While the Star Wars and LEGO union seems to have been one of the most widely successful partnerships LEGO has ventured into, the Harry Potter franchise has always been a force to be reckoned with.
And with a fan base that matures with each book, the LEGO world seems to be the ideal home for Harry Potter adventures. The sets can appeal to pre-teens and up and evolve with the builders as the books did with the readers.
One of the most successful and sought-after Harry Potter sets has to be the Hogwarts Castle. This 6,020 piece set is next to impossible to find in stores and online, despite its hefty price tag of $399.99 from LEGO, and even more on eBay, Amazon, and other websites that are driven by demand.
So the big question is, once you’ve finally tracked down this massive set of Harry Potter history, is it worth the price tag?
This is where I come in. I purchased and put together this castle with the help of my boyfriend, who has been a fan of LEGO products since he was a kid. I really wanted his perspective on the construction parts of this set. I’m here to tell you about how the build went, what the finished product looked like, and if this set is worth the price tag.
The LEGO Hogwarts Castle Stats
Let’s talk a little about the nuts and bolts of this set before I discuss the experience of personally putting it together.
Here are some bullet points:
- 6,020 pieces
- Thirty-seven bags of bricks.
- Four books of instructions.
- For ages sixteen and up.
- Twenty-seven Microfigures including multiple characters, chess pieces, and five Dementors.
- Four Minifigures of the heads of the houses. (New to set.)
- Includes Hagrid’s hut, five boats, and a moving Whomping Willow with the Weasley’s car in the branches to go outside the castle.
- Measures twenty-two inches high, twenty-seven inches wide, and sixteen inches deep.
Fun fact: when this build was released in 2018, it was the second-largest LEGO set ever! As of the time this article was published in 2022, it is the sixth-largest.
This build took me and my boyfriend five days and even when we made mistakes, we had fun. I believe that this set continues to live up to the hype four years after its release and that it is worth the hefty price tag. Let’s talk more about why!
I purchased the Hogwarts Castle and almost immediately got COVID. Thankfully, my symptoms were very mild and I was able to use my time in isolation to dive into this LEGO set.
My boyfriend and I took turns working on the castle, as he had not contracted COVID and we wanted to keep it that way. Eventually, we were able to work in the same room once I tested negative.
I got the honor of opening this massive box and sorting through the bags of LEGOs. There were a lot of bags! So many, that there was a second box within the main box full of the second half of bags.
This was a first for me as a LEGO builder, I didn’t know LEGO had to separate the bags of their larger sets. To my surprise, it was a first for my boyfriend too. Despite his LEGO building background, this was the largest set he’d ever put together.
I knew this was going to be an undertaking but looking at the pile of bags in front of me, while more were still in the box, I was so excited and slightly intimidated by the magnitude of it all. All in all, there were thirty-seven bags with four books of instructions. Our work was really cut out for us!
We lined the bags up outside the kitchen, where we decided to build, and set up a camera to do a timelapse. We then began taking turns working on the Hogwarts Castle.
My boyfriend is much more experienced in assembling LEGOs, so he was much faster. And while I made a few mistakes and moved slower, I was able to correct myself and follow along fairly easily.
LEGO definitely makes good instructions, which is not easy considering what they’re telling you to do without using any words.
On the first day, I worked on the set for about an hour by myself, starting with constructing the first Minifig and the boats. The designer of this set, Justin Ramsden, intended to design this set for the builder to have the same experience that Harry did, as he made his way through Hogwarts.
Harry entered Hogwarts on the boats, which you build first, and then he and the builder, move on to the boathouse, the stairs, and the towers, and eventually classrooms. This is an adorable and amazing detail that I think would be lost if I hadn’t watched a video of Ramsden discussing how he created this iconic set.
On the second day and night, I did most of the legwork and also made most of the mistakes. What I found though, was that I was easily able to backtrack and see where I went wrong.
LEGO instructions are great like that. After my third mistake, I decided that was enough for the day and threw in the towel. I don’t believe that my mistakes this day were a result of LEGO’s instructions being unclear, I believe they were because I was tired and sick.
We continued to split up the build for the next few days until I tested negative and then we were able to move really fast by working together in the same room. We’d sort the colors of the bricks and help each other find pieces, which speeds things up a lot. Having an extra set of eyes on each other’s work helped catch mistakes too.
What I enjoy about putting together a LEGO set of this magnitude is how often I’m completely confused about what I’m building, and how soon after it’s all very clear. I liked being surprised that I was making the side of a tower or a stained glass window.
Something that bothered me a little, which is very minute, was the choice to add the trees and Dementors so early on in construction. My boyfriend and I found it difficult to work around a few of them, often knocking them over. Being that they are both on the outside of the castle, I think that LEGO could easily have changed them to be added later in the build.
And in fact, many trees are added at the end of the build anyway, so I don’t fully support this choice. I do believe though that this was Ramsden once again choosing to add elements that appear earlier in the books to add to our journey as builders matching Harry’s. Still, I found it more frustrating than fun.
I really loved the way LEGO designed the stained glass! Using clear but colored, small, round LEGO bricks, you click them in grated LEGO pieces in specific orders. This used two new elements that were designed specifically for this set.
And the effects of these windows once fully constructed, especially with a light behind them, is really something to see! It made me think that a light kit in this would work well with this set.
Of course, with a little research, I saw that many websites offer light sets for the LEGO Hogwarts Castle. If you have it in your budget, I would recommend one of these! I just used a cellphone flashlight to check it out and take pictures, and the effect was awesome.
Okay so if you’ve read more of my articles you probably know that I dislike applying stickers to LEGO. I just don’t like it! I can never get them right or straight and that goes the same for the Hogwarts Castle.
While you can get away with some stickers being off-kilter, like Moaning Myrtle, for example, there are a lot of stickers that demand a steady hand. Stickers for the doors for example, and the flags of the houses hanging over The Great Hall.
I understand not having printed pieces for the beige bricks which make up most of the castle when only a few are to have a sticker of bricks or small windows on them.
However, I do think LEGO could’ve helped a person like me out and printed the doors and flags, as they did the panes on the clear windows. (Thank you for that mercy LEGO, I think applying those stickers would’ve been the end of me!)
The Minifigures and Microfigures
There are only four Minifigs included in this set, one for the founder of each house at Hogwarts. Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazar Slytherin, and Rowena Ravenclaw. They do not fit inside the castle and are to be placed on a platform outside it with their wands at the ready. They were also created especially for this set.
The bulk of the figures included in this set is Microfigs, amounting to twenty-seven characters to fit in the castle. You heard me, Microfigures. While LEGO fans are accustomed to the iconic Minifigs of LEGO, Microfigs, also referred to as Nanofigs or Trophy Figs, are semi-new to the LEGO scene. Let’s talk about what they are and why LEGO made them.
The Microfigs are teeny, tiny figures of the characters of Harry Potter. While Minifigs measure 1.6 inches high, Microfigs are only just over half an inch! Just look at this little guy!
While I initially believed that LEGO made the Microfigs because the characters were children and therefore physically smaller, once I got my hands on the Hogwarts Castle and started to build it, I realized that these figures were simply made to scale with the castle.
The castle is large, don’t get me wrong, but the details are so fine that it demands figures to match that scale. If the castle was big enough for Minifigs rather than Microfigs, it would simply be too large. In order to create a castle worthy of these details, LEGO had to go big by going small.
I like the Microfigs for the aesthetic, but when it comes to playing with them, I believe they offer a challenge. They are so small, it makes any kind of action a little difficult. Of course, I have to stop and imagine having much smaller hands while playing with them, so it might be easier for kids.
But the biggest thing that I dislike about these Microfigs is that while there are plenty of studs on the floor for them to click into, there are none on any chairs.
Despite the pictures portraying the Microfigs snuggly on thrones and chairs, they do not click into them. This means that they can easily topple over and when you’re dealing with something that’s just over half an inch tall, that can get frustrating quickly.
The Finished Product
It took us five days to complete the Hogwarts Castle. The experience of constructing it brick by brick was amazing, and the finished product is really something to behold!
The finished product measures twenty-two inches high, twenty-seven inches wide, and sixteen inches deep. Outside the castle are Hagrid’s Hut, the Whomping Willow with the Ford in its branches, five boats, and the platform of the four founders of the Hogwarts houses.
Inside the castle are various rooms true to the books and movies.
Professor Umbridge’s signature pink office is up high, and her Microfig is very obviously pink as well. There is the Gryffindor common room, the life-size chessboard, the basement with the Basilisk emerging from it, and of course The Great Hall.
They even made the moving staircase! (And yes, it moves!) While one side of the set is enclosed, the other side of the set is left open for admiring the intricate details and rearranging the multitude of Microfigs.
On the outside of the castle is the courtyard, the rocky cliffs complete with pine trees, towers with spires, the five Dementors of course, and the Hungarian Horntail Dragon that Harry defeats in The Goblet of Fire is even present, perched on one of the towers.
On the outskirts of the castle are the boats, Hagrid’s Hut, and Whomping Willow. The Ford in the branches of the Whomping Willow is tiny and adorable, and shockingly only four pieces!
The references and details in this set are really admirable. LEGO did an amazing job at recreating such an iconic and unique piece of literature and film history. If I went through all the details, it would begin to get boring but trust me when I say, LEGO nailed it.
Outside vs Inside
While the outside of the LEGO Hogwarts Castle stuns with the effect of the stained glass, the rocky cliffs, and the Dementors flying around the rooftops, it doesn’t have the intricate details of the inside or other side of the LEGO set.
The inside of the set has more small details, complete with graffiti and other callbacks to the books and movies. The outside is more of a big picture of the story of Harry Potter and Hogwarts.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, and in fact, I like the differences between the two. If both sides were ‘big picture’, the build and end product would be a little boring and lose the magic of Harry Potter. If both sides were all about the intricate details, the build might drive you completely insane.
And don’t forget that outside the castle, there is the Whomping Willow, boats for the Microfigs, and Hagrid’s Hut, complete with Hagrid’s spider friend Aragog!
Pros and Cons of the LEGO Hogwarts Castle
- Excellent instructions, easy to understand, and even backtrack to fix mistakes.
- Great for team-effort build or a solo project for someone who is a skilled builder.
- I love the added details outside the build: Hagrid’s hut, the Whomping Willow, and the boats.
- I love the book and movie references throughout from the stickers of flying keys to the Basilisk in the dungeon! This is great for a true Harry Potter fan!
- The stained glass (especially with light behind it) is really gorgeous and unique.
- The Microfigs allow for playtime inside and around the minute details of this huge build.
- The moving staircase is like nothing else I’ve seen in a LEGO set.
- I dislike applying stickers, and there are a lot of stickers in this set. (Three pages.)
- Adding the Dementors and most of the trees so early on got in the way of the rest of the build, they should be added at the end.
- The Microfigs are cute and necessary for the scale of the castle, but difficult to play with.
- The Microfigs do not lock into their chairs as depicted in pictures.
- You definitely need space for this one! (Completed it is twenty-two inches high, twenty-seven inches wide, and sixteen inches deep.)
FAQs About the LEGO Hogwarts Castle
Question: Is the LEGO Hogwarts Castle worth $399.99?
Answer: Yes. This is really a one-of-a-kind set that is a challenging build without being frustrating. The final product is a sight to see as well and it’s good for kids to play with!
Question: How Many Hours Did This Take You?
Answer: We didn’t time the hours and while it took us five days, there were days when we didn’t work on it as much as others.
Question: Would You Recommend This for a Beginner LEGO Builder who Loves All Things that Involve Harry Potter?
Answer: This is a tough one. This build is not only a lot to do, it’s a big set to have around the house for someone who isn’t necessarily a LEGO fan. That being said, it’s also a huge piece of Harry Potter history right in your home so if your friend is a Harry Potter fan, they will love the finished product. The question is do they have the patience to do the build? (Maybe you could help!)
Question: Is this a Good Set for a Team Effort or More of a Solo Project?
Answer: I’d say team effort. This set was fun to do alone in stints, but it was faster and more fun to do once my boyfriend and I could be in the same room. I don’t even know how long it would have taken me if I’d tried to do this alone!
Final Thoughts on the LEGO Hogwarts Castle
When it comes to how to spend your money, it’s important to have all the facts. I hope this review of my experience with the LEGO Hogwarts Castle has helped you get a little closer to making your own decision on whether or not this set is worth $399.99.
If I had to choose whether or not to buy this again, I would. The intricacies of the set, from the spires to the potions, are just really cool to see. I loved the stained glass effects, the dragon, and all the callbacks to not just one but every book and movie.
And not only is the finished product stunning, but the whole experience was super fun and one-of-a-kind on its own.
So if you’re on the fence about making this purchase, I hope you do. You will have a blast putting together this piece of the Harry Potter story, and even more fun playing with it!
Photos by: Thea Engst