Ever since 4708 Hogwarts Express rolled into the station in 2001, the LEGO Group has stuck to a tried-and-tested formula for its magical locomotive: a bright red engine (often with tender) and a single carriage. 76405 Hogwarts Express Collectors’ Edition has now taken that premise and inflated it to a whopping 5,129 pieces, using its increased budget for greater accuracy, detail and size.
What the LEGO Group hasn’t done, however, is update the train’s colour scheme. Despite this ultimate Hogwarts Express clearly being targeted towards an older and more sophisticated audience – few kids will have the disposable income for the theme’s most expensive set to date – the designers have stuck rigidly to the bright red base colour used for every other LEGO version of the train.
That does match the actual engine and carriages of the GWR 4900 Class train to a degree – at least going by images at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – but the lighting in the movies generally gives the vehicle a darker shade on-screen, which is how most of us will remember the Hogwarts Express (and presumably where the LEGO Harry Potter designers are getting their source material).
Which all begs the question: would 76405 Hogwarts Express Collectors’ Edition have looked better in dark red? We’ve applied a little Photoshop magic to the original images of the new Harry Potter direct-to-consumer set to find out, and the results speak for themselves.
The LEGO Group does have a dark red in its colour palette, but it’s famously inconsistent (an issue that cropped up again in last year’s 10290 Pickup Truck). That could be one reason the designers opted to use bright red instead, but given how much scrutiny is involved in the LEGO design process, it feels reasonably safe to assume that dark red was at least in consideration at some stage.
That’s not to say bright red isn’t accurate, or doesn’t fit the set: it certainly pops against the black base and subdued tans and nougats of King’s Cross Station, and also slots nicely into the wider LEGO Harry Potter collection. But now that we’ve seen it in dark red, it’s pretty difficult to unsee it – which only leaves us wondering what might have been.
Let us know in the comments whether you prefer 76405 Hogwarts Express Collectors’ Edition in bright or dark red. And who knows – once we have our hands on the set, we may be able to try a physical colour swap, too. (Depending on if the required parts all exist in dark red, that is…)
76405 Hogwarts Express Collectors’ Edition launches August 31 for £429.99 / $499.99 / €499.99.