Diagon Alley (75978) Review
Recently, the LEGO® Group released Diagon Alley (75978) for the Harry Potter theme. This set is massive. Honestly, each building in this kit could have been an entire set on its own. However, they all come together in one glorious box. Additionally, Diagon Alley is now the fourth largest LEGO® set ever produced, and the second largest Harry Potter set. While I do not regularly collect the Harry Potter theme, Diagon Alley quickly made my wish list. These buildings look amazing. Without further ado, let us take a closer look at the most famous shopping street in the Wizarding World!
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more) and provide my honest opinion.
DIAGON ALLEY SET SUMMARY
- NAME: Diagon Alley
- SET #: 75978
- THEME: Harry Potter
- COST: $499.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 5544
- MINIFIGURES: 17
- RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2020
DIAGON ALLEY QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 96% (High price tag, but you get loads of bricks and build-time along with it.)
- BUILD: 90% (Stunning set design with only minor interior detailing issues.)
- MINIFIGURES: 66% (Characters need more detail, and the brick-to-fig ratio is bad.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 98% (My only complaint is nitpicking about how these are not modular.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 88%
SPOLIER ALERT: Diagon Alley (75978) features some fun details that the LEGO® Group did not advertise. This review reveals those surprises. If you want to keep the surprise, I recommend not reading the review past this point.
DIAGON ALLEY (75978) REVIEW
Diagon Alley is an expensive set, no doubt about it. The set retails for $499.99 in Canada. However, it also contains 5544 pieces. Consequently, the cost-per-brick is $0.09. That is an excellent value since you are buying bricks in bulk. Comparatively, my average cost-per-brick is currently $0.14. I rate the value-per-brick at 97% in this case. It is a high price tag, but you get an excellent brick count.
I built Diagon Alley in several sittings over three days. I was sick and waiting for COVID-19 test results. Therefore, this was a great quarantine build to lift my spirits. In total, Diagon Alley took me 15 hours and three minutes to build (903 minutes total). At $499.99, each minute of build time costs $0.55. By comparison, my average cost-per-minute is $0.83. Again, the value in this category is great. I rate the build-time score at 94%. Averaging this with the value-per-brick gives an overall rating of 96%.
There is a lot to build in this set. As I mentioned earlier, each building could qualify as a set its own right. The first building you assemble is Flourish and Blott’s bookshop. On the same stretch of road, you also find Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor. Both have wonderful exteriors and interiors. I particularly like Flourish and Blott’s. The bookshelves are well designed, as are the stacks of books. However, one thing I never enjoyed about the Harry Potter films was the sloppy look of the wizarding world. The skewed buildings and messy stores are not how I pictured it in the books. I always felt like the scenes tried too hard to be outlandish. You would think wizards would be better at architecture and cleaning. They do not even have to do it themselves, unlike us muggles.
The second build features Quality Quidditch Supplies and the Daily Prophet. In truth, the quidditch store is the real build here. The Daily Prophet is merely an empty space with a crate thrown in for good measure. The exterior of Quality Quidditch Supplies is great. The interior is okay but seems simplistic next to Flourish and Blott’s. It is not a bad design. However, it is more what I would expect from the kid-friendly sets than a collector’s piece.
Diagon Alley features stunning building designs.
The third manual instructs you to build Ollivander’s and Scribbulus. Ollivander’s looks great both inside and out. The store has well designed shelving inside which incorporates removable wand boxes. The bay windows are really a highlight though. Scribbulus pales a little by comparison. It is a nice building, but the interior detailing is not as strong. However, the second floor features a nicely designed chair. Overall, these two buildings are one of the highlights in Diagon Alley.
The final build is Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. The building looks great from every angle. However, I do find that the interior is hard to access. Unlike some of the other buildings in this set, the stairs cannot move out of the way. Consequently, it is hard to place Minifigures inside the building or play in the space. However, the details in the building are wonderful. There is a lot going on in every corner.
Overall, I have very few complaints about the build for Diagon Alley. The set features a solid design that is true to the movie scenes. My main issues are the less detailed interiors of Quality Quidditch Supplies, the Daily Prophet, an Scribbulus. Additionally, the interior Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes is hard to access. Again, these are minor interior detailing issues in an otherwise stunning set. I rate the build at 9/10 (90%).
Diagon Alley comes with 17 Minifigures. Six of them are children without moving legs. That is a point of contention with me. The Harry Potter theme introduced the short, moveable legs. This set should have used them. I really dislike the unmoving legs because they make the characters look disproportional and you cannot sit the Minifigures down or pose them dynamically. Otherwise, the selection of characters is great. 13 of them feature double-sided faces, and 14 have front and rear torso printing. However, only Lucius Malfoy has leg printing. While the character selection here is great, the detail on them could be better.
Interestingly, the advertising for Diagon Alley only shows 14 Minifigures. However, as mentioned earlier, there are 17. Two of the extras are mannequins in the Quidditch shop. They sport Hogwarts Quidditch uniforms, but only blank Minifigure heads. The third extra Minifigure is an alternate Harry Potter. The set advertises Harry in his Hogwarts uniform. However, the kit also contains Harry in his muggle clothes. Both versions have identical face prints and hairpieces. The alternate Harry comes in a special box with “Silencio” written on it. Additionally, the box contains Hagrid and a buildable display base for the characters with a commemorative plaque.
Diagon Alley includes some surprise Minifigures.
Diagon Alley comes with a lot of accessories too. I might have missed some in my inventory. However, to give you an idea, the kit contains an umbrella, a geode, a crystal, 6 chalices, a crystal ball, two mini-minifigs, three books, seven wand boxes, too many wands to count, three owls, a skull, five lanterns, a golden snitch, five trans-pink crystal hearts, a spider, a web, three brooms, a rat, five newspaper tiles, two martini-style glasses, a teapot, and a spoon. In this case, the number of accessories does not fully compensate for the Minifigure detailing. However, the selection and designs are still good. I rate the Minifigure design at 87%.
17 Minifigures in a 5544-piece kit is not great. It translates into a brick-to-fig ratio of 326-to-1. Comparatively, my average brick-to-fig ratio is 146:1 across all LEGO® themes. However, large sets like this rarely come with a good brick-to-fig ratio. If you look at the Creator Expert sets, they average a ratio of 372:1. Therefore, compared to other large LEGO® sets, you get a decent number of characters for a set this big. However, compared to all LEGO® sets that I have reviewed on True North Bricks, I rate the ratio score at 44%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 66%.
Diagon Alley (75978) is a great set no matter how you splice it. Firstly, it will satisfy Harry Potter fans without a doubt. However, even the muggles oblivious to the Wizarding World will find the set has a lot to offer. The building exteriors are phenomenal. I found myself imagining ways in which to incorporate these builds into my current modern city. Additionally, I was really excited by the prospect of starting a medieval city or pirates port town. The Diagon Alley designs lend themselves well to that as well. If nothing else, you get loads of bricks to build your own MOCs. My only wish is that these buildings came as modular designs that are ready to drop into a city layout. I rate the AFOL score at 95%.
From a kids’ perspective, Diagon Alley appears to be a dream come true. I asked some kids about the set recently, and all of them were practically drooling over the idea of playing with it. I do not need much more convincing that the KFOL score is a solid 100%. Averaging this with the AFOL score gives an overall entertainment rating of 98%.
OVERALL SCORE: 88%
As a LEGO® build, Diagon Alley (75978) is worth the purchase. The price tag is high, but you get a lot of bricks, build time, and Minifigure accessories for the cost. Additionally, the designs of the buildings are amazing. I do not have a Harry Potter world in my LEGO® room, but I want to keep these store fronts in my own layout somehow. The only real negative about Diagon Alley is the Minifigures. While the set contains 17 characters, they lack detail in my opinion. Also, I hate the stumpy, unbending kid legs, and six characters have them. Finally, a set this size needs 23 Minifigures to be passable in my book. With that said, the actual character assortment is great. Diagon Alley is a wonderful set, and the value will appreciate in years to come. I recommend this one whole heartedly. What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
What do others think?
Brick Insights is an awesome site that aggregates LEGO® set review scores from around the web. Based on their statistics, you can see what other reviewers think of the Diagon Alley (75978) below.
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