LEGO Harry Potter 76421 Dobby the House-Elf: Bad Dobby or good Dobby? [Review]

The June 2023 Harry Potter wave includes one sculpture-style set, 76421 Dobby the House-Elf. Dobby does not have wings, or other animation, but does seem in the same vein as other larger-than-minifigure-scale creations. Here’s our review of this very, very light-nougaty set, which contains 403 pieces, and is available now for US $34.99 | CAN $44.99 | UK £24.99.

This set is based on a license The LEGO Group has with the Warner Brothers films, not J.K. Rowling directly. The transphobic views expressed by Rowling do not reflect the values of The Brothers Brick or, indeed, those of The LEGO Group. The magical world Rowling created, in which many who felt a bit different could see themselves, meant a great deal to so many people, including those that Rowling now demeans. TBB affirms each individual LEGO fan’s choice to claim a piece of the world for themselves, or to reject it entirely.

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 contents

Inside the box are 3 numbered bags, the instructions, and a blessedly small sticker sheet. There is no avoiding the preponderance of light nougat.

The build

For a character who’s flesh and a pillowcase, this is a flexible and evocative build. Maybe it’s the big eyes – don’t miss our gallery for the slightly creepy build step where you attach them – or those gigantic expressive ears, but Dobby is pretty fun to pose. We are legally obligated at this point to lament that LEGO has still not relented and made ball joints in other colors, so Dobby’s shoulders look worse than they should. Thankfully this issue doesn’t affect clips, so the ears are not marred. It’s worth saying that the ability to pose the ears, even just rotating them up or down, makes the build very expressive.

The back is a mix of very unfinished and somewhat detailed. Some light grey quarter-circle tiles represent wisps of hair, and the bottom of the back of his head is tiled; some inverted 2×2 tiles smooth out the majority of the back. On the other hand, there are gaps seemingly into Dobby’s brain from the pieces used to shape around his eyes, the edges of the pillowcase are all anti-studs, as are the legs. With the parts available today, it wouldn’t have been too hard to attach the back of the pillowcase studs out, though it might be something that would affect the 8+ age range for the build. The sides do take advantage of bricks with studs on the side to be studs-out and they look fine.

Two accessories are included: Tom Riddle’s diary with sock, and Aunt Petunia’s pudding. The sock is such a key part of Dobby’s character arc that it had to be included, but it’s really hard to make something that looks like it’s draped across the pages of a book at this scale, and it ends up needing the diary to be awkwardly hollow with a lot of empty space so that the sock can fit in it. The pudding is a fun inclusion but ends up being a lot of stacking and placing 1×1 pieces, and the result is not entirely convincing.

Dobby can be posed in quite a variety of ways, especially since there is no motion possible below his shoulders. The arms and wrists/fingers are flexible enough that he can just about dab. It can go too far, though; if you lean his head back then the gap between head and shoulders becomes evident and he looks ready to join the sad ranks of the Nearly Headless.

Conclusion and recommendation

It’s good parts value for the money, especially for a licensed set – sure, no minifigures, but it’s well under 10 cents per piece. If you want those light-nougat pieces, it’s a good parts pack. If you love Dobby, it looks quite good from the front and sides and offers surprising character and possibility – go for it! Otherwise, you probably already knew this wasn’t a set for you. Thanks for reading this far anyway, and please reassure Dobby that he hasn’t done anything wrong on your way out; he keeps hitting himself with the diary and it’s really quite disturbing.

76421 Dobby the House-Elf contains 403 pieces. It is available now from the LEGO Shop and worldwide for US $34.99 | CAN $44.99 | UK £24.99 or from Amazon. It may also be available from third-party sellers on eBay.

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.

Check out the gallery for even more images:

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