2021 marks the 20th anniversary of LEGO Harry Potter, and with that comes the much-anticipated line of anniversary sets centered around the first 3 Harry Potter films and books. This set in particular, the Chamber of Secrets is long overdue and a much-needed addition to the modern lineup of Harry Potter LEGO sets.
The build was quite straightforward with the building broken up into sections that are stacked together in the end to make up the castle. These sections can also be combined with castle sections in the other anniversary Harry Potter sets to make up a larger Hogwarts Castle play-set. The sections featured in this set make up scenes from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, from the Great Hall and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom to the Chamber of Secrets and the bust of Salazar Slytherin.
The outside of the castle features many medieval gothic architectural elements iconic to Hogwarts such as arches and tall spires. In this set, the designer chose to use sand green elements to make up the roof. Straying from the dark blueish grey elements used to make up the roofs of Hogwarts sets since 2018. A strange choice considering it limits the cohesiveness of combining this set with the Hogwarts sets from the past few years.
The build features a number of lattice window elements and a new rounded window piece to hold the lattice window inserts. This new rounded window frame is quickly becoming my favorite architectural piece. The base of the castle is made up of some medium-sized prefab rock pieces, arches, and supports.
The interior rooms of the set consist of the Great Hall, The Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, Gilderoy Lockhart’s office and the Chamber of Secrets. These rooms are decorated with various magical accessories that really enhance the Hogwarts atmosphere. Dumbledore’s iconic lectern stands at the front of the great hall where various wizard treats fill the tables such as chocolate frogs, Cheri owls and Pixiepuffs.
Moving onto the Defense against the Dark Arts classroom, Gilderoy Lockhart’s pixies wreck havoc. A new candelabrum element sits on the table along with magical paintings depicting Lockhart and his “accomplishments.” Below the castle in the Chamber of Secrets, a pair of serpent statues eerily flank the bust of Salazar Slytherin where the great basilisk is hiding.
One thing is for sure, this set has a ton of minifigures, eleven to be exact! And they are a great set of minifigures. We finally have black robe torsos for Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff included in the Luna Lovegood and Justin Finch-Fletchley minifigures. We also get three Gryffindor students, Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, and Colin Creevey with his camera.
Albus Dumbledore, Professor Lockhart, and Professor Sinistra are the teachers included in the set. Dumbledore and Lockhart feature new print designs on new colors for their respective minifigures. I especially like Professor Lockhart’s nervous face.
Professor Sinistra is a character we haven’t seen in LEGO form yet. She is the astronomy teacher at Hogwarts. Though she has very little screen time in the film it is nice to get a minifigure version of a more minor character.
My favorite minifigure from the set, Tom Riddle features an old-timey Hogwarts robe that continues onto the legs with a brand new printed leg piece. The Basilisk is quite the monster. It is an enormous improvement over the brick built monster from 2018. The new basilisk features a special molded head and a body made up of regular system elements.
In addition to the minifigures featured in the sets there were a number of small creatures. The blue Cornish Pixies are a wonderful addition to the lineup of Wizarding World creatures. They are a translucent blue color and have the perfect mischievous face print. Two owls are included in the set, Hedwig and a new dark tan owl with a white face print and white chest feathers.
Though they are not minifigures, I feel like the wizard tiles are best mentioned here. They are 2×2 tiles printed to look like the wizard tiles from the chocolate frog packaging in the movies. There are 16 tiles to collect each with a unique witch or wizard. This set in particular comes with six of these tiles.
Behind The Scenes
Since there were so many different types of scenes to photograph for this set, I chose to photograph it in 3 separate settings.
First, to photograph the entire set, I chose a mossy area beside the woods near my house. I used a 24mm lens to capture the wide scene and exaggerate the vast forest background behind the set. I positioned a flash behind the castle to illuminate the windows of the castle and to backlight the set to create some separation from the background. I used a Lume Cube to fill in the light in the tower where the flash didn’t quite reach.
Second, for the exterior detail shots, I positioned the set outside on a table so I could use the tree/skyline for the background. I exposed for the background and then I used a flash placed at camera right to light the set itself.
Lastly, for the interior shots, I used a flash and reflectors held in the right position to light the scene, as well as, the practical lights in some of the rooms. A nano mister was used to add a bit of atmosphere and RGB led panels were used to created the eerie mood for the shot of Tom Riddle and the basilisk.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoy this set. I rate this set a solid 8/10. The wide variety of minifigures and creatures make up for some of the shortcomings in the build itself. A Chamber of Secrets set has been long overdue and this set fills the gap in the current Harry Potter line.
The introduction of the collectible wizard tiles is a fun addition and I look forward to collecting the remaining wizards tiles in the other anniversary Harry Potter sets releasing on June 1st.
Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets will retail for $129.99.