The programmable Lego brick which is at the heart of these robotics sets has undergone several updates and redesigns, with the latest being called the 'EV3' brick, being sold under the name of Lego Mindstorms EV3. The set includes sensors that detect touch, light, sound and ultrasonic waves, with several others being sold separately, including an RFID reader.
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Lego pieces of all varieties constitute a universal system. Despite variation in the design and the purposes of individual pieces over the years, each piece remains compatible in some way with existing pieces. Lego bricks from 1958 still interlock with those made in the current time, and Lego sets for young children are compatible with those made for teenagers. Six bricks of 2 × 4 studs can be combined in 915,103,765 ways.
City is the thematic title under which most Town-related System sets were released from 2005 and onward. There are numerous sets that are associated with Construction, Police, Fire, Emergency, Train, Airport, Transportation, Cargo, Traffic, Coast Guard, Farm, Great Vehicles, Mining, and Space. European catalogs featured another theme called City in the years 1999 to 2000, which was referred to as City Center in American catalogs.
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.
Over the years, Lego has licensed themes from numerous cartoon and film franchises and even some from video games. These include Batman, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Minecraft. Although some of the licensed themes, Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones, had highly successful sales, Lego has expressed a desire to rely more upon their own characters and classic themes, and less upon licensed themes related to movie releases.
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.
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.
Inside the box we find eight numbered bags, two unnumbered bags containing large molded plane parts, two loose 16x16 plates, the large airplane wing in medium grey, a sticker sheet and four instruction booklets of varying sizes. Unfortunately there is no cardboard to keep the booklets and sticker sheet flat (though fortunately mine were not crumpled), but never fear, there is a brick separator!
Stickers are used for decorations for the outside of the plane. I like how the stickers for the outside match colours with the piping on the plane. I found the sticker for the top of the door to be a little big; if you line up the orange on the bottom of the stickers with the orange on the plane the sticker overlaps a bit at the top. The stickers for the nose of the plane are not as difficult to apply as I thought they would be. They do seem a bit superfluous, though they do make the plane look nice. The plane is finished with the tail fin, that uses yet more stickers. It is interesting that this plane actually uses more stickers than the Friends plane does.
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?