Gift(s) with Purchase
If you're thinking of getting any new HP Lego, you might want to hold off for a few days. Stonewars.de has announced the September Gifts with Purchase, and the September calendar is now visible on the US Lego site. There will be two HP GWP in the first two weeks of September (01 - 15 September, or for as long as supplies last). With qualifying HP Lego purchases over 35 EUR (in Germany) or $40 (in the USA) in Lego Stores, the Harry and Hedwig Owl Delivery Polybag (which has been in shops for a while now) will be included as a freebie. Check your local sites to see terms and conditions for your countries.
With qualifying purchases over 100 EUR (Germany) or $100 (USA) from Lego stores or the shop@home website (lego.com), customers will receive the Hagrid and Buckbeak Brickheadz set worth ca. 20 EUR. It was listed this week in the German shop as a gift article only, not available for purchase, but has now been removed, and it's unclear if it will be available for regular purchase at a later date.
If they stick with past years' trends, there's hope another HP GWP set may appear in November when the double VIP points are awarded. As a PS Harry torso has leaked that has not appeared in any sets yet, the thinking is they may provide us with firstie Harry and the entrance to Diagon Alley, although there isn't much yet to base that on.
Last month an initial and highly fuzzy shot appeared of the front of this year's Advent Calendar box, and I have to say I was underwhelmed. For one thing it revisits the Yule Ball, which the Clock Tower (75948) set covers in spades. For another, front and centre is a picture of a piano, which... um... is not something I particularly associate with GoF, Christmas or the Yule Ball. So I was honestly thinking about giving it a pass. The new and more complete info looks interesting, however.
With the exception of a unique Filius Flitwick character and exclusive torsos for HH&R (Weasley jumpers for the boys and a scarf for Hermione's uniform robes), last year's advent calendar contained only minifigures already available in the Great Hall and (to some extent) in other sets as well. This year they've taken a different tack, instead of thoroughly (re-)covering the same ground they already have elsewhere, they've designed it to expand on things on offer, nicely completing / complimenting one of last year's sets. The Clock Tower includes Yule Ball Hermione (in the floaty pink abomination), Harry and Ron, and they are duplicated here as well. But! In the larger set, the only couple included is Hermione / Viktor Krum. Albus is left to escort Madame Olympe Maxime, and Harry, Ron, Cedric, and Fleur are all without their dates for the ball.
Addressing this, the 2020 Harry Potter Advent Calendar will include Padma and Parvati Patil, released as minifigs for the first time ever (w00t!) and with unique robes (noice...), and Cho Chang (released twice already this series, but in dress robes for the first time). Fleur is still without Roger Davies, but Harry, Ron and Cedric now at least have partners for the ball, and let's face it, Roger wasn't such an important character anyway. 😉
The set also concentrates on things for the Gryffindor Common Room, miniature builds from GoF, some Yule Ball trappings (including an invitation). And I really love the 'gift wrapped' broom. (Firebolt, anyone?) Nicely done.
This calendar is also significant because it's the first time I can recall that the female minifigs solidly outnumber the males in a set like this (not from the Friend's mini doll series marketed towards girls or from a set depicting a group of women, like in the 'Women of NASA' series or the new Ghostbusters Ecto 1 & 2), and half of the minifigs are people of colour. I really appreciate it when Lego releases MinifigsOC to expand the available palette (in both literal and figurative senses). As the 'flesh' coloured, realistic minifigs tend to be based off movies, and these in turn tend to reflect Hollywood's projects, the gender and racial demographics skew disproportionately male and predominantly white.
A Lego Census
Do I have numbers to prove that statement? Of course I do. 😆 I thought it might be interesting to perform a census on the minifigs. Just for fun: a quick check of the bricklink Lego parts database shows that of the approximately 4484 different torsos available, only roughly 1 in 9.3 is explicitly female. (It is however usually possible to use a male torso for a female character (see the use of Hogwarts uniforms), but generally not the inverse as the parts are designated.) And there are about 4.8 times as many caucasian minifigs that have been created as there are black ones. (Caveat: the number of items designed has nothing to do with their prevalence on the market.) By contrast, it's not nearly as easy to count the specifically Asian / Indian / Latino minifigs (to mention just a few), so I can't offer numbers for them without attempting to index all the minifigures themselves that the heads are used on, an undertaking too large in scope for me to tackle. While there are 'only' 3116 minifigure head printings available in a variety of colours, there are presently a stonking 12,412 distinct minifigs.
But as I recently found myself with a little too much time on my hands, using the BL parts colour guide, I was able to ascertain that - excluding aliens and mini doll heads (by far a more inclusive series, it should be noted) - there are x heads in each of the following colours:
typically / potentially black flesh tones (171):
20 brown (the vast majority of which were from an NBA series)
2 medium brown
64 reddish brown
3 dark orange
0 dark nougat
40 medium nougat (some Asian, Indian and Latino heads are also in this count)
42 nougat (some Asian, Indian and Latino heads are also in this count)
typically / potentially white flesh tones (829):
0 light salmon
824 light nougat (presumably some Asian, Indian and Latino heads are included here as well)
By comparison, there are 1158 in the default lego yellow.
So there's that. What can I say? Curiosity got the better of me. Make of the results what you will.