Time has been kind to LEGO Harry Potter 76391 Hogwarts Icons Collectors’ Edition
LEGO Harry Potter 76391 Hogwarts Icons Collectors’ Edition met with disappointment from some camps upon release – but time has been especially kind to this Wizarding World set.
The LEGO Harry Potter theme has had a unique journey since returning to shelves in 2018: launching just as the LEGO Group was beginning to tip the scales of production towards adults, it’s enjoyed an enormous and expensive direct-to-consumer set nearly every year (only skipping 2019), with several of those sets sliding straight into lists of the biggest and priciest LEGO sets of all time.
But because this theme has only been going for five years, the subject matter and, in particular, the timing of those sets has come under much more intense scrutiny than (for example) LEGO Star Wars’ Ultimate Collector Series range. It’s a curious thing: a Millennium Falcon or Star Destroyer launching in 2017 or 2019 feels neither here nor there. Yet for the Wizarding World, the exact order of its D2Cs has played a huge part in their reception.
Take 71043 Hogwarts Castle, for instance: when it arrived on shelves in 2018, headlining the return of the Wizarding World theme, it did so alongside a wider range of minifigure-scale Hogwarts sets. Its microscale approach didn’t exist in isolation, so the community found it much easier to get on board with the concept. If it was the only LEGO Harry Potter set at the time – as 10316 Rivendell is rumoured to be the only The Lord of the Rings set, beyond BrickHeadz, in 2023 – it may have been a much tougher sell.
Thankfully for us (and the design team), the LEGO Group timed the release of its biggest Hogwarts to date exactly right. Two years later, it found itself with another magical slam dunk on its hands in 75978 Diagon Alley, a 5,544-piece set anchored around minifigures, which once again offered something entirely unique: the only Diagon Alley set prior to that one was a microscale gift-with-purchase.
The timing was spot on again, and the reception to 75978 Diagon Alley was generally positive – with one exception. One of the cornerstones of the magical shopping street, Gringotts Bank, is mysteriously missing from the line-up, which instead includes obscurities like the Daily Prophet office and Scribbulus Writing Implements. The community became collectively convinced that Gringotts would follow in some shape or form the following summer, as a natural extension of Diagon Alley. But it wasn’t to be.
Instead, the next LEGO Harry Potter direct-to-consumer set to hit shelves was 76391 Hogwarts Icons Collectors’ Edition, a 3,010-piece set that includes realistic recreations of Wizarding World objects – such as books, potions bottles, Harry’s glasses and wand, and a chocolate frog – all topped with a life-sized Hedwig. It’s a beautiful set, no doubt, but it was no Gringotts – and that largely clouded the reaction to the set at the time, regardless of how well the design team had executed the concept.
The risk, then, is that this stunning collection of objects ultimately passes by Wizarding World fans who would rather have seen a Gringotts set that’s still yet to materialise. If you count yourself among that crowd, it’s absolutely worth giving 76391 Hogwarts Icons Collectors’ Edition a second chance, because – almost 18 months on from release – time has been very kind to this magical build.
That’s mostly with the benefit of hindsight, and the context of what’s come since, because the set itself doesn’t really need talking up: the care and attention to detail throughout is enough to delight LEGO Harry Potter fans with something entirely different from the usual minifigure-scale sets (although its golden 20th anniversary minifigures of Dumbledore, McGonagall and Hagrid definitely don’t hurt).
If there’s one weak link – as we stated in our initial review – it’s the house scarves, which really stretch the credibility of the plates they’re constructed with. The wand is perhaps also a little too thick (and therefore toyetic, like those light-up ones you had as a kid), but the rest of the build is a superb interpretation of its source material – and the bit that maybe matters most, Hedwig, is the perfect crown on top of it all.
But you knew all that already, whether from our written or video reviews, or just from official images. What might not be so obvious is where 76391 Hogwarts Icons Collectors’ Edition sits in the context of the rest of the LEGO Harry Potter theme, and why it not being Gringotts shouldn’t count against it. This might not have been the set most of us were hoping for in summer 2021, but by winter 2022, the conversation is completely different.
That’s not because a Gringotts set has since come along to plug that particular gap in the Harry Potter line-up (although with Deathly Hallows products now firmly on the table, a Gringotts Escape set feels all the more likely for summer 2023), but because we have a firmer grasp not only on the LEGO Group’s direction for its direct-to-consumer sets, but the Wizarding World theme as a whole.
Across a half-decade of products, it’s clearer now more than ever that LEGO Harry Potter is anchored around the ethos of experimentation. Between its buildable animals, Collectible Minifigures, Hogwarts Moments books, a chess set and even giant novelty characters, this theme is defined by what it does differently to the rest of the LEGO portfolio. The minifigure-scale sets are all still nestled between those releases, comprising the core of the range, but they’re by no means a limiting factor.
That sense of boldly going where no wizard or witch has gone before was cemented earlier this year by the arrival of 76405 Hogwarts Express Collectors’ Edition, a 5,129-piece rendition of the Wizarding World train that’s so big it needs its own purpose-built track. Across what’s now a quartet of magical direct-to-consumer models, a pattern of differentiation has emerged, in which the LEGO Group never offers the same thing twice.
Between 71043 Hogwarts Castle, 75978 Diagon Alley, 76391 Hogwarts Icons Collectors’ Edition and 76405 Hogwarts Express Collectors’ Edition, the LEGO Harry Potter team has delivered a microscale location, minifigure-scale location, life-sized buildable objects and an enormous vehicle. It’s a level of variety that never would have been possible if the LEGO Group had immediately followed Diagon Alley up with a D2C Gringotts, and while that set may eventually arrive, we’re very glad it didn’t do so at the expense of 76391.
After all, there’s still plenty of time for the Harry Potter design team to bring us the wizarding bank, and with a recent shift in management – Andrew Seenan, who headed up the relaunch of the theme in 2018, has replaced Marcos Bessa as the LEGO Harry Potter Design Lead for 2023 and beyond – we could see another shake-up next year. What seems certain is that – if nothing else – we won’t be treading the same ground. And for a LEGO theme with as much history as LEGO Harry Potter, that can only be a good thing.
It’s why 76391 Hogwarts Icons Collectors’ Edition stands out so brilliantly among the rest of the LEGO Harry Potter range, and why you definitely shouldn’t overlook it – regardless of where it fits into the rest of your collection. As a singular Wizarding World display piece, it’s difficult to do much better.
Every LEGO Harry Potter D2C so far
|LEGO set||Price||Pieces||Release date|
|71043 Hogwarts Castle||£409.99 / $469.99 / €469.99||6,020||September 1, 2018|
|75978 Diagon Alley||£389.99 / $449.99 / €449.99||5,544||September 1, 2020|
|76391 Hogwarts Icons Collectors’ Edition||£259.99 / $299.99 / €299.99||3,010||September 2, 2021|
|76405 Hogwarts Express Collectors’ Edition||£429.99 / $499.99 / €499.99||5,129||August 31, 2022|
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