Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets (76389) Review

Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets

Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets (76389) is the largest of the summer 2021 Harry Potter releases. Previously, we have reviewed other offerings from the wave here on True North Bricks. Those sets included Polyjuice Potion Mistake, Fluffy Encounter, Fawkes, Hogsmeade Village Visit, and the new BrickHeadz. This set features the first large segment of Hogwarts since the Astronomy Tower from August 2020. Interestingly, it is also a rehash of the Great Hall, previously released in 2018. Unlike its predecessor, however, this set comes in modular fashion. Incidentally, you can customize this Hogwarts set using other modular segments from the summer 2021 wave. Let’s take a closer look and see how it all comes together.

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 for more information) and provide my honest opinion.

CHAMBER OF SECRETS SUMMARY

  • NAME: Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets
  • SET #: 76389
  • THEME: Harry Potter
  • COST: $169.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 1176
  • MINIFIGURES: 11
  • RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2021

CHAMBER OF SECRETS QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 69% (Satisfactory cost-per-brick, but the build time is low for set this size.)
  • BUILD: 80% (Nice build, but it feels like an unnecessary reboot of Hogwarts.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 96% (A great number of characters with loads of accessories.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (Wonderful play set, not as nice for display.)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 84%
Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets

HOGWARTS CHAMBER OF SECRETS REVIEW

VALUE: 69%

Chamber of Secrets consists of 1176 bricks. Consequently, it is one of the biggest Harry Potter Hogwarts play sets ever released. The largest set is, of course, 71043 with 6020 bricks. However, that is more a display piece than a play set. Of the seven remaining large Hogwarts sets (kits consisting of over 850 bricks), only 4842 from 2010 is larger than Chamber of Secrets. Large kits come with large price tags though. This one costs $169.99 in Canada. The resulting cost-per-brick is $0.145. That is satisfactory compared to LEGO® sets in general ($0.138/brick), as well as for the Harry Potter theme ($0.135/brick). I rate the cost-per-brick at 77%.

Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets - Lockheart's office.

The build time for Chamber of Secrets surprised me a little. I assembled this set in two hours and 21 minutes (141 minutes total). Comparatively, Hogsmeade Village Visit took me three hours and 15 minutes. Hogsmeade is a significantly smaller set. It contains 325 fewer bricks. However, Hogsmeade is a more intricate build… more on that later. At full price, Chamber of Secrets costs $1.21/minute of build time. That is expensive for both the theme ($0.85/minute) and LEGO® sets in general ($0.83/minute). I rate the build time at 60%. Averaging this with the cost-per-brick score yields an overall value rating of 69%.

Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets

BUILD: 80%

So, why is the build time low? All of the new Hogwarts sets are modular. They consist of small, rectangular rooms that stack together and/or line-up for maximum customization. It is an interesting concept. However, it does not lead to an elaborate or varied build experience. Despite the details that you assemble inside the rooms, the overall process is very straight-forward. Comparatively, a set like Hogsmeade Village Visit is far more elaborate and looks more realistic. The different sections of the building interconnect rather than consisting of small modular segments. This flow results in a more complicated build that takes more time despite being a smaller set.

Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets - Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom.

In terms of the Hogwarts sets released in the June 2021 Harry Potter wave, Chamber of Secrets is the most detailed. Unlike Fluffy Encounter, this one has a lot going on both inside and out. There are a couple of secret passageways included as fun play features. Additionally, each room has accessories and details to enhance play. I also like the actual Chamber of Secrets in this set a lot. The Salazar Slytherin statue looks great, especially framed as it is with arches and re-colored Minifigure snake heads from Ninjago.

Chamber of Secrets feels like an unnecessary reboot.

In terms of complaints, I think it is too soon to rehash the Great Hall. We got one in 2018, and it was nicely detailed. The actual Great Hall in this set is smaller and not as nice. With the last Great Hall still on store shelves, I wish this set included a different area of the castle. Hogwarts is huge, let’s get some variation! Additionally, while this set fits well with the current wave of Hogwarts sets, it does not fit as well with Great Hall, Clock Tower, or Astronomy Tower from recent years. I like how those sets were separate but connect to make a larger play set. Chamber of Secrets feels like an unnecessary reboot considering all the aforementioned sets are still available. The exterior look does not match those earlier sets, nor does the modular nature. I rate the build at 80%.

Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets

MINIFIGURES: 96%

Chamber of Secrets comes with eleven Minifigures. Five of them have stumpy, un-moving legs. This option really needs to be retired. This set comes with the Great Hall and a classroom. Both are situations where students need to sit. The LEGO® Group has shorter, moveable legs in their parts catalog. Otherwise, all the characters have front and back torso printing. Additionally, all but the commemorative golden Voldemort character have double-sided faces. Five characters even include leg printing. Most interestingly, Nearly Headless Nick is a fully glow-in-the-dark Minifigure. On top of that, the set comes with 49 accessories (might have missed some as well). I won’t list them all, but you get lots of frogs, wands, cups, three owls, two pixies, a sorting hat, and the Griffindor sword to name a few. The accessories more than compensate for the stumpy characters. These Minifigures earn a design score of 100%.

Eleven minifigs in a 1176-piece kit means you get 107 bricks for each character. That is a particularly good ratio both for the Harry Potter theme and LEGO® sets in general. Comparatively, my current averages in those regards are 163 brick/fig and 169 bricks/fig respectively. You get a great number of characters for a set of this size. As such, the ratio score for Chamber of Secrets is 91%. Averaging this with the design score lands the set an overall Minifigure rating of 96%.

Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets comes with a commemorative golden Voldemort.

It is worth mentioning that Chamber of Secrets also includes a buildable basilisk. I do not include buildable characters in the ratio score. However, this one is nice. In fact, it is nicer than the buildable basilisk from the previous iteration of the Great Hall. This one includes a Jurassic World-style head. Additionally, it fits through the secret passage in the Salazar Slytherin statue. As far as buildable characters go, this is a nice one that adds play value to the set.

Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets Basilisk

ENTERTAINMENT: 90%

Chamber of Secrets is a solid play set. The modular customization is interesting. It allows you to combine sets from the summer 2021 wave into a larger castle. Additionally, while not fully compatible with older Hogwarts sets, the set still consists of LEGO® bricks. That in conjunction with imagination makes all existing sections of Hogwarts connectable and customizable. However, as an adult, I like this set less than other recent installments of Hogwarts. It is not as nice to display. As a brick box though, it is phenomenal. I have a thing for tan bricks, windows, and arches. Every Hogwarts set works well for me in that regard, but I digress… In short, Chamber of Secrets is a nice set, but it is more play friendly for kids than display-ready for adults. I rate the entertainment score at 90%.

Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets, Polyjuice Potion Mistake, and Fluffy Encounter combined.

OVERALL SCORE: 84%

I like Chamber of Secrets a lot for what it is: a play set. It is a tad expensive for what you actually get, but the Minifigures are good and come with loads of accessories. I do wish there were less stumpy legs though. Additionally, Chamber of Secrets feels like an unnecessary reboot of the LEGO® Hogwarts sets. I wish it flowed more with the last three installments. However, you can remedy that easily through some imagination and customization. No doubt, this is a good set for Harry Potter fans. What do you think of Chamber of Secrets? Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media.

Until next time,

-Tom

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