From mid-2009, the airport was served by 9 airlines flying regular flight service, of which KLM had the busiest route with over 200,000 annual passengers to Amsterdam Schiphol. In 2011, Ryanair announced that Billund Airport with effect from 25 March 2012 would be the base for two Boeing 737 aircraft. At the same time Ryanair published 5 new routes, so that, from the summer of 2012, they would fly to 19 destinations.
Attention then shifts to construction of the three aircraft. When I first spied this set I assumed that the two red jets were the same, but closer examination reveals a number of differences. First up is a red jet with a canard wing configuration as seen in the Saab Viggen amongst others. The lower fuselage is fashioned from a number of double and triple inverted 45 degree slopes with a pair of 1 x 14 Technic bricks running through the centre; there’s no obvious reason for Technic bricks to be used in this situation – standard 1 x 14 bricks would have done the job just as well - so I assume that LEGO just happened to have a bunch of them lying around…. A printed black 1 x 2 tile in the cockpit represents the instrument panel, while a substantial air intake is attached on either side of the fuselage at a 90 degree angle by way of brackets.
Lego has an ongoing deal with publisher Dorling Kindersley (DK), who are producing a series of illustrated hardback books looking at different aspects of the construction toy. The first was "The Ultimate Lego Book", published in 1999. More recently, in 2009, the same publisher produced The LEGO Book, which was sold within a slipcase along with Standing Small: A celebration of 30 years of the LEGO minifigure, a smaller book focused on the minifigure. In 2012, a revised edition was published. Also in 2009, DK also published books on Lego Star Wars and a range of Lego-based sticker books.
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 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.
Structurally, the plane model is sound and very well-built. A little too well-built in some areas you would say, but they are necessary measures like the awkward humps in the interior of the plane you will discover. Space is very wisely used in this model as they’ve managed to fit a proper looking cockpit for 2 pilots and even managed to squeeze in a sink, a mini-bar with the one drink, seats for 6 more passengers and even a tight little space of a washroom. That door hinge though, is a work of art.
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.
Correct - the hanger can only accommodate the biplane. That having been said, in order to accommodate the other aircraft too the hangar would have to be huge, with an enormous footprint, and a substantially increased parts count. As a result, I'd estimate a price up to double the current RRP which I suspect few of the target market would pay. LEGO therefore got the size of the hanger right IMHO.
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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.