Shrieking Shack & Whomping Willow (76407) Review

The Shrieking Shack & Whomping Willow (76407) is here in all it’s creepy, crooked fun. For this set we’re staying with Book/Film 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban. The Shrieking Shack is allegedly one of the most haunted places in Britain – which is saying something in the Wizarding world. It’s also a key scene in the story as quite a few plot threads get to play out for our heroes inside. Lupin, Sirius Black and Wormtail confront one another with Harry and friends along for the ride. The building itself is built with 2 levels and some nice interior details. In addition to this we get the Whomping Willow, a small fence and a rather fun full moon vignette.

This is one of seven new sets in the Summer 2022 wave and I am happy to have the entire collection for review. These were first announced in early April with some currently up for pre-order on LEGO.com. Click on the links below for my previous reviews. And for an unboxing of the entire wave with set stats, please click on the YouTube link below. Thanks for tuning in and enjoy more Wizarding World goodness.

NOTE: This set was provided by The LEGO® Group to True North Bricks for review. This does not guarantee a favourable review and all opinions are my own. For a breakdown of the rating system, please click here.

SET SUMMARY

  • NAME: The Shrieking Shack & Whomping Willow
  • SET #: 76407
  • THEME: Harry Potter
  • COST: $119.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 777
  • MINIFIGURES: 7 (3 existing & 3 new prints) + recoloured werwolf
  • RELEASE DATE: June 19, 2022

QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 77% (average score for both cost-per-brick and minute, but still a bit pricey)
  • BUILD: 76% (decent details inside and out, with nicely updated versions of the two builds)
  • MINIFIGURES: 89% (nice newer figs with a mix of existing ones, superb brick-to-fig ratio)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 82% (fun set for younger builders, decent display piece with figs for AFOLs)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 81% (another good entry in the Summer 2022 wave with an OK value)

Love(less) Shack

The Shrieking Shack and Whomping Willow combines two locations that have, to date, been available separately. The very first Shrieking Shack (4756) arrived in 2004 with 4 minifigs and 444 pieces. That set features a similar build for the shack itself, a small 1st floor portion of Honeydukes, plus an….um, outhouse? I have to say these OG minifigs always look mildly off to me. The faces are so squished and lacking in detail. Amazing what 20 years difference in printing tech can do! The whomping willow has one other appearance with 2018’s Hogwarts Whomping Willow (75953). Surprisingly that’s also the first willow build, never appearing in the earlier line ups from 2000 or 2010.

VALUE: 77%

The Shrieking Shack and Whomping Willow retails for $119.99 in Canada. With a piece count worthy of Vegas odds (777 pcs), this translates to a cost-per-brick of $0.15. Comparing that to all the Harry Potter sets with reviews on the site we get a score of 74%. Not too below the average of $0.13 but it’s definitely edging towards pricey. Overall this sits in the middle of the seven Summer 2022 sets in terms of value score.

It took me 133 minutes to finish this build which gives me a cost-per-minute of $0.90. That number puts the build at a more comfortable score of 80%, which is the average for all sets reviewed. Combining both results together we get a final value score of 77%. That’s definitely accurate for a set of this size and pricing; comfortable, but could be better.

BUILD: 76%

Inside the Shrieking Shack & Whomping Willow (76407) box are 6 numbered bags, a medium-size sticker sheet and a 199 page instruction book. Once again we have nice consistent box art and that new white instruction book. There are 3(ish) builds: The Shrieking Shack, whomping willow with full moon vignette and a small fence. The willow clips to the side of the building in one spot but the fence is entirely separate. All these parts together set the scene for Harry and friends confronting Sirius, Lupin and Wormtail in the shack. It’s a fun moment to capture and the snowy setting is a nice bit of variety for this Summer 2022 wave.

The Tree Acted in self-defense

That temperamental tree, moon and fence are the first builds coming together very easily. The willow’s construction is very similar to that found in the Hogwarts Whomping Willow (75953): a cylindrical base with branches atop. In the prior model, the branches are shorter and more bare. For this model, vine elements and flower stems provide a lot more detail. As do two large sticker elements to show bark and texture. A bit of technic building allows you to rotate the top of the tree for some fun interactivity. Building it an angle is somewhat confusing to me, but I do think it adds a little whimsy. And oh yeah, the fence. It’s there. It’s simple. There’s snow. Moving on.

Ah-woooooo

Given what we’re building, and the inclusion of a werewolf, it’s only fitting that we also get a full moon. In this case it’s a white 4×4 disc on cloud piece atop a bar. But wait, did I mention the disc is a glow-in-the-dark element? That’s right, get that sucker all charged up and you can have a bit of spectral fun for Lupin’s, um, affliction? The rocky base under the moon spins around to allow Lupin’s transformation from man to werewolf. It’s a cute effect but the other side of the cloudy moon is unfinished and that just sticks out to me.

Don’t Hire a wizard contractor…

The main attraction of this set is of course the Shrieking Shack. Overall it’s a really nice build with plenty of wonky, crooked fund. The fun is spread across two floors. Each one is built separately then connected on an angle. Each floor is also built ‘outwards’ with slopes which is a decent way to create a twisting effect. It works very well from certain angles, but less so from head on. Exteriors have plenty of variety thanks to different bricks, shapes and stickers. Of these, my favourite part is definitely the roof and those snowy white elements. For your sneaking needs, there’s a hinged section of wall on the side. The chimney looks wonderful as well, accented with brickwork stickering.

A Handful Of Details

Inside ye olde shack is a bit of a mixed offering. The first floor is fairly plain with only a chest and chair. That chest however is an all-new mold in 2022 and has a flat lid with two studs. It first appears with the recent Hogwarts Moment: Defence Against the Dark Arts Class (76397). It really stood out to me, in a good way of course. Travel up to the second floor and that’s where all the fun can happen. Although still a small footprint, we get to build a fireplace, chaise and a terribly cute (and tiny) grand piano. Is this a lot to go on? Not really, but it’s not fair to expect more given the size of the build. Still, it would have been fun to get a modular style build, something with more interior access. In either case, it sets the scene well and still allows for play.

At this scale there’s not much room for finesse or extra detail. The minifigures fit inside but only just and not too many at once. As you build upwards and somewhat outwards, you lose a bit of stability. More than once I was putting a window in with I suppose too much pressure, resulting in a chunk of wall breaking. There’s also a decently heavy use of stickers. They all add some decoration of course so I can’t be mad at them. At this point The LEGO®️ Group just needs to make a wood grain door, I feel like it would be crazy useful. On the whole I’m pretty happy with this build experience. There is definitely some originality and fun. It’s also a great update on the previous version. I’m giving it a final build score of 77%.

MINIFIGURES: 89%

The Shrieking Shack & Whomping Willow (76407) brings us 7 minifigures. Although by some estimates it’s actually 6. I’m definitely counting the werewolf since it’s not just a mix of the Lupin figure with a different head. As such, our brick-to-fig ratio gets to be all the higher. In this case, we get a great value of 111 bricks-per-fig which is a superb score of 97%. Once again, these Summer 2022 sets are a smorgasbord of minifigures – and I am here for it. Our roster of minifigs includes: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Sirius, Wormtail, Lupin and the aforementioned Werewolf.

Reused Figures

Our young wizard cast are all existing designs. Harry and Hermione are the same minifigures as those in Hogwarts Courtyard: Sirius’s Escape (76401), which are in turn the same ones in the Hogwarts Hospital Wing (76398) set. So these prints are definitely making the rounds. Ron is surprisingly the same print that represents his year 3 look, but not with torn clothing like his friends. I find this weird as a version of Ron with matching distressed clothes is in the Hospital Wing set. So if you’re a stickler for accuracy swap em out. Each character gets a wand, but no other accessory.

A Dog, a wolf and a rat walk into a bar….

The rest of the minifigures offer up some nice new prints and better variety. Each character has nice front and back torso printing, but only that fendish Wormtail gets leg printing. The dual-sided expressions are nice, with Lupin’s in particular being a standout. His glowing eyes and shocked look are great and make total sense for the transformation element in the set – great bit of design there. Accessory wise, only Lupin gets a wand but all 3 have an alternate animal form. These are animaguses…animagii?…shape-shifters after all.

Lupin’s alt is fantastic as we get an entirely separate minifigure. This werewolf head sculpt is a recolour of the existing one from the Vidiyo Bandmates Series 1, the Werewolf Drummer (43101). It’s a great sculpt and smart reuse, particularly on this nicely detailed torso. Faun legs are a smart choice but without printing they definitely come across unfinished. And these legs have been released with printing on a few figs. In fact, the demigorgon legs from the Stranger Things set The Upside Down (75810) would have been perfect (pic below). Again, swap em if you got em. Nitpicks aside, it’s still a great minifig and while the dark tan isn’t accurate to the film, it nicely compliments human Lupin’s colours. And that scar on the eyebrow is fantastic attention to detail.

Will the Real Scabbers please stand up?

The final two minfigs get a traditional LEGO®️ animal for an alt/accessory. Sirius’s animal form is a standard dog with a new all black with gold eyes design. It looks great and is pretty close to movie accurate. And since Wormtail was Scabbers all along (spoiler!), his animal is a standard rat. Now, oddly enough, the ‘Scabbers’ from the CMF Series 1 Ron Weasley (71022) has a small patch of colour on the head (pic below). This one does not, making it a generic rat. This is Scabbers after all, so it seems like a curious omission. Or maybe it’s just a simple mistake? Either way, these are a nice assortment of figures, with some points lost for reused prints. The final minifigure score is 82%, combining that with the brick-to-fig score of 97%, we have a final value of 89%.

ENTERTAINMENT: 82%

The Shrieking Shack & Whomping Willow (76407) delivers a fun play set with plenty of interactive features. Young builders should have no trouble recreating scenes and using their imaginations for fun scenarios. As a companion piece to Hogsmeade Village Visit (76388), this is also great. It’s not a dramatic display item, but it will look nice on your shelf. And since the Shrieking Shack hasn’t been a set in 18 years, chances are it’s not in your current modern collection. Although the Whomping Willow got to return sooner than that, this one does have some nicer details and it’s a decent improvement. And hey, it’s also nice to just get a new(ish) location to build.

Minifig collectors who are up to date on the releases will sadly get a few duplicates in this set. But the 4 adult minifigs are a good addition to the collection even if they have already appeared in past sets. They are pretty close design wise, so if you’re good with your past Padfoots and Moonys then you might not be running out to get this. In summary, there’s a little bit for everyone in this set. Your mileage will vary of course, but it’s another solid entry. My final score for entertainment is 82%

OVERALL: 70%

The Shrieking Shack & Whomping Willow (76407) is one of the better sets in this Summer 2022 wave. There’s still a little room for improvement, but overall there’s some fun builds, great minifigs and good elements of play. Looking at past Harry Potter sets, The Prisoner of Azkaban is easily one of the most thoroughly represented of all the films. Nearly every character and scene is nicely recreated, especially in this current lineup. So if that’s your fave film (it is mine), then you’ll most likely want this one in the collection.

And that’s one more down folks. This wave has been a nice mix so far. And I’m sure that will hold true for the last couple. But what do you think of this set? Are you happy to see an update to the Shrieking Shack? Do you think there’s any possible sets left to build from the Prisoner of Azkaban? Are you excited for more Harry Potter fun? Comment below and let us know. Thanks for reading and as always, keep on brickin’. 🧱

-Frank

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