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.
After World City's discontinuation in 2004, it was replaced with City as System's primary town-life related theme in 2005. However, unlike its predecessor, it was not limited to sets involving rescue services like Police, Fire or Coast Guard, but also introduced the first new construction site related sets since the discontinuation of City Center in 2000. In 2006, the first new airport set that included the first jetway since 6597 Century Skyway (1994) was released, as well as the first new hospital since 6380 Emergency Treatment Center from 1987. These releases expanded City to a scope only comparable to the original Town theme, and in 2009 it even went slightly beyond that, by introducing the first farm-related System sets. Also, in that year, City followed this route to release more truly civilian town life sets such as 7641 City Corner and 7639 Camper. In 2010 City released more civilian sets including 8403 Family House and 8404 Public Transport. In 2011 City re-introduced the Space sub-theme along with some new Harbour sets. In the first wave of 2012, City had forest police and fire sets as well as some more commercial/civilian sets. The second wave of 2012 featured the introduction of the Mining theme and respective sets, as well as a hospital. In the winter of 2013, Police and Fire sets were once again focused on but, contrary to those released in the previous year, were set in the city. In the summer of 2013, the Coast Guard and Cargo subthemes were brought back.
The Lego Movie, a feature film based on Lego toys, was released by Warner Bros. in February 2014. It featured Chris Pratt in the lead role, with substantial supporting characters voiced by Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, Will Ferrell and Nick Offerman. A contest was held for contestants to submit designs for vehicles to be used in the film. After the release of The Lego Movie, independent Canadian toy retailers reported issues with shortages of Lego products and cited cancellations of Lego pre-orders without warning as a motive to stock compatible, rival products.
The main constituents of the set are a tanker truck, three aircraft and a hangar. Each of these gets its own instruction booklet and bags of elements. First up is the tanker truck (below) which at only four studs wide and less than ten studs in length reminds me of the 4-stud wide vehicles of my youth. This impression is reinforced by the inclusion of a couple of late 70’s-style 2 x 4 mudguards in the build.
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.
The remainder of the build is the control tower and terminal building. First there is a metal detector screener leading to the waiting/secure area of the airport, which seems taller than it needs to be for the minifigures. I think the same effect could have been made with half the height, except that would not allow for an impressive height for the overall tower. However it does seem to be similar to many modern airports with the high ceilings. This area also seems to be someplace to check luggage as evidenced by the rather nifty conveyor belt that comes in a full part. The moving parts of the set include a revolving door (a very tall one, for the first floor) that leads from the secure area of the airport out to the tarmac, and of course the conveyor belt.