but in the boxy model you’re left with when the last of those 217 pieces is placed down.
76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake is designed to slot neatly into 76389 Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets, which means it has to fit into certain design parameters. And while that could easily have hampered any other set, it actually makes for a very satisfying, self-contained model here, in what otherwise might have been a disparate collection of smaller builds (and a single wall, presumably).
The end result is a model that feels more like a solid vignette or diorama, but not one that’s short on detail: the toilet cubicle is a fun build, while the gleaming white sinks (and golden taps) are a smart choice – light grey might have been more accurate, but this is far more eye-catching.
Unfortunately, the only real play feature (the entrance to the chamber, squirrelled away behind an opening in the central sink) feels a bit useless without anything to drop down into (ergo, 76389 Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets), but if you’re happy to let the minifigures tell the story, this is a neat and space-friendly recreation of the second-floor girls’ bathroom.
— Characters —
At this price tag, three minifigures seems like a fair number. That 76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake also includes a 20th anniversary character really makes that golden Harry Potter feel like a true bonus – even if only a pretty ‘meh’ one – in that it hasn’t pushed out any of the set’s other key characters.
Better still, you’re really getting seven different characters across these four minifigures, because Harry, Ron and Hermione can all transform – by wont of that eponymous potion – into Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle and Millicent Bulstrode(‘s cat).
The new feline headpiece is probably the major attraction, but they’re all quality minifigures (as the Harry Potter line has constantly and consistently delivered since its renewal in 2018), and a cheap way to stock up on Slytherin uniform torsos is nothing to sniff at.
If there are any complaints to be had, it’s that Moaning Myrtle really feels essential to this scene too – and while she was available in last year’s 71028 Harry Potter Series 2 Collectible Minifigures, you’ll struggle to find those blind bags on shelves these days. It’s really just a case of poor timing, but hardly the LEGO Group’s first – remember when 75098 Assault on Hoth launched just after 75054 AT-AT retired?
— Price —
76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake offers a more substantial build than last year’s equally-priced 75966 Hogwarts Room of Requirement, along with four brand new minifigures and 24 more bricks. That represents a move in the right direction for the Harry Potter theme, and means there can be few grumbles about paying full price for this one.
— Pictures —
— Summary —
While you’ll definitely need to pick up 76389 Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets to make the most of 76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake, it still has plenty to offer on its own – first and foremost in those three brilliant minifigures (plus the golden Harry, if you care about such things), but also in how this 20th anniversary wave’s modular nature has created the perfect constraints for a self-contained vignette of a scene we’ve never seen before in LEGO.
This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group.
— FAQs —
How long does it take to build LEGO Harry Potter 76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake?
You’ll need all of 20 minutes to put together 76386 Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake. Pop an episode of your favourite sitcom on in the background and time it for yourself.