Billund Airport had its beginning in 1961 when the son of the founder of the Lego Group, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, established a private 800-meter long runway and hangar north of his factory in Billund. With Christiansen as a key driver, more of the neighbouring municipalities were included in the group of owners, and it was planned that the airport should be expanded to a regular public airport.
The set has an impressive assortment of minifigures - I quite like that it has six, allowing for a lot of play opportunities. All the major parts of the plane - the wing, cockpit, tail and body - are new to this set in their colours. The inside of the plane has a minimal amount of details, with five seats, a galley and a lavatory. The outside of the plane looks quite smart with all the stickers applied.
Basically, the only thing that the two sets have in common is that they both have planes. However there is quite a bit of difference on the inside of the planes. There are a lot more details in the Friends plane. In addition to the seats, there is a rolling service cart complete with refreshments, emergency lighting as well as a larger galley and lav in the back of the plane.
Structurally, the plane model is sound and very well-built. A little too well-built in some areas you would say, but they are necessary measures like the awkward humps in the interior of the plane you will discover. Space is very wisely used in this model as they’ve managed to fit a proper looking cockpit for 2 pilots and even managed to squeeze in a sink, a mini-bar with the one drink, seats for 6 more passengers and even a tight little space of a washroom. That door hinge though, is a work of art.
Other airlines offering intercontinental connections to Copenhagen are SAS's Star Alliance partners Singapore Airlines (to Singapore), Air Canada (to Toronto) and Thai Airways (to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Phuket), as well as competing SkyTeam carrier Delta with a seasonal connection to JFK and Pakistan International Airlines to Islamabad and Lahore.
The rest of the model is pretty standard for a Marvel release. Most of the larger sets revolve around a vehicle and/or small structure. This one doesn’t disappoint in that respect. First up, you get the airport control tower. It’s fairly uninteresting, although they have added an exploding wall-play feature which kinda makes up for it. Otherwise, though, it’s simply a tower. In addition to that you get a small baggage car, which is pretty neat. In fairness, as cute as it is, it feels like an attempt to bump up the number of pieces. Lastly, the set comes with a Quinjet. This particular vehicle is considerably smaller than the previous two minifigure-scale Quinjets that Lego gave us last year and in 2012. That said, it’s a great model with some great features.
The airport handles an average of more than two million passengers a year, and millions of pounds of cargo. The airport's main runway can handle airliners as large as the Boeing 747, although most passengers arrive on smaller aeroplanes, such as ATR-42s, Boeing 737s and Boeing 757s. Boeing 747 activity at this airport is almost exclusively limited to cargo flights.
City has had many games since it was released. One in particular, The Robot Chronicles, was a cross-over game which saw the City, Racers, and Agents 2.0 all together in Lego City, where the player controlled and unlocked vehicles in each theme to play through a campaign. This campaign/game was also tied into a My LEGO Network The Robot Chronicles campaign- playing the game earned rewards in MLN which could be used in that campaign to eventually get the Key to LEGO City.
Minifigures are the real draw, although we’ve seen most of these characters before, but the completist will want them in their updated costumes. Among the figures are Iron Man, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Agent 13, Captain America, Winter Soldier, an Ant-Man micro-figure and of course the Giant-Man Brick built figure. These are all fantastic, and it’s the first outing for the Agent 13 figure. The printing on these figures is excellently detailed; in particular Iron Man and War Machine, who both get leg printing, are fantastic. I’m one-hundred percent sure, but Agent 13 has what looks like a new hairpiece that is really well sculpted. And this time around, Scarlet Witch gets correctly coloured hex blasts. If there is a slight downer on the mini,figure side of things, it’s Captain America. Sadly we’ve seen it all before and despite the new detailed printing on his torso, he just looks really plain when stood next to the others in this set.
After Lego closed down their publishing subsidiary, they moved on to a partnership with Traveller's Tales, and went on to make games like Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman, and many more including the very well-received Lego Marvel Super Heroes game, featuring New York City as the overworld and including Marvel characters from the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and more. More recently, Lego has created a game based on The Lego Movie, due to its popularity.
The build itself is good fun, as it should be, and engaging enough to be interesting. The only thing that I started to find a little boring was the Airport Control Tower, but then its top redeemed it. Naturally, the best thing to build is the Giant Man figure. The techniques used to make it posable, like a regular Lego minifigure, were brilliantly thought out. I hope to see more like this, perhaps in a Galactus set, although I doubt that’ll ever happen.
Anyway, I think this may be my favorite LEGO City air terminal yet! It may not be as big as some previous ones, but it feels really coherent. The plane is nice as well with its white, orange, and blue stripes. I agree that Heartlake City Airport's plane has a cozier and more detailed interior, though. It does really highlight some of the differences between Friends and City, with City opting for capacity over comfort and function over flair.
The Lego Group's motto is det bedste er ikke for godt which means roughly "only the best is the best" (more literally "the best is never too good"). This motto, which is still used today, was created by Christiansen to encourage his employees never to skimp on quality, a value he believed in strongly. By 1951 plastic toys accounted for half of the Lego company's output, even though the Danish trade magazine Legetøjs-Tidende ("Toy-Times"), visiting the Lego factory in Billund in the early 1950s, felt that plastic would never be able to replace traditional wooden toys. Although a common sentiment, Lego toys seem to have become a significant exception to the dislike of plastic in children's toys, due in part to the high standards set by Ole Kirk.
Since around 2000, the Lego Group has been promoting "Lego Serious Play", a form of business consultancy fostering creative thinking, in which team members build metaphors of their organizational identities and experiences using Lego bricks. Participants work through imaginary scenarios using visual three-dimensional Lego constructions, imaginatively exploring possibilities in a serious form of play.
This set is designed for children aged 6+, and one of the ways that it is suitable for them is the inclusion of separate instruction booklets and numbered bags for the different parts of the set (see my post about LEGO age range suitability here). A younger modeller can build the plane or other item of their choice as soon as they open the box. It's not so much one big set as 5 different parts which make a whole scene. My 7 year old son chose to build a jet first of all...
It’s always tough to sum up a set that has the sort of price tag that this one carries; because it doesn’t necessarily offer the collectors value that a Marvel or Star Wars set will offer, it can be a little harder to justify an outlay on, in this case, a few planes and a aircraft hangar. However, if you have a love for the City range, whether it be a nostalgic look back at your childhood, the general consistently-superior design of the range, or simply because your kids want an airport to build, this one has to be recommended. Once I finished building this, I set it up in my daughter’s bedroom, and the overjoyed expression on her face, followed by the extended time taken to play with the planes and flying them all over her room, made every single minute of the build worthwhile. Watching her swirl around her room – and later, the rest of house – clutching the planes and bringing them in for landings into the hangar, reminded me of why I fell in love with LEGO in the the first place; imagination.