LEGO City enables us all to remember why we fell in love with LEGO to begin with, to remember how we all first became exposed to LEGO; as a little kid, building our first house or giving our minifigures a hospital or a police station to work in. My first set was a garage, quickly followed by a police station. Having recently found these in storage, and keen to rebuild them, having the opportunity to build something not revolving around a Jedi or an Avenger is one I keen to take advantage of.
I'm not sure what to make of the set yet. I like the planes (although that biplane really doesn't need the bubble canopy). The idea of adding a hangar is interesting and I don't mind that it's a bit open. But the fact that it'll only house one of the three planes is annoying. Having said that, I'm not sure what you could do about it. Tripling the hangar would make it big and boring and push the price up. Could they have done two planes and a double hangar?
The upper and lower wings are connected by a dark bluish grey 4 x 1 x 3 tail on either side; this tail element is unique to the set in this colour, although has previously appeared in a couple of sets back in 2003 in old dark grey. The upper wing is also supported by a couple of 1 x 2 x 2 black windows placed back to back in front of the cockpit, which from the perspective of the pilot really can’t be good for visibility. The biplane has a three blade propeller and the tips of the blades are stickered prior to sliding the propeller on to a 6L axle protruding from the front of the fuselage where it’s held in place by an orange 2 x 2 brick with domed top. The last step is to attach a 1 x 4 x 2 bar to the top of the upper wing for the Wing Walker to hold on to and then we’re done with the biplane.
Lego also initiated a robotics line of toys called 'Mindstorms' in 1999, and has continued to expand and update this range ever since. The roots of the product originate from a programmable brick developed at the MIT Media Lab, and the name is taken from a paper by Seymour Papert, a computer scientist and educator who developed the educational theory of constructionism, and whose research was at times funded by the Lego Group.
If you’ve watched Captain America: Civil War, you’d know that the airport is the scene of one of the coolest superhero showdowns ever, with Team Iron Man and Team Captain America duking it out on the tarmac. The scene is chaotic, gorgeously choreographed and most importantly stolen by the likes of Spider-Man (not included in this set) and Ant-Man transforming into the aptly named Giant-Man.
Manufacturing of Lego bricks occurs at several locations around the world. Moulding is done in Billund, Denmark; Nyíregyháza, Hungary; Monterrey, Mexico and most recently in Jiaxing, China. Brick decorations and packaging are done at plants in Denmark, Hungary, Mexico and Kladno in the Czech Republic. The Lego Group estimates that in five decades it has produced 400 billion Lego blocks. Annual production of Lego bricks averages approximately 36 billion, or about 1140 elements per second. According to an article in BusinessWeek in 2006, Lego could be considered the world's No. 1 tire manufacturer; the factory produces about 306 million small rubber tires a year. The claim was reiterated in 2012.
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.
Last to be assembled is the hangar, which given its size is a surprisingly quick build – even though I’m a notoriously slow builder it took me barely ten minutes to put it together. The first step involves stacking dark bluish grey and orange plates and tiles to create a three-sided enclosure covering an area of 24 x 32 studs. Two side walls are then constructed from 1 x 6 x 5 rectangular girders topped off with dark bluish grey bricks and orange tiles, after which the roof is assembled, predominantly from a few large plates including a black 8 x 16 plate only previously available in two sets, and four dark bluish grey 6 x 24 plates which are only appearing in a set for the second time ever. A couple of stickers at the front of the structure identify it as an Airshow Hanger; to be frank, describing it as a hanger is probably exaggerating the case a bit as with its open front and rear it’s more akin to a large shelter.
The definitive shape of the Lego bricks, with the inner tubes, was patented by the Lego Group in 1958. Several competitors have attempted to take advantage of Lego's popularity by producing blocks of similar dimensions, and advertising them as being compatible with Lego bricks. In 2002, Lego sued the CoCo Toy Company in Beijing for copyright infringement over its "Coko bricks" product. CoCo was ordered to cease manufacture of the products, publish a formal apology and pay damages. Lego sued the English company Best-Lock Construction Toys in German courts in 2004 and 2009; the Federal Patent Court of Germany denied Lego trademark protection for the shape of its bricks for the latter case. In 2005, the Lego Company sued Canadian company Mega Bloks for trademark violation, but the Supreme Court of Canada upheld Mega Bloks' rights to sell their product. In 2010, the European Court of Justice ruled that the eight-peg design of the original Lego brick "merely performs a technical function [and] cannot be registered as a trademark."
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.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is the hangar only large enough to house the biplane? A bit of a cock-up if that's the case. As good as the planes are, the hangar is a major failing. It looks like it's only about 30-40 pieces; just a bunch of big plates, some prefab cross-bracing and ... errrm ... air. Not so much a "hangar" as an aviation-equivalent of a car port!
The final two minifigures are the Biplane Pilot and the intrepid Wing Walker. Both of these minifigures share the same white torso which is printed with a flight suit design overlaid with dark red and bright light orange flames plus a logo over the left breast. The torso design is superb and it can at present only be found in this set. Both minifigures are provided with a reddish brown aviator cap and dark bluish grey goggles, and the pilot (below left) also gets an alternative to this headgear in the form of medium dark flesh mid-length hair which has only ever appeared in five sets in this colour.