After World City's discontinuation in 2004, it was replaced with City as System's primary town-life related theme in 2005. However, unlike its predecessor, it was not limited to sets involving rescue services like Police, Fire or Coast Guard, but also introduced the first new construction site related sets since the discontinuation of City Center in 2000. In 2006, the first new airport set that included the first jetway since 6597 Century Skyway (1994) was released, as well as the first new hospital since 6380 Emergency Treatment Center from 1987. These releases expanded City to a scope only comparable to the original Town theme, and in 2009 it even went slightly beyond that, by introducing the first farm-related System sets. Also, in that year, City followed this route to release more truly civilian town life sets such as 7641 City Corner and 7639 Camper. In 2010 City released more civilian sets including 8403 Family House and 8404 Public Transport. In 2011 City re-introduced the Space sub-theme along with some new Harbour sets. In the first wave of 2012, City had forest police and fire sets as well as some more commercial/civilian sets. The second wave of 2012 featured the introduction of the Mining theme and respective sets, as well as a hospital. In the winter of 2013, Police and Fire sets were once again focused on but, contrary to those released in the previous year, were set in the city. In the summer of 2013, the Coast Guard and Cargo subthemes were brought back.
The set contains six minifigures. Even though they all incorporate standard, unprinted minifigure legs together with commonly-available headprints, it appears that all six are unique to the set. First up are two members of the Ground Crew (below). The bearded guy has an orange torso printed with a hi-viz jacket, ID badge and red pen pattern. This has appeared in nine sets to date including all of the 2016 Airport sets plus 60080 Spaceport which I reviewed here last summer. His red construction helmet, which incorporates a pair of non-removable black ear muffs, has appeared in less than ten sets to date. The other member of the ground crew has a rather nice printed medium blue torso which is new this year and has only appeared in a total of three sets including this one. It features a shirt print which includes the Octan logo and a top pocket complete with a pen.
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.
I’m pleased to report that I thoroughly enjoyed building this set, and what’s more I quite enjoyed playing with it afterwards as well…. First and foremost it’s an excellent play set – it’s not often that you get three good-sized vehicles plus a large building and a number of accessories in a single set at this price point. Furthermore, all three aircraft are actually pretty good, particularly the two jets which look really sleek apart from their prominent cockpit canopies. The jets are also solidly built, surprisingly weighty, and eminently swooshable; you can conveniently grab them by their lateral air intakes and nothing falls off when you swoosh them around - I know this as I extensively tested this particular play feature…. The hanger is admittedly a bit insubstantial, but overall this set lived up to my expectations and I’ll certainly be picking up a couple more of the Airport sets this summer.
The remainder of the build is the control tower and terminal building. First there is a metal detector screener leading to the waiting/secure area of the airport, which seems taller than it needs to be for the minifigures. I think the same effect could have been made with half the height, except that would not allow for an impressive height for the overall tower. However it does seem to be similar to many modern airports with the high ceilings. This area also seems to be someplace to check luggage as evidenced by the rather nifty conveyor belt that comes in a full part. The moving parts of the set include a revolving door (a very tall one, for the first floor) that leads from the secure area of the airport out to the tarmac, and of course the conveyor belt.