Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 24

It all comes down to the final day! HP has a tenuous one point lead, but SW and MCU are ready for the grand finale. What will the outcome be? Let’s find out as we conclude the 2022 Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars!

Day 24 – MCU

Steve: On the twenty-fourth day of Christmas, the Guardians gave to meeeee…… Drax in sweater for some gleeeeee

(if the quality is back, so is the song)

Door #24 for the MCU is a unique and festive minifigure – Drax in a Baby-Groot-themed Holiday sweater.  The printing here is crisp and clean, although there is no leg or arm printing.  The head has a frowning expression, and of course there’s no alternate face, as he appropriately comes with no hair or hat.

For accessories, we get the purple “Power” stone and a spoon and fork, indicating Drax is gearing up for a very interesting holiday feast. We actually get a full sprue of Power Stone moulds, which is good.  The fork is also a relatively uncommon accessory (BrickLinks says it was released in 2021).

A great fig like this is a welcome sight after a long Christmas season of fairly disappointing gifts.  

Day 24- SW

Pat: Star Wars advent calendars, traditionally, round out the season with a great gift, and this year is no different (though I’d say, a little odd for the calendar). Day 24 gives us a sweet festive R2-D2 Minifig, serving as the other half to the matching sweater R2/3PO duo of the calendar. The R2 minifig uses the same dome and legs as other R2 minifigs (some red legs would have been nice), but has a wicked red torso with printing on both sides. On the front is a stitched print of Lego C-3PO’s head, and on the back is a stitch of the Rebel Alliance insignia. This is our first time ever getting an Astromech Droid torso in the standard red, and it really pops against the white and green stitching print. 

Though it’s a surprise the R2-D2 and C-3PO minifigs appeared in gifts like, 15 days ago, they make a wicked pair of minifigs. The “matching sweaters with each others faces” is super adorable, and it’s a super high quality festive “get” of the calendar (wayyy better than Santa C-3PO and Reindeer R2-D2 from the 2015 calendar), and quality additions to the “festive sweater” Star Wars collection.

I would like to note, it’s pretty strange they include only one of the duo at the end of the calendar and not both. It was nice to space the desirable figures out, but it’s completely out of character for Lego Star Wars advent calendars, which always save the BEST festive fig for the final day. Once 3PO came before the 10th day, I assumed Beach Vader would be 24th for sure. Not a complaint or anything, it actually made the calendar less predictable, but worth noting!

Day 24- HP

Matt: Well, after 23 days, we’re finally here. It’s been a decent calendar season for HP and one that certainly surprised me in a few ways, which I’ll touch on in our “Final Thoughts” article. For now, let’s see what HP has to offer us on the final day.

Behind door #24 is none other than The People’s Champ, Neville Longbottom. For starters, what a fantastic decision by LEGO to actually include a minifigure on the final day of HP, for the first time ever- joining its counterparts in the MCU and SW universe. Secondly, to give the spotlight to a “semi-main character” is a bold, but in my estimation, a spectacular decision as Neville is one of the more beloved characters in the entire series.

This version of Neville is brand new and exclusive to this calendar, courtesy his new torso print featuring the sweater he’s wearing in the final few scenes of DHP2. He has a dual sided face with a surprised expression and a smiling expression. The cherry on top here is that Neville is holding the sword of Gryffindor. This sword is only previously available with Griphook CMF Series 2 (a random blind bag), Dumbledore’s Office (a pricey and premium retail set), and the Chamber of Secrets (an even more pricey, premium retail set). Getting this sword accessory here is of tremendous value. As all fans would know, Neville is able to pull the sword out of the Sorting Hat and kill Nagini, Voldemort’s pet snake and final Horcrux, paving the way for Harry and the allegiance of the Elder Wand to finish the job.

While Neville, like many HP figs before him, will likely not score any points in the Battle today, he certainly scores points in our hearts. This is the way all advent calendars should finish the season, regardless if it’s HP, SW, MCU, or other non-licensed themes. More than anything, I’m happy the designers of the calendar opted for a fig today and like Neville himself, showed bravery to include a supporting character at the end of 2022.



With two festive exclusive figures on the final day, it’s MCU coming out on top with a rarer character complete with rare accessories. In second place, SW, with an exclusive festive R2 to go with C3PO from early on in the calendar. Finishing off the scoreboard is an exclusive Neveille Longbottom with the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. 

Based on how the scores played out over all 24 days, HP and SW have ended up in a tie, with 28 points each. The final tallies are:

SW- 28

HP- 28

MCU- 14

We will follow up with out “Final Thoughts” article in which each reviewer will wrap up their respective calendars and give their overall take on the 2022 battle. Stay tuned!

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 23

After a debatable Day 22, we only have two days left in the season. Read on to find out how our Battle draws to a close.

Day 23 – MCU

Steve: Door # 12 brings the week of the sleigh to a close.  It’s not that it’s a bad build, but spreading it over three days really saps it of any joy.  It doesn’t help when we can see Star Wars putting up micro builds in a single day with almost the same piece count.

For the final day, we add a cargo trailer to the sleigh with a hinged hitch point and a green “Toy sack” piece that is a nice addition.  As I have mentioned before, my primary complaint with the overall build is that it really doesn’t have a good connection to the Guardians’ universe.

Day 23- SW

Pat: As we’re nearing the end of the calendar competition, Star Wars still trails by 2 points and needs to make up ground quickly to overcome the stellar Harry Potter calendar. Thankfully, the advent opens Tibb’s Eve with a banger – a Santa Gonk Droid minifig! Gonk Droids have become pretty common in advent calendars in recent years, and from Lego Star Wars in general to be honest, which is super fun to see. These little battery droids have developed a pretty big cult appeal from the Star Wars fanbase for just being omnipresent and neutral in the greater galaxy, and I think Lego really capitalises on that popularity by producing as many as necessary. They’re a great accompaniment to a sets’ minifigure lineup, an easy gift for advent calendars, and popular enough to continue producing.

We’ve received 11 Gonk Droid minifigures throughout the years (with another on the way in the 2023 TIE Bomber), and tons from advent calendars – traditional designs in 2012 and 2016, the droid wrapped up like a gift in 2019, and a snowman version of the droid in 2020. So how does this one compare to all the ones we’ve received before? I’m happy to say that, excluding some iconic standard versions of the droid that are too versatile not to adore, this is probably the best version of the droid yet!

The Santa Gonk Droid is a substantial 26-piece build using mostly red bricks and tiles, and a white foot/terrain piece as a Santa beard. The build features a cool combination of studs and rounded 1×2 pieces to make boots for the feet, and the 2×2 hat build is awesome. I also really appreciate the use of 1×3 red tiles on the sides of the build to achieve the midsection ridge present on the droid, as most Lego design are simply 2×2 or 2×3 bricks. Overall, fantastic minifig, I’m happy to get it!

Day 23- HP

Matt: After a very close Day 22 which saw HP finish atop the leaderboards, we’re entering “sketchy” territory for the HP calendar. Let’s see what happens today.

On Day 23 we get a microscale Hogwarts Express. Since we’re on the Deathly Hallows Part 2 of the calendar, this scene perhaps represents the “dream sequence” where Harry speaks to Dumbledore after sacrificing himself to Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. 

We’ve seen a previous iteration of the Hogwarts Express in the inaugural 2019 HP calendar on Day 2. I will say that although we don’t get an additional train car here, the design of this train is much improved. Using SNOT (Studs not on top) techniques, I feel the designer achieved a more accurate look for the famed train here. Adding the tan arches completes a little scene.

Overall, I feel like some may consider today’s microbuild the best of the season. I think The Burrow is still my favorite, but this likely takes the silver medal of micros this season.


With its festive Gonk droid (a minifigure per Bricklink), SW takes the win today. In 2nd, HP with its micro Hogwarts Express. In 3rd, MCU, with its final part of Rocket’s sleigh.

With the win, SW ensure this will come down to the wire. The scores are now:

HP- 28

SW- 27

MCU- 14

To be concluded…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 22

With only three days left, the battle is coming down to the wire. Who will grab top marks today? Let’s find out.

Day 22 – MCU

Steve: Day 22 and the slog to mediocrity continues for the MCU Calendar

Door #22 is another fraction of the rocket sled – as we feared, we are facing the first 3-day build to appear in a LEGO Calendar. The colours are nice, and it’s good to see the sled taking shape, but it’s hard to feel excited about a build that doesn’t appear in the movies, isn’t in the Christmas special, and after 2 days is still incomplete. 

Day 22- SW

Pat: After years of awkward micros and infamous weapon racks, I struggle to imagine a built-up, non-minifig advent calendar gift Star Wars has produced that compares to getting a minifigure. Minifigures are just so usable, versatile, collectable, and such a huge part of Lego’s brand image – I’d buy an advent of 24 minifigures in a heartbeat! However, I think Star Wars finally produces something almost equally as appealing as a minifig, and something I’ve been suggesting for years – an accompanying minifig vignette.

Day 22 for the Star Wars advent gives us a small build of a Hoth Wampa Cave. The build is significant for an advent gift, building off a 2×6 plate and creating a larger footprint than two 1x6x5 wall panel bricks. The build is mostly white bricks and modified angled bricks, with a couple toothed pieces used to simulate icicles, and a 1×1 tan clip to hold a bone. This build is clearly the Wampa Cave from Episode 5 on Hoth, where Luke is taken back after being attacked by the Wampa and strung upside-down on the ceiling. This is a build we’ve seen a couple times before from Lego (once in 2010 and once in 2016, both appearing with the Luke minifigs discussed in yesterday’s review) but this is a super effective downsizing of it.

On it’s own, this isn’t exactly considered a minifig vignette – it doesn’t have a plaque or display stand insinuating it as exclusively a minifig vignette, but that’s clearly what it’s intended to be. It comes the day after we get the Luke Skywalker minifig wearing his outfit from the Wampa Cave scene, dangling by the icy ceiling with his lightsaber encased in ice out of reach below. In addition, there’s a couple of white studs exposed, where the backs of Luke’s legs can be attached, and by removing the tan bone, there is a perfect spot to connect a lightsaber. The resulting scene is a PERFECT little scene for a minifig. 

These displays could be stacked, connected modularly, and come with every calendar, or even every minifig in every calendar, annually. I would happily take 5-6 of these in a calendar instead of 5-6 more micro builds, and they could make weapon racks obsolete by simply attaching the minfig’s weapon to a clip on the build. I half think that’s what the star wars advent calendar started soft-running last year, with every minifig appearing with an accompanying build – vehicles for the Scout Trooper and Grogu, but weapon racks built up off small plates with room to pose the minifig – some examples include the Tusken Weapon Rack for the Tusken and the Imperial Weapon Rack for the Stormtrooper. This is clearly an improved version though – I hope its a sign of good things to come from the Star Wars advents!

Day 22- HP

Matt: After failing to retrieve top marks yesterday, HP is looking to capitalize over the next couple days as they typically bow out on Day 24. Let’s see what they have today.

Behind door 22 is a microscale rendition of Gringotts Bank and the Dragon. This hearkens back to the scene in Deathly Hallows where Horcrux-hunting Harry and Co. escape Gringotts on top of the dragon. I don’t know the exact species of this dragon, but a little research tells me it’s a Ukrainian Ironbelly, which sounds pretty awesome. 

The build is one of the more parts-intensive of the calendar at 22 parts. I like the use of the white telescope pieces and white dome to evoke the Gringotts facade. But the highlight for me is the dragon itself, built around a Travis brick. While the dragon’s head design leaves something to be desired, the wings are great and offer some functionality. The highlight for me is the use of the dark grey cattle horn as its tail. This is a rarer part to come by, and we actually get an extra here today, which will come in handy.

While microbuilds are not high up on our tier list, I tend to judge them based on their design and if they are instantly recognizable. I feel as though this one accomplishes both. While I still prefer The Burrow as the best micro of the season to date, I think this is runner up, edging out the Knight Bus. 

Overall, I may not keep the Gringotts facade assembled post-season, but the dragon could have a use as the mini-dragon popping the popcorn in the Weasley’s diagon alley shop, or perhaps one of the four dragons drawn by the Triwizard Champions prior to their 1st Task.


Today’s matchup was one of the more debated matchups of the year. Ultimately, the majority felt that HP (slightly) beat out SW for top spot, as the gringotts/dragon micro edged the wampa cave (without minifig). In second place, SW, with its mini Wampa cave-frame to host Luke Skywalker from Day 21. In third, it’s the same old song and dance for MCU, still working its way through a complete sleigh build.

With the win, HP gains an additional point up on SW to give it a two point lead late into the season, and the scores are now: 

HP- 27

SW- 25

MCU- 14

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 21

With MCU mathematically eliminated, it comes down to a two-way battle between SW and HP. MCU can still play the role of spoiler and finish off their calendar strong. Let’s see how it all shakes out on Day 21.

Day 21 – MCU

Steve: No more cute rhymes after that debacle – the MCU is eliminated from first, and faces long odds to place second – Can we stay in the running to at least place #2?

-sigh- No.

Door #21 is… part of a sleigh. Spreading full builds over multiple days has been an ongoing point of contention for the reviewers – it cheapens the gift and makes for a disappointing day of building.  Based on the box art, I hesitate to even say this is HALF of a sleigh – it may only be a THIRD.  This would be a new low point for the LEGO Advent Calendars.

It’s hard to even critique the build as it’s obviously incomplete. This is the death knell for any ranking higher than last place overall- our score for today puts us well out of the running.

Day 21- SW

Pat: After a rough few days on Hoth, Star Wars needs to close the gap with Harry Potter if they have a chance of winning the race this year. Thankfully, for day 21 we get none other than Mr. “I blew up the Death Star”, Luke Skywalker! This is a version of Luke seen in Episode 5 on Hoth before he gets attacked by the Wampa and dragged to his cave. While not exclusive to the advent calendar, this version of Hoth Luke appears in only one other set, the 2021 75298 Microfighter AT-AT vs. Tauntaun, making him relatively uncommon. 

This is the 3rd time Lego has released an official “Luke in Hoth uniform” minifigure, and it is easily the best. In 2010, we received the first Hoth Luke, who had relatively common parts other than a nice torso print. In 2016, we received the second Hoth Luke in the UCS Assault on Hoth set, and while the torso was a step backwards from the 2010 version, it featured Luke with a cool unique head print, showing damage after the Wampa attack. This is definitely the most complete and accurate version of the character, with an accurate torso print, clean leg print (the first for this version of Luke), and primarily, a white balaclava. The face is actually printed on a white head piece with a flesh-tone patch (on both sides of the dual-sided expression) to reflect Luke’s face. Oftentimes when Lego prints flesh tones on a solid coloured head (black, white, even purple like on the Buzz Lightyear minifigs) the skin tone becomes skewed by the odd colour its being printed on, creating a pasty or pale coloured skin. Thankfully, this minifig does not have that problem, with crisp prints and bright colours. 

Interestingly enough, none of these Hoth Lukes have kept the same colour headpiece, though they all use the same piece. The 2010 version was in tan, the 2016 in white, now the 2021 in dark tan. The 2016 version likely used the headpiece as an equivalent to the balaclava, making it white. However, based on the Luke outfit seen here, dark tan is definitely accurate. Plus the lightsaber, spare goggles and spare hilt? Overall, great figure to get!

Day 21- HP

Matt: After one of the better microbuilds of the season, I wouldn’t be able to predict what comes next for HP. Let’s check it out.

Behind door #21 is the dreidel/spinner for the board game AND Hedwig. I’m legitimately shocked! As a fan and reviewer of HP calendar’s since 2019, today’s entry is a positive departure from calendar’s of years past- for two main reasons. I’ll explain below. 

First, we actually get the “dreaded dreidel” (spinner) piece out of the way PRIOR TO Day 24 of the calendar! This is huge, as it means HP has a chance to put up another cool gift on the 24th.While we don’t award HP any points for creating a playable board game throughout the season, I do recognize that the dreidel piece actually allows players to play the game.  The dreidel features a printed medium-nougat half-box displaying the moves/options the player makes after spinning. I do like the dark brown rounded tile and “flower pot” piece. And to confirm, the dreidel does actually work, and I would say much better than its previous iteration.

Secondly, we get a secondary gift in Hedwig on a 2×4 medium blue plate. This is a great value-add because last year, the dreidel was a standalone gift on Day 24. Adding Hedwig here is great. And again, for the hardcore fan at home, we now have a clear picture of Deathly Hallows Part 1 here- Hagrid’s bike, The Burrow, and Hedwig. Alas, this is a fitting tribute to one of Harry’s best friends who he tragically loses in this film sequence, while escaping from Privet Drive on Hagrid’s bike en route to The Burrow. I think it’s a great way to honour Hedwig’s legacy and to include him with the required dreidel piece, is fitting for today.


By virtue of its Luke Skywalker minifig, SW grabs a commanding two points today. In second, it’s HP with the game-board dreidel and Hedwig. In 3rd, MCU doesn’t manage to steal any points today with a portion (?) of Rocket’s sleigh.

With today’s results, HP’s lead is cut in half once more, and SW is ensuring this will come down to the wire. The scores are now:

HP- 25

SW- 24

MCU- 14

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 20

All three calendars are still in contention, but MCU is staring down the barrel of elimination. Will today be their final hurrah? Read on.

Day 20 – MCU

Steve: On the twentieth day of Christmas, the Guardians gave to meeeee…. Mathematical elimination.

Every day of the last 5 were do-or-die for the MCU, and today they chose… death.  Door #20 is a Christmas Tree decoration for the Groot figure from day #19.

I’m not going to lie – as a combined figure, the Christmas-Tree-Groot is easily my favourite figure so far across all three calendars.  Alas, LEGO decided to spread this top-tier figure across two days, leaving day 2 of the build lacking.  No great parts or prints, this harkens back to day 2 of the 2021 Calendar when all we got was the energy blasts to go with the Tony Stark figure from day one.  Even the distinctively festive element doesn’t save this as an add-on.

With this, the MCU must tip its hat to our worthy foes, and let the giants battle for first.  Second is still a possibility, but it would require quite a stumble from Star Wars and Harry Potter.

Day 20- SW

Pat: Star Wars breaks the 20th of the month with… another Hoth micro, this time the Rebel Laser Cannon. OK, to be fair, I think this is the best of the three we’ve received so far because it’s almost impossible to mess up. Not only is it not scaled down much from the in-universe design, but it’s essentially a mounted satellite dish, making it extremely versatile for MOCs and battle scenes. A 2×2 and 3×3 dish make up the head of the laser, with a grey ski pole (which seems to be THE piece of the advent calendar, appearing in 4 builds, with a spare in each) serving as the barrel. The build is mounted on a white plate, attached to an inverted grey battle droid torso as the body of the cannon itself. Overall, it’s a pretty simplistic build, but it’s valuable for any Star Wars collector, in my opinion!

Day 20- HP

Matt: After a questionable microbuild yesterday, I’m hoping HP can get back on track in a hurry. As we know from previous years, they tend to finish calendars very poorly. Let’s see what happens today.

Behind Door 20 is a microscale rendition of The Burrow. This is of course the Weasley’s magical home. Placing my overall dislike of micro builds aside, I might rank today’s offering as the best of the bunch in HP’s 2022 calendar- for a couple of reasons. Instantly recognizable, this build uses some great colors- medium nougat, red, green, tan, olive green, and medium blue. I think the choice of color here evokes the existing renditions of the burrow seen in previous LEGO sets. Secondly, we get a lot of new parts here that many of us don’t yet have, namely the small red slopes that kinda look like Monopoly pieces and the “double plate brick” officially called a “Modified 1 x 1 x 2/3 with Open Stud” per Bricklink. 

Overall, I think this build achieves the angles and feel we’ve come to associate with The Burrow. Depending on your HP layout, you might even be able to keep this one intact at season’s end. 


With no heavy hitters today, it came down to the best build of the bunch. Ultimately with its microscale rendition of The Burrow, HP comes out on top. In second place, SW with another Hoth micro, this time with a Rebel Laser Canon. In 3rd place, MCU, with a festive branch to now complete its previous Goot minifig.

With the loss, MCU is now mathematically eliminated from this years battle. I’m sure Steve will have much more commentary to provide in the days to come, and in our final thoughts article on the 24th. MCU now takes on the role of spoiler and can steal critical points away from the other two contenders.

With the results today, the scores are now:

HP- 24

SW- 22

MCU- 14

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 19

The battle remains tight and HP has a two point buffer. Can they extend this, or will SW stay locked in? Will MCU bow out or die another day? Read on!

Day 19 – MCU

Steve: On the nineteenth day of Christmas, the Guardians gave to meeeee – a dude who is looking like a treeeee….

First of all – let’s talk numbers.  Counting today, there are 6 days left.  The MCU enters those final 6 days with 12 points, so that means to still be POSSIBLE for the MCU to take the overall win, the MCU needs to post 6 days of wins.  In a row.  No second places, 6 wins.

Let’s see how we start that final sprint!  Door #19 for the Guardians gives us The Flora Colossus himself – Groot!

Bricklink lists this as a unique figure, but a careful eye reveals that the prints and head moulds are not new or unique, it’s the addition of the neck bracket that marks it as “new.”  However,  the no-neck-bracket version is only available in The Guardians Ship, which is a pretty expensive set.  It’s a good figure, with detailed torso, leg and foot printing.  The prints have some sand green mixed in which makes the print really pop.

We also get a white figure stand to represent some fluffy snow and a cell phone print (likely to represent the hand-held video game from the Guardians Christmas special).

Given that the only other source for this fig is a very expensive set, this is a great find for an Advent calendar.

Day 19- SW

Pat: Star Wars continues its Hoth meander with another micro build, and unfortunately, the bogged-down back half of the calendar seems to continue. We get another Hoth micro build on day 19, and this time, it’s an AT-ST walker. While not it’s most popular appearance in the Star Wars original trilogy, the AT-ST “Chicken” Walker was indeed featured in the background on Hoth and appeared with a slightly different design from its Episode 6 counterpart (the real-world explanation for this is the usage of small, stop-motion models versus larger designs in the Endor forest set, but the Hoth version also has further apart feet, different weapons, and no slits in the cockpit for snow terrain).

The build itself for the AT-ST is fine. They achieve the “chicken” shape nicely by hinging the legs at the back of the build, giving the head/cockpit the illusion of being before the legs, which is appropriate. We get more of those cool new 1×1 plates with a clip on each side for the legs, and a white modified plate on bottom as a base for the walker to stand up. The build uses a Travis brick for the cockpit and some cheese wedges, studs on bars, and a rollerblade to achieve the shaping, which I think works! Pretty well! To be honest, all aspects of the build are quality and accurate to the in-universe vehicle, it’s honestly the awkwardness of the vehicle design that holds this build back. It’s spindly and topheavy, needing the base to even stay up. We’ve seen 16 iterations of the AT-ST now from Lego, with half of them being micro or polybag scale, and honestly, not one of those 8 look great. So yea, valiant effort by Lego on an iconic vehicle, but still not a perfect micro. At least the extra pieces are great!

Day 19- HP

Matt: With three figures over a four-day span, this might be HP’s best run of the season. I find myself again in the “cautiously optimistic” camp with respect to HP’s performance in the Battle. Let’s find out what happens on Day 19.

Behind door 19 is a microscale version of Hagrid’s flying motorcycle. More accurately, it’s the motorcycle Hagrid inherits/borrows from Sirius Black. Fans of the series may remember that in Film 1, Hagrid brings The Boy Who Lived to Albus Dumbledore and the Dursleys doorstep in the dead of night, the child having just defied one of the most dangerous wizards to ever live. More on this later.

As an advent calendar gift, it’s unimpressive in my opinion. We get a different colored 2×4 plate today, signifying the start of the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) in our chronological calendar. I’m not a huge fan of microscale, and I feel that trying to represent this is really tough, especially since it’s not a huge item/asset overall (yes, it was used in the “7 Potters” extraction, which might be its most significant role). I don’t mind some of the techniques employed and it’s actually a parts-intensive build today, which is nice. My colleagues and I note that the angle NOT showing the sidecar actually makes the bike a bit more aesthetically pleasing (see additional photo below).

Overall, I’m not going to get too amped up over most microbuilds in the best of times and here, I feel HP selected a more obscure item to represent this late in the game. 

P.S- Circling back real quickly, I suppose the more romantic aspect of today’s build touches upon Harry coming “full circle” in some respects. He was dropped off at 4 Privet Drive as a child by Hagrid. For years, Harry endured a lot of pain and sadness at that house- it was never a home. In some respects, it seems fitting that when it came time to leave for the final time, it was the same man- Hagrid- there to take him away on his bike. In that light, maybe it’s viewed more favorably by the hardcore Potter fan.


With perhaps its best minifigure of the year so far in Groot, MCU cruises to a daily victory and remains mathematically still in the Battle. In second place, SW snags a sheepish point with its AT-ST micro. In 3rd, HP’s motorcycle micro just didn’t have enough to finish on the scoresheet today.

With that, HP’s two point lead is back to one, and the scores shift to:

HP- 22

SW- 21

MCU- 14

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 18

HP and SW remain deadlocked in what’s turning into a great two way battle. MCU needs to finish on the scoreboard to remain mathematically in the competition. Let’s see what happens today.

Day 18 – MCU

Steve: On the eighteenth day of Christmas the Guardians gave to meeee… a spaceship to fly in gracefulleeee

Day 18 and the MCU is still clinging to life despite some bad matchups. Todays door give us a micro scale “Milano” – the Guardians first ship. 

This ship is destroyed at the end of Volume 1 so it’s a bit odd to see it here. No festive element or unique prints to elevate the build leaves it solidly in the “OK” column.  I think it’s a better build than the other ship from the calendar but it’s not exciting me.  MCU needs SOME points to stay alive, so it will come down to the matchups today. 

Day 18- SW

Pat: The Hoth gifts continue with day 18 of the Star Wars Calendar, this time for the good guys. We get a Hoth Defense Turret, an iconic Hoth Rebel weapon seen in many Lego system sets, and twice now in advent calendars. This model is a huge improvement of the 2016 version and scaled up a size, from 1×1 cylinder bases and a 2×2 dish top, to 2×2 cylinder bases and a more complex top, finished with a new 3×3 tile piece, which is cool to see and not a part I recognize. The centre build of the top uses a reddish brown Travis Brick (1×1 brick with a stud on each side) and some slanted rough bricks to achieve a rounded shape, which I think works really well, and the telescope piece as the turret itself works well enough too. Unfortunately though, a cool enough turret might not be enough this late in the season…

Day 18- HP

Matt: Taking a moment to pause on HP so far with a week left, I’m not as disappointed as I thought I’d be based on the box artwork. A string of decent daily gifts in the mid-game has kept this Battle close. That said, if history tells us anything, it’s that HP typically finishes calendar’s very poorly. I’m curious to see if they can buck that trend this year. Let’s check out Day 18.

Today we get another minifigure in the form of Severus Snape. I’ve always got tons to say about the potions master and his place in the entire story, but maybe for today I’ll focus on the build for now. From what I gather this isn’t an exclusive variant of Snape, but it is rare, having only appeared in two other retail sets to date. One of these is a larger set so getting him today represents good value. As appears to be the trend of the calendar, we don’t get any printing on the legs but the torso is great. Snape comes with a black wand sprue, which is a rarer colour for wands.

Overall, I really like getting Snape here in the 2022 calendar. It’s a figure that is shockingly only available in 9 variants. I would have thought that number would have been a little higher in 20+ years of LEGO Harry Potter, but alas. Great gift this late into the season.


With a rare minifigure of a main character, and no challengers in sight, HP and Snape take top marks. In second place, MCU, with a strong microbuild of its protagonist’s ship. In 3rd, SW with a micro hoth turret.

The Battle remains tight and with the win, HP grabs a quick two point lead, and the score goes to:

HP- 22

SW- 20

MCU- 12

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 17

After two huge wins from HP, is this a turning point or a mere mirage? Can SW match HP? Can MCU remain mathematically in the fight? After solid reviews from Andrew House once again, I (Matt) am back with the HP reviews. Read on!

Day 17 – MCU

Steve: On the 17th day of Christmas, the Guardians gave to meeee…. Some Thanos Armour looking snoweeee…

Day 17 and the MCU Calendar is hanging on – 1st place overall is still within reach (but it is going to be QUITE a reach).  Marvel needs to score today.

Today, we find a snowman wearing Thanos’ armour!  It’s a cute and festive little build, and getting that pearl gold helmet is nice.  Using the 1×1 modified tiles with clips as the shoulders/pauldrons looks great – its too bad you can’t use that effect on an actual figure!

According to Brickling this is NOT a minifigure – this remains a point of contention with me, as Bricklink doesn’t seem to follow the same rules for MCU and Star Wars.  Buildable droids and snowmen both seem to get figure numbers for Star Wars but NOT for the MCU.  Or worse, they only get classified as “minifigures” retroactively – see the Iron Snowman from the 2021 calendar. Show consistency!

With Star Wars putting up an actual figure, the Guardians won’t claim the full two points for today, although the festive element should still put us in the running to score some points.

Day 17- SW

Pat: As the advent calendar competition approaches its final week, Star Wars falls behind HP by a small margin, and needs to keep up the ante to secure a win (for once) in this year’s competition. Thankfully, we’re doing better than a weapon rack today with Day 17 giving us a nice minifigure –  an Imperial Snowtrooper with a blaster! This is the new model of Snowtrooper introduced in the 2020 75288 AT-AT Walker with thicker torso lines and dark tan hands. Traditionally, Snowtroopers have been abundant minifigures, appearing in multiple battlepacks and sets across Lego’s history. However, the version introduced in 2020 (which there are 7 versions of in the last 2 years, with 7 different head prints) has been surprisingly hard to come by in the casual aftermarket, having mostly only appeared in awkward, unpopular sets like the 75239 and 75241 Action Battle Hoth sets, or large, expensive sets like the aforementioned AT-AT Walker and the UCS AT-AT Walker. So basically, getting one in the advent is great, and even better – it’s one of the versions previously exclusive to the UCS AT-AT!

The fig has sweet leg and torso prints with a printed survival pack on the back and printed kama on the hips and legs – unfortunately, as of the 2020 Snowtrooper, Lego seems to be moving away from cloth kamas, which were seen on Imperial Snowtroopers from 2014 – 2020, as well as First Order Snowtroopers. The print is good, but the cloth was better. The helmet/mask piece is super nice and has been used since the 2014 update, but I’m not sure how I feel yet (8 years later, lol) on the change from the one piece Snowtrooper helmet and backpack piece. It wasn’t versatile, and Snowtrooper minifigs couldn’t sit or turn their heads properly, but it was a nice piece. The blaster is a relief to see too, meaning yesterday’s “ammo rack” stud-shooter isn’t meant for a specific fig, or not this one at least. So what makes this fig otherwise exclusive to the UCS AT-AT?

The minifig uses a nice new head print reserved for only a couple Imperial minifigs; this one and the Scout Trooper in the 2022 4+ 75332 AT-ST. That means that unless you were buying the head loose online, or buying the AT-ST for the head, there was no way to get this Snowtrooper minifig without buying the $1,049.99 UCS AT-AT set. As someone who does not have that set, I’m happy to get this fig! It’s one less head I need to track down to fill that minifig’s spot in my collection independently, as the torso, legs, and helmet can be acquired relatively easily. So overall, yea I’m happy to get this one!

Day 17- HP

Matt: Coming off their best showing of the season, HP is back in business. However, with two days of “minifigures”, I’m apprehensive of today’s offering. Let’s check out what’s behind Door 17.

Today we get a rendition of the Pensieve. This is of course Dumbledore’s unique device for storing and viewing memories. I guess it’s kinda like cloud storage, but far more profound. In any event, this entry is well built. For starters, it’s to-scale which is always appreciated as it can be slotted into any HP MOC. I really like the base of the stand and its design. The actual “bowl” piece which is the main part of the pensieve employs a cool design technique. The 2×2 trans dark blue round tile is attached to an inverted white dome. While I think this is a fair way of representing the Pensieve, I myself favour the pearl silver dish that comes with the CMF Series 1 Dumbledore (seen below). Using that exact dish piece in conjunction with today’s stand design would have been an ideal scenario and provided us with a hard-to-find accessory. Nonetheless, I appreciate today’s effort and while I don’t think it makes the scoreboard, it’s certainly worth keeping intact after the holiday season concludes.

(Top): Day 17’s gift. (Bottom): Pensieve from HP CMF Series 1 Albus Dumbledore (courtesy Bricklink).


With its rare minifigure and no challengers in sight, SW cruises to a two point victory today. In second place, MCU, whose snowman wearing Thanos armor might fall under the “quasi-minifigure” category under different scenarios. HP finishes off the scoresheet, but can hold its head high with a respectable rendition of the Pensieve.

With the win, SW coolly ties the Battle and keeps HP on a leash, and the scores are now:

SW- 20

HP- 20

MCU- 11

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 16

Coming off the heels of one of its best entries to date, HP tied the overall score with SW. Who will take the lead today? Read on to find out.

Day 16 – MCU

Steve: On the 16th day of Christmas the Guardians gave to meeeeeee…..  A boom box scaled… figural…eeeee?

(I’m on the 16th one, they are not all going to be winners)

The MCU is reaching do-or-die status here.  We are not mathematically eliminated yet, but….let’s crunch some numbers.

The minimum “win”  is a three-way-tie of 24, so the MCU needs to score at a minimum of 15 points in 9 days to even have a chance.  That means we can only give up 3 points from day 16 to 24.  That’s a tough hill to climb, and the MCU can still lose with that 24 points.


Day 16 offers up a minifigure-scaled boombox!  This is a nice build, actually.  It’s well scaled and the speakers are detached for posing it in your scene if you choose to keep it after the holidays.  Several printed tiles are included, including a second copy of the unique-to-the-calendar “tapedeck” printed tile, which is a great addition.  Simple, but effective.

Day 16- SW

Pat: Remember when I said a few days ago that Sand Vader’s Castle was arguably Star Wars’ first “miss” of the calendar? Well, this one isn’t arguable. Day number 16 for Star Wars gives us an Imperial… wall? Gun storage? Firing Range? Bricklink calls it an “Ammo Rack”, which I suppose makes sense given the presence of a stud shooter and a couple spare studs… just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in. Star Wars pulls through with the infamous weapon rack this year again, and in the latter half no less. 

To be fair, this is a slightly better weapon/ammo rack than some in previous years. The days of a couple clips on a single brick or implement are over, and at least Lego makes an attempt to incorporate a scene now. This is clearly an Imperial build based on the provided tiny, but minifig scale, Mouse Droid build, plus the grey walls. There is a small mousehole in the wall, which is a cool inclusion based on its presence in the original Death Star set, and its usage by the mouse droids for delivering messages between walls, but it’s actually too small to fit the mouse droid, which kinda sucks. There is also a small peg off to one side to hold the single stud-shooter (weak weapon for a weapon rack), and a container to hold a couple spare studs. Overall, it’s a valiant attempt at a weapon rack by creating a usable scene or build around the rack, but at the end of the day its still a weapon rack. Last year, we got something similar in the Tusken Raider Weapon Rack, among other gifts, and this is a further improved version of that. And at least you get a second mouse droid from the spare pieces!

There are a couple brief points I would like to address of the build, which neither improve or hinder it’s quality in my opinion. First, this is our first time seeing a Mouse Droid to proper scale using a rollerblade, but it has been done in many MOCs before, though usually with a cheese wedge (Steve did in his Imperial Hanger years ago, for example). It is probably better with the cheese wedge instead of the 1×1 tile. I’m just hoping they didn’t opt for the 1×1 so it could fit in the hole, because it didn’t work. Secondly, this is our first Mouse Droid not to have a Bricklink ID#, which is super fair, it’s only two parts. However, it’s no less a mouse droid than the previous 5 iterations, which received the minifig entry (and can be seen here). That’s speaking more to the crazy definition Bricklink uses for a “minifig” (which moreso, in Lego Star Wars, just means sentient creature, humanoid or droid) but I’d still include it on my minifig wall. And finally, I don’t know what the deal with the hole is in the build, I guess its a window for shooting through? I just pray that doesn’t mean we’re getting targets like last year.

Day 16- HP

Andrew: Coming off yesterday’s high of Nymphadora Tonks, we have a delightful fusion of a build that is both a minifigure accessory and a minifigure: Professor Horace Slughorn… as an armchair! Hearkening back to Harry’s first meeting with Professor Slughorn who was hiding from Death Eaters, this build/figure captures Slughorn in transition from full armchair mode back into human form.

Slughorn previously appeared in 2018 in a Toys ‘R’ Us Bricktober minifigure pack, then in 2020’s 75969 Astronomy Tower, and given his rarity it is a shame that no minifigure body was included for this day. This version appears to use a similar or identical main face print and hair piece to the two previous iterations, which is perhaps a bit disappointing. However, it does have an alternate frowning face (that I forgot to take a picture of), which is nice.

As for the armchair build itself, it is pretty basic. I do like the curved slope pieces used for the armrest, but there’s only 2 of them in medium lavender so there’s not much else I could do with them. The seat of the chair is also shallow compared to most Lego seating builds, and with no studs, I think trying to actually use this as a chair for a minifigure is going to be prone to lots of slippage.

Anyway, as delightful as I find the concept of today’s build, I’m a little torn on how much I like it. As a minifigure, today’s offering is lacking (specifically, a body). As an accessory for a figure, it is also sub-par. But, as a representation of Slughorn in armchair form, it kind of works for me, so I think this build is ultimately greater than the sum of its parts. Whether this can beat a proper minifigure offering from a competing calendar (if there is one) is an open question.


By virtue of HP’s unique entry, and its classification as a minifigure, HP takes back to back daily wins in the battle for the first time this season. In second place, MCU with a three-piece boom box set and tile print. In 3rd place, SW with a disappointing return to the weapon rack.

With that, HP grabs an ever-so slight edge in the race, and the scores are now:

HP- 20

SW- 18

MCU- 10

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 15

SW grabbed top marks yesterday while MCU kep HP off the scorecard. Let’s see what happens on Day 15.

Day 15 – MCU

Steve: On the fifteenth day of Christmas the Guardians gave to me…..  A cane made of plastic candeeee.

We enter Day 15 on the high of scoring some points twice in a row for the first time, and door 15 presents us with a Candy Cane.

It’s nice and festive, and at least relevant to the season (looking at you, tool box…), but even as a minifigure-scale standing decoration this feels underwhelming.  The build itself is clean, if simple, but there’s no print or exceptional parts to make it stand out.  It’s at best a middle-of-the-road entry at a time the MCU needed to make up some ground before being mathematically eliminated from contention.

Day 15- SW

Pat: The stellar micro builds continue for Star Wars with an awesome 24-piece TIE Interceptor build seen in Episode 6. This is a ship we’ve received criminally few proper iterations of in the past, with our last system scale of the ship coming in blue and black in 2006, and a UCS scale in 2000. Otherwise, the last 16 years have been peppered with polybag builds, a planet series micro, a microfighter, and a subpar advent appearance in 2016 (plus its appearance as a micro in at least one set I can think of, GWP 40407 in 2020). You’d think I’d be sick of the Interceptors, but really I just want a good one, as most we’ve received have been awkward, stubby, and poorly angled. This one is thankfully neither!

Using the new 4×2 wedge plates in black, the wings of this build are really sharp and menacing, as the in-universe ship is. Black ingots used on the wings provide some nice shaping, and the cockpit using a dish really helps the build (which the 40407 build was lacking). The build doesn’t rest flatly, which is to be expected, but it does rest back on its heels on the groove of the wing plate, providing it with a cool attack angle seen below. Not much else to say; super nice build signifying, hopefully, an upcoming system scale set. 

Day 15- HP

Andrew: After a few days of “meh” from the HP calendar, we come out swinging with a minifigure of fan-favourite Nymphadora Tonks! This appears to be an exclusive variant, similar to her appearance in Lego set 76408 (12 Grimmauld Place) but with a different torso print and lacking leg printing. These figures seem to have similar main expressions as well, but the calendar version offers an alternate face with a duck beak (whereas I believe 76408’s has a pig-snout alternate). The only other version of Tonks was from 2020’s Attack on the Burrow set, where she featured a much different (and plainer) look.

The figure looks good, although it continues the trend of no printed or dual-molded legs that seems standard in this calendar. The design of the torso print is nice, but the printing could be a bit brighter—the printed flesh tone on the torso doesn’t quite match the face. Still, this calendar is by far the least expensive set to feature Tonks, and an exclusive variant at that, and so this is a solid contender for today’s victor. I think only a more holiday-themed figure could stop Nymphadora Tonks from taking the top spot today.


With its calendar-exclusive and overall rare minfigure, HP takes a no-doubter today and snags top marks with Nymphadora Tonks. In second place, an impressive SW microbuild edges out MCU who fall to the basement, a familiar place for the calendar this year.

HP and SW continue to flip-flop the lead, and the scores are now:

SW- 18

HP- 18

MCU- 9

To be continued…