Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 10

A day to remember in the battle is over and it will be hard to top yesterday’s gifts across all calendars. MCU gets a much needed win to keep itself in contention. Let’s see what happens on Day 10.

Day 10- MCU

Steve: On the 10th day of Christmas, the Guardians sent to meeeeeee…. Onnnnnnne Golden Pod!

Day 10 sees the MCU coming off a high, but I’m not sure we can maintain it – The 10th gift is a Golden Pod from a space battle in “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2”.

It’s an OK build – the pods move really fast in that scene so it’s hard to get a good look at them on-screen to compare them to the micro-sized version (although they have been seen in LEGO form before, in set 76080 – “Ayesha’s Revenge” – photo credit Jays Brick Blog)

The micro build here is fine, although the parts and techniques are nothing unique or special.  The main strike against it is that it’s just not a memorable ship from the films, and, like many builds so far in this calendar, it suffers from a recognition problem.

Day 10- SW

Pat: Looks like we’re staying on Tatooine for another build, as day 10 of the Star Wars advent gives us a sweet little build of the moisture vaporators as seen in Episode 4. These are mostly seen in the barren parts of Tatooine, with a few dozen surrounding the Lars Homestead, but Lego has included them in a variety of sets and advent calendars in the past. We received a decent moisture vaporator build in the 2014 advent calendar, and a colour swap of that one in 2018 to resemble a Christmas Tree, but this is definitely the better design. Even though its downsized, I like including these in my Tatooine display as they still effectively depict weather vanes or structures in the sand. Overall its a solid micro build, I prefer something static over the ships like we generally get from Star Wars.

Day 10- HP

Matt: Day 9 was likely the best day we’ve seen since starting our seasonal Battle in 2020, courtesy three exclusive minifigures. Unfortunately, HP ended up on the outside looking in. Let’s see how they fare on Day 10.

On Day 10, we get the Goblet of Fire. So we’ve moved on to Year 4 now, and the Goblet of Fire itself kicks us off. I appreciate a gift that is “somewhat” to-scale in place of a microbuild. This is typically because we can use these builds in our MOC’s and displays. We’ve actually seen a more robust rendition of the Goblet in a previous calendar. 

All that said, the main draw today is the exclusive 1×2 transparent-tile with a Harry Potter parchment print. For those that remember the movie, this represents the moment when Harry’s name comes out of the Goblet after all school champions were already selected. An exclusive printed tile is definitely something we want to see out of these calendars.


Based on its quasi-to-scale build and exclusive printed tile, HP grabs full marks today. A battle of microbuilds occurred between SW and MCU, with SW ultimately squeaking out second place. In third, a line we’ve used too often this season, MCU finishes in 3rd.

With that, the score is now:

SW- 12

HP- 12

MCU- 6

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 9

The competition remains tight after Day 8, but MCU is in dire need of top marks if they want to remain in the hunt. After some insightful review contributions courtesy Andrew House, I am back (Matt Z.) with the HP reviews for the next few days. Let’s see what happens on Day 9.

Day 9- MCU

Steve: On the ninth day of Christmas the Guardians gave to meeeeee…. A fig that made me very happeeeee.

After a long drought, MCU has delivered a solid gift for day 9. We get Nebula in a unique Christmas sweater.

This is what we want to see in the Advent calendars. She also doesn’t show on the box, so she was a total surprise. It’s a great fig, metallic printed front and back on the head. The sweater has Thanos with the Infinity Gems on the front, and the back has Nebula and Gamora in a heart. 

For a finishing touch, she has a small buildable present as an accessory. Just solid all the way.

Day 9- SW

Pat: Alight, now we’re getting into it! Day 9 for Star Wars gives us our first exclusive minifig of the calendar in the form of Christmas Sweater C-3PO! I am shocked to see this fig so early as I expected the two Christmas Sweater figs to clue up the calendar for days 23 and 24, but this is great too! This C-3PO minifig uses a brand new torso print depicting a knitted R2-D2 Christmas sweater, which is just adorable – R2 and 3PO wear each other on their sweaters! The leg print for 3PO is also super crisp, and turns out its brand new for 2022 too, appearing beforehand on the 3PO from the Trash Compactor Diorama 75339.

Unfortunately, I cannot for the life of me expand further on where we saw Christmas C3PO in an R2-D2 sweater – I feel like I’m experiencing the Mandela Effect! I could have sworn R2 and 3PO dressed inappropriately in the Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation special we got this past summer and were wearing these sweaters at the beginning of the “movie”, but after a brief scan I don’t see them at all? So then I was sure I saw them in the Holiday Special from 2021, but I don’t see them there either? Oh well! A fantastic minifigure nonetheless, I can’t wait for the R2 counterpart!

Day 9- HP

Matt: Just want to start off by thanking Andrew for his HP reviews over this past week! We’ve seen HP and SW exchange top marks in the microbuild category, which is an interesting hill to duke it out on this season. Let’s see if we get more of that today.

Behind Door 9 is Sirius Black! Sirius is of course James’ Potter’s best friend and Harry’s godfather. Once thought to be a criminal, he was wrongly imprisoned and managed to escape to become a key figure in Harry’s life and a major part of the overall HP story. A bit of digging tells me that this variant of Sirius is exclusive (tan sweater) to this calendar and isn’t present in any other available retail sets. For me, the big draw from today’s offering is the never-before-seen 1×2 printed tile with Azkaban prison tile. I find it somewhat amusing to see Sirius with a winter-sweater, while holding his Azkaban licence plate and an angry expression. The closest we got to something similar was a Bellatrix Lestrange Azkaban accessory in CMF Series 2.  Nonetheless, I’m thrilled to get such a unique print, and these are coveted items especially in advent calendars. I will certainly find a use for this in my HP LEGO displays.

Today’s gift is almost everything you could ask for in an advent calendar- exclusive fig variant with an exclusive accessory. However, it lacks that festive element that the other two entries have today, which unfortunately results in no points on the board for HP on this day. Overall, I’m happy with this gift even if the results weren’t there on the battle scorecard- that’s the way she goes.


One of the most memorable days in the history of the Battle saw THREE exclusive minifigure variants go head-to-head-to-head! That’s not something you’re going to see year over year, but it’s days like today we’re thrilled to open the advent doors and compare entries.

In first place, MCU secures a much-needed win, but a well-deserved one with its exclusive, festive, Nebula fig with accessory. In second place, an exclusive, festive C3PO with R2 sweater- an excellent gift. In third place, exclusive Sirius Black with Azkaban tile.

With that, MCU stays alive, and the scores are now:

SW- 11

HP- 10

MCU- 6

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 8

The battle of the microbuilds is alive and well between SW and HP, with poor ol MCU on the outside looking in. Let’s see if these calendars can start putting up some good entries as we complete the first third of the seasonal battle.

Day 8- MCU

Steve: On the eighth day of Christmas, the Guardians gave to meeeee….

…a turkey.

Look, if they are not going to put effort into the builds, I am certainly not putting effort into any rhymes.

The MCU is slipping more and more behind and needs to really step up their game with door #8.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.  We get a festive (?) turkey and a flame for day 8.

There’s literally nothing I can say here.  It’s a turkey.  It’s not a cool, sci-fi Marvel-esque turkey, it’s a cooked bird.  The flame was confusing, and only by looking at the box do I see that it’s supposed to be used as a flame effect of Rocket’s gun build – arguably extending the Rocket minifig to a THREE day build.

Day 8- SW

Pat: The microbuilds continue for Star Wars, and this one is ALMOST as perfect a microbuild as I could ask for. See, the problem with the microbuilds, in my opinion, is I can’t easily add them to my existing Star Wars battles or collections, due to them being seriously scaled down. Some really tiny ships could make cool minifig-scale toys, dioramas, or holograms, but they don’t lend themselves as well to the theme as say, Harry Potter micros fleshing out the UCS Hogwarts, for example. If there was ever going to be an ideal Star Wars micro though, its what we got behind door number 8, a T-16 Skyhopper. This is a ship we’ve seen a couple times before as system-scale sets, once as a microfighter, but never as a micro calendar build, so its cool to see. The build is solid, albeit too front-heavy to stand up, and effectively achieves the angles and fin of the in-universe ship. The second spare ski pole of the calendar is a sweet bonus too!

So why is it a near-perfect Star Wars microbuild? Well, in Episode 4 in 1977, during the Death Star briefing, Luke exclaims hitting the thermal reactor port isn’t that hard; “It’s not impossible. I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they’re not much bigger than two meters”. Many fans assumed Luke was referring to his Landspeeder he sold to get off Tatooine, but in reality, he’s referring to this little recreational ship seen incredibly briefly in the background of Luke’s subterranean garage, and also as a small toy ship he is seen fooling around with. The toy prop was introduced in 1977, and since expanded on in the Obi-Wan Kenobi show as a gift to Luke. A screenshot of the scene can be seen below; if the build was just a little smaller, it could be an effective toy held by a figure.

Day 8- HP

Andrew: Today’s microbuild represents a pivotal part of the Prisoner of Azkaban story, depicting the Dementors by the forest lake. The highlight for me are the Dementors themselves, represented by the same “cloaked microfig” that were used for Dementors in the big Hogwarts Castle (71043) set. Those pieces have appeared in a number of Star Wars sets in trans-light blue and black, but this was my first time getting my hands on them and I was delighted by them.

The scene itself uses a few small limb elements and some brown bars to make trees, and the use of some basic plates in 2 colours simply conveys the sense of the forest and the lake water. I appreciated the use of a pair of wedge plates to make for a more interesting shoreline in the limited 2×4 space this build was working in. Overall, this is a pleasing combination of colours, continuing a trend started yesterday with the Knight Bus.

The “floating” of the Dementors is also nicely achieved through use of a trans-clear round 1×1 and through attaching to the tree branches. It immediately evoked images of the Dementors closing in on Sirius on the lakeshore. This is definitely my favourite of the microbuilds so far, but I will admit I’m already planning on stealing the microfigs to represent Darth Vader toys in the custom toy store I’m planning for my Lego city.


Microbuilds continue to steal the show in a manner of speaking. Today, the edge goes to HP with one of its better microbuilds to date. In second, SW, with one of their best entries as well. And for fear of sounding like broken-record (or Quill’s cassette player?), MCU finishes off the scoresheet once again.

The scores are now:

SW- 10

HP- 10

MCU- 4

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 7

HP and SW remain close, but seem to be pulling away from MCU a bit early on. Fortunately, there’s still tons of runway left for all three calendars. Let’s see how today played out:

Day 7- MCU

Steve:  On the Seventh day of Christmas the Guardians gave to meeeee…. A gun that goes with someone previousleeee.

(The rhymes are getting harder)

Door 7 for the MCU brings us a buildable weapon for Rocket. It’s no surprise, we saw it on the box, but it is still disappointing when they spread one build over two days. 

The gun is appropriately, hilariously oversized for Rocket, and looks pretty good in his hand. The build has some interesting ideas – using a thicker droid arm as a shoulder stock is nice, something I might try on some other blaster designs. 

Overall, MCU needed a win to stay competitive but I don’t think this door delivers. 

Day 7- SW

Pat: Day 7 for Star Wars brings us the best micro version of a ship we’ve seen countless times before, Luke’s Landspeeder! Like clockwork, it has been 4 years since we’ve gotten our last micro Luke’s Landspeeder (2018), and it was 4 years before that we got the first (2014). Peppered between the years are Luke’s Landspeeders in System scale, macro scale, even Ultimate Collectors Series scale – so how does this Landspeeder stand above? Well for starters, they correctly achieve the busted engine on one of the side thrusters, like Luke’s full sized one has in Episode 4. We also get a little white stud representing Luke, and a little gold stud representing C-3PO, which is cool to see. This version is missing a few of the colours of the other ones, like the dark red used in previous years for the base, and its super hard to say if I think it looks better or worse without it – it looks more accurate for sure, but kinda less Lego-y? Super minor gripe though, solid build all around for what is supposedly the calendar’s stop at Ep. 4 as it progresses through the canon (so far episode 2 builds, followed by episode 3 and bad batch, followed by episode 4, implies the calendar is going chronologically.

Day 7- HP

Andrew: Day 7 predictably brings us back to another microbuild, but this time featuring a Prisoner of Azkaban scene, specifically the Knight Bus.

The build of the bus is quite simple (a stack of mostly 1×2 plates), but brings some much needed colour after 2 days of blacks and greys. The build also makes use of its game-piece base to flesh out the environment of the bus, providing a sidewalk with a lamppost as well as a section of road the bus is driving on. As a result, despite the overall simplicity of the build, I found it very evocative, and looking at the finished build immediately brought to mind the first time I saw the Knight Bus on screen long ago.

While I’m not the biggest fan of microbuilds, this one strikes me as better than average, being an unmistakable representation of an early scene in this story. As such it deserves some praise. But it remains to be seen if it can beat the competition.


Two microbuilds for SW and HP again, but this time the edge goes to SW with its landspeeder. A close second goes to the Knight Bus. In third again is MCU with a cool gun for Rocket, but ultimately feels like one gift spread out over two days.

As such, the scores are now:

SW- 9

HP- 8

MCU- 4

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 6

After capturing a full two points yesterday, MCU is right back in the thick of things but still trails HP and SW. Let’s see how it all plays out on Day 6.

Day 6- MCU

Steve: On the sixth day of Christmas the Guardians gave to meeeee….a box of junk I didn’t want to seeee…

Marvel comes off a win on day 5, let’s see if they can keep the momentum going!

In a word….Nope.

The MCU’s entry for day 5 is literally just a box of… stuff. Bricklink says it’s a “tool box”, making it the second tool storage in six days. A few mildly interesting parts don’t save this build –  a gold arrow for Yondu/Kraglin and an eyeball print  (with a spare) that I assume represents Rocket’s ongoing obsession with collecting prosthetics. 

This one is destined for the sorting bin. 

Day 6- SW

Pat: The prequel train slows down with our build behind day number 6, but its a super cool build nonetheless! The Star Wars calendar gives us our first micro version of the Bad Batch Havoc Marauder Shuttle with an impressive 19 pieces. It uses some sweet sand blue plates and bricks, and effectively captures the shaping of the in-universe ship. This is also surprisingly only our third “set” from The Bad Batch, with the two previous being the full sized Bad Batch Shuttle 75314, and the newer Justifier set, 75323. I’m doubtful we’ll get anything else from the Bad Batch in the calendar, though a figure could have been sweet. Oftentimes, the Star Wars calendars include a non-festive unique figure, such as Young Boba in 2013, U-3PO in 2016, General Merrick in 2018, and Ep. 8 Luke Skywalker in 2019. A Bad Batch figure in line with that would give this calendar a serious bump over previous years’,

Either way, great micro build, super happy to add it to the collection!

Day 6- HP

Andrew: For Day 6 we get some more relief from microbuilds in the form of Moaning Myrtle. A bit of searching tells me that the last (and only other) version of Myrtle was from the 2020 Harry Potter Collectible Minifigure Series 2, and this new one is quite different from her earlier appearance.

While the print on the torso and hair piece seem to be the same, they are both in a more greyish colour compared to the bluish tint on the CMF version. While the version included for day 6 has a new face print for this character, the lack of print on the legs makes the calendar version decidedly inferior to the previous release. That said, this would seem to count as an exclusive version of the character, and is a good way to add her to the collection for anyone who missed the 2020 version.

Myrtle is a nice figure to get, and one that ties in with the run of Chamber of Secrets-themed microbuilds, but is completely lacking in any accessories. Her drab ghostly appearance is also somewhat lacking in visual excitement. As such, if she is up against another calendar’s minifig in today’s shootout, she may have a hard time taking the win.


With an exclusive figure only represented once in LEGO before, it’s a no brainer today as HP grabs the full 2 points. In second place, SW with a Bad Batch microbuild. In third, MCU can’t gain any momentum with an absolutely poor entry.

The scores are now:

SW- 7


MCU- 4

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 5

After one of the worst days across all calendars in recent memory, the competition is looking to get back on track and put that pain behind us. Also, we have a new special guest reviewer and fellow LUG member Andrew House who will be covering the HP reviews over the next few days! Hopefully a strong entry emerges from at least one calendar today. Let’s find out.

Day 5- MCU

Steve: On the fifth day of Christmas the Guardians have to meeee…. A raccoon who’s always angry.

The MCU needs a “W” to keep up with the others, and door #5 finally puts them back on the board with a Rocket Raccoon mini-figure!

He’s not unique, but this version has only been in one set before. The torso print is solid although no arm print. The tail piece looks great as well.

My only complaint is that there’s no weapon or accessory included a possible portent of a weapon rack to come I fear. 

Day 5- SW

Pat: Ah, so I was close. Day 5 gives us a classic Star Wars Battle Droid with a gun metal grey blaster. This is an almost-obligated inclusion in advent calendars (we didn’t get one in the Mando themed calendar), but as I mentioned yesterday, it’s a bit of a letdown get. It’s also strange the builds flipped factions there, like if day 3 was the Republic Assault Ship day 4 build, then there would be 3 Republic gifts forllowed by 2 or more Separatist gifts – Lego generally bunches the faction gifts in sets. Not a complaint or anything, just an observation. Either way, solid Battle Droid minifig, this makes his 50th inclusion in a set, and I hope to see 50 more.

Day 5- HP

Andrew House (Guest Reviewer): As a new participant in this process, I want to state up front that what I like most out of are little minifigure-scale builds that I can use to accessorize other larger sets and enhance the worldbuilding and storytelling of my collection. As such, this year’s Harry Potter Advent Calendar fully leaning into the buildable “game” experience is leaving me somewhat unsatisfied.

For day 5 we get a microbuild of the Chamber of Secrets, specifically the Slytherin statue’s face with the basilisk emerging from its mouth. It is… grey. With an accent colour of… grey. It has a small part count, with the only interesting pieces being the snake decoration representing the basilisk and the hinge plate being used to make the statue’s nose.

You may be getting the sense that I am underwhelmed, and you would be correct. After building an enjoyable minifigure-scale representation of this scene in the Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets set (76389), this microbuild is unimpressive. If it weren’t for the snake piece I wouldn’t even know what I was looking at. At least most of the pieces are pretty plain and will be easy to use for something else.


With its Rocket Racoon figure, MCU grabs the top spot on Day 5, coming at the perfect time and keeping it in the running early on. In second place, SW grabs a single point with its Battle Droid. Finishing off the scoreboard is HP with its Statue of Slytherin microbuild.

The scores are now:

SW- 6

HP- 5

MCU- 4

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 4

After the first three days, it’s perhaps fitting that each calendar has secured a victory. Who will be the first to obtain their second? Read on!

Day 4- MCU

Steve: On the fourth day of Christmas the Guardians gave to meeee…. I gift I didn’t want to seeee…

I said yesterday that “presents are the weapon rack” for the MCU, meaning a lacklustre build with not much going for it.

Well, for 2022 the MCU gives us a tool rack for day 4. Not much to discuss  here, there’s not many parts (7 total) and a very simple build. The only thing it has going for it is a relatively rare (to me) dynamite piece.

I’m not liking the trajectory this calendar is taking. 

Day 4- SW

Pat: I could’ve sworn after yesterday’s Droid Tri-fighter, today we would get the dreaded standard Battle Droid today (not a bad figure to have lots of, but admittedly feels like a letdown of a calendar gift). However I was surprised to see a Republic Assault Ship behind day number 4, marking our 3rd time getting this in small-scale from Lego. Less popular than its Venator or Arquitens – Class counterparts, the Acclamator-Class Republic Assault Ship was seen sparingly in Star Wars Episode 2 and 3, as well as the Clone Wars.

We’ve seen this ship twice before; once in the 2013 calendar, and once in the Coruscant Planet Series where it was a little bit larger of a build. Though all have been solid, including this one, it’s hard to get excited over a design that hasn’t been made into an official, proper set, and is barely seen in the movies. The new 2 x 3 ⅔ wing plates are nice to get more of, and it’s always nice to expand the Republic fleet, but overall it’s only a ‘pretty good’ build on a day filled with mediocre gifts across all calendars.

Day 4- HP

Matt: HP is finally on the board in a proper way courtesy The Chosen One himself on Day 3. With seemingly random entries to date, I’m curious to see what’s behind Door #4.

Today, we get a microscale Whomping Willow with Arthur Weasley’s Ford Anglia. This is of course a reference to the opening few chapters (or movie scenes) of The Chamber of Secrets where Ron and Harry miss the train (I see u Dobby) and “borrow” Mr. Weasley’s flying car to get to school on time- only to crash it into Hogwarts’ infamous tree and wind up in more hot cauldron water than they might have been before. 

Funny enough, this ISN’T the first time we’ve seen a microscale Whomping Willow and Ford Anglia depicted in LEGO. It was included on this scale in the massive set 71043 Hogwarts Castle from 2018- another insanely expensive, but fantastic display set.

There are however some notable differences- here, the Whomping Willow is not near as detailed/robust as it is in 71043, notably lacking the “swinging limbs” functionality of its predecessor. The absence of that aspect of the build can be forgiven in the calendar version in my opinion, and I think the tree is at least reminiscent of both the movie and its microscale counterpart in 71043.

What CAN’T be forgiven however is the design of this particular Ford Anglia. Although it is ALMOST identical to the one in 71043, it’s missing one crucial element- the 1×1 transparent plate, representing the windshield/windows of the car. Without this piece, I feel the car is missing a critical component that makes it recognizable. Would it really have been too much to ask to include it again here? It’s deja vu all over again, and I’m getting that LEGO “cutbacks” vibe once more…

Day 4’s entry (left) versus its predecessor in 71043 Hogwarts Castle (right). Image courtesy

All said, it’s another microbuild which typically ranks lower on our battle scorecard. I wouldn’t have minded this build if it was a part of the chronological retelling of The Chamber of Secrets story, as this calendar’s main theme. But with the presence of Ollivanders and a random quidditch pitch, that doesn’t appear to be the case. This build may prove novel for those who understandably didn’t spring for the $500+ set, but ultimately it is destined for my bulk pile at the end of the season- and perhaps yours, too.


A pitiful day across all calendars resulted in tough choices for us reviewers. In the end, by virtue of its somewhat faithful recreation of a movie scene, HP squeaks out a seemingly improbable two points. In second place, SW grabs a point with its Republic Assault Ship. Bringing up the rear in what’s becoming a troubling trend, MCU with a poor entry.

As such, HP moves into a tie with SW, and the score is now:

SW- 5

HP- 5

MCU- 2

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 3

MCU has a win. SW has a win. Can HP butter hes boots? Lets find out.

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars 2022- Day 3

Day 3- MCU

Steve: On the third day of Christmas the Guardians gave to meeee…. A question about what could it be…?

It’s never a great feeling when you open the build and you don’t know what you’re looking at. I had to check the listing on Bricklink to determine this was supposed to be a “Prison Drone.”  That’s an odd choice, as the Guardians haven’t been in prison since the first movie, so it has no Christmas tie-in at all.  It’s an OK build, but no parts or special pieces make this a “meh” entry at best. 

Day 3- SW

Pat: Day number 3 for Star Wars thankfully keeps with the Clone Wars theme, but no longer Republic unfortunately. We get a sweet little Droid Tri-Fighter seen in Star Wars Episode 3 and the Clone Wars, and it’s an effective enough microbuild of a tricky ship to replicate. This is the first time we’ve ever gotten a micro scale of the Droid Tri-fighter, though the technique is pretty basic. The ski pole makes a great little turret, and this is my first time seeing the little 1×1 clip in dark blue (though its pretty common), but something about the build feels pretty weak. Might be because it’s a bit spindly, or might be because its lacking the proper tri-fighter interior “dome”, but this one feels like it may end up in the bulk parts before too long.

Day 3- HP

Matt: After two mediocre builds, Harry Potter has limped into the 2022 battle. Both MCU and SW have secured victories already, so HP is looking to right the Durmstrang ship and get its first win of the season.

Enter The Boy Who Lived. Who else? The titular character arrives on Day 3, which is a couple days late to the party by my count. But no time like the present. We figure Harry will always grace us with his presence and rightfully so. Since Harry is THE most common figure of the theme, we’re always looking for whether this is an exclusive variant or hard-to-find, meaning it hasn’t been in many sets. 

Fortunately, that is indeed the case here. This particular variant of Harry (ie. Gryffindor Robe Open, Sweater, Shirt and Tie) has only appeared in one other set before- 76389 Chamber of Secrets. That retail set is a large and expensive set too, so getting this variant here in the calendar represents great value and something we’ve seen in the past.

I don’t want this to become a sideshow, but I must note the presence of the 2×4 tan plate, who’s exclusion on Day 1 & 2 in favour of 2×2 tan plates was a gripe of mine. While I had chalked it up to LEGO “cutbacks”, now I’m truly lost. If you can include it here, why not on Day 1 & 2? Am I missing something? In any event, it appears we are now adding a “player piece” to the board game, though I haven’t read the rules yet. I’ll make a point to check out the box more as we progress through each day.


With its first minifigure of the season, HP also takes its first daily win. In second place, SW with its Droid Tri-Fighter. In third, MCU, with another visually-disheartening entry. After three days, the score is now:

SW- 4

HP- 3

MCU- 2

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 2

After MCU got off to a hot start to kick off this year’s battle. Lets see what happens here on Day 2.

Day 2- MCU

Steve: On the second Day of Christmas, The guardians gave to me – the fall from place one to place threee.

If Star Wars has it’s weapon rack as their downfall, the MCU offerings have had the days of wrapped gifts. After a strong opening, the present of headphones with… cookie? Disc? I’m not sure?  is a big fall.  We also get a minifig-scale build that is supposed to be Peter Quill’s Sony Walkman, but it’s not a great build, and even a new print can’t save this.

Day 2- SW

Pat: Star Wars keeps the prequel train going with an awesome Minifigure inclusion to go with yesterday’s Gunship, a Clone Trooper Commander! This is a hard-to-find minifigure that was originally exclusive to the 75309 UCS Gunship, before reappearing in the 40558 Command Centre Blister Pack and this advent calendar. Due to the difficulty of finding those sets, however, this will be most peoples’ first opportunity to get this fig! He is based off the Episode 2 “Commander Ponds” Clone Trooper design, seen talking with Yoda in the Battle of Geonosis, and features fantastic helmet, torso, and leg print. It is also a relief to see him with a blaster, meaning we may not have weapons racks in this years’ calendar. 

With bright light orange markings on the torso and helmet, and the new standard Clone Trooper face print, this fig is sure to be a worthwhile addition to anyone’s Clone Army!

Day 2- HP

Matt: After possibly one of the most underwhelming starts to a calendar to date, HP is looking to take a mulligan and try again on Day 2.

Did they succeed? Not really.

Behind Day 2 is another microbuild, this time of a quidditch pitch. The pearl-silver piece used for the rings is a relatively (?) new LEGO piece, appearing more frequently in the last few years, so getting three copies here is great. Aside from that, we have Gryffindor and Slytherin colors adorning the base of the platform. I wouldn’t say this pitch is attempting to replicate anything canonically accurate from the novels or  films- we know quidditch rings would be much higher up in the air, even at this scale. That likely not realistic for an advent calendar all the same. 

Overall, not much more to say here. It’s a unique new build that hasn’t been replicated in past HP advent calendars but apart from that, there’s not much to see here.


With it’s hard-to-find minifigure, SW clearly takes the full two points and has secured their first daily win of the season. In second place, a (pearl) silver lining for HP to get on the board with a singular point. A meager effort from MCU results in no points scored on this day.

As such, the points are now:

SW- 3

MCU- 2

HP- 1

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars Begins! Day 1

Welcome back to another year of the Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars! What’s become a sort of tradition for us is now in its 3rd year on The battle pits the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Star Wars (SW), and Harry Potter (HP) advent calendars against each other in a just-for-fun comparison to determine the winner for the holiday season. Each day, the consensus best build gets 2 points, the second best build gets 1 point, and the remaining build scores 0 points. After Day 24, the calendar with the most points is crowned champion. Follow along with us as we embark on our 24 day journey. May the best calendar win!

Day 1- MCU

Steve: On the First Day of Christmas the MCU gave to meeeee – A unique Star Lord Miniiii!

Stephen Churchill returns as the MCU Advent calendar enters its sophomore year with “Guardians of The Galaxy” theme to tie into their new Christmas special. Disney got to get that market synergy! As only their second year, we still don’t have a lot of history to judge the MCU entries by – lets open door #1.

They start things a bang again – opening up with Peter Quill as Star Lord in a unique minifig.  The figure has a solid torso print, and includes gold parts for the jet boots.  The lack of arm or leg printing is a letdown, and the alternate face is a frown instead of the armoured “faceplate” some other Star Lord figures have used.  It’s true to his appearance in the Disney+ Special though, and is overall a solid fig.

Day 1- SW

Pat: Seasoned and salty Star Wars advent reviewer vet Pat here back with another year of the battle of the licensed advent calendars. This is Star Wars’ 12th year of LEGO advent calendars, and with it my 12th year of purchasing them. Though the quality of contents and calendar have fluctuated over the years, they have always been great additions to Star Wars collections (in my opinion), and are synonymous with the Holiday season.

As mentioned, the Star Wars advents have historically been good, even great, but suffered from a weak year in 2017 and only pretty good calendars since, more or less. This is indicated by its standings in the battle of the advent calendars, where it is yet to win 1st against the ever-festive Harry Potter and the fresh ideas of the new Marvel advents. Despite a strong finish in last years’ “The Mandalorian”-themed calendar, the Star Wars advent calendars are frequently held back by their inclusion of weak microbuilds, non-festive elements and generic minifigures. Hopefully this year Star Wars will finally bring home the gold!

The calendar is off to a good start with nicely stylized boxart featuring the three minifigures I believe to be the exclusives of the calendar (though more on them at later dates) and an AT-AT walker in a Santa hat and beard. Looks like they could be celebrating Life Day on Endor! Traditionally, the Star Wars boxarts have been a bit cartoony and attempted to fit in a variety of builds of the advent, but I found this A) ruined the surprise sometimes, and B) ruined the festive artwork of the calendar. So this is a welcomed progression for the box!

Now, to check behind door/day (I use these synonymously) number 1!

We kick off the calendar with a microbuild – it would have been uncharacteristic of the Star Wars advents not to! Here we have a pretty sweet build for a Republic Gunship seen in Episodes 2, 3, and The Clone Wars. This is a model we’ve gotten a few times before from advent calendars in 2011 and 2013, but both of those used an identical, basic build, which this 24-piece behemoth puts to shame. The build utilizes some nice Studs-Not-On-Top building (SNOT) to create the hull of the ship, and a window to achieve the open-concept cabin design. The bucket handle used for the cannons is effective enough, and the 1×1 trans clear tiles on the wings used to reflect the Clone bubble-turret laser cannons are a nice touch. I don’t really think the technique for the engine intakes is effective; White bars are a bit too thin and “hover-y” off the build for my liking, but its still a very effective micro. Special shoutout to this little modified 1×1 I’ve never seen before and would have been such an asset in building custom droids in the past.

Overall, solid start for Star Wars! Hope it keeps it up!

Day 1- HP

Matt: This is the 4th year of the Battle and also Harry Potter’s 4th Advent Calendar. HP is no longer the new kid on the block (that goes to MCU) and with that comes the risk of repeating certain builds. HP has historically put off strong calendars, though I would argue that the quality has been slipping since its inaugural 2019 calendar.

Last year, HP started a new concept by making the calendar into a game board with their calendar mini-builds. This was a novel idea that no other calendar has pursued to date. While I think this does add another level of play and intrigue and certainly brings value to the product, it likely doesn’t factor in much for the basis of this Battle. 

More than anything, I’ll be looking to see if a common theme or trend develops. In 2019, the calendar focused on Year 1 of HP. In 2020, the focus was the Yule Ball in Year 4. Last year’s 2021 calendar sort of “reset” with a Year 1 “Journey to Hogwarts” emerging as the main theme. So overall, we can’t say there’s been a trend to date- in fact, I’d call it sporadic at best.

That said, let’s see how HP kicks off the 2022 season.

Behind door 1 is an espresso maker. Nope, wait, let’s check that again. It’s 12 Grimmauld Place, the ancestral Black family home. Wait, scratch that, this is the Hall of Prophecy in the Ministry of Magic. Yes, surely that’s what it is. No? Then what is it?!

Answer: Ollivander’s wand shop on Diagon Alley.

Wow. Never before have I been so bewildered by an HP microbuild to the point where I didn’t actually know what it was attempting to represent. I’ll be frank, I had to search the internet to get other opinions on what this build is. The consensus is that it is the famous Ollivander’s, represented here in microscale.

A couple things to point out here. If you didn’t own the massively expensive Diagon Alley set, you’d have a hard time comparing the similarities between this rendition and the “to scale” version found in that set. I do own Diagon Alley, and even I couldn’t make the connection. Apparently the “drainpipe” and the 1×2 transparent cylinders “gave it away.” I beg to differ. 

Ironically, this was one of the more complex micro builds I’ve had to make to date in an HP calendar. Yet the phrase “much ado about nothing” springs to mind. Another minor gripe for the hardcore enthusiast- why use two 2×2 tan plates together, when a single 2×4 tan plate would have sufficed, and given the build more structural integrity? Minor gripe, but maybe it says a bit more about LEGO “cutbacks” than anything.

Overall, I’d consider this one of the weaker entries to start a calendar in recent memory. Microbuilds always rank lower on our homemade hierarchy of rankings (minifigures first, everything else behind them) because they usually end up in the bulk pile. A small build can be great when it’s to scale, or usable for a minifigure (e.g. a piano, a table, etc.) but in this instance, that isn’t the case.


A clear order emerges today, with MCU taking the first full 2 points of the season with a Peter Quill minifig, followed by a faithful SW micro build. Pulling up the rear in a distant third place is HP’s micro build offering.

With that, the score starts off as:

MCU- 2

SW- 1

HP- 0

To be continued…