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Today we take a look at the second completely new setting from summer 2022: 12 Grimmauld Place, the Fidelius-protected headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix. Like 76403 The Ministry of Magic, this set includes scenes and references from both the Order of the Phoenix and the Deathly Hallows, though it leans more heavily towards the Order of the Phoenix. If you’re going to represent Grimmauld Place, there’s one key feature: how do you represent how it only appears to those who know the secret? It’s quite possibly this challenge that kept LEGO from modeling this key location previously. Have they risen to it? 76048 12 Grimmauld Place has 1083 pieces and nine minifigures. It will be available from the LEGO Shop and worldwide starting June 19th for US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £114.99.

This set is based on a license The LEGO Group has with the Warner Brothers films, not J.K. Rowling directly. The transphobic views expressed by Rowling do not reflect the values of The Brothers Brick or, indeed, those of The LEGO Group. The magical world Rowling created, in which many who felt a bit different could see themselves, meant a great deal to so many people, including those that Rowling now demeans. TBB affirms each individual LEGO fan’s choice to claim a piece of the world for themselves, or to reject it entirely.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The box and contents

The back of the box shows 12 Grimmauld Place from the back, with insets that illustrate the appearing/disappearing feature and highlight some of the locations around the interior. Our review copy of this set didn’t have any paper bags or cardboard envelopes, just the usual plastic. Inside are bags numbered one through seven (somewhat unusually in a set of this size, there are two bag fives), the instructions, a modest sticker sheet, and a loose long flexible piece that will represent an Extendable Ear.

For parts fans, this set includes a new broom mold that appears in several of the Summer 2022 Harry Potter sets, which is much more accurate to the on-screen brooms the characters use; it’s also arguably simply better scaled for a minifigure. The approach of only molding the bristles also makes the part much more flexible – I guarantee someone will be able to make engine plumes from these – and there is an anti-stud on the bottom offering more attachment possibilities.

The barrel piece is also new in Sand Blue in this set, representing part of a troll-leg umbrella stand, which will no doubt also prove popular in mech and engine construction. Finally, animal fans get a new tan bat, another very useful piece for architectural detailing, and 13 black 1×5 plates are included.

The build

The build starts with the front steps and the base for the sliding mechanism which is the core feature of the set. Ingot pieces and half-stud spacing with jumper plates give the steps appealing texture and spacing, while several bright colors help to tile the pieces of the mechanism that will be hidden. Two reddish brown 2×6 tiles are hidden here; these are relatively rare still and I’m tempted to replace them with more common tiles to save them for visible use.

Bag two finishes the base of the build, with a central area for No. 12, and wings that move outwards for No. 11 and No. 13. Some 2×2 corner triangle tiles make even fully covered areas nicely polished, but also make sure that there is nothing for the opening and closing mechanism to catch on. The bottoms of all of the moving pieces are also well covered with smooth inverted circle tiles (boat studs), ensuring the building will slide easily on almost any surface. At the end of the bag, the main feature is established, with angled technic link pieces connecting the back “No. 12” section with the wings in a way that drives them to slide backward/forward and inwards/outwards. It’s not really obvious at this point what the best grip for those actions is, but there’s a bit of cleverness coming later for that!

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Next, we start on the facade and kitchen for No. 12. There are some nice bits of headlight bricks and tiles to give texture to the building, making it a cut above most City builds. I must say though that applying stickers to door elements is something I find incredibly stressful. I think it’s the fact that the handle creates several extra easy comparison points for your eyes, so if the sticker is just slightly off you know it. A print would have been really appreciated here. Still, it’s a nice-looking door.

The kitchen is nicely stocked – another way the standard stays better than regular City sets – and quite possibly has the most mugs ever placed in a single step (six). We have some cabinets, a stove that is removable to allow some more play space, and a table with four seats and laid with more cups, mugs, and a Daily Prophet. 1×5 plates fit the geometry of the kitchen well in places; the previous alternative would have been combining 1×2 and 1×3 plates, and this does give more stability and keep things straighter. We finish off with some drainpipes, and a frog tucked up in the ceiling – possibly a reference to Mundungus Fletcher telling a story about stealing toads and selling them back again. But LEGO also enjoys just hiding frogs in sets, so we can’t be sure.

Bag four starts with the facades for No. 11 and No. 13., and one of my small complaints about the set: 11 and 13 don’t get working doors! I suppose the decision was made not to include them because opening them would reveal No. 12 awkwardly sitting behind them, and break the illusion of appearance/disappearance in that way. But it still feels odd. On the other hand, windowpane stickers are less fussy to apply than ones that go around a doorknob. No. 13 is built first and includes almost no interior detail, just a set of doors set back-to-back to represent Kreacher’s den. No. 11 gets a bit more detailing, adding the bigoted portrait of Walburga Black and its somewhat ineffective curtain, the troll-leg umbrella stand that Tonks often knocks over (waking said portrait), and a small desk with a bowl and lamp.

It’s worth noting that the design of the play function does impact the interior of the set. Every floor of either No. 11 or No. 13 is triangular, leaving only half the eight-by-eight stud area. However, this really only loses us one wall, since the back of a playset is not going to be closed in, and in my opinion, it’s a worthwhile compromise to implement something that’s not just a smooth play feature, but a core element of what this location is.

The bag finishes by connecting 11 and 13, adding the final layers of tile that will let the upper stories sit on them, and attaching a second set of bent technic links to ensure that the top of the model doesn’t buckle in and obstruct the function. We also build two lamp posts, one on either side of the model. These diverge from the movie, but are another very worthwhile touch – they form handles! Each post is connected to the main building by a 2×3 plate near the top, making them very stable. They provide an excellent grip point for opening and closing the model, and also signal effectively, “this is where to grab the build”. You certainly can pull the upper floors off if you try to open or close the building holding them, but the lamps make it easy to use the function in the way that works best.

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From the back, you can see what the play side of the build will look like now – a larger central area, with the smaller angled areas on the side. There are also chandeliers built into the upper set of technic links, a nice touch that both disguises the links a little and keeps the chandeliers themselves safe when the building is transforming.

Bag 5 finishes the rest of No. 12. The facade is dark grey, to distinguish it from its non-magical neighbors. The middle story has the piano that Hermione attempts to teach Ron to play on while Harry, Ron, and Hermione are hiding at Grimmauld Place during the Deathly Hallows. On top of the piano is a radio, which they use to listen for reports on Death Eater attacks. Hanging on the wall is a painting of the Black family crest, and opposite it, a still life of a cup or chalice with some grapes and a skull.

The top floor is a relatively empty hallway-type space; the set photos show Fred and George goofing off here or nearby. There is a small table with a candle, and two more portraits – an empty silhouette that is likely sometimes occupied by Phineas Nigellus Black, and another Black family member holding a skull. But the most notable feature is a really rather grim inclusion by LEGO – two skulls under glass domes, which represent the heads of house elves who were beheaded when they were too old to carry a tea tray!

The exterior details are minimal but continue the standard set by the ground floor. Every time I placed 2×2 curved macaroni tiles on this build I felt like I was applying eyebrows. One nice little touch to keep those brows aligned – a 1×2 door rail plate is placed so that the middle two macaroni tiles sit flush on it. The top gets a little extra detail with some slope bricks that are staggered with inverted slopes to create some cracks.

Bags six and seven finish off 11 and 13 Grimmauld Place. The building here is pretty simple, though the simple cornices on top look quite attractive. The standout feature of the interiors is the tapestry of the Black family tree. I love the work that LEGO does by taking source material with human figures in it and adapting it to minifigure form instead, and this is a great example. The design and colors remain true to the source material, with the “traitors” to the Black family scratched out of the tree, although there should be a skull for Regulus instead of a regular head.

The three other rooms are a sitting area with a nice armchair, and bedrooms for both Sirius and Regulus. It’s a shame that there isn’t a nod to the initials R.A.B. or Regulus’s full name, since that provides a key clue for Harry, but the Slytherin locket (and Horcrux) is hidden above one of the windows in Regulus’ room.

The Minifigures

Of the nine minifigures, eight are exclusive to this set. Harry Potter is the glaring exception, with a torso that has appeared multiple previous times. We do get three of the new brooms, in two colors, with Harry and two of the members of the Advance Guard that accompany him to Grimmauld Place for the first time after the Dementor attack in Little Whinging. Kingsley Shacklebolt has appeared before in a Collectible Minifigures series; his printing here is slightly different though still quite nice, but misses the decorated hat from the previous appearance. Nymphadora Tonks has also only appeared once before, but this version impresses with more elaborate printing, including on the legs, and a pig snout from when Tonks is joking with Hermione and Ginny showing her Metamorphic abilities.

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Until now, Dobby was the only house-elf available in minifigure form. Kreacher appears for the first time with a unique head mold, with a good representation of his hooked nose, and unique printing for his tattered clothing – simple, but there’s only so much you can do with a pillowcase. Sirius Black has appeared twice before, but only in his Azkaban garb. Here he has a nice green pinstriped outer coat with a black suit underneath. It’s an excellent minifigure and great to get a non-prison version.

The Weasley family is well represented. Fred and George – you’ll need to stare at the names on the box to make sure which is which – have their heads from 75978 Diagon Alley, but feature new striped shirts. Ron’s shirt is even louder, very fitting for a Weasley and to the movies. Molly Weasley has appeared three other times, though only once, back in 2010, with printed legs. This version is much brighter than previous iterations in shades of tan. Neither seems quite a match for her movie appearance, though the texture and color of these legs match her skirt fairly well. Finally, we have Hermione’s cat, Crookshanks. I’m happy to get another color of a cat figure, but the inclusion is odd in that it further emphasizes that Hermione herself is missing. It’s also a different color than the Crookshanks that was included with Hermione in the first Collectible Minifigures series. Again neither is quite right for the tabby, but we can certainly say this one is very, very orange!


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Finished Build and Recommendation

One of the most important aspects of 12 Grimmauld Place is the fact that, to the non-magical world, it simply does not exist. That elevates the appearance/disappearance of the middle part of the build from a nice-to-have play feature to a core requirement. For us, LEGO has risen to that challenge. The movement is smooth both opening and closing, and the lampposts built into the side of the building provide excellent handles that stand up to play. I can easily imagine this being incorporated into a LEGO city display, maybe even with a motor! Also in contract to 76403 The Ministry of Magic, the set is solid if you pick it up or move it by any of the ground floors.

It’s not a perfect set – the interior is compromised to make the play feature work – but there are a good variety of scenes from the later books and movies and space to arrange a wide selection of figures. Of the minifigures attached to the build in the below picture, only Kreacher was knocked off when I “closed” the building to hide No. 12.

At under 1,100 pieces and 9 minifigures for $120, it’s okay value for a licensed set, but not great. At $100, this would be an easy recommendation. I think casual collectors, or LEGO fans who aren’t Harry Potter fans, will probably want to let this one pass. However, if you are a fan of the later books and movies or just of Grimmauld Place itself, then I recommend this set wholeheartedly because of how well it executes its core feature. I promise you’ll be showing whoever will watch the smooth appearance and disappearance of No. 12 Grimmauld Place whenever you can.

76048 12 Grimmauld Place contains 1083 pieces and 9 minifigures. It will be available from the LEGO Shop and worldwide starting June 19th for US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £114.99 or from Amazon. It may also be available from third-party sellers on eBay.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

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