But is it Art? [31201 LEGO Art Harry Potter Hogwarts Crests Review]

The LEGO Art range was unveiled earlier this year with a range of varied works to go on the wall: Andy Warhol’s Marilyn, The Beatles, Iron Man, and your choice of Sith Lords. We have recently seen the latest sets in the range unveiled: Disney Mickey and/or Minnie and Hogwarts Crests. The LEGO group sent me a copy of the hogwarts crests to look at. Given the fact that I was yet to tackle any sets in this series, I was curious for the experience.

The set comes in the familiar black box, with a large image of the Griffindor Crest, and smaller versions of the other houses, as well as the obligatory disclaimer regarding the inability to build more than one at a time. There was no mention on the box that four copies of the set could be used to put together a massive 1m x 1m mosaic, depicting the Hogwarts Coat of Arms.

I opened the box, to find a sophisticated looking package:

There is an instruction manual: black, with a bright Hogwarts Crest. It is remarkably thick, but a double spread is used for every one of 9 tiles, for the 4 variations of the artwork, an area containing many many studs, and another box, with headphones and a listening device on it..

I removed the bottom pack and scanned the QR Code. Unfortunately, it was not yet live: in time, it shall lead to commentary by designers who worked on the Harry Potter Movie Franchise, as well as music from the films. Opening this box revealed nine 16×16 Technic bricks. These are 1 1/3 bricks/4 plates thick, and the sides resemble 1×16 bricks, with only 11 holes along their length. Looking underneath, there is a 4×4 brick integrated in the middle, and the corners are ‘reinforced’ with ‘2×2 bricks’.

Looking at the rest of the box, liften it open, we see a collection of black elements, for building the frame. as well as many bags of studs.

There are nine main bags of colour, as well as a few medium azur, bright red, bright yellowish green. We have significant qualitites of dark red-503, bright blue-431, dark green-499, white-369, medium stone grey-236, warm/pearl silver-630, warm/ pearl gold-604, and titanium black-153.

There were 3 bags of elements reseved for the frame.

There is also one bag, labelled 1. it contains an example of every colour used, a plate to mount them on; the printed tile and the LEGO Art Brick Seperator.

The instructions start with a friendly tone, welcoming you to LEGO Art, demonstrating a few nifty lifestyle shots, and introducing you to the designer, the Sorting Hat, and the houses of Hogwarts.

Next came the most important choice. I left it up to my daughter. ‘I reckon you’d relate to Hufflepuff’ she said, ‘Build that one.’ Badgers. Why did it have to be Badgers?

Do I really identify as a Hufflepuff?

Construction was pretty simple: working through the 3×3 technic plates, according to a ‘colour by numbers’ approach. It becomes a matter of putting the right colour on the right stud. I worked through it row by row, plate by plate.

I probably averaged around 1 plate per 20 minutes: I’m a little awkward working with small elements and speed building isn’t my thing. I took a few breaks along the way. I recorded most of it, and you can see the final results here…

I was disappointed not to be able to sign into the audio soundtrack: I might listen to it in the future, when it becomes available (I am writing this one month prior to the official release date). I put on some music, and lost myself in the moment.

I built the mosaic in blocks, taking time over a day or two. finally, I put the 9 plates together – held together with technic pins – and built up the Fra,e. The fram is helpd on using 1×2 bricks with a technic pin on the side, plates securing these to the underside of the plates, and 2 layers of bricks. A top layer of tiles around the edges make for a polished effect.

The robust frame, well secured, and many overlapping elements.

After I finished the build, I placed it on a picture shelf on the living room wall, amongst with other various bits of ‘Art’

The lighting in this room could hardly do the image justice, to I took it out so a slightly overcast, but fairly bright day…

I am particularly impressed by the contrast between the black and titanium black elements, essentially providing us with an additional shade of grey.

The final work is extremely sturdy, and also incorporates Technic panels in the upper corners. These have been seen in previous art sets, as well as the Batwing 71616, and allow the art panel to be attached to a wall. I fear I might have installed it upside down…

Certainly, as an opportunity to put an Art set together, I appreciated the challenge of the build: it is more challenging on mental discipline, rather than a significant technical challenge. Engaging my ears on something certainly made the process simpler. But at the end of the day, I just don’t want to put the Hufflepuff Crest on my wall. But I don’t really feel I want to do that with any of the Gryffindor, Ravenclaw or Slytherin Crests either. I don’t want to get another three, in order to display them all, or indeed, build the full school crest. I certainly don’t feel the need to put 8 sets together to make all forms of crests. I don’t love Harry Potter enough for that.

Four copies of the set put together let you build this grand Hogwarts Crest

But there are some who do!

If you are a Harry Potter Fan, and want some artwork to put on your wall this will appeal. With 4249 elements, it comes in at number 14 on the list of highest parts counts, in a list that includes a Chima omnibus set, two Taj Mahals, and two Millennium Falcons, and the Colosseum. Of course, many elements are not used – I have over 1200 spare elements at the end of the build. The dark red, blue and green have not even been touched! And so I find myself starting to think of a project for the near future. The LEGO ART sets provide fairly good value for money – so if you want a resonable quantity of warm metallic elements, as well as some regular colours, for whatever reason, it might also be an interesting purchase for you.

Back to the question I posed at the start: Is it Art? To me, art involves a creative spark, as well as generating a level of emotional engagement. The designer has done a fine job, but I don’t regard it as an expression of a fandom I identify. The subject matter did not embrace me. So, for me, it is not. But for others it could be.

So, what will become of the one I have just reviewed? I have a project in mind. If you have followed my early studies of the LEGO Art sets, you might be able to work out where I am heading. Perhaps it will be art. Perhaps not. But first, time to try out that mega brick seperator…

The LEGO ART Harry Potter Hogwarts Crests has 4249 elements and will cost $199.99. It goes on sale January 1 2021.

Until next time,

Play Well!

This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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