By 1954, Christiansen's son, Godtfred, had become the junior managing director of the Lego Group. It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that led to the idea of a toy system. Godtfred saw the immense potential in Lego bricks to become a system for creative play, but the bricks still had some problems from a technical standpoint: their locking ability was limited and they were not versatile. In 1958, the modern brick design was developed; it took five years to find the right material for it, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) polymer. The modern Lego brick design was patented on 28 January 1958.
This brings us to the main reason most people will get this set. The Giant Man figure. What a revelation. Lego could’ve simply released him as one of their larger scale figs like The Hulk or Thanos. Instead they’ve really outdone themselves and designed a brick built figure that looks like a regular minifig grew really big. Huzzah! There are quite a few stickers to apply, but it’s so fun to build him and put him next to the others. On the negative, they could’ve done something to spruce up his back. From the front he’s almost perfect but you turn him around and you just see the bottom of his constituent parts. It’s a minor negative on an otherwise impressive feature, however.
Minifigures are the real draw, although we’ve seen most of these characters before, but the completist will want them in their updated costumes. Among the figures are Iron Man, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Agent 13, Captain America, Winter Soldier, an Ant-Man micro-figure and of course the Giant-Man Brick built figure. These are all fantastic, and it’s the first outing for the Agent 13 figure. The printing on these figures is excellently detailed; in particular Iron Man and War Machine, who both get leg printing, are fantastic. I’m one-hundred percent sure, but Agent 13 has what looks like a new hairpiece that is really well sculpted. And this time around, Scarlet Witch gets correctly coloured hex blasts. If there is a slight downer on the mini,figure side of things, it’s Captain America. Sadly we’ve seen it all before and despite the new detailed printing on his torso, he just looks really plain when stood next to the others in this set.
Bag 6 starts the airport terminal. Like most CITY builds, they are meant for play so it's really only half a building. It includes one minifigure and the revolving door entrance. While the entrance is cool looking, it's about twice the height of a minifigure and there isn't enough physical space for one actually to fit through the door. I'm not a fan of the design.
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 upper and lower wings are connected by a dark bluish grey 4 x 1 x 3 tail on either side; this tail element is unique to the set in this colour, although has previously appeared in a couple of sets back in 2003 in old dark grey. The upper wing is also supported by a couple of 1 x 2 x 2 black windows placed back to back in front of the cockpit, which from the perspective of the pilot really can’t be good for visibility. The biplane has a three blade propeller and the tips of the blades are stickered prior to sliding the propeller on to a 6L axle protruding from the front of the fuselage where it’s held in place by an orange 2 x 2 brick with domed top. The last step is to attach a 1 x 4 x 2 bar to the top of the upper wing for the Wing Walker to hold on to and then we’re done with the biplane.
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.
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.