Aug 30, 2018

Lego Harry Potter - Diagon Alley (16012) from AliExpress

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At some point in early 2017, my wife and I decided that a perfect compromise to her love for puzzles and my love for Legos is... just Legos. Something closer to an actual compromise was that she decided we should buy Harry Potter Legos, specifically. After about 10 seconds of research we realized that actual Lego- and Harry Potter-branded products were a little out of our price range, so we turned to Lepin via AliExpress.

We found a number of Harry Potter Lego lookalikes from several different brands on AliExpress, but settled on the Magic World line given Lepin's fairly large international brand status. We purchased a set resembling Lego's Diagon Alley set (16012) at a literal fraction of the cost, under the rationalized guise of an early, shared birthday/holiday/anniversary gift (I don't remember which) to ourselves from ourselves. Almost immediately upon starting our build, we knew we'd made a great purchase.

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Each piece felt exactly like its branded Lego counterpart with only one small exception, everything necessary was included, and the only amenity you won't receive is a box. The one minor exception is that the characters themselves were a little tough to piece together, look ever-so-slightly off, and are missing an appendage or two (poor Ron only one arm, and one Gringott's goblin lacks legs all together). It's almost like they were made somewhere separately, but it's also a very minor complaint; we'll find different Harry Potter Lego characters some other way. For a more thorough, higher-quality demonstration of Lepin's quality, I recommend BrickLite Studios' review of the older Harry Potter castle sets embedded at the bottom of this post.
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We were so pleased with the positive Lepin reviews and our personal experience that we even purchased the most recent and massive version of the Harry Potter Castle for our 6th wedding anniversary gift to one another; both are arriving soon. Though I was initially disappointed to see the castle scaled to less-common Lego microfigures (as opposed to the normal, larger minifigures), it was still too exciting to pass up. At more than 6000 pieces (the second largest Lego set to date), the level of detail in this model is incredible, we had a ton of fun building our first set together, and perhaps the use of microfigures will limit the opportunities for missing limbs (because there are none). Plus, we're not very good at buying gifts for one another; this checks off several boxes, and is a gift I think we'll remember forever.