Fawkes Dumbledore’s phoenix (76394) review

Fawkes, Dumbledore’s Phoenix (76394) is one of approximately 10 new Harry Potter sets in the Summer 2021 wave. Released on June 1st, this buildable character is made of nearly 600 pieces and has movable wings. This mythical creature makes an excellent companion piece to 2020’s Hedwig (75979) which features a similar design and price point. Both sets have a mechanical function to simulate flapping wings and a poseable head. They also come with an exclusive minifigure and smaller accessory figure of the build. These buildable creatures make for lovely display pieces and have a cute, magical quality thanks to the movement features.

Unlike a ‘real’ phoenix this one won’t burst into flames. . . unless you lit it on fire. (DISCLAIMER: truenorthbricks.com does NOT condone or endorse lighting your LEGO® on fire!) Let’s dive into the details and see how it measures up among an already really strong line up of sets.

(For a detailed breakdown of the rating system, click here)

Fawkes Dumbledore's Phoenix (76394)

FAWKES, DUMBLEDORE’S PHOENIX (76394) SUMMARY

  • NAME: Fawkes, Dumbledore’s Phoenix
  • SET #: 76394
  • THEME: Harry Potter
  • COST: $49.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 597
  • MINIFIGURES: 1
  • OF INTEREST: Exclusive Dumbledore Minifigure, moving wings
  • RELEASE DATE: June 1st, 2021

FAWKES, DUMBLEDORE’S PHOENIX (76394) QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 97% (excellent cost-per-minute and cost-per-piece value!)
  • BUILD: 90% (fun building techniques and great parts usage)
  • MINIFIGURES: 50% (great new Dumbledore printing, but this is the only minifigure)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (great display piece, interactive – but limited playability)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 79%
Fawkes Dumbledore's Phoenix (76394)

FAWKES, DUMBLEDORE’S PHOENIX (76394) QUICK REVIEW

VALUE: 97%

Fawkes, Dumbledore’s Phoenix comes at us with a really solid score for value! The set retails for $49.99 in Canada with 597 pieces. The cost-per-brick price is $0.084 – well below the current average of $0.131 per piece for the LEGO® Harry Potter theme. Getting any set below the coveted $0.10 per piece mark is absolutely a win. My build time clocked in at a decent 94 minutes thanks to smaller pieces and some technic assemblies. This translates to a cost-per-minute value of $0.53 – another excellent score and well below the theme average of $0.83. Both values give us an equal score of 97% in both criteria. A Stellar start overall.

BUILD: 90%

Fawkes, Dumbledore’s Phoenix is packaged in a standard box with the Wizarding World logo and photos of the 3 main acting leads. Inside you will find 4 numbered bags and a 138 page instruction manual. The build comes together easily and logically. The base and functional stand come first with our mythical friend connected atop to allow for the mechanical functions. If there was a ‘difficult’ portion of the construction it would be with the technic and gear connections. The name plate is a printed tile element in lovely gold lettering.

“You will believe a Phoenix can fly!”

Fawkes is built atop a perch (lovely pearl gold pieces!) and with outstretched articulated wings. Turning the lever at the base moves the wings up and down for a really smooth and pretty accurate simulation of flapping. You will believe a phoenix can fly! Even with this interactive function though, there is limited play value in the set and it is fairly static in the poses possible. The head is on a ball joint but still only offers limited range. Adult LEGO® fans will love this as a display piece, particularly next to Hedwig (75979). Younger builders may find limited enjoyment in the long run however, and the build may prove difficult. Make it a team effort: help out your favourite little builder and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

“MOC Makers take note…”

Fawkes is assembled with fairly simple build techniques, with the base offering the best experience. ‘SNOT’ builds and exposed studs are used fairly well to show some texture. The variety of LEGO® elements is also solid for a set this size (technic, gears, tiles, etc). A really fun inclusion are re-coloured elements for Fawkes’ feathers, claws and horns (first photo). A new LEGO® element for 2021 (centre photo) is a bracket piece with a 1×1 base and upward 1×2 plate (#6341553). This is the third set to use this colour, with 8 colours total currently available. MOC makers take note of this one! Lastly, the usual batch of extra elements is your reward for a job well done 😊 (last photo).

MINIFIGURES: 50%

You will receive just one minifigure with Fawkes, Dumbledore’s Phoenix. Spoiler Alert: it’s Albus “<<insert names>>” Dumbledore. Happily we are treated to a new printing of Dumbledore that, for now, is exclusive to this set. This Dumbledore is based on Richard Harris’ portrayal of the character from the first 2 films, with full flowing, luxurious beard and hair. Full points go to this figure thanks to torso and leg printing – particularly the metallic detailing. The head features the same dual expressions found in previous Dumbledore minifigures. The smaller Fawkes is also the same mold as seen in the Harry Potter Collectible Minifigure Series 2. Unfortunately with only 1 figure for 597 pieces, this set ranks really low on the bricks-to-minifigure ratio. I’m still happy overall with this figure and it’s a great addition to the collection.

ENTERTAINMENT: 80%

I really enjoyed building this set. It had just enough changes from Hedwig (75979) to feel like a fairly new experience but familiar enough to make me reminisce fondly on that set. As such, I know many people will enjoy displaying both side-by-side. Fawkes has a beautiful colour palette and the moving wings are really charming. As I mentioned earlier, young builders will enjoy the fun design and moving parts. But the long-term play value isn’t really there. Cool and beloved character/creature builds will always be a fun source material for LEGO® designs. Their appeal is not quite universal, but it’s certainly a huge draw within themes like Harry Potter.

OVERALL SCORE: 79%

Harry Potter is a favourite theme of mine and I’m consistently impressed with the quality. The designs, minifigures and playability have really been top-notch. The build was enough of a challenge to be fun, but not frustrating. The build time was great with no repetitive or dull sections. The colours are also a stand-out and contrast amazingly next to the mostly white Hedwig 😁 But like Hedwig, the overall playability is limited as it is mostly fixed in one position. And while the exclusive Dumbledore is a great new print, it’s just the one figure. All that being said, this is a great display piece and it’s really well designed. Potter-heads will be more than happy to add this to the collection. Casual collectors and gift-givers will also find this a great choice for a very reasonable price.

What do you guys think? Will Fawkes fly into your collection or are you happy to let him spontaneously combust? Don’t dismiss too quickly though – Phoenix tears are very useful 😋. Sound off in the comments below, and as always keep on brickin’.

-Frank

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