“Not necessarily unbiased, but definitely bitter.”

Assembled Set

Bitter Nerd™ Review: Hagrid’s Hut Lego® Set

While I have been trying to avoid it, I’ve found myself more and more following the web journal model of updates to this site. The one thing I have been successful in avoiding is the reviews of things, such as movies, books, restaurants, jail cells, moist towelettes, diseases, whatnot. Unfortunately, this is going to change with this, the first (and most likely last) edition of Bitter Nerd™ Reviews.

Each Christmas, for the last twenty-five years, my mother has given me a Lego® set. It’s part-joke, part-keep-him-busy. It used to be space sets, then we moved on to trains, and lately, Harry Potter™ themed sets.

This year, I received the Hagrid’s hut set. For those outside the Lego® world, the Harry Potter™ sets have been using the movies as their style guide, insofar as Daniel Radcliffe graces the cover of each box. For those outside of the Harry Potter™ movie world, Hagrid’s hut is seen as a octagonal building with a sharply peaked roof:

Movie Scene

The goal of this set is to build an octagonal building with a sharply peaked roof, in such a way that the inside can be easily accessed for all you Legoish needs.

The little Dumbledore is adorable: he comes with a full beard, long white hair, and a cape. The cape is actually fabric. I’m not sure if I would have gone with fabric myself: a piece of molded plastic might have been more durable. Trust me, the Dumbledores out there are going to see some action. They’re going to be tossed around, slammed into the side of the hut, forced into mock WWE matches with the Hagrids, and far more distasteful tribulations. There are few things more destructive than an eight-year-old boy.

Hagrid is a little more disappointing. He’s very large, appropriately scaled; however, the designer of this set cut some corners. Hagrid’s body is a single piece of molded plastic: only his arms move, and they have limited degrees of freedom. The moleskin coat lacks any sort of detail. His beard and hair (one piece) look more like a black babushka than anything else.

OK, enough bitching about the little men. How about the building itself?

The designer was clever—to a point. The eight walls of the building are hinged, with the floor made up of right triangle pieces normally used for the wings of spacecraft. This allows the building to be opened flat, or “rolled up” into its normal octagonal shape. The building comes with both a hidden cabinet for books and a fireplace that rotates to reveal a baby dragon (awww). Everything was fine until I reached the roof.

Oy, the roof.

The roof Lego® has fostered upon us is cheap. It’s made of that flimsy plastic often used for temporary IDs: it’s just a little more sturdy than construction paper. The builder is instructed to accordion-fold the roof into a pointy thing, then snap it onto the tabs built into the wall. After the roof is assembled, the point is closed by taking a rubber band and snapping it across the top.

A rubber band.

Words completely fail me. This roof is just sad: the rubber band causes it to twist and misalign, the stiffness of the plastic and the awkwardness of the accordion-folds means that the front edges are hopelessly misaligned. The box shows a perfect world which must have taken hours to adjust:

Opened Lego Set

Worse, the rubber band has to be removed in order to open the house. This is completely against past Lego® designs, in which everything could be opened to place Lego® people where and when Lego® people needed to be placed.

This, coupled with the mismatched colors in the wall (intentional, as the instructions insist) makes the overall finished product look cheap. It’s certainly not up to past Lego® standards. Eight custom pieces for the roof and a more judicious selection of colors could have made the set a hundred times better.

In summary, the Hagrid’s Hut Lego® set fails to achieve its goal of Legoish goodness. While it is mostly a traditional Lego® set, the lack of attention to details and the flimsy construction make it a disappointing build.