LEGO Art mosaic 31201 Harry Potter Hogwarts Crests [Review]

When we reviewed 31199 Marvel Studios Iron Man from the first wave of the new LEGO Art mosaic sets a few months ago, we talked about LEGO’s long history with mosaics, going all the way back to 1955. Despite being a considerably different build experience from the typical LEGO set, mosaics have enduring popularity, and LEGO is determined to keep up with that market, as the second wave of Art mosaic sets has already been revealed. Two new sets are launching January 1, 2021, from the Wizarding World and Disney franchises. Today we’re looking at the first of those sets, 31201 Harry Potter Hogwarts Crests, which will retail for US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £114.99 and includes 4,249 pieces. The set includes pieces to build the crests for any one of the four Hogwarts houses, and four copies of the set can be combined to build a giant Hogwarts School crest.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The box and contents

Despite having more than 1,000 pieces more than some of the previous Art mosaic sets, the Hogwarts Crests come in the same large, flat box with its contents neatly packed. Like the previous entries, it also includes a QR code to listen to a podcast while you build, but at the time of publishing the product page it lives on wasn’t live yet and LEGO did not make an early copy available to us. We can note that our complaints with the QR code with the first line of sets were not addressed; the podcast is only linked via a QR code–there is no URL–so Android users on older versions of the OS will have to download a QR code app if they don’t already have one, and anyone who’s building the set and listening on a non-mobile device (like a laptop) will have to do an awkward dance to find the URL and transfer it to another device.

The 140-page manual has a beautifully modern version of the Hogwarts Crest on the cover, and includes instructions for all four house crests. The instructions for the ultimate build Hogwarts School crest are provided digitally. The manual includes quite a few pages of introductory material, including notes from the designer, a Sorting Hat, and an explanation of the four houses. You can check out all the intro pages in the gallery at the end of the article.

The substrate parts are nearly identical to those included in the previous Art mosaic sets, except for one addition: the sole numbered bag which contains the printed 2×4 tile, fat brick separator, and Technic pins, also includes a 2×12 plate and one (plus a spare) of each color 1×1 round plate in the mosaic, for you to build a color chart. Oddly, however, despite the parts being included and the color chart being pictured in the lifestyle images in the manual, there is no explicit mention of it in the instructions.

The “pixels” (aka 1×1 round plates) come in nine large bags sorted by color, plus one additional bag with a few more colors mixed together. The flat silver bag contains the most, with 630 pieces, followed by gold with 604, while blue, white, black, dark red, and green range from 350 to nearly 600.

The build

You’ll have to decide which mosaic to build, though I suspect if you’re buying a $120 piece of Harry Potter wall art you probably not only know your Hogwarts house but also have some other matching paraphanalia. Since LEGO provided us with only a single copy of the set for review, and not having the time to build, dissassemble and rebuild the set four times to build the four house crests, naturally I settled on the Ravenclaw crest because that’s my house.

If you read my review of the Iron Man mosaic, you’ll know that the build process is very straightforward. There is a color chart with numbers 1-12 and each pixel is labeled correspondingly. Each standard-size mosaic is made up of nine panels which are 16×16 studs across and connect together with Technic pins. The process of following the chart is a tedious one that requires careful concentration, but isn’t difficult. It’s clear that yet again, LEGO’s new 18+ label is a marketing ploy and not an accurate description of the set’s difficulty. Despite the laborious process, it’s fun to see the image take shape. And unlike the Iron Man mosaic I built last time, there are plenty of large swaths of a single color, which makes the assembly even quicker.

The completed build

The finished mosaic looks good, with the raven astride the four segments of heraldric coloring, and the Ravenclaw’s Diadem in the upper left. I can’t help but feel the square border is limiting the crest, though. The mosaic looks heraldric, but it does not look like a proper crest, with the typical shield-shape forced into the square frame. The large Hogwarts School crest fits the full shield crest inside the frame, but it’s also four times the size, and no doubt that solution wouldn’t work in a single-set image like this. Nevertheless, I’m happy with the results and Harry Potter fans are sure to love this set. As with the other mosaics, there are two hangars on the back for mounting it on the wall, as well as a printed 2×4 tile in the corner, and the instructions provide an alternative if you want to leave the tile off and fill with pixels instead.

After it’s all complete, you’ll have lots of parts leftover from the alternative crests. I didn’t count, but here’s what I ended up with. Some colors, like gold, green, and dark red, weren’t touched at all in the Ravenclaw crest.

The ultimate build

As I mentioned before, LEGO only provided us a single copy of the ultimate build Hogwarts School crest, but they did send along a few images so you can see what each of the four crests looks like, as well as the ultimate build.

Conclusion & recommendation

This set is quite certain to be a hit with Harry Potter fans, as the ability to build any one of the four crests makes this a really fun set to show your Hogwarts house pride. The four house crests are a little hindered by the quare frame, but still make fun wall art that looks great. And what’s particularly amazing is that this set is priced the same as every other Art mosaic set at $120 USD, despite having more than 1,000 pieces more than the rest. That means this set comes in at what’s got to be close to an all-time low price-per-piece of less than three cents per piece. Granted, most of them are 1×1 plates, but if you’re looking to stock up on pixels for your own mosaic making, this set is going to be a necessity with seven colors in large quantities. The huge Hogwarts School crest may cost a whopping $480 USD, but from the pictures it looks magnificent and will measure more than two-and-half feet per side, making it the centerpiece of any Harry Potter fan’s collection.

31201 Harry Potter Hogwarts Crests includes 4,249 pieces and will be available starting January 1, 2021, for US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £114.99.