All good things must come to an end and so arrives my final LEGO® Hidden Side set review. The first wave of sets from this spooky new theme have given us a decent spread of builds. From buses to boats, trucks to trains and a building or two thrown in for good measure, the debut Hidden Side range has certainly offered a varied spread of what the town of Newbury has to see or not see in some cases. The final set to take a closer look at, is also the largest set, but is bigger always better? Power up those smart devices, open your ghost catching app and get ready to learn, as I creep around the haunted halls of Newbury High School.
Engage youngsters in fun augmented-reality ghost-hunting adventures at the LEGO® Hidden Side™ 70425 Newbury Haunted High School. This awesome toy combines a buildable LEGO model with an app to deliver a fully interactive play experience – interacting with the model makes things in the app come alive. With continuous updates, tough boss ghosts to battle, new mysteries to solve, cool items to find and ghosts to defeat and collect, this LEGO Hidden Side set takes LEGO play to a new dimension! This building toy for kids is full of cool details to kick-start hours of imaginative play. Kids will love to build and play with this school playset and try to defeat the ghost figures haunting the school. With two hero minifigures, Douglas Elton, a cute ghost dog figure and 4 other minifigures, this school toy is designed for role-play fun.
- Set Name: Newbury Haunted High School
- Set Number: 70425
- Pieces: 1474
- RRP: £109.99/$119.99/€119.99
- Measurements: over 30cm high, 43cm wide and 26cm deep when haunted
- Minifigures: Jack Davids, Parker L. Jackson, Elton Douglas, Rose Davids, Mrs. Clarke, Paola & Wade, plus ghost dog Spencer
- Hidden Side Spook: Mr Nibs
- Availability: LEGO Brand Store, LEGO.com & LEGO retailers
If you’ve watched the first Hidden Side animated short, you’ll know that Newbury High is a hotbed of spooky shenanigans. I must admit I was looking to tackling largest set in the current Hidden Side range but I was also slightly dreading it, as larger sets aren’t the easiest to photograph. But I need not have worried as the set is smaller than I expected. Although the size is nice and compact, it’s still packed with detail and some surprisingly cool play features. The build begins with a collection of plates atop a raised based. This means the set has a nice solid foundation, perfect for play as the set can be moved around without falling apart. Across the middle of the base is a mechanism, which comes into play when the Hidden Side takes over the building. It’s nicely hidden within the base section so doesn’t look out of place.
As you build the main structure of Newbury High, you’ll build a number of hidden play features. At first glance the buildings exterior looks extremely normal and like any other sort of historic era school. But with a few twists and flips of various sections, the Hidden Side reveals itself and it’s very cool. That movable section you built into the base of the building flings open the schools entrance to reveal a gruesome mouth. Pushing the bookcase and toilet areas within the school, flips out a pair of spring-loaded claws. Turning the clock face, reveals a pair of spooky eyes and toppling each of the schools smaller towers, brings to life some green tentacles. It’s an amazing transformation, especially as they are also extremely well incorporated into the build. This means that there are no odd things tacked onto the building in order to allow for the Hidden Side elements to be there.
Unlike other Hidden Side sets, Newbury High only features the building. There are no additional bits built independently to the school nor are there any kooky vehicles. In fact much of the detail of the school is found inside. However there is a small bit of scenery built onto the right section of the school. This is a bus stop, bench and street lamp, which nicely ties into the School Bus set. But this not any old bench, the Hidden Side has found its way into it and it can also be flipped to reveal a spooky multi-eyed beast.
As I built the set I thought the interior looked a little sparse, and considering there were only a couple of bags of elements left, I thought it may stay like that. But it’s surprising how much a few elements here and there spruce the place up. Some of the pieces you’ll find within the interior section of the school are built towards the start of the build. But it makes sense to talk about them here. On the left corner within the floor of the school is the AR colour disc, to the left of this is a toilet cubicle. Across the opposite side of the school, on the ground floor is a bookcase. As mentioned above, these are hinged and can be pushed forward to activate the craws. The ground floor also features a very small canteen and grandfather clock, it’s rather compact but nicely done.
Just as compact is the second floor, although the space as been used to great effect to incorporate various things you’d find in a school. So there’s a science room, computer lab, a neat little trophy display and the worlds smallest classroom. This is merely a row of oddly positioned chairs, which face an odd looking chalkboard. This can be rotated to reveal another one of Newbury’s Soul Artifacts. Now it took be a couple of attempts to get this to turn correctly. You need to lift up the gold coloured bell type section but you also need to connect it fully to the inverted cone hanging down in the bell tower. This gives it enough clearance to allow the panel holding the chalkboard to be turned around. Doing so reveals an old painting of Lady Evelina and her tatty pale green teddy bear.
There are a few other non-spooky hidden features to be found on the upper level of the school. Each of the school crest banners can be flipped up to reveal various coloured bricks. I assume they are scan points for the AR functions. Other sets have had them as well, but so far none of them have been used when scanning the sets with the app. Also each of the tiltable towers has a slide out panel, there are old maps and scrolls which reveal some of the other moveable elements. The set has a lot of stickers, in fact there are two sheets of them. But there are used really well in the set, adding plenty of details to the outside and inside of the set.
As the largest Hidden Side set, it features the most amount of Minifigures. These include seven Minifigures and three Hidden Side spooks, plus ghostly dog Spencer. Both of the Hidden Side’s main characters are once again present, with Jack and Parker being the same versions as the ones which are found in two other Hidden Side sets. Jack’s in his red jacket and hoodie combo, with Parker in her slightly less detailed outfit. As I’ve mentioned in other Hidden Side set reviews, I do like Jack and Parker but would have liked a little more variety in their appearances across the sets. They are joined by another familiar face from another set, the legendary caretaker stuntman – Douglas Elton. Mr Elton is the same as his other appearances, so same outfit and head. Although the one I had it my set had a cool misprint, with one face missing his eyebrows. He actually looks quite cute minus his brows.
The main characters are joined by four other Minifigures, all of whom are exclusive to this set. These include Rose Davids, who I assume is related to Jack. Headmaster Mr Clarke and two students, Paola and Wade. Despite Rose looking quite generic, her torso and head are both new prints. Mr Clarke is great looking character. He looks well presented in his pinstripe suit, complemented with a pocket watch and bowtie. But it’s his face I love. His rounded glasses cover oddly coloured orange eyes, I assume this means his lenses are tinted and he has goofy mouth, with two teeth protruding through. These look even more fun with his other scared expression. The other two character are both students and they are both showing their love for the local sports team, the Squids basketball squad. Wade has the original style short legs and a cool basketball shirt featuring the Squids logo. This also appears in the Shrimp Shack set. The same logo is featured on Paola’s basketball jacket. I really like this torso and it’s a style of jacket you would commonly see being worn in high schools. The different sizes between the two students would suggest different ages, which makes Wade look a little out of place, especially when you add Jack and Parker into the mix.
Mr Clarke, Rose and Wade are the unfortunate trio who get ‘gloomed’ by the Hidden Side. Their gloombie transformation, completely switches out each character head and hair for the gruesome green versions. What I like about the ‘gloomed’ versions of Rose and Mr Clarke are the fact they each have unique head. Most other gloombies just use generic transparent green heads, but these pair feature the same glasses as their normal counterparts. Wade and Mr Clarke also use the new gloombie wing elements.
One of the additional play features of the Hidden Side sets are an AR powered game. The set is perfectly fun on its own, but you can enhance play with the addition of the LEGO Hidden Side AR app. This brings the set to life by overlaying graphics and animated elements around the physical set. Once you scan the set, it comes to life with an animated background and moving elements. The AR functions for Newbury High are focused on the interior section of the building, scanning the set adds animated school grounds and other animated elements. What I did find when scanning the coloured wheel is that the app would not correctly recognise the colours, when trying it out it was in a well lit area and on a white background, so I assume it’s the position of the dial.
The compact nature of the set is both a good and bad point. I like that it doesn’t take up loads of room or have random bits tacked on, but in the same breath, this also means the inside of the schools is light on space. However much of the things you’d find in a school are all present, albeit on a slightly cutback scale. But saying that, the interior plays second fiddle to the front of the school. The front facade of the school building looks quite plain, yet still has a nice architectural style; once the Hidden side takes over you are presented with a great spooky looking monster. The whole basis of the Hidden Side is that its hidden and this set does an amazing job of keeping the gloomy additions undercover. Making it an intersting set to build and even more fun to play with.
- Great play features
- Amazing monster transformation
- Great unique characters
- Surprising amount of detail
- A little too compact
- A lot of stickers
- Slight issues with AR play