Category: Highly Recommended Sets

Top Harry Potter Lego Sets Of 2011

Best Harry Potter Lego of 2011Harry Potter Lego came back with a bang in 2010 to coincide with the release of the last two Deathly Hallows movies, but in 2011 production slowed a little, resulting in the release of only four sets.

Although there were only four complete models, those sets came with a wonderful selection of minifigures and gave fans first-time Lego versions of Fred and George Weasley, Olivander, Gregory Goyle, Professor Sprout and Narcissa Malfoy as well as updated versions of Neville Longbottom, Remus Lupin and more.

So put on Alexandre Desplat’s score of the final movie (or John Williams if you are a purist) and let’s take a look at “The boy who lived” in bricks.

Best Harry Potter Lego Set of 2011

The standout Harry Potter Lego set for 2011 was of course Diagon Alley, set 10217, discussed in more detail below.

You would expect the size, level of detail and range of minifigures in this collector’s set would cast all before it in shadow, but despite their comparatively small size, the three other 2011 releases held up quite well.

Hogwarts, Knight Bus and The Forbidden Forest, all have their strengths and to be honest it is hard for me to pick between them. So I won’t even try 😉

They are all unique, full of character and have high appeal for fans of the series. If you are to choose one, pick the one that most appeals on a personal level as they are all worthy additions to the theme.

Harry Potter Lego Sets 2011

In the mean time, let’s check out Diagon Alley.

1. Lego Diagon Alley Set 10217

Lego Diagon Alley 10217I am buying Lego Diagon Alley as a Christmas present to myself this year- that’s how much I love this set 🙂

I did dither for a while because it is a bit pricey but when I was able to purchase it at US retail (rather than inflated AUS prices) I jumped at the chance. I have a feeling this will be a set that will be hard to find in another year or so.

The Diagon Alley is aimed at older Lego fans ages 14 + but as with most Lego sets we believe younger children can build the set if they are used to building in the Lego style.

The set comes with no less than 11 minifigures: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Rubeus Hagrid, equipped with his umbrella; Fred and George Weasley; 2 Gringott’s goblins; Mr. Ollivander; Lucius Malfoy (in Death Eater disguise); Fenrir Greyback as well as 4 new painted owls.

Three separate buildings make up the balance of the set, Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Olivander’s Wand Shop and Borgin and Burkes. The last is a strange addition to the set (in more ways than one!) as fans of the series will know that this creepy shop is actually on Knockturn Alley, not Diagon Alley. But that is a very small con.

The details on the buildings are beautiful. Older Lego kids will discover new building techniques in this set and it really is a gem parents and kids can build together (preferably while watching the films in the background) and hang onto for many years.

Where To Buy Diagon Alley

Lego Diagon Alley Video

Top Lego Kingdoms Sets of 2011

Best Lego Kingdoms SetsWhile we’ve been celebrating the arrival of the latest Lego 2012 image and set details of late, it’s time now to get back to looking over the best sets of the past year – this time looking at a perennial favorite, Lego Kingdoms.

2011 saw Kingdoms continue to move away from the mystical and mythical to the more reality based medieval and historical. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t magic in the sets, in fact they were some of the best Castle themed sets we have seen in a long time.

The only problem I had with Lego Kingdoms in 2011 was that there were only 4 sets!?! Hopefully next year we may see more from Lego?

As there were only four, it makes it hard to countdown the top 5 so we managed to reduce it to two, but even that was difficult! So join us as we do the (very short) countdown the best Kingdoms theme sets of 2011.

As a site for parents, The Brick Life takes into account a set’s play value for kids in both the short and long term as well as it’s value for money over time. So our version of “Best” refers to both their appeal to kids and their affordability for parents.

If you are interested in other themes, you can check out our other guides to the Best Star Wars Sets, Best Lego City, Best Alien Conquest and the Best Ninjago sets for 2011 or subscribe to our newsletter for more of the best guides to Lego for families.

Top Lego Kingdoms Sets For 2011

Lego Blacksmith Attack Set2. Blacksmith Attack (6918)

This is a wonderful little set and  apart from being highly appealing it is also great value.

I was in a toy store the other day trying to decide on a present for a child so of course I was in the Lego aisle. Looking at the shelves for lower priced sets I was weighing up the price to value ratio (as you do with presents for a child’s friends) and I couldn’t better this set.

It retails for US $9.99/EUR £9.49/AUS $17.99 and comes with 104 pieces.

Of those pieces two are mini figures with the most gorgeous detailing and a whole bucket full of accessories. To top that off you get one of Lego’s new molded chickens – SOLD!

The building itself is a blacksmith forge and comes with a fire to heat up the swords, an anvil and a hammer that bangs on the anvil when you turn the wheel on the side of the building. It is similar to the device used in the Medieval Market Place set.

And no blacksmith would be complete without a whole armory of weapons – Lego really didn’t skimp here. The set comes with armor, 2 swords, a battle axe, a scythe, a bow & arrow and two knives as well as a few other bits and pieces that the more medievally (I had no idea that was a word!) educated may be able to help me with.

Full of character and awesome value for money the Blacksmith Attack set perfectly complements any of the other Kingdoms sets and also stands strongly on it’s own as a well-rounded playset straight out of the box.

Lego Blacksmith Attack

Where To Buy Blacksmith Attack

1. Mill Village Raid

If you were attentive in the last post you may have picked up that I love the Lego chickens. So I thought it only fair to mention that the set that appealed to me most in the Kingdoms theme this year features…chickens.

Lego Mill Village Raid Set

Mill Village Raid is of course so much more than just chickens.

It also comes with 2 goats, a pig and some horses 🙂

Jokes aside this is a perfect middle sized set that fits right in with similarly themed Kingdoms sets like Medieval Market Village.

Lego continues to show a side to this period in history that is so much more than castles and knights. Having said that both these sets look great as part of a larger diorama with a big castle in the middle.

The set comes with two separate buildings, a windmill/grain store and a barn – both highly detailed and finished with little features like flowers, pitchforks, ladders and a number of small accessories/features that make this set a gem.

Play-wise the set really shines.

A crank concealed in the chicken (there’s that word again) on the roof raises and lowers a basket at the front of the barn which can be used to carry food or people. While in the windmill building, another crank turns the windmill blades and the grindstone inside. It is amazing how much Lego managed to fit into this set and it is a testament to the designers who know their craft inside and out.

Six minifigures round out this set; a milkmaid, farmer, stableboy and 3 dragon knights as well as the afore mentioned farm animals and a small cart.

Lego Mill Village Raid Box

Where To Buy Mill Village Raid

In conclusion

So I have to say that was the hardest list I have done so far.
Even though there were only four Kingdoms sets released in 2011 they were all very appealing to me and I could easily recommend all to parents and families.
What about you?
Did you think King’s Carriage Ambush or Escape from the Dragon’s Prison were superior?