Box of tricks and treats!
The Harry Potter design team at Lego keep surprising me with their creative set ideas. The Hogwarts Magical Trunk set 76399 has to be one of their best efforts. This is a set so much more than the sum of its 603 parts but rather something more akin to an imaginative role-play experience. Even at its mildly intimidating retail price tag of $99.99, I will straight-up recommend this set to any new or die-hard Harry Potter fan. Let me walk you through it!
Let’s start with the instructions. Normally these are mostly functional with maybe a bit of fluff, but the instructions with this set are literally an invitation – an acceptance letter from Hogwarts itself printed right on the cover. And of course the very first step has an owl delivering that all-important letter to your very own customisable stand-in minifigure. In fact, you can build Professor McGonagall, Harry and up to four more unique characters. This set doesn’t skimp on the options either. You have an additional 4 torsos (one for each house), 4 small leg pieces, 10 head pieces in different skin tones, 16 very fun hairpieces and even five colours of wands to choose from. Whoever you imagine yourself to be in this magical world, and whoever you want to take with you along the way, you can pretty much do it with that assortment. I’m sure some people will be sold just on the minifig parts alone.
Once you’re finally done with character creation, the building starts in earnest. This set is really an Inception style build so to understand it let me break it down a bit more. The first layer is simply a trunk that’s only about 17.5 x 7.5 x 6.5cm. This is very compact for sure but it’s filled to the brim. The trunk is then unpacked flat to unveil the basis for a playset that itself can be alternated between three scenes; the Sorting Ceremony, a Great Hall feast and your house Common Room. When in either of these play scenes, the dimensions expand to about 17.5 x 15 x 8.5cm. So, a lot going on here for sure.
To the nuts and bolts, err, bricks I guess. The focus of the build is the trunk structure with some of the internal mini-builds working double duty as the back walls. The rear of the trunk is perhaps the only compromise on the aesthetics to be found. The folding nature of the trunk necessitates a flat surface and some of those internal structures can be seen. A simple fix though – don’t display it backwards! With that small nitpick aside, let’s highlight some of the customisable options here – for they are many and varied as should be expected by now. The instructions provide for 2 different external patterns for each house. That’s 8 in total so you can really represent the way you want to. One note however, those pieces can be a little tricky to remove if you plan to switch it up after the initial construction.
To make your Magical Trunk really your own, how about adorn it with stickers. You’ve got 43 options so maybe be a little more creative than me and go ham! The stickers range in flavour from the sort of thing an eager new student with a sweet tooth to something a seasoned and responsible returning prefect might otherwise choose. I imagined my character to be more on the reserved side of things and thus kept my stickered embellishment restrained.
Now you’ve designed your trunk and customised it to your taste, pack all your brick-built belongings into its hold. Don’t forget to lock it up with the working key! Save for the minifigs and spare pieces, everything will juuuuust fit. Board the Hogwarts Express (not included sadly) and transfigure your trunk into the Sorting Ceremony arrangement and ask the sorting hat to very kindly place you in your favoured house. Rebuild the purple couch and move about the furniture to enjoy the Welcoming Feast in the Great Hall scene before retiring to your Common Room in the final scene. This common room can also be customised to fit the colours of your chosen house. It’s here you may take notice of some of the special printed parts like the Marauder’s Map and The Quibbler tiles for example. There are a number of other great printed pieces and minifig accessories but I won’t spoil every surprise. To note however, there is some small amount of re/building to traverse these scenes but it’s not all too demanding; just don’t lose the manual.
How you display your Hogwarts Magical Trunk is really up to you. I prefer to keep mine in its more compact form but others will prefer to display a certain scene. Others still, may choose to mix it up constantly. The wonderful thing here is that choice is really up to you: One final bit of customisation. It’s that very customisable nature of the set that makes this quite a different review. This set is more than a piece count and a value appraisal. I can tell you that the Magical Trunk is very unlikely to disappoint but your experience will vary depending on your immersion. If nothing else it’s a top tier parts pack. Our LUG even made it a parts draft set for a good reason and I’ve heard few complaints. But, allow your imagination to run with the designers and you will absolutely adore this set no matter your age. This one passes its O.W.L. exams with flying colours!
Words by Lukas Mack
Photos not otherwise attributed by Lukas Mack
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This set was provided free of charge from The LEGO Group. Opinions expressed in the review are those of the reviewer.