Review – Diagon Alley (40289)

Back in November, the LEGO® Store was giving away a micro-build of Diagon Alley along with qualifying purchases. My wife did much of her Christmas shopping for me on Black Friday, and this freebie came along with it. I actually got my hands on the set on Christmas. So, while this review may be a little late for many of you to actually get this set, I suppose it is better late than never.

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Diagon Alley box art.

SET SUMMARY

NAME: Diagon Alley
SET #: 40289
THEME: Harry Potter
COST: Free with qualifying purchases
BRICK COUNT: 374
MINIFIGURES: 2
RELEASE DATE: November 9, 2018

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Diagon Alley box contents.

SUMMARY REVIEW: 73%

VALUE: 100% (It was free…)
BUILD: 50% (I am not a fan of this micro-build style.)
MINIFIGURES:
70% (One really nice Minifig, bad brick:fig.)
ENTERTAINMENT: 70% (Good build time, but you can’t play with it.)

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The exterior of Gringotts Wizarding Bank

REVIEW

VALUE: 100%
It is hard to beat a free set… so I will give Diagon Alley a 5/5 (100%) in this category. The set was advertised as having a value of about $24.99 in Canada. So at that price, you would have been looking at $0.07 per brick, which is still an excellent value.

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The interior of Gringotts Wizarding Bank.

BUILD: 50%
I am going to be honest right from the start here… I don’t like this micro Diagon Alley. I will discuss my feelings about these micro-builds more in the “Entertainment” section. But, in terms of the build, I find it only marginally looks like the actual buildings from the film. I am also not a fan of the varying scale seen through the set. The exterior is mostly built at one scale, but the interiors of Gringotts and Weasleys’ appear to be at another. I think it would have been a better approach to just seal off the buildings, and not provide interiors for any of them. There was also nothing in terms of interesting building techniques with this set.

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Ollivander’s

I do like the new printed tiles that were included for the cobble stone streets. I have not see those before, and it would be worth getting multiples of this set just for those. There is also a new light pink… could you call it sandy pink? I don’t know if this color comes more frequently in the Friends theme or something, but you really only get a few 1x1s in this set, so nothing substantial to build with. I’ll take off three points for the weird scaling, the marginal resemblance, and the lack of interesting build techniques. But, I will add two for the new bricks. Based on my rating scale, that lands Diagon Alley 5/10 (50%).

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Flourish & Blotts and Quality Quidditch Supplies

MINIFIGURES: 70%
Diagon Alley comes with one, exclusive Minifigure: Mr. Ollivander. For hardcore Potter fans, that is probably the main draw of this set. I am by no means a huge Harry Potter fan, but I did enjoy the books, and I have been collecting the Minifigure series. So, for me, this set was really just a way to get a another Minifigure. I love my Minifigs, especially free ones. Ollivander is a nicely designed one too. He comes with a hairpiece that I didn’t already have, as well as a double sided face. While he has a front and back printed torso, his legs are plain grey. He already has 11/15 (73%) just based on that. However, the set also comes with a number of accessories (most of which are incorporated into the build). You get two wands, two paint brushes, two mini-Minifigure statues, a top hat, a Minifigure head (with double sided face), and two black colored sausages. Those easily being the design score up to 15/15 (100%).

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Front view of Mr. Ollivander

With 374 bricks, you have a fairly-easy-to-calculate brick-to-Minifig ratio of 374-to-1. That is not so great, and earns 2/5 (40%). Averaging that with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 70%.

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Rear view of Mr. Ollivander

ENTERTAINMENT: 70%
This set took me 63 minutes to build. It was free, and I can’t complain about getting about an hour of complimentary build time. So, Diagon Alley gets 100% for value there. If this set had been purchased for the aforementioned $24.99, then each minute would have cost $0.40, which is still really good.

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Exterior of Weazleys’ Wizard Wheezes

I already mentioned that I don’t really like this set. This is the first micro-scale set that I have gotten and built. After building it, I don’t really see the point to having this. You can’t play with it, and it doesn’t really look an awful lot like the actual movie set, or what I imagined Diagon Alley looking like in the books. It would sit on my shelf collecting dust. This set was built and disassembled all in one day in my house. All the parts will be re-purposed. It does come with those interesting cobble stone printed tiles though, so I will give it 2/5 (40%) for enjoyment. Averaging that with the build time value score gives an overall entertainment rating of 70%.

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The interior of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.

OVERALL: 73%

As a freebie, Diagon Alley is worth it for the bricks, but mostly for the Minifigure of Mr. Ollivander. If it had not been free, it still would have been a good value set. But, I would not have paid for it. I am not impressed with the look of the micro-build. I also feel it serves little purpose since it is only a display piece with no play value. You can’t even put Ollivander in it for show because he is not the same scale as the set. I’m happy it was free. Do you have thoughts to share on the Diagon Alley freebie? Feel free to share them in the comments space below.

Until next time,

-Tom

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2 thoughts on “Review – Diagon Alley (40289)

  1. I wasn’t thrilled with this one either. I wanted Mr. Ollivander, and I’m looking forward to using those cobble stone printed tiles for something. But otherwise… well, I won’t complain too much about a free set.

    Liked by 1 person

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