Watching the Harry Potter films is somewhat of a holiday tradition for my family. Builder Castor Troy has surely seen the films plenty of times because his model of Gringotts bank is spot on. The size and bulk of the build match perfectly to the Minifigure Ron and Harry hanging out by the large front doors. The leaning columns that make the face of the bank so distinct are wonderfully captured. The dome capping it all off is actually Yavin-4 from the second series of the Star Wars Planets. I have to commend that parts usage due to its marbling of greens and gold. It perfectly matches the gold detailing around it and the bank as a whole. The architectural style of the building is well built, full of detail and prestige.
Harry and Ron are probably off to spend their holiday money amongst the shops of Diagon Alley. Hopefully, they get something practical in addition to the sweets, Quidditch gear, and joke supplies. Then again, it is Ron and Harry.
I love, love, love the big LEGO 75978 Diagon Alley. It got me through the first part of the pandemic. I do however have to admit that there is a big void in this set created by the missing Gringotts bank. The predecessor 10217 Diagon Alley did come with a Gringotts bank, but this one is of a much smaller scale compared to the buildings of the newer set. Stefan Johansson solved this problem for us. They created a larger-than-life Gringotts bank complete with a white marble facade, imposing columns, bronze doors, a track with little carts, underground vaults, and of course a dragon to protect all that gold. This build is ginormous. For the white facade, Stefan used a lot of white plates, instead of bricks, to create different patterns in the wall. You can hardly notice this from afar but this build is worthy of a quick zoom. There are a few parts that deserve a quick mention. The use of the hemisphere is quite clever. I’ll have to dig through my collection to see if I own it in that colour. Using the party hat in gold as a lightning rod is a very nice little touch that I might have to reuse at some point. This creation is filled with details and action features like the tracks. The carts actually work and the Goblins are just waiting to take you to your personal vault. Overall I love this build but I wouldn’t deposit my money there. It looks like they have a serious Niffler problem!
Building in microscale requires a special skill set. One must have an eye for simplification of textures along with a firm grasp of the essentials of whatever it is. Eli Willsea has that skill, as this tiny (yet still large) rendition of Gringotts bank from Harry Potter demonstrates. I am guessing it comes from the first film, as there is a recognizable Hagrid down in the vaults, alongside what I suppose to be Harry and a goblin. Everything one would need for Gringotts is there, from the columns to the large dome, along with the crazy tracks for the carts in the depths beneath. My one complaint is that the columns on the front-corner facade are too straight, lacking the signature tilts seen in the films.
The rock pillars beneath the street are impressive, built in sideways rings and then threaded onto Technic axles, allowing them to spin around into different configurations. This is great, because it means that you can build the same shape a bunch of times and have it look different depending on how it is angled. The cars down on the tracks are delightfully simple, consisting of droid arms and round 1×1 tiles with bar and pin holders. The cart up on the street above-ground is also inspired, making brilliant use of wands on sprue to give delicate texture to the rails. It’s also being pulled by something skeletal (a thestral, perhaps?). This was originally built for our own Harry Potter Microscale Magic competition, but Eli failed to complete the photography in time. While that is too bad, it is certainly better late than never!
There were so many terrific creations for our Microbuild Magic! Contest that it was incredibly difficult to choose the winners. While not everyone can win, there are still more that are certainly worthy of a spot on our front page. One wonderful build that caught our eye was this little recreation of Gringott’s Bank, complete with the Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon. The artist behind the build is Zed, who also recreated Harry’s “Cupboard Under the Stairs” for the competition. There were several Gringott’s scenes, but this was one that really stood out.
I’m a big fan of the clever parts usage on the dragon, as well as the contrast of the dark vaults below. The wand-sprue gate is a perfect touch. Overall, the build is clean and elegant, and made even more so by the black background and crisp photography.