Manufacturing of Lego bricks occurs at several locations around the world. Moulding is done in Billund, Denmark; Nyíregyháza, Hungary; Monterrey, Mexico and most recently in Jiaxing, China. Brick decorations and packaging are done at plants in Denmark, Hungary, Mexico and Kladno in the Czech Republic. The Lego Group estimates that in five decades it has produced 400 billion Lego blocks. Annual production of Lego bricks averages approximately 36 billion, or about 1140 elements per second. According to an article in BusinessWeek in 2006, Lego could be considered the world's No. 1 tire manufacturer; the factory produces about 306 million small rubber tires a year. The claim was reiterated in 2012.
City is the thematic title under which most Town-related System sets were released from 2005 and onward. There are numerous sets that are associated with Construction, Police, Fire, Emergency, Train, Airport, Transportation, Cargo, Traffic, Coast Guard, Farm, Great Vehicles, Mining, and Space. European catalogs featured another theme called City in the years 1999 to 2000, which was referred to as City Center in American catalogs.
There are 3 cardboard boxes with more Easter eggs. We get a few references to Marvel organisations such as A.I.M., who you may remember from Iron Man 3 as an R&D agency run by Aldrich Killian, Hammer, one of Stark Industries primary rivals which made an appearance in Iron Man 2, bankrolling Whiplash and finally a box with the Stark Industries logo on it.
The main constituents of the set are a tanker truck, three aircraft and a hangar. Each of these gets its own instruction booklet and bags of elements. First up is the tanker truck (below) which at only four studs wide and less than ten studs in length reminds me of the 4-stud wide vehicles of my youth. This impression is reinforced by the inclusion of a couple of late 70’s-style 2 x 4 mudguards in the build.
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.
The design on the jet pilots’ outfits are very good, with a darker blue colour scheme offset with a red/white/yellow stripe pattern on the torso. The requisite wings and plane emblem complete the look, with the star-emblazoned helmet the icing on the cake. However, as good as those outfits are, I think the bi-plane pilots’ attire is even better, with a swish darker red colour on the legs and above the waist, culminating in a flame-effect design merging into a white torso. The old-fashioned flying helmets and goggles look great and really compliment the overall figure design.
Lego also initiated a robotics line of toys called 'Mindstorms' in 1999, and has continued to expand and update this range ever since. The roots of the product originate from a programmable brick developed at the MIT Media Lab, and the name is taken from a paper by Seymour Papert, a computer scientist and educator who developed the educational theory of constructionism, and whose research was at times funded by the Lego Group.
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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.
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.
This was bought for my son's 5th birthday. If your kid likes to really play with the sets like mine does (not just bought for building it) be aware that the door of the airplane likes to pop off if it is not opened/closed just the right way with gentle hands. My son is a typical rambunctious boy and is not great at opening/closing things gingerly, so the door presents a bit of a problem for him. He doesn't have the dexterity or patience to snap the two tiny joint pieces onto the little pole just so yet, so whenever the door comes off he gets frustrated and needs help. Which is fine, we help him and he will eventually learn to do it himself, but just wanted to make y'all aware of this in case you have someone who is picky about the door opening and closing easily/correctly :) I know some little ones get fussy about these things!
Colour-wise, it is mainly yellow, with only a dash of green and red, and a little more white, there to break it up. The worker has space to stand and drive the vehicle, and has a walkie talkie attached on the side of the car. Around the other side is a coiled-up, what I assume is a, fuel pump. It looks pretty good when coiled up on the side of the car. Stickers come into use again here, this time for the number plates.
If you don’t own Black Panther Pursuit or any of the sets that included Captain America, I guess it would a plus getting the both of them in this set but Super Heroes collectors tend to be completionists, so I think that scenario will be particularly rare. I guess you could always sell your spares on the secondary market, but really, who wants to do that?