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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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.
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.
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.
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!
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 set has an impressive assortment of minifigures - I quite like that it has six, allowing for a lot of play opportunities. All the major parts of the plane - the wing, cockpit, tail and body - are new to this set in their colours. The inside of the plane has a minimal amount of details, with five seats, a galley and a lavatory. The outside of the plane looks quite smart with all the stickers applied.
Lego Games launched in 2009, was a series of Lego-themed board games designed by Cephas Howard and Reiner Knizia in which the players usually build the playing board out of Lego bricks and then play with Lego-style players. Examples of the games include "Minotaurus", in which players roll dice to move characters within a brick-build labyrinth, "Creationary", in which players must build something which appears on a card, or "Ramses Pyramid", in which players collect gems and climb up a customisable pyramid. Like many board games, the games use dice. In Lego Games, the dice are Lego, with Lego squares with symbols on Lego studs on the dice, surrounded by rubber. The games vary from simple to complex, some are similar to "traditional" board games, while others are completely different.
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 capabilities of the Mindstorms range have now been harnessed for use in Iko Creative Prosthetic System, a prosthetic limbs system designed for children. Designs for these Lego prosthetics allow everything from mechanical diggers to laser-firing spaceships to be screwed on to the end of a child's limb. Iko is the work of the Chicago-based Colombian designer Carlos Arturo Torres, and is a modular system that allows children to customise their own prosthetics with the ease of clicking together plastic bricks. Designed with Lego's Future Lab, the Danish toy company's experimental research department, and Cirec, a Colombian foundation for physical rehabilitation, the modular prosthetic incorporates myoelectric sensors that register the activity of the muscle in the stump and send a signal to control movement in the attachment. A processing unit in the body of the prosthetic contains an engine compatible with Lego Mindstorms, the company's robotics line, which lets the wearer build an extensive range of customised, programmable limbs.
If you’ve watched Captain America: Civil War, you’d know that the airport is the scene of one of the coolest superhero showdowns ever, with Team Iron Man and Team Captain America duking it out on the tarmac. The scene is chaotic, gorgeously choreographed and most importantly stolen by the likes of Spider-Man (not included in this set) and Ant-Man transforming into the aptly named Giant-Man.
The box set weighs a little over 2kg and has about 694 pieces in total, including 6 minifigures: a pilot, 3 airport workers, a male and a female passenger. The whole build would get you almost an entire airport facade with a pretty big passenger plane, an airport/control tower build, and an airport service car that tows with it a luggage, fuel and and mobile stairway.
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In contrast to the first jet with its delta wing configuration and forward canard wings, the second jet features a more conventional straight wing configuration with tapered leading and trailing edges. As you might expect, construction of the fuselage of the second jet is in many ways similar to that of the first, although in order to accommodate twin exhausts the rear isn’t tapered, and the air intakes which flank the fuselage are of a different design.
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Agent 13 has a pretty plain appearance, with caramel-coloured wavy hair, and a black, spy-like top. Her torso has some nice details, with sharp, angular lines that all combine to form a rough outline of an upside down star. She has plain sand blue pants and rocks a sub-machine gun accessory. I like regular LEGO firearms, so it’s very nice to get one in this set as they’re fairly uncommon.