The Wizarding World theme is focused primarily upon the story of Harry Potter but also includes a couple of sets from the Fantastic Beasts films. 75951 Grindelwald's Escape contains only 132 pieces so is the smaller set, although it comes with two unique minifigures and a brand new Thestral which is very exciting!
Furthermore, the dark carriage looks impressive and the set costs £19.99 or $19.99 so seems to offer reasonable value, especially given the presence of that new Thestral. I have certainly been looking forward to this set so am hoping that it will match my expectations.
Gellert Grindelwald looks fairly similar to the disguised version from the new Collectable Minifigures series, featuring the same hair piece and a head which is distinguished only by an absent moustache. This seems like a significant omission as the dark wizard does have a moustache in trailers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. In fact, he is shown sporting a full beard during the scene that presumably inspired this set.
Furthermore, a new hair piece would have been ideal as this element does not really resemble his hairstyle in the film. I like Grindelwald's heterochromatic eyes though and his head is decorated with two facial expressions, one of which appears angry while the other is completely without emotion. The minifigure wears a lovely olive green waistcoat and a black jacket which extends onto his legs but these are not dual-moulded, unfortunately.
I am more impressed with Seraphina Picquery, who sports a striking sand blue dress and a matching hat. This reminds me of the uniforms worn by pupils at Beauxbatons Academy of Magic in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and it looks great. The sand blue sailor hat is very interesting and includes some lovely texture on top while both sides of the torso are decorated with realistic creases in the fabric.
The dress is not printed so looks rather plain, although it is possible that Picquery's attire will be equally simple in the movie. Her head features a friendly smile alongside two strands of curled blonde hair and this minifigure comes with a unique purple wand while Grindelwald wields a dark tan accessory. Both characters also carry trans-light blue Power Blasts, just like those in the Super Heroes range.
The Completed Model
The majority of Hogwarts students travel from Hogsmeade Station to the castle gates aboard carriages drawn by Thestrals, excluding only the First Years who cross the Black Lake in boats. A similar mode of transportation will soon appear in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, presumably as the dark wizard's personal carriage. This vehicle looks very imposing and measures 25cm long with the Thestral attached so is bigger than I anticipated.
Thestrals first appeared in 5378 Hogwarts Castle, represented by the skeletal horses that were created for the Castle theme from 2007. This rendition is far more accurate and includes considerable moulded detail as well as some intricate printing on the head. I love the white eyes and light bluish grey streaks which help to define the Thestral's leathery skin as well as the unusual shape of its nostril which has been captured perfectly.
A pair of bat-like wings are clipped to the Thestral's body. They look fantastic in relation to the source material, consisting of a thin membrane structure stretched between a series of bones. I love the dual-moulded combination of black and trans-black plastic here as well as the two holes for attaching black spines which represent the creature's claws at the leading edge of each wing.
Thestrals are perhaps most notable for their skeletal appearance and that is certainly in evidence here. The spinous processes along its main and back look great and there is even some rib texturing on the Thestral's belly. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the connection point for the carriage is not very visible beneath the animal's wings and you could also place a minifigure on its back by removing the black 2x2 tile.
Grindelwald's carriage looks rather ornate, consisting of a curved chassis with spoked wheels at either end which support the passenger compartment. Its black silhouette is nicely broken up by some trans-yellow lanterns and a dark tan stripe beneath the roof, both of which are briefly visible in the trailer for the upcoming movie. The differing wheel sizes are accurate too and its larger rear wheels are new in pearl dark grey.
The forward axle is mounted on a pivot and can rotate, allowing the vehicle to steer while it is rolling on the ground. There is room to seat a driver in front of the cab but the reddish brown seat is fitted using a Technic pin so tends to wobble slightly. Nevertheless, it looks good and I love the black grass elements used as decorative scrolls at either end of this model. They have not been available in black until now and could prove useful for other creations.
You can seat another minifigure at the rear of the carriage. This area would traditionally be where the footman stands or somewhere to store luggage so it seems a shame that no chest is included as that would fit very neatly. However, more space for minifigures is always very welcome, even when those figures are not actually included in the set.
Light bluish grey steps allow minifigures to climb into the carriage from either side as there are opening doors on both the left and right. The roof can be removed with ease, revealing an upholstered red seat alongside a red 1x4 tile. This is too narrow for a minifigure to sit down so might represent a footrest or luggage space that are shown in the film. In either case, I think it helps to visually balance the interior.
The entire Wizarding World theme has proven to be very impressive and this set continues that trend. I absolutely love the brand new Thestral and Grindelwald's carriage looks brilliant, including lots of room for minifigures as well as a few simple functions. Furthermore, the price of £19.99 in the UK or $19.99 in the US feels quite reasonable, particularly since the Thestral includes a couple of new elements.
My only significant issue with this set relates to the Grindelwald minifigure. His attire looks good but the head and hair piece do not compare favourably with the film, at least based upon what we have seen in the trailers. Seraphina Picquery looks excellent though and I would definitely recommend this set, even to those who are only interested in the Thestral.
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This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.