It’s another summer of Harry Potter, and we’re continuing our reviews of the new sets available now, following our review of 75948 Hogwarts Clock Tower. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry faces the evil jailers known as Dementors, against which only the “Expecto patronum!” spell is effective. 75945 Expecto Patronum captures the moment in the Forbidden Forest when Harry fends off hundreds of Dementors attacking Hermione Granger and Sirius Black. The set includes 4 minifigs and a stag Patronus with 121 pieces and retails for US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £19.99.
The box, packaging, build, and finished model
This is a tiny set, with barely over a hundred pieces (once you exclude the minifigs and the Patronus), and as a result the box is quite small.
After about five minutes of building, you’ll have a pair of trees, which constitutes the entire buildable portion of the LEGO set.
To be fair, both trees make for great backdrops to the minifig action, providing a base where you can set up Harry and Sirius as the Dementors approach.
The trees themselves also incorporate some interesting usage of A-shaped wedges.
The second tree includes a brown stud-shooter integrated into the trunk.
Flicking the stud-shooter sends a trans-blue radar dish flying at the nearest Dementor.
The minifigs & Patronus
But of course, we’re not here to admire brick-built trees, or (frankly) even unique minifigs. The star of this set is the trans-blue, stag-shaped Patronus. The Patronus is a single piece, with legs that don’t move. Although assembled as a single element, the stag’s antlers are made from a softer, rubbery material — likely to prevent the delicate antler tines from breaking easily.
Although the underlying LEGO is trans-blue, it’s also flecked with shiny silver bits that nicely evoke the sparkly, ethereal feeling of the Patronus. And like nearly all LEGO animals at this scale, there is a cutout in the stag’s back that fits a 1×2 brick plus a 1×2 plate — both of which come in the same, silver-flecked trans-blue color as the stag (two parts surely to become some of the rarest production LEGO pieces ever).
The cutout does fit a saddle, though it certainly looks odd on the trans-blue animal, emphasizing just how much we want to see this animal in a regular color in the future. With the antlers a separate sub-component, having a brown deer with white or tan antlers is not outside the realm of possibility.
The Harry Potter minifig in this set is not unique, appearing in three of the sets in the current wave. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have another pair of mid-height legs (or short bendy legs) outside the earlier Harry Potter Collectible Minifigures. Sirius Black wears his ragged prison garb, with stripes showing underneath a tattered overcoat.
Both minifigs have reversible heads with alternate expressions — Harry looking determined and Sirius looking angry.
The minifigs’ torsos are both printed on the back, though the designs add detail rather than anything especially spectacular.
Both their faces and torsos are highly detailed despite the black color, showing what appears to be skeletal rib cages beneath their tattered black robes. The original Dementor designs were sand green or blue and used skeleton and robot parts, which made for rather less fearsome creatures in my opinion. The swirling ghost piece is also a major improvement.
Conclusions & recommendation
As fun as the two trees and their play feature may be, this set is effectively a glorified minifig pack with a unique animal. The Patronus stag has many potential applications in fantasy settings, but it’s the potential appearance of the animal in realistic colors that has been making LEGO fans excited ever since the set was first revealed.
At $20 for 121 pieces (twenty of which are minifig pieces), you’re not getting a whole lot of LEGO. But it’s hard to deny the attraction of the trans-blue stag, bendy short legs, and cool Dementors, even if you’re not a hardcore Harry Potter collector. This is also the sort of set that 10-15% off would bring it down into the impulse or bulk purchase range, enabling you to have herds of trans-blue deer loping through your magical forest.
75945 Expecto Patronum contains 121 pieces with 4 minifigs and a Patronus stag. It is available from the LEGO Shop online now for US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £19.99 or from third-party sellers on eBay and BrickLink.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick a copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.