Review: 40289 Diagon Alley

Posted by ,
View image at flickr

LEGO has produced an excellent selection of promotional items during 2018 and the newest such model, 40289 Diagon Alley, is particularly appealing in my opinion. Its colourful design is visually striking and this vignette captures the eclectic architecture of Diagon Alley from the movies with impressive accuracy.

In addition, the set contains an exclusive minifigure so offers something to those who dislike microscale models, much like 71043 Hogwarts Castle which comes with the four founders of Hogwarts. 40289 Diagon Alley is currently available with purchases of more than £80 or 80€ at shop.LEGO.com in the UK and Europe. A similar offer begins in North America tomorrow.

Minifigure

Garrick Ollivander was considered to be among the greatest wand manufacturers in the world during the twentieth century and has previously appeared in 10217 Diagon Alley from 2011. This minifigure is remarkably similar to its predecessor, sporting a familiar reddish brown jacket along with a dark bluish grey waistcoat and a wonderful dark red cravat.

40289 Diagon Alley

However, the minifigure is distinguished by a light bluish grey hair piece that looks perfect in relation to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, upon which this version of Ollivander is based. Furthermore, I like his double-sided head which features some accurate facial hair and two different expressions. A friendly smile might have been appropriate than the existing calm face, although that is only a minor issue in my opinion.

40289 Diagon Alley

The Completed Model

The precise layout of Diagon Alley changes quite frequently between the movies, depending upon the requirements of the story. This model is primarily inspired by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as well as the Warner Bros' Studio Tour, although the location of Quality Quidditch Supplies is faithful to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone rather than the latter films. Nevertheless, this arrangement looks superb to me, presenting an attractive spectrum of different colours across the model.

View image at flickr

Weasley's Wizard Wheezes was introduced in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and its colourful exterior looks magnificent, consisting of orange, lavender and medium lavender pieces beside a minifigure head which adorns the corner of the shop. This element was created for Robin in The LEGO Batman Movie so includes a hidden alternative expression. Ideally, the top hat would be able to move back and forth but that would be difficult to implement at this scale and it is cleverly attached using a black sausage instead.

View image at flickr

The interior features some colourful shelves, reminding me of the garish 4723 Diagon Alley Shops that was released in 2001. The balance between orange and trans-clear around the windows is not entirely faithful to the source material and that could be improved by using orange 2x2 round plates in place of the 2x2 round bricks. A roof would have been welcome too but is not a necessity for display.

View image at flickr

Quality Quidditch Supplies appears in several Harry Potter movies, albeit only in the background. This rendition of the shop looks brighter than its onscreen counterpart and includes a red Quidditch banner as well as a broomstick which is represented by a reddish brown paint brush. The neighbouring store, Flourish and Blotts Bookseller, hosts a book signing by Gilderoy Lockhart during Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and appears more accurate to the source material, featuring some superb green accents.

View image at flickr

The paved area outside these shops includes six 2x4 tiles which are decorated with an intricate cobblestone pattern. These printed tiles are only available here at the moment and look fantastic, especially in combination with a couple of black lamp posts. Ollivanders seems relatively plain beside the other stores, consisting almost entirely of dark bluish grey pieces, but its curved windows are lovely. Moreover, the dark blue roof from 10217 Diagon Alley has been replaced with an accurate flat design.

View image at flickr

Gringotts Wizarding Bank towers above the neighbouring shops, matching the films exactly. I love the angled columns around the entrance and the golden statue outside looks marvellous, taking inspiration from Universal Studios in Orlando. A trans-black dome forms the skylight through which Harry, Ron and Hermione escape during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows but the Ukrainian Ironbelly Dragon is not included, unfortunately.

View image at flickr

Turning the model around reveals two wooden desks and some decorative columns inside Gringotts. I like the 1x2 textured bricks which form the walls and the 1x2x2 window frames look great as well. The smaller buildings are not deep enough for an interior and are unattractive when viewed from behind, although this area should not be visible in display so its jumbled appearance does not bother me.

View image at flickr

Overall

Microscale building is typically most appropriate for enormous structures that would be impossible to construct at a realistic minifigure scale, such as 76042 The SHIELD Helicarrier and 71043 Hogwarts Castle. 40289 Diagon Alley does not necessarily meet those criteria but looks brilliant in my opinion. The colourful shops are attractive when combined in a single street and smaller details are instantly recognisable too.

View image at flickr

Furthermore, the Garrick Ollivander minifigure looks perfect in relation to the character in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Certain areas of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes could have been improved and I understand that some Harry Potter fans were disappointed to discover that 40289 Diagon Alley was not minifigure scale when it was revealed. Even so, this is an excellent set and I would certainly recommend it.

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

 

Sponsored content

24 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in United States,

I'd like to see someone do the War Doctor using that head. John Hurt played Olivander, right?

Gravatar
By in United States,

Cool Olivander. Are there supposed to be polls at the end of every review, or only a select number of
them?

Gravatar
By in United States,

Looks lovely.

Gravatar
By in United States,

This set doesn't look super cool to me, and I don't like Harry potter, so an easy pass. It does have some nice parts though.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Looks okay from the front, awful from the back. Could have been more clever with the Lego pieces i think. At least it comes with a minifigure :)

Gravatar
By in Norway,

How magnificent would it be if they released one microfig-scale building of diagon alley a year ala the modular building line?

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Am I the only one who thinks this just looks awkward and fairly ugly?

Gravatar
By in United States,

Is it scale at all with Hogwarts? Are you able to provide a comparison picture?

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Excellent review - thanks, Chris - and a nice little freebie for HP fans.

Gravatar
By in United States,

I love this free promotional set! The printed tiles are great and the shops look very nice, especially Weasley's Wizard Wheezes and Gringotts. I wish they had included some microfigures like Hogwarts, but it's not a big loss and Ollivander is a great minifigure. I really hope we see a minifigure compatible Diagon Alley set soon!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Did you notice the little arch between Weasleys Wizard Wheezes and Quality Quidditch Supplies? That is the entrance to Diagon Alley from the Leaky Cauldron! That is why there are uneven studs(disappearing bricks)!

Gravatar
By in Australia,

It lasted half a day here in Australia. I’m not a HP fan but I am a Microscale fan but find this to be a bit of a weird/ugly set.

Gravatar
By in United States,

@LegoAthos you are correct.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

mine arrived today. nice addition as a 'freebie'

Gravatar
By in Austria,

Looks like a bunch of plastics put together and called it Diagon Alley. It truly demands one's imagination. Well, trying to squeeze 4 or 5 buildings into this small microscale set is kind of overdoing it... isn't it? I usually like microscale but definitely not this one. ;)

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Usually, paying the extra few pence for a carrier bag is annoying...

... until you get something like this as a freebie, when buying a £79.99 set like 60188 Mining Experts Site, and the bag pushes you over the threshhold :D

Gravatar
By in Brazil,

Pretty goofy and ugly set, really, looks like some MOCs I did when I was a kid, especially due to the abundant number of 2x2 round bricks. The scale is to small, maybe if it was in a bigger scale it would look better. Well, I think the best option was that this set didn't exist.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Well, that's disappointing. Was expecting a much much larger build. In fact it doesn't even resemble Diagon Alley. If it wouldn't have said so it could have been just as well some random weird buildings. Even the colors are way off.

Gravatar
By in New Zealand,

A Dark Age encouragement if ever I saw one. Ghastly!

Gravatar
By in Austria,

Not really an incentive to buy something.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Kind've a messy small set BUT as a freebie with purchase you get an excellent minifig and those nice printed tiles and good parts.
Maybe at this scale concentrate on one building, like the bank, then it could've been a bit better. Or include some microscale figs to this.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

This set was an absolute nightmare to build. It's just endlessly aligning 1x1 plates and bricks. Given that it's micro scale, the slightest misalignment stands out like a glaring neon sign. It took me far longer to assemble than a set of this size really should, hahaha.

That said, the finished model is pretty damned cute. It's just enough to clearly convey what you're looking at without taking up precious real estate on your shelf. I really don't think photos quite do it justice, tbh. I've no real use for the minifig (outside of nicking his fantastic hair piece!), but i imagine HP fans avidly collecting the theme will love him.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

When you add the correct amount to your basket, should this set automatically appear in it? I can’t see it in there when I add more than £80 worth of sets. Will they just send it out anyway or does this mean they’ve run out?

Gravatar
By in United States,

The parts list has an incorrect part listed, 6220716 Propeller. It was in those Ninjago things. It says there’s 4 in this set, but I just got done building it & there’s none.

Looking at which sets it came in, I see Porg too is on the list...it didn’t have any either.

Just thought I’d let you know.

View more reviews »
Return to home page »