Alternate builds for LEGO sets have long been part of the fun. When I was a kid, I remember loving to see the variants featured on the back of the box. As a young fan of LEGO, it inspired me to look at that box of bricks in a different light — to try my hand at my own alternates. Twenty years later, I can count myself amongst a crowd of LEGO fans devoted to alternate builds. Though you can find all sizes of re-imagined sets, few are as ambitions as builder Lucas Bolt and his Modular variant of the microscale 71043 Hogwarts Castle. Inspired by the magic school aspect, Lucas created the University of Cambricks to fit perfectly on the corner of a LEGO Modular city street.
Being the second-largest set ever produced when it was released in 2018, Hogwarts Castle is a dream set all on its own. The thought of taking it apart or buying an extra set is mortifying to me and my wallet. But the builder managed to create a beautiful enough build that I might be able to get over it. For the University, Lucas used 5200 of the 6020 pieces from the original set, only having to add in some large base plates from outside the set. The exterior is full of magical details. Stained-glass windows are featured on each side accompanying ornate architecture and pleasant plant-life. In addition to a full interior, one major feature is the ability to place the Great Hall on either side of the building. The way the towers and parapets work together, no matter the configuration, is pretty respectable.
The interior is quite cozy and full of detail. The wealth of pieces available from this set allowed for a Manor-like floor plan for the tiny castle. The larger chambers, winding stairs, and passages link the interior while allowing alcoves of privacy and specificity. The Great Hall works as a chapel and lecture hall, light flooding in from the large stained-glass windows. Layers of clear and different colored translucent pieces allow the rooms to glow with character. In addition to this, stickers of Hogwarts house emblems, portraits, and banners add an immersive touch to the setting. The balcony and chandelier fill the upper portions of the chamber nicely while a brick-built bookshelf makes for a great place to display the trophy figures from the Hogwarts set. I love how Lucas kept these trophy figures in the build, even displaying one in the room beyond Rowena Ravenclaw (I imagine) looking out from the balcony.
The common room and library, also on the first floor, provide a nice place for the students and professors to relax and hang out. I love the use of minifigure brackets as the stair railing, which is not something I’ve seen done before. The bookcase beyond seems to hide a secret entrance. The fireplace under the stair case is a hidden treasure, and I love how it continues on both sides. The Slytherin crest is another nice inclusion from the original set but I also like the peek at the fountain in the tiny courtyard.
Lucas certainly knows what he’s doing — plenty of planning went into this, and it shows. You can switch the model around without rebuilding anything, allowing for personalized display while still allowing access to the interior rooms. The clever hidden doors or removable sections make it just as easy to play with as an actual LEGO Modular.
What an ambitious project this is! So many little details hidden throughout to appreciate. This would be a delight to build, especially discovering all the things Lucas Bolt chose to do with the available pieces. The University of Cambricks would surely add a grand amount of magic to any LEGO City street.