Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: LEGO Harry Potter Hogwart's Express (4841)
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**Update December 2011: Lego has delisted this set. Expect prices from third-party retailers to soar.**

I am the nut-job parent that you'll see in some of the other train reviews. I grew up with Lego and returned to it when I had kids. Obviously I am terribly partial to Lego, but I'll give you the best review I can so that you can make the decision that is right for your kids. I do not receive free sets or compensation for my Lego reviews.

It is really hard for me to give a Lego train four stars instead of five, but please hear me out before you ding me. If you have a Harry Potter fan in the house, then this train is wonderful. It has a great set of characters and the train is sufficiently styled like the actual GWR 4900 Class 5972 Olton Hall that you can imagine it steaming towards Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Draco aboard. Where it falls short is in the use of standard train wheels for the engine, something that Lego did not have to do because they began producing large steam-engine style drivers in 2009 (see sets #10194 and #7597). Yes, this train is easier to build, it does not require as much tinkering, and it should be easier to motorize. But Lego lost an opportunity to make a really fantastic engine. As it is, the wheel trucks simply look odd. I have other qualms with the design, but the wheel issue is why I find myself giving it four stars instead of five. My apologies to die-hard fans of the design.

As for the kids, they don't seem to care about the wheels.

Now for the nuts and bolts. This set includes a locomotive, tender and austere coach. It does not include track or a motor. This is the fourth Hogwart's Express from Lego (earlier sets being 4708, 4758, 10132); I think this new one does a better job of using sloped bricks. The set includes Harry, Ron, Ginny, Luna and Draco, two owls, a cat, a trunk, sweets trolly and a very nicely rendered enchanted Ford Anglia from "The Chamber of Secrets." The coach lacks doors but it has an easy-lift off top for positioning mini-figures. The top of the tender is hinged allowing it to be used as a secret compartment. The train is fairly easy to build, though five and six year olds may require some assistance.

Parents, be sure to buy track. As of early 2011, Lego discontinued their standard track pack, #7896. Two such sets gave you an oval. 7896 is still available but often at outrageous prices. In place of 7896, Lego currently offers a flex-track pack (#8867, which is enough to make a circle) and a combination straight and flex pack (#7499). I don't believe the flex track is ideal for curves, but it is not clear what Lego's plan is at the moment. There are also switches available (set #7895). In a pinch, you can use the train without track; Lego's directions allow you to lock the swiveling bogies in place. But track makes a big difference in the play experience.

You do not have to motorize it right off the bat (my kids enjoy push trains as well as motorized ones). But if you do, the set should be fairly straightforward to motorize with Power Function components, probably with a motor under the firebox, a battery in the tender, and an infrared receiver somewhere in between. Power Function (PF) components are available directly from Lego. You will want to purchase: 88002 (motor), 8884 (IR receiver), 8879 (IR transmitter), and one of the following:
-8878 (rechargeable battery) with 8887 (transformer for recharging)
-88000 (AAA battery box).

Lego trains prior to 2007 used an electrified 9 volt track. This system has been discontinued. If you are just starting out with Lego trains, you are best going with the current system (Power Functions) since 9 volt parts and track have become scarce.

If you are not sure about whether you want to invest in a Lego train and want more information, I recommend looking for Lego train videos on Youtube. It is often hard to find Lego trains in stores and even then, you don't get to see them running or handled.

Cheers
1010 comments| 161 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 18, 2010
I wouldn't use this for playing, since the magnets that connect the train cars are entirely too weak (Pulling it across my table was a problem), but it's still a great decoration piece, and it looks really neat!

It took me a dedicated six hours (A couple of hours a night for three nights) to get it done, and the final size was about two feet for the train and a little Ford Angila big enough for two figures and a suitcase. I put Ginny and Draco in my Angila and Luna Lovegood is the train engineer.

I think it's the best Lego Harry Potter product on the market, until Diagon Alley comes out.
11 comment| 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 17, 2010
We just got this toy for my 7 year old's birthday and I was a little skeptical because the price was a little steep - I have to say it was totally worth it. This train is awesome. From the easy way that it moves when he drives it to all of the little details that they put into making this a wonderful piece of Harry Potter memorabilia.

I love all of the little details like the wand boxes, the chocolate frog on the trolley and Luna Lovegood's glasses - they are great! My child has had hours of fun with this toy already and there are many more hours of fun to come.

To anyone deciding to buy this I would definitely recommend it. It is a wonderful piece of Lego that is only going to gain in value over time - especially considering what the Hogwarts Express that came out a while ago costs now.

I also love the car. The blue Ford Anglia is awesome! With all of the little pieces that go into building it, it truly looks like the original in the movie.

Love, Love, Love this set- you can't go wrong!
0Comment| 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 7, 2010
Our grandson has just started reading Harry Potter books, so he wanted this lego set for his birthday.
He put it together in two evenings--which we thought was rather fast. We were hoping it would keep him busy for longer than that given the $79.00 price tag. But, it was what he wanted, and he was happy.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 18, 2012
Bought this for my 6 year old grandson even though the age range was 8-14. It was amazing to watch him sit down, follow the directions one step at a time, keep the pieces organized, and assemble the castle. The finished castle has wonderful details. His friends think he is amazing. That is great for a 6 year old. Love the Legos.
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on December 31, 2010
I purchased this product for our grandson who has Autism....It helps him use his hands and mind in a very effective way....Children with Autism need products that keep them interested in what they are doing and able to be coordinated with their hands....He loves Lego's and has many different items....Thanks for the many happy hours he will have with his Hogwarts Express Train....
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 10, 2012
This was recommended by very LEGO-savy 11 year old young man, for his 8 year old boy cousin. Received resounding approval from parents to purchase it. Was a big hit Christmas morning and think will be for some time to come. Every age group seems to like LEGO products!
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**Update December 2011: Lego has delisted this set. Expect prices from third-party retailers to soar. Cross-check the going rate on Bricklink.com.**

I am the nut-job parent that you'll see in some of the other train reviews. I grew up with Lego and returned to it when I had kids. Obviously I am terribly partial to Lego, but I'll give you the best review I can so that you can make the decision that is right for your kids. I do not receive free sets or compensation for my Lego reviews.

It is really hard for me to give a Lego train four stars instead of five, but please hear me out before you ding me. If you have a Harry Potter fan in the house, then this train is wonderful. It has a great set of characters and the train is sufficiently styled like the actual GWR 4900 Class 5972 Olton Hall that you can imagine it steaming towards Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Draco aboard. Where it falls short is in the use of standard train wheels for the engine, something that Lego did not have to do because they began producing large steam-engine style drivers in 2009 (see sets #10194 and #7597). Yes, this train is easier to build, it does not require as much tinkering, and it should be easier to motorize. But Lego lost an opportunity to make a really fantastic engine. As it is, the wheel trucks simply look odd. I have other qualms with the design, but the wheel issue is why I find myself giving it four stars instead of five. My apologies to die-hard fans of the design.

As for the kids, they don't seem to care about the wheels.

Now for the nuts and bolts. This set includes a locomotive, tender and austere coach. It does not include track or a motor. This is the fourth Hogwart's Express from Lego (earlier sets being 4708, 4758, 10132); I think this new one does a better job of using sloped bricks. The set includes Harry, Ron, Ginny, Luna and Draco, two owls, a cat, a trunk, sweets trolly and a very nicely rendered enchanted Ford Anglia from "The Chamber of Secrets." The coach lacks doors but it has an easy-lift off top for positioning mini-figures. The top of the tender is hinged allowing it to be used as a secret compartment. The train is fairly easy to build, though five and six year olds may require some assistance.

Parents, be sure to buy track. As of early 2011, Lego discontinued their standard track pack, #7896. Two such sets gave you an oval. 7896 is still available but often at outrageous prices. In place of 7896, Lego currently offers a flex-track pack (#8867, which is enough to make a circle) and a combination straight and flex pack (#7499). I don't believe the flex track is ideal for curves, but it is not clear what Lego's plan is at the moment. There are also switches available (set #7895). In a pinch, you can use the train without track; Lego's directions allow you to lock the swiveling bogies in place. But track makes a big difference in the play experience.

You do not have to motorize it right off the bat (my kids enjoy push trains as well as motorized ones). But if you do, the set should be fairly straightforward to motorize with Power Function components, probably with a motor under the firebox, a battery in the tender, and an infrared receiver somewhere in between. Power Function (PF) components are available directly from Lego. You will want to purchase: 88002 (motor), 8884 (IR receiver), 8879 (IR transmitter), and one of the following:
-8878 (rechargeable battery) with 8887 (transformer for recharging)
-88000 (AAA battery box).

Lego trains prior to 2007 used an electrified 9 volt track. This system has been discontinued. If you are just starting out with Lego trains, you are best going with the current system (Power Functions) since 9 volt parts and track have become scarce.

If you are not sure about whether you want to invest in a Lego train and want more information, I recommend looking for Lego train videos on Youtube. It is often hard to find Lego trains in stores and even then, you don't get to see them running or handled.

Cheers
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 5, 2013
Lily has been wanting the Hogwart's Express for two years. It is no longer available from Lego so the price is up considerably since last year but it made her very happy. She is 11 and said it took her 1 1/2 hours to assemble.
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on June 29, 2012
bought it for my little sister who loves both harry potter and legos.. i figured it was a can't miss and i was right.. have since bought her other sets for another xmas/birthday.. and those were hits too!
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