The first in a new series of movies set in J.K. Rowling’s “Wizarding World,” Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released in 2016. Many LEGO fans were disappointed that the movie wasn’t accompanied by more LEGO sets — and reminded us that it had been many years since the last Harry Potter sets. Two LEGO Dimensions sets were in fact released, but many builders and collectors may have chosen to pass them up due to the high price of video game tie-ins in which you’re paying for new downloadable content as much as physical bricks. But with the sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald set for release on November 16 this year, LEGO has resurrected the Harry Potter theme overall, along with several new Fantastic Beasts LEGO sets. Available on August 1st, we’ll be reviewing both of the new Fantastic Beasts sets, starting with 75952 Newt’s Case of Magical Creatures.
The packaging & sticker sheet
The sets parts come in four numbered bags, plus one (yes, just one) of the Thunderbird’s wings in a separate, unnumbered bag. Why just one of the wings is packaged separately is baffling and hilarious. There are two instruction booklets, which are loose in the packaging along with the sticker sheet. But given that the box is fairly small and the set has a rather high part count for the price point, both the instructions and stickers were nestled safely inside, without any extra packaging.
The sticker sheet includes details for Newt’s shack inside his suitcase, as well as details for the outside of the case and wings for the Thunderbird.
Both the suitcase and the brick-built creatures are constructed from fairly basic building techniques, though we’ll take a closer look at the techniques in some of the creatures later in this review. The first instruction booklet covers the three creatures, with the azure and purple Occamy and the white and gold Thunderbird in the first bag, with the Erumpet alone in the second bag. The second instruction booklet covers bags 3 and 4, constructing the suitcase itself.
The finished playset
Like Doctor Who’s TARDIS, Newt Scamander’s suitcase is bigger on the inside. The suitcase unfolds to reveal three areas — a grooming/kitchen area on the left, Newt’s shack in the center, and the Occamy nest on the right. Each area has lively detail and numerous built-in accessories.
But let’s take a closer look at the suitcase itself first. The case looks like an old-fashioned suitcase, with buckles, straps, and other exterior details. We know that LEGO is proud of its studs, but this might be a case in which the case might have benefited from more tiling to smooth over the outside.
The top of the suitcase folds up, leaving part of the suitcase in place as the roof of Newt’s shack.
This section also opens up separately, with a ladder for Newt and his compatriots to enter and exit the magical suitcase.
The ladder extends down into the shack inside the suitcase, where Newt keeps a photograph of the mysterious Leta Lestrange.
A well-appointed kitchen provides Newt with an area to prepare food for himself and the creatures in his care. The kitchen features a sink, meat cleaver, brush, and a storage compartment for a turkey leg. Every accessory inside the suitcase is either clipped in place or attached via studs, so be prepared for this turkey leg to rattle around inside the case if you decide to keep it there.
The Occamy nest is built from a tan version of Penguin’s fur collar from last year’s 70909 Batcave Break-In. It also has some nice miniature landscaping in back, with stones and a small tree.
The brick-built magical creatures
While Newt’s magical creatures don’t fit inside his suitcase, this means they’re relatively large for such a small set, and it’s unusual for LEGO sets to include several such creatures — more often than not, LEGO Ninjago and Elves sets, for example, just include one dragon. The Occamy is a winged, serpent-like creature that can expand and contract its size as it sees fit. Unlike the awful Basilisk in 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall, the Occamy’s body is built from repeated segments that have lovely scaled detail, with a specially printed head and dark pink wings.
The Thunderbird is a North American creature with four wings that can cause storms when it flies. The LEGO Thunderbird has a pair of large claws it can stand on, with four wings (the second large wing was in the bag with the rest of the creature’s parts). Like the Occamy, the Thunderbird has a specially printed head, with larger horns attached to the sockets in the back.
Finally, the rhino-like Erumpent is a dangerous creature with an explosive substance in his horn. While I’m not entirely sold on the creature’s legs, which are minimalistically spindly for such a huge creature, the Erumpet has a fantastic head, with an enormous horn and trans-orange elements to indicate the explosive fluid seething inside.
Newt’s Case includes four minifigs — Newt Scamander, Tina Goldstein, Jacob Kowalski, and Queenie Goldstein. Each of the wizards carries a distinctly colored wand (with an extra on the sprue for each character), and several of the minifigs also have additional accessories. Newt wears a vest with a pocket watch and carries a plant stem, which according to LEGO’s product description is a “Bowtruckle figure”. Calling this a “figure” is quite a stretch, but it’s nice that Newt is accompanied by his floral friend in some way. Tina wears a jacket and carries a white teapot, which matches the teacup that Professor Trelawney has in the Harry Potter / Fantastic Beasts Collectible Minifigure Series. This is the first version of Tina without a hat.
Both Newt and Tina have alternate facial expressions, with happy expressions on one side and serious/concerned expressions on the other.
Tina’s wizard sister Queenie wears a bright pink outfit with a pair of truly wonderful facial expressions — her laugh looks infections! Jacob the muggle wears leather armor and carries an umbrella.
Queenie’s alternate surprised expression is also priceless, while Jacob gets to wear a helmet, with his alternate facial expression sporting a chinstrap for the helmet.
One of the big surprises of the Fantastic Beasts CMFs was the addition of a tiny Niffler figure, which also joins Newt in this set, ready to steal and hoard shiny objects in its magical marsupial pouch.
None of the minifigures in this set are repeated in the Harry Potter / Fantastic Beasts Collectible Minifigures Series we reviewed a couple of weeks ago.
Conclusions & recommendation
Although I’ve never been as excited about the Fantastic Beasts franchise as I’ve been about “core” Harry Potter over the past twenty years, J.K. Rowling herself is directly involved in expanding her universe, and I can appreciate the wonder and magic of the broader world. So, while acknowledging that I’m not a Fantastic Beasts super-fan, it’s nice to have a new batch of minifigures and sets from both the 2016 movie and the upcoming 2018 film. And even without complex building techniques, the various elements of the set — not least three unique creatures — came together as an enjoyable build, resulting in a rather fun little playset.
The set is also noteworthy for its price point — at only $50 for nearly 700 pieces (including four minifigures and several unusual printed creature pieces), it’s a great value even if you’re not a huge Fantastic Beasts fan. Overall, I highly recommend Newt’s Case, and imagine hours of play ahead for any young wizard or muggle lucky enough to own the set.
75952 Newt’s Case of Magical Creatures includes 694 pieces and 4 minifigures. The set is available August 1st from the LEGO Shop (USD 49.99 | CDN 64.99 | GBP 44.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.
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.