Many different models of the Hogwarts Express have been produced over the last two decades, the latest of which is 75955 Hogwarts Express. An accurate rendition of this famous train has long been absent from the Harry Potter range but I think the brand new model looks brilliant, featuring realistic bogies and marvellous detail.
Furthermore, this set includes a large section of Kings Cross Station that features platforms for both Wizards and Muggles along with a traditional footbridge above the railway line. The six minifigures also look very appealing and the set costs £74.99 or $79.99 so appears to offer good value. This should therefore prove to be a highlight of the new Wizarding World theme.
This version of Harry Potter wears the same dark blue hooded jumper and dark bluish grey trousers as the minifigure found in 75950 Aragog's Lair, unfortunately. He should instead sport a dark red shirt with a grey jacket during his journey to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, upon which this set is based. However, the torso is highly detailed and I love Harry's tousled hair style along with his double-sided head.
Ron Weasley is also identical to the figure from 75950 Aragog's Lair which is a shame, although his plaid jacket looks great. I like Ron's dark orange hair piece and his head features smiling and scared facial expressions, both of which suit the character. Oddly, the white pupils in the eyes are rather large on this figure. It would have been wonderful to see entirely accurate renditions of Ron and Harry here but these minifigures look alright in my opinion and the range already includes two versions of each character wearing casual attire.
Both minifigures are equipped with dark brown and reddish brown wands, respectively, as well as two suitcases. Scabbers plays a vital role in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban so I am glad to see him here, represented by a brand new element which includes greater moulded detail than the original rat. The creature's beady eyes look superb and he can fit onto a studded surface very neatly, or be held in the hand of a minifigure.
Hermione Granger, unlike her friends, is wearing a striped jumper which looks perfect when compared with the character in the movie. I like the colourful stripes printed across the front and back of the torso and dark tan seems like an appropriate colour for her short legs. Stripes on the arms would have been very welcome too but I think the minifigure looks good without them.
Several new hair pieces have been created for the Wizarding World theme, including Hermione's wavy style. This reddish brown element is cast in a hard plastic and looks fantastic in relation to the source material, featuring some lovely textured detail and hanging naturally over the minifigure's shoulders. The head is nicely decorated with two different expressions and Hermione carries a dark tan wand, a spare of which is also included.
The first wave of Wizarding World sets includes a wide selection of Hogwarts professors, perhaps my favourite of whom is Remus Lupin. This reddish brown hair piece is perfect for the unkempt character and I like his shabby dark bluish grey jacket and olive green waistcoat as well. Unfortunately, this jacket does not continue onto the dark tan legs so appears to end rather abruptly at the base of the torso.
Lupin is a werewolf so features a double-sided head, showing a kindly expression with some scratches and stubble on one side while the other depicts Remus during his transformation. His pale yellow eyes and pained expression look brilliant and I hope we see a full werewolf minifigure in a future Wizarding World set. A reddish brown wand completes the figure.
Passengers on the Hogwarts Express are attended by the Trolley Witch, an elderly witch who wanders through the carriages with the Honeydukes Express. This minifigure takes inspiration from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, during which the character wears a dark red vest with a patterned blouse and a simple golden necklace underneath.
The witch's head is shared with Aunt May from 76057 Spider-Man: Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge Battle so includes smiling and frightened expressions, the latter of which seems out of place to me. However, I like her light bluish grey hair piece and the minifigure is properly equipped with a trolley full of sweets which is photographed later in the review.
Harry Potter is approached by a Dementor during his train journey in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, causing the young wizard to recall his parents' death. LEGO has produced several different Dementor minifigures but this version is unique, making clever use of a spectral component which was created for the Possession subtheme from NINJAGO. I like the dual-moulded combination of black and trans-clear plastic, lending this minifigure a ghoulish quality.
The tattered cloak worn by this Dementor only covers the back of its torso, representing a change from previous minifigures which have included a fabric component that covers both sides. Both designs look good in my opinion, although the creature's light bluish grey hands seem out of place and I would have preferred a darker colour. The Dementor's face looks marvellous though, showing hollow cheeks and an open mouth.
The Completed Model
This set includes two trollies, one of which carries Ron's luggage while the other is laden with unusual sweets. I like the consistent design between the luggage trolley in this set and 30407 Harry's Journey to Hogwarts but the absence of rolling wheels is disappointing. The sweet trolley also features static wheels, although I like its sand green and pearl gold colour scheme as well as the chocolate frog on top.
Most minifigure-scale renditions of the Hogwarts Express have included a section of either Hogsmeade or Kings Cross Station. The latter location appears here and it looks magnificent, featuring a footbridge at one end of the model and Platform 9 ¾ at the other. I like the tan walls in combination with the light bluish grey platform and the platform itself is reasonably spacious, measuring 31cm in length, so there is plenty of room for minifigures.
The pedestrian footbridge over the railway line takes inspiration from a location in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and looks reasonably traditional, consisting primarily of black parts which give the impression of wrought iron. The angular reddish brown handrails look very realistic and I like the clock at the centre of the bridge that features moving hour and minute hands. These protrude from the clock face to an awkward degree which is a shame, although this only becomes apparent when viewed from the side.
Unfortunately, the platform does not continue at one end of the bridge but the other is nicely decorated with a Kings Cross sign and some exposed masonry bricks. No track is included but the train does fit underneath the footbridge, even when raised on track from your own collection. Two white flags identify platforms nine and ten and this Muggle area of the station is distinguished from the magical section by a trans-clear lantern on the wall.
Platform 9 ¾, on the other hand, includes a series of trans-yellow light fixtures to reflect the change in environment. Minifigures must pass through the wall between the two Muggle platforms to access the Hogwarts Express and the wall is accordingly mounted on two Technic pins so will swing open neatly, as demonstrated in the image below. 4708 Hogwarts Express from 2001 also included a hidden wall panel but this example is less conspicuous.
This half of the platform is furnished with a small newspaper stand and a red sign, identifying Platform 9 ¾. I like the archways along the rear wall and a poster is situated beneath one of the lanterns, showing Sirius Black as an inmate at Azkaban Prison. It is interesting to note that Sirius features the same hair piece as 'Mad-Eye' Moody from the Collectable Minifigures series on this poster, leading me to think that Harry's godfather might soon appear as a physical minifigure for only the second time!
The Hogwarts Express measures 46cm in length and consists of the locomotive, a coal tender and one passenger carriage. Trains often look somewhat awkward without sufficient carriages but including just one here was probably the right decision as additional passenger carriages would have increased the cost of the set, without adding very much play value. Personally, I think the train looks impressive with only a single carriage.
Previous renditions of the Hogwarts Express have been constructed around the 6x24 chassis element that is often associated with LEGO trains. They provide a sturdy base but sometimes restrict detail so I am pleased to see a more versatile structure here, using layered plates to create the rectangular frame between the boiler and the bogies. The locomotive looks rather stubby in relation to the source material but its appearance has still been captured fairly well on the whole, especially where the ten wheels are concerned.
A printed 4x4 dish forms the front of the cylindrical boiler, featuring the Hogwarts Express branding and an accurate locomotive identification number. I like the pearl gold decoration on top, situated alongside a simple chimney and a golden safety valve which releases excess pressure from the boiler. Moreover, the pearl gold 1x1 round plates fitted towards the rear of the boiler represent the train's whistles.
The leading bogie is mounted on a Technic pin so it can rotate for travelling around corners, although only when the locking mechanism at the front has been retracted. This is a lovely design feature as I think the model looks better on display with the truck aligned centrally, as exhibited above. However, it must also move when navigating curved track and the designer has therefore included an unobtrusive lock between the buffers!
LEGO steam trains frequently lack the appropriate number of wheels or feature wheels of unrealistic sizes so I am delighted to see a more realistic and accurate design on this model. Four small wheels are attached to the forward bogie while six larger ones occupy the rear of the vehicle. These spoked wheels look superb and I love the Technic coupling rods which move back and forth with the rear wheels.
A series of rivets are represented by stickers on either side of the cab and additional stickers are used towards the front of the model, depicting red stripes above the foremost bogie. The 4x4 curved tiles on the boiler, however, are printed with 'HOGWARTS CASTLE' and two further printed tiles are found inside the cab, forming pressure gauges. I like the flames emanating from the firebox and the windows match the films exactly too.
The coal tender is connected to the locomotive using a Technic liftarm and includes bands of rivets that correspond with those on the cab. This part of the train appears rather short and should include a third wheel set, although such simplification of the tender does not bother me too much as a larger version would require many more pieces. It represents a definite improvement over 4708 Hogwarts Express which did not come with a tender at all!
Little textured detail is found on top of the coal tender but I like its opening hatch, allowing you to place luggage or other accessories inside. Attempts to motorise LEGO trains are often reliant upon placing a battery box in the coal tender but that will not be possible here without removing significant parts of the structure. Unfortunately, the instructions do not provide any information about motorising the train but I suggest watching this excellent video by JANGBRiCKS if you wish to power your Hogwarts Express.
This set includes one passenger carriage with space to seat four minifigures inside. The carriages in the films are much longer than this example but I think its simplified design captures the most vital features, including a black roof and dark tan stripes which run along either side of the carriage. The only notable areas for improvement are perhaps the windows and the bogies, neither of which are as impressive as 2010's 4841 Hogwarts Express from my point of view.
Large window frames form the gangway connections at either end of the carriage and there are hooks for attaching additional rolling stock via Technic pins. An enclosing panel would have been useful here but the open design looks alright as an alternative, revealing some interior detail and permitting figures to walk between coaches, if further units are coupled.
The interior is far more detailed than I anticipated, featuring four seats with sand blue upholstery along with a matching floor. Both the roof and the left side of the carriage are only attached using a few studs so they can be removed with ease, allowing access to place minifigures inside. Hopefully the designers of future LEGO trains will include similar removable wall panels as this is extremely useful for play.
I love the sand blue seats situated along the right side of the coach, leaving enough room for a narrow passage on the left. The armrests do not allow the Honeydukes Express trolley to pass when the wall panel is attached but it does fit between the central seats and there is plenty of space when the panel has been removed. I was slightly concerned that minifigures with short legs would appear awkward in these chairs but they actually look alright in my opinion, almost matching standard seated figures.
I had high expectations for 75955 Hogwarts Express and am glad to report that it does not disappoint. This train looks more faithful to the source material than any previous rendition and includes plenty of realistic details that one might find on any steam locomotive. In fact, this is probably my favourite of the steam trains which LEGO have produced since 10194 Emerald Night was released in 2009, almost ten years ago!
The coal tender and passenger carriage are less detailed than the locomotive but they serve their respective purposes and I am particularly impressed with the interior of the passenger coach. Moreover, this is an excellent depiction of Kings Cross Station and I am satisfied with the minifigure selection too, although a train conductor would have been very welcome. The price of £74.99 or $79.99 seems reasonable to me and I would therefore recommend this set, even if you already own a past model of the Hogwarts Express.
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This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.