Featured Reviews

Review – Hagrid and Buckbeak (40412)

In our latest review, we take a look at the recent Brickheadz gift with purchase set, Hagrid and Buckbeak.

After a 7-year absence from the LEGO world. Harry Potter returned with a vengeance in 2018, reclaiming its position as one of the most popular LEGO themes. Since then, LEGO has released some of the most beautifully detailed Harry Potter sets ever. And if that was not enough, LEGO also released the first ever Harry Potter minifigure series, an insanely over-the-top microscale set of Hogwarts Castle, and yes — Harry Potter Brickheadz.

Included with the onslaught of BrickHeadz sets in 2018, the Harry Potter Brickheadz were actually among of the better examples of the series. Four sets were released – a Harry Potter/Hedwig the owl combo, a stand-alone Hermione Grainger set, a Professor Dumbledore/Ron Weasley combo (alas, poor Ron Weasley, getting stuck in a box with Dumbledore rather than the love of his life Hermione), and a more forgettable Newt Scamander and Gellert Grindelwald combo.

Fast-forward to 2020, when the Brickheadz line has been scaled back to a more reasonable number of sets. Rumors of a Hagrid and Buckbeak Brickheadz set began been floating around in February, but it wasn’t until August that the details began to emerge. And it was a plot twist worthy of a Harry Potter novel. Instead of being released directly to the public, Hagrid and Buckbeak were being offered as a promotional sets for 2 weeks only, and only with the purchase of $99 worth of other LEGO Harry Potter sets.

I’m a big fan of the resurgence of LEGO Harry Potter, but I can only afford so many LEGO sets and unfortunately Harry Potter does not make the cut. I only have so much room in my wallet, not to mention in my home to display LEGO sets. Even though I have a pretty extensive BrickHeadz collection, I sadly didn’t think that Hagrid and Buckbeak would be in the cards for me. So when I had the opportunity to purchase Hagrid and Buckbeak locally for a reasonable price on Facebook marketplace, I quickly made the deal.

With all that being said, let’s take a look at the newest Brickheadz release and see how it compares with those that came before it.

The Packaging

The box is consistent with the misty blue colors of the LEGO Harry Potter packaging. The design works especially well in the case of Hagrid and Buckbeak, who appear as if they are emerging straight out of the Forbidden Forest itself.

The rear of the package shows an alternate view of Hagrid and Buckbeak.

The box includes two instruction manuals with identical covers. Hagrid is built from manual 1, and Buckbeak is built from manual 2.

Three bags of LEGO are included with the set. Like the instruction manuals, the two bags numbered 1 contain the parts for Hagrid, while the single bag numbered 2 contains the parts for Buckbeak.

Hagrid

If you’ve ever seen a Harry Potter movie, you’ll know that Hagrid is quite literally a larger-than-life character. He towers over the students of Hogwarts, not to mention the adults. I was curious to see how LEGO would accomplish this in Brickheadz form. There do seem to be a few extra plates worth of height in this build, but in typical LEGO fashion, it’s the more subtle details that matter most.

For example, the vertical 1 x 4 and 2 x 4 brown plates that form Hagrid’s overcoat also happen to give the illusion of height. It’s a technique I’ve used myself in microscale city designs, and I was happy to see it used here, whether intentional or not. Another detail is that Hagrid gets 2 x 3 plates for his arms. Almost every Brickheadz I can recall uses a 2 x 2 plate for the arms instead. Granted, these are small touches for a LEGO theme that is not exactly known for realistic dimensions. But hopefully they were intentional, and if so, I certainly appreciate the effort that went into the design.

The design finishes with the typical BrickHeadz head, in this case covered with small black plates to form Hagrid’s hair and beard. At first glance, Hagrid seems to have a bit too much forehead, and not quite the right amount of hair. But again, I feel this may have been an intentional choice. For example, the imposing forehead gives the illusion of height, making Hagrid appear larger than his actual Brickhead self.

Hagrid’s overcoat is a bit less impressive from the rear, but the hair detail looks better from this view. I should also take a moment to point out Hagrid’s accessories. At the time of this writing, the parts inventory for Hagrid was not available on Bricklink. But the pink umbrella and black lantern are relatively new parts that have appeared in a number of sets over the last 2 years, including several Harry Potter themed sets. They work well here, giving just the right touch of color to contrast the use of black and brown.

Buckbeak

Buckbeak is a hippogriff, a mythical creature with the body of a horse and the wings and head of an eagle. He first appears in the third Harry Potter book and film, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” In Brickheadz form, light and dark grey bricks and plates are used to capture the color and detail of Buckbeak. Like Hagrid, the build begins with the lower half of the body …

… and then finishes with the upper half. I have to give the LEGO designers credit for doing BrickHeadz justice to a half-horse, half-eagle creature. I like the contrast of the colors in the finished design, with darker grey used for Buckbeak’s wings, feet, and beak, and white used for the feathers on his head. I can nit-pick on details like the legs and feet, but overall the design captures what a hippogriff should probably look like in the very non-realistic Brickheadz style.

From the rear, Buckbeak doesn’t quite look so impressive. Perhaps a few curved plates could have been used for the back of the head, rather than 2 x 4 tiles.

The Verdict

In wrapping up my review, let’s first take a look at Hagrid and Buckbeak as a set. The two Brickheadz compliment each other nicely in both style and color. I like the way Hagrid is designed to look taller than a Brickheadz really is. The accessories add a nice splash of color, and the beard design is well done. (We’ll just assume Hagrid recently got a trim.) Buckbeak is a bit more cartoonish of the two, perhaps more resembling a baby Buckbeak than an adult Buckbeak. But given the challenge of designing a half-horse, half-eagle Brickhead, we’ll give that one a pass.

I also wanted to see how Hagrid and Buckbeak compared to the Harry Potter Brickheadz from 2 years earlier. In the Harry Potter books and movies, Hagrid is the first wizarding world character that Harry meets (setting aside that whole baby incident). He is a close friend and protector to Harry throughout the entire series. So it was only fitting that we take a look at these two sets first. Side by side, I’d still like to see Hagrid be a bit larger, but as Brickheadz go, the four characters all work well together.

Next I looked at how Hagrid compared with Professor Dumbledore, Harry Potter, Hermione Grainger, and Ron Weasley. Once again the characters compliment each other nicely, although Dumbledore does look a bit hunched over in comparison.

So I do recommend the Hagrid and Buckbeak Brickheadz set for the Brickheadz collectors and the Harry Potter fans. But now that promotion is over, you’re going to have act fast if you want to find one. People who got the promotional set but don’t collect Brickheadz will be looking to sell them now, at fairly reasonable prices. Facebook Marketplace worked well for me, and maybe it will for you too. But once that supply is gone, Hagrid and Buckbeak will become much harder to find.

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