Since 1963, Lego pieces have been manufactured from a strong, resilient plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). As of September 2008, Lego engineers use the NX CAD/CAM/CAE PLM software suite to model the elements. The software allows the parts to be optimised by way of mould flow and stress analysis. Prototype moulds are sometimes built before the design is committed to mass production. The ABS plastic is heated to 232 °C (450 °F) until it reaches a dough-like consistency. It is then injected into the moulds at pressures between 25 and 150 tonnes, and takes approximately 15 seconds to cool. The moulds are permitted a tolerance of up to twenty micrometres, to ensure the bricks remain connected. Human inspectors check the output of the moulds, to eliminate significant variations in colour or thickness. According to the Lego Group, about eighteen bricks out of every million fail to meet the standard required. Lego factories recycle all but about 1 percent of their plastic waste from the manufacturing process. If the plastic cannot be re-used in Lego bricks, it is processed and sold on to industries that can make use of it. Lego has a self-imposed 2030 deadline to find a more eco-friendly alternative to the ABS plastic it currently uses in its bricks.
As is the norm with LEGO sets these days, there are a fair few stickers in use for this item. I’m still not a fan of their use, but at this point in time, it is something I have come to expect and just get on with it now. In their defence, they do add to the overall presentation, making it that little bit harder to complain. As I said, this is my favourite of the three planes in the set, mainly because it looks superb and offers a great build experience. Seriously, I had so much fun building this. The instructions – as always – are clear, and it is not going to provide any major issues. Stability-wise, there are no concerns here, with the finished product very sturdy and, as proved by my daughter, can handle itself when being flown around the room by an excited seven-year-old. One minifigure can be seated at the controls, with suitable space for application and removal. The other pilot has its place on the top of the plane, with a single piece of black fencing to provide support for the death-defying pilot.
In December 2012, the BBC's More or Less radio program asked the Open University's engineering department to determine "how many Lego bricks, stacked one on top of the other, it would take for the weight to destroy the bottom brick?" Using a hydraulic testing machine, the engineering department determined the average maximum force a 2×2 Lego brick can stand is 4,240 newtons; since an average 2×2 Lego brick has a mass of 1.152 grams (0.0406 oz), according to their calculations it would take a stack of 375,000 bricks to cause the bottom brick to collapse, which represents a stack 3,591 metres (11,781 ft) in height.
The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (1891–1958), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called "Lego", derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well". In 1947, Lego expanded to begin producing plastic toys. In 1949 Lego began producing, among other new products, an early version of the now familiar interlocking bricks, calling them "Automatic Binding Bricks". These bricks were based on the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which had been patented in the United Kingdom in 1939 and released in 1947. Lego had received a sample of the Kiddicraft bricks from the supplier of an injection-molding machine that it purchased. The bricks, originally manufactured from cellulose acetate, were a development of the traditional stackable wooden blocks of the time.
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!
Colour-wise, it is mainly yellow, with only a dash of green and red, and a little more white, there to break it up. The worker has space to stand and drive the vehicle, and has a walkie talkie attached on the side of the car. Around the other side is a coiled-up, what I assume is a, fuel pump. It looks pretty good when coiled up on the side of the car. Stickers come into use again here, this time for the number plates.
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.
Unlike the City set, there is no control tower or truck that services the plane. Instead, there is a passenger check-in/baggage carousel, a rolling staircase to gain access to the plane, plus the airport entrance that includes a gift shop and a café (or, one could argue, something that is very much like many other Friends sets out there). There are only three mini-dolls in this set compared to the six in the City set.
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.
The body of the plane is built with five seats for passengers. The wings are added next with what I think are filler stickers added to the top of the wings. There is a small galley with sink and oven in the front of the plane right behind the cockpit. The cockpit uses only one sticker to show navigation equipment - the other is printed, which is always welcome (though not a new piece). A lavatory is installed in the back, and then the inside is complete. There is an odd choice for the door to the lav - a swinging door. Not much opportunity for privacy!
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.
The mechanic is a rather basic design, with an all-blue colour and a work shirt pattern. He comes equipped with a walkie-talkie and a full tool truck, containing every piece of equipment a mechanic could need. The airport worker looks like every other workman from The LEGO Movie that joined Emmet in a chorus of Everything is Awesome, and is a nostalgic hark bark to the old construction figures that I grew up playing with.
Since the 1950s, the Lego Group has released thousands of sets with a variety of themes, including space, robots, pirates, trains, Vikings, castle, dinosaurs, undersea exploration, and wild west. Some of the classic themes that continue to the present day include Lego City (a line of sets depicting city life introduced in 1973) and Lego Technic (a line aimed at emulating complex machinery, introduced in 1977).
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.
In 2008, the entire runway was renovated and paved, and a new taxiway was built, nicknamed "Mike". This major task only took 14 hours. The runway was closed over night between the hours 23:00 and 06:00. This did not prevent a Boeing 737-800 from Ryanair landing at one end of the runway, while they worked at the other end. The same year was also a record year for the airport. 2,546,856 passengers passed through the terminals, an increase of 12.7 percent compared with 2007.
There are several robotics competitions which use the Lego robotics sets. The earliest is Botball, a national U.S. middle- and high-school competition stemming from the MIT 6.270 Lego robotics tournament. Other Lego robotics competitions include Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for students ages 6–9 and FIRST Lego League (FLL) for students ages 9–16 (age 9–14 in the United States, Canada, and Mexico). Jr.FLL and FLL offer real-world engineering challenges to participants. FLL uses Lego-based robots to complete tasks. Jr.FLL participants build models out of Lego elements. In its 2010 season, there were 16,070 FLL teams in over 55 countries. In its 2010 season, there were 2,147 Jr.FLL teams with 12,882 total student participants in the United States and Canada. The international RoboCup Junior football competition involves extensive use of Lego Mindstorms equipment which is often pushed to its extreme limits.