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Harry Potter Lego has always been a hit with both of my children and we have quite a large collection of different sets now. 4712 Troll on the Loose was originally on sale at about £6 in 2002 I think but now it is referred to as a rare item and new, boxed sets can sell for about £38 whilst used, unboxed sets seem to sell on eBay for about £10.
I am not sure who chose this set as I don't think it looks particularly appealing. It is a tie-in set to Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and depicts the scene, on Halloween, when a Troll enters Hogwarts and Harry and his friends end up challenging him in the bathroom.
There are two figures with this set; Harry Potter in his Gryffindor Uniform with a black cloak and a bluey grey Troll wearing a brown jerkin and loincloth. I think that the figure of the Troll is quite disappointing. It is immobile except for its right arm. The other arm doesn't move at all and its feet are rigid. I was quite surprised by this and I always think that it doesn't look very Lego-like, it really looks quite cheap and nasty. The clothes for the troll don't fit particularly well either and the loincloth always seems to ride up and it looks a bit strange.
The set consists of about 75 pieces. There are a good mix of different standard pieces with arches, slopes and normal bricks in grey, black and green. There are also several more interesting pieces including a Jack-o'-lantern head, a door with keys and flames to add atmosphere.
The set is relatively easy to construct on the 6x14 brown baseplate. The instructions are quite clear although we did have trouble when we originally built it as the door hinge brick sits at an unusual angle and at first we put it in incorrectly and the door wouldn't shut. The design is good with lots of strength around the corners so it is very solid once constructed and it looks very castle-like with all of the arches.
The set has a couple of fun features including a sink that tips forward when it is hit by the Troll and a mechanism that drops bricks on the Trolls head. The Troll has a club made from several bricks whilst Harry has a wand.
This set comes with an instruction booklet depicting 14 stages of construction. What I really like about the instruction booklet is that it also gives some photographs at the back of other constructions that you can build with the same set. I think this is really useful when trying to encourage children to move away from just building the designated design but to try things of their own. There are some great ideas in these pictures including Harry escaping from a flip down wall whilst the Troll guards a door. The set can also be combined with the other Hogwarts sets as all of these original sets use the same bricks and colour schemes. It takes me about 6 minutes to build the set.
This set was probably the first that I came across that uses elongated bricks rather than just putting several bricks together. By that I mean one brick that is two wide and 5 rows high rather than using 5 bricks which are two wide and one high (if that makes sense!). I think this is a lazy way of building and probably cheaper but it means that the bricks are not so versatile.
My children enjoyed playing with this set. The building was ideal when they were getting used to following instructions. It is not a hard build but it does have some interesting things to manage such as the hinge bricks. They also liked re-enacting the scene but they both disliked the fact that the Troll couldn't "walk" so they could only make it jump up and down and it was always static if they were setting a scene. Last year my son was doing a lot of stop-motion filming and he used Harry Potter figures a lot in his films but the Troll was no good to him as it didn't move.
This is not one of the best of the Harry Potter sets. It has a few nice features and it is easy to build with a good selection of bricks that allow good free-style building as well. However this isn't a scene that just involves Harry so my children preferred it once they had sets including the other characters so they could act out the scene better.