Nice review, and it looks like a really nice set with a good mix of builds. The fact that I read the entire review without looking for the price speaks volumes for this in my opinion. The planes look good and I cannot see anyone from any age group who buys this not giving all three planes at least a quick test drive round the living room. One to add to my list.
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.
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!
Thanks for the great review and comparison. I've thought about getting the Friends Airport for my daughter, as we both like the amount of detail inside the plane. Why would Lego think that boys don't care as much about detail? I love the wider body planes, but it's a shame they're not producing the runway plates, or including them in the airport sets, anymore. I agree with ZeeBricks that if they're not going to include everything an airport needs (although as expensive as price/piece these sets are getting it would cost a fortune) they should sell smaller sets that can be added together. Now that I'm feeling nostalgic for classic airport I might rebuild my 6392 and dust off my 6396 and set them up tonight, it's time for some serious swooshing :)
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.
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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.
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?
This detailed model features a classic red, black and grey colour scheme, large driver's cab with detailed dashboard, wing mirrors, opening tool storage compartment, 4-cylinder engine with moving pistons, twin-axle steering, double rear axle and chunky tires. Activate the boom to position the water cannon and extinguish the flames! This Power Functions upgradable model can be rebuilt to create an awesome Fire Rescue Vehicle!
Will agree with some other reviewers that some parts will fall off with normal-rough play. However, the attention to detail is pretty cool and almost makes up for it. The top is hard to take off and put on to move the minifigs. There is a TSA checkpoint, a conveyor belt for luggage, a rather impressive runway vehicle. Couple this with the cargo plane or another airplane set and some atraight road nameplates, you got an airport without spending a fortune.
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.