So that's it... It's the first passenger airport set released in 6 years. It comes with a jet, 6 minifigures, a terminal, and some equipment for servicing the aircraft. Should you get it? After getting it, I'm glad I got it on sale, but I'm still not sure it was worth what I paid. I think it needs at least another terminal worker and then a pilot and flight attendant. Also you're paying for a lot of BURPs to help smooth the aircraft out. The age range listed is 6-12 years old so clearly it is not meant for old farts like me looking for a good building experience. However, if you're a LEGO CITY fan and you build your own MOCs to go with your city, it has some good additions. If you're looking to build an airport terminal of your own, you'll find some useful parts to make it realistic. We'll see if it takes another 6 years for an upgrade.
Other than the planes, I do find it unfortunate that the Friends set focuses on shopping and food like so many Friends sets, and I also think it is unfortunate that the City terminal only has the basics of the airport structure in the control tower and service truck. Having a control tower for the Friends set would have been great. Having a gift shop/cafe for the City terminal would have been a worthwhile addition and not something we have seen in many City sets.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
I purchased this set the day it was released for my LEGO City, as an upgrade from my previous airport (10159 Airport from 2004). First off, the build is great and although it's not very challenging, it's exciting to see the plane come to life and the use of the big plane pieces (eg. the nose, the wings, the tail etc.) was new to me, though I know there have been a number of planes in the past that use these pieces. There are 4 instruction booklets (2 for the plane, one for the airport, and one for the luggage/fuel/stairs car), 8 numbered bags, and two separate bags with the bigger pieces in. This makes the build very easy to follow. The completed set is very grand (especially the plane) in scale, and great looking. It's nice to see that a different colour scheme been used for the plane as opposed to the usual red and white or blue and white colours as seen in previous sets. The plane is HUGE, with a wingspan of around 2 32-wide baseplates (bare this in mind if you want to make a runway). However, despite its huge size, the inside of the plane is very bare. There are 5 seats for the passengers, another one facing backwards which I presume is for the cabin crew (although there isn't a cabin crew minifigure, which would have been a nice addition), and two seats in the cockpit. There's a tiny bathroom at the back of the plane, and a small galley area at the front with a sink and cupboard. There's easily room for a sixth chair in the plane, which I think should have been included, and the space within the plane could've been arranged better to fully optimise the area. The airport terminal has a very nice modern look, and includes the revolving door, tower, waiting area, security scanner and check in desk with luggage conveyor. Although this sounds like a lot of features, the inside of the terminal is, again, very bare and the space could've been used better. There are only 4 seats in the waiting area, and a lot of the space is taken up by the revolving door. The operational conveyor belt for the luggage is a nice touch, though, and there is a fair bit of playability within. The service car is a nice addition to this set and gives it more playability. All the trailers (fuel, stairs and luggage) connect together and attach to the service car, which has a really cool "follow me" sign on the back. This is a really nice addition to the set. Overall, I really like this set because of how it looks and because there's plenty of opportunity for play, but I think a lot more thought could've gone into maximising the space within the plane and the airport. Some more minifigures would have been good, such as a member of the cabin crew, a check-in clerk and a security officer. The value for money is okay with this set, as you do get a lot of big pieces, but the bare interiors are a little disappointing for the price you pay.
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.
I would also have liked a proper Ant-Man minifig – we get a micro Ant-Man, Giant-Man but not a regular-sized Ant-Man. There is a minifigure-sized Scott Lang hole in this set, and I think LEGO have wasted a great opportunity inserting a really popular and coveted minifigure into their flagship Civil War set. I would even gladly trade Cap and Bucky for one Ant-Man minifig.
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.