Athos wrote:Part of why Star Wars suceeded where Harry Potter failed is with Star Wars, its vehicle based and you can make a complete good looking set for $10-$20, like the Desert Skiff.
Interesting viewpoint. I always looked at the smaller sets as pointless, inaccurate and useful only as a vehicle for getting different minifigs.
But to your point I thought TLC blew it totally with the HP line because they failed to use the strength of the HP books and depended too much on the movies. The movies succeeded (as much as they did) because they brought (will bring) to life the books. By tying so closely to the movies rather than the books they were working too far removed and lost huge opportunities.
An example of the approach they should have taken is the Batman line. Using the movies as one source of designs but also the other sources (live action TV, comics, animated TV) they can present a wider range of options. Now, to be fair, they are still very vehicle-based but that has always been TLC's strength. It seems like every set I had growing up as a kid had a car, truck, airplane, spaceship or boat involved. Even today most sets seems to have some sort of vehicle.
Imagine if they had used the kind of thinking that went into the modular houses when designing the HP line? As you say, the books are based on characters and locations so why not use those very aspects? Can you imagine Grimmaud Place or Privet Drive or especially that huge stupid series of Hogwarts Castles in a more modular style? Sure you could keep facades if you had to for cost but make them detailed enough to be worth "filling in" at the back. Escape from Privet Drive was a fantastic set almost destroyed by a crap building. The car was a masterpiece but why make a useless pseudo-house?
But that said they also were incredibly stupid with the vehicles. Ie: I would have sold each part of the Hogwarts express separately with two-four figures each, mixed so as to require a complete set to get all the important characters:
Hogwarts Engine: Driver, primary character, secondary character
Passenger Car: conductor, primary character, secondary character
Baggage Car: primary character, secondary character, secondary character
There were lots of opportunities for building sets that frankly they threw away by crap design.
OK, that rant went a little off the tracks but I love HP and LEGO and the bungling of the line still ranks as one of my biggest LEGO disappointments of recent years.