The two stunt jets included here actually have some similarity in the basic design and colour scheme to the main piece seen in the Marvel Super Heroes Avenjet Space Mission set. With that being said, I loved the Avenjet in that particular set, so any similarity holds no issue with me. The red and white colours work really well together, and it looks like something you would genuinely see flying through the sky at an air show. I really love it when LEGO truly capture the essence of what you are building, and they do that here. The jets themselves, as I said before, are similar to previously-released jets, and therefore the builds won’t come as any main surprise. That shouldn’t detract from the product, however, as it is a prime example of LEGO finding a winning formula and not really needing to change it.
Primary concept and development work takes place at the Billund headquarters, where the company employs approximately 120 designers. The company also has smaller design offices in the UK, Spain, Germany, and Japan which are tasked with developing products aimed specifically at these markets. The average development period for a new product is around twelve months, split into three stages. The first stage is to identify market trends and developments, including contact by the designers directly with the market; some are stationed in toy shops close to holidays, while others interview children. The second stage is the design and development of the product based upon the results of the first stage. As of September 2008 the design teams use 3D modelling software to generate CAD drawings from initial design sketches. The designs are then prototyped using an in-house stereolithography machine. These prototypes are presented to the entire project team for comment and for testing by parents and children during the "validation" process. Designs may then be altered in accordance with the results from the focus groups. Virtual models of completed Lego products are built concurrently with the writing of the user instructions. Completed CAD models are also used in the wider organisation, for marketing and packaging.
The cockpit, including the stickers on the sides and the canopy, is identical to that of the first jet, as is the front of the aircraft. As previously noted, however, the wing configuration is different, as is the tail design which features twin tail fins and a pair of fuselage-mounted tailplanes. The red 4 x 1 x 3 tail fins, which have appeared in a total of seven sets including this one, are angled outwards similar to the arrangement on an F/A-18 Hornet. Overall, it’s another sleek design but once again the smooth lines are somewhat spoiled by the prominent canopy.
Lego has an ongoing deal with publisher Dorling Kindersley (DK), who are producing a series of illustrated hardback books looking at different aspects of the construction toy. The first was "The Ultimate Lego Book", published in 1999. More recently, in 2009, the same publisher produced The LEGO Book, which was sold within a slipcase along with Standing Small: A celebration of 30 years of the LEGO minifigure, a smaller book focused on the minifigure. In 2012, a revised edition was published. Also in 2009, DK also published books on Lego Star Wars and a range of Lego-based sticker books.
I cannot stress just how much I love this item, it may well be the highlight of the whole set. LEGO have released bi-planes before of similar design, but it still something to marvel over. Harking back to those older days of LEGO relying on imagination and not movie franchises, this is what we had to play with, and it is great to be able to relive that in today’s world.
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.
There are 3 cardboard boxes with more Easter eggs. We get a few references to Marvel organisations such as A.I.M., who you may remember from Iron Man 3 as an R&D agency run by Aldrich Killian, Hammer, one of Stark Industries primary rivals which made an appearance in Iron Man 2, bankrolling Whiplash and finally a box with the Stark Industries logo on it.
A minifigure can comfortably fit seated inside the cockpit, and it is here that I found the first issue with the set. I had no issue inserting and removing the figure from his seated position, but my seven-year old struggled to get him out, deciding to leave him onboard instead of disembarking after she brought the jet back into the hangar. The physical connection between LEGO pieces in the cockpit and the pilot minifigure didn’t seem to present an issue, so whether or not this was just a one-off issue remains to be seen.