The Ministry of Magic (76403) Review

Welcome fellow readers to our final set review of the Summer 2022 Harry Potter collection: The Ministry of Magic (76403). And at last, we finally get a set that references the final book/film of the franchise, The Deathly Hallows. But it also references elements of The Order of the Phoenix. In this second largest set of the wave, you will build a modular-style series of rooms showcasing the bureaucratic offices of the Ministry of Magic. Stackable and reconfigurable, the entire setting can expand upwards or side-by-side depending on your space/play needs. It’s a nice set and I’m excited to finish up this series of reviews.

This is one of seven new sets in the Summer 2022 wave. These were first announced in early April and released on June 19th. 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 Ministry of Magic
  • SET #: 76403
  • THEME: Harry Potter
  • COST: $129.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 990
  • MINIFIGURES: 9 (8 new prints + Dementor)
  • RELEASE DATE: June 19, 2022

QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 81% (average-to-good scores for cost-per-brick and cost-per-minute)
  • BUILD: 74% (despite a repetitive build with small interiors, you get a decent, modular set)
  • MINIFIGURES: 92% (great selection of figs with mostly new characters and a superb brick-to-fig ratio)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 70% (OK amount of playability, but the design is tricky to enjoy. Great for minifigs)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 79% (great minifigures in a new location, with OK builds and playability)

Editorialus!

If you look at the prior line-ups, only TWO sets were ever released with any clear reference to Deathly Hallows: The Forbidden Forest (4865) and Hogwarts (4867). Both sets are from 2011 and feature some unique minifigures but nothing overly substantial build wise. This current collection finally ends that drought – sorta. Last year The LEGO®️ Group made a point of saying that there is/was never a plan to make sets based on the last film(s). In speaking to the website TipsAndBricks last year, designer Maros Bessa discussed the company’s approach to the final film(s): “It’s definitely not to say we won’t cover the later movies at some point, but they do tend to be aimed at a higher age, which is why we target the first few movies,” he said. “Our overall values are more in line with the first movies where there’s more magic, and the universal theme of a wizarding school….”

Now, understandably, this left many of us scratching our heads. I totally understand the company shying away from overly mature themes and the word “Deathly”. But it’s a bit frustrating to stop just short of finishing the whole saga on technicalities. As a collector of minifigures, I felt a little annoyed that this massive collection I’ve undertaken would be ‘incomplete’. And frankly, there’s a ton of great characters, settings and events from the final films that would make wonderful sets. But if sets like The Ministry of Magic (76403) is the best way to get me (us) those minifigs, then so be it. Marcos Bessa said it himself: “I definitely think we’re creative enough to sneak in things here and there, so who’s to say what will come in the future?” Excellent!

VALUE: 81%

The Ministry of Magic (76403) has an MSRP of $129.99 in Canada. With 990 pieces, this translates to a cost-per-brick value of $0.13 for a score of 83%. This is the second best value of all the Summer 2022 sets, after the Hungarian Horntail Dragon (76406). The larger sets are definitely the better buys if you’re looking at it from a purely numbers standpoint.

Image ©2022 The LEGO® Group

It took me about two and a half hours – 146 minutes – to build this set. With those 990 pieces, we get a cost-per-minute of $0.89. This gives us a final score of 81%, which is once again, right at the average for the theme overall. I did take a bit longer in this case, although the repetitive design of the build can easily make for a fast experience. Taking both scores together, we get a final value of 81%. Again, this is one of the better scores in the wave and makes for a good start to the final review.

BUILD: 74%

The Ministry of Magic (76403) comes in standard packaging with some really nice, vibrant artwork on the box. Inside the box are 7 numbered bags, a small sticker sheet and a 127 page instruction book. This is the first time the Ministry has been represented in brick form. As far as settings go, it’s a great location to make in brick form. Overall, it’s a pretty nice recreation of the source material with an OK amount of detail and size. The colours – deep green and red – are also accurate and help this build really stand out as unique.

The build consists of 6 modular style units, each with a different interior. All six can be stacked in different configurations for more, or less, height, width, etc. Two roof builds connected by a bridge finish off the main structure. Adding to the setting is a small fountain build and a classic red telephone booth. I love the phonebooth, it’s so quintessentially British and a nice connection to the ‘real’ world. In fact, I think it needs to live on my Modular street. The fountain is OK, but at this scale it’s not really possible to get the scale and grandeur of it right. It adds a little bit to the finished duo of buildings though, breaking up that giant void in between.

Can I just take the stairs??

The Ministry of Magic as depicted in the films is an underground complex that is accessed by fireplaces, phone booths, toilets and God only knows how else. Doors? Too obvious of course. The fireplace, or ‘Floo Network’ is nicely done here as a base module. The green flames are spot-on and there’s an interactive component that lets you flip the hearth back to deposit a minifigure in front. It’s very simple, but works well. A similar base with pipes and piles of papers compliments nicely. I love the printed tile with ‘Undesirable No. 1’, great bit of graphic design.

Third Office on the Right…and left.

Aside from the two base units, the remaining four are identical exteriors and footprints. Each interior is different however, and easily recognizable. There’s no mistaking pink colours and cat plates as belonging to anyone other than Dolores Umbridge. The same goes for Arthur Weasley’s densely decorated room of muggle goods. The Prophecy Room has a nice shelf full of great iridescent gem and cylinder elements that work great. The whole shebang can also be knocked down should you want to create some Hijinx. Lastly is the courtroom with high desk and side chair.

The roof sections are modular and fit nicely atop any of the builds. They can also connect to another central build that lets you create a space between two taller sections (the main design). A small seat with a typewriter is on top, and a Ministry banner hangs below. I can understand the banner (a giant sticker btw), but the small desk confuses me. It makes sense in context, but I don’t think it adds anything overall. Does someone sit in a similar spot in the films? I can’t recall and honestly, meh. I actually prefer the build without this connecting piece. A series of stacked offices is closer to the source material. This configuration is also easier to move around and put on display.

Cut & Paste

Making six of these modules – four of which are nearly the same – is very repetitive. It also makes the build go faster as you basically get into a rhythm and the variation decreases. At least for me it did; once I get to a “x6” in the instructions, by the 5th one I’m on autopilot. So for me, the majority of this build was quite repetitive. So head’s up that the experience gets just ever so slightly boring in the latter half. And I mean slightly, it’s not awful by any stretch. Looking at the end result, I wish there was a bit more substance to the build, especially the interiors. But given the price and piece count, I’d still call this a successful set. I’m giving the build experience an overall score of 74%.

MINIFIGURES: 92%

The Ministry of Magic (76403) includes a whopping 9 minifigures! And more impressively is that each one save the Dementor is an all new print and/or character. More exciting still is that every character is from The Deathly Hallows film, a first for this collection. I’m really happy to see the inclusion of these minifigs even if the setting isn’t exactly a direct reference to the films – but I’ll take it! And with those 9 minifigs, we get an awesome brick-to-fig value of 110 and a score of 97%. Another homerun in terms of minifigures in this wave.

Of the 9 figs, 6 are all new characters: Reg Cattermole, Mary Cattermole, Corban Yaxley, Mafalda Hopkirk, Albert Runcorn and Pius Thicknesse. Of these, 3 serve double-duty as our main heroes in polyjuice potion disguise. Albert Runcorn is Harry, Mafalda Hopkirk is Hermione and Reg Cattermole is Ron. I love this approach to getting additional characters in a set. It was first done in 2021’s Polyjuice Potion Mistake (76386) to get Crabbe, Goyle and the amazing Cat Hermione. Each minifig has a dual-sided face and torso printing and an alternate hair piece. Only Albert/Harry has leg printing though and Mary/Hermione gets the only accessory in the form of a briefcase. Reg’s wet suit jacket is a great detail too.

Purrtronas…er…Patronus.

Our remaining 6 minifigures include the 3 new and 3 existing characters. The Dementor is the same design that comes in prior sets and includes a small hand accessory made of clear elements. Dolores Umbridge receives new torso and face prints in her customary pink. My favourite element is easily Umbridge’s Cat Patronus! I love it so much. It’s a great addition to these lovely sparkly animal molds. Her other accessory is Slytherin’s Locket which is also available in the 12 Grimmauld Place (46308) set. Arthur Weasley also gets a new print with a simple gray suit jacket. His briefcase accessory has a round tile with a bee on it. I can’t remember why that makes sense, so just go with it.

The remaining figures are alright. There’s not a lot of accessories aside from the usual wands or the odd briefcase. Mary Cattermole has the nicest torso print, and one of only two figures with leg printing. In this case it’s a nice sparkly dress print. Pius’s hair is a nice reuse of the mold first introduced in the Queer Eye Fab 5 Loft (10291) for Jonathan Van Ness. So while there’s not a ton of details on these figs overall, there’s a good variety and the volume makes up for any points lost. Ultimately the minifigures alone get a score of 87%. Combining that with the brick-to-fig score of 97% nets a final minifigures score of 92%.

ENTERTAINMENT: 70%

The Ministry of Magic (76403) is an original location with a nice design. I think there’s just enough play features to satisfy most KFOLs and get the imagination going. The interactive elements are decent but not overly plentiful. There’s definitely room for more though to be fair. Given the piece count and the final result, I can’t help but feel there’s a bit of disparity. I love the modularity but there’s only so many configurations. And those that you can make only allow for so much playability or originality. The biggest issues I have with the set are the very tiny interiors. You can’t do much with interior play. Coupled with the fact that the exterior just ‘floats’ there, I think you’ll have to be extra creative. Your minifigs will be hanging out by the fountain for the most part, and I find that odd for a Harry Potter set.

On the AFOL side of the equation, this is a great set for minifigure collectors. With an almost entirely new selection of characters, this makes for a good buy. Those alternate characters for our main trio of heroes is a really smart approach and I hope to see that continue. But I’m on the fence on how displayable this set really is. The size is decently big and the colours stand out pretty nicely. But there’s a bit too much negative space and without a base it feels just a bit incomplete. A plate with some ground design would have added the right little bit of extra somethin’. In the end I’m giving this set a final score of 70%.

OVERALL: 79%

The Ministry of Magic (76403) is a nice addition to the Harry Potter collection. It’s fantastic to finally get a set with connections to The Deathly Hallows, even if it is somewhat indirectly. I’m really happy with the minifigure selection even if there’s a bit of detail lacking on a fig or two. And even if I didn’t have Pius Thicknesse on my list of wanted characters, it’s still great to have new wizard friends in the collection. Surprisingly my opinion on the set altered slightly after I finished building and started writing. It’s a good set overall but the repetitive construction, lack of a base and really minimal interior space shaved some points off. You can still have fun, young builders especially, but mostly around the set and not with the set if that makes sense. I still happily recommend it though, especially if you’re after minifgures. My final score for the Ministry of Magic is 79%.

FINITO!

And. I’m. DONE! 7 sets reviewed and in the bag. I hope you enjoyed my ramblings on this very strong Harry Potter Summer 2022 wave. It was a total blast to talk about one of my favourite themes and get some really fun sets. And of course that’s a heap of great minifigures for the collection. If you’re currently collecting this theme, then you’ll definitely want to pick up most, if not all, of these sets.

But enough of my jibber-jabber. What do you think of this set? Or any of the other HP sets? Are you excited for minifigs and references to The Deathly Hallows? Are you impressed by another set with modular elements? And how cool is the Cat Patronus?! I mean come on. Drop some comments in all the usual places and let us know your thoughts. Thanks as always for reading and until next time, keep on brickin’. 🧱

-Frank

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