It’s been three years since the release of the most recent City Airport set, namely, 60019 Stunt Plane, and a full six years since LEGO gave us a number of Airport releases at any one time. Of the five summer 2016 Airport releases, 60103 Airport Air Show was one of those that I was most interested to get my hands on, and I’m pleased to be able to bring you a review of it today.
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.
The airport handles an average of more than two million passengers a year, and millions of pounds of cargo. The airport's main runway can handle airliners as large as the Boeing 747, although most passengers arrive on smaller aeroplanes, such as ATR-42s, Boeing 737s and Boeing 757s. Boeing 747 activity at this airport is almost exclusively limited to cargo flights.
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 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!
There are several robotics competitions which use the Lego robotics sets. The earliest is Botball, a national U.S. middle- and high-school competition stemming from the MIT 6.270 Lego robotics tournament. Other Lego robotics competitions include Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for students ages 6–9 and FIRST Lego League (FLL) for students ages 9–16 (age 9–14 in the United States, Canada, and Mexico). Jr.FLL and FLL offer real-world engineering challenges to participants. FLL uses Lego-based robots to complete tasks. Jr.FLL participants build models out of Lego elements. In its 2010 season, there were 16,070 FLL teams in over 55 countries. In its 2010 season, there were 2,147 Jr.FLL teams with 12,882 total student participants in the United States and Canada. The international RoboCup Junior football competition involves extensive use of Lego Mindstorms equipment which is often pushed to its extreme limits.
As is the norm with LEGO sets these days, there are a fair few stickers in use for this item. I’m still not a fan of their use, but at this point in time, it is something I have come to expect and just get on with it now. In their defence, they do add to the overall presentation, making it that little bit harder to complain. As I said, this is my favourite of the three planes in the set, mainly because it looks superb and offers a great build experience. Seriously, I had so much fun building this. The instructions – as always – are clear, and it is not going to provide any major issues. Stability-wise, there are no concerns here, with the finished product very sturdy and, as proved by my daughter, can handle itself when being flown around the room by an excited seven-year-old. One minifigure can be seated at the controls, with suitable space for application and removal. The other pilot has its place on the top of the plane, with a single piece of black fencing to provide support for the death-defying pilot.
So that's it... It's the first passenger airport set released in 6 years. It comes with a jet, 6 minifigures, a terminal, and some equipment for servicing the aircraft. Should you get it? After getting it, I'm glad I got it on sale, but I'm still not sure it was worth what I paid. I think it needs at least another terminal worker and then a pilot and flight attendant. Also you're paying for a lot of BURPs to help smooth the aircraft out. The age range listed is 6-12 years old so clearly it is not meant for old farts like me looking for a good building experience. However, if you're a LEGO CITY fan and you build your own MOCs to go with your city, it has some good additions. If you're looking to build an airport terminal of your own, you'll find some useful parts to make it realistic. We'll see if it takes another 6 years for an upgrade.
City has had many games since it was released. One in particular, The Robot Chronicles, was a cross-over game which saw the City, Racers, and Agents 2.0 all together in Lego City, where the player controlled and unlocked vehicles in each theme to play through a campaign. This campaign/game was also tied into a My LEGO Network The Robot Chronicles campaign- playing the game earned rewards in MLN which could be used in that campaign to eventually get the Key to LEGO City.
In 1997 they had an architectural competition for a new 430,000 ft² (40,000 m²) passenger terminal, designed to serve 3.5 million passengers a year, north of the original airport. KHR Architects won the assignment and completed the construction in co-operation with COWI, and at the end of May 2002 the new passenger terminal was put to use, as the first phase of the future expansion, which is scheduled to take place north of the start and runway, while air cargo services, business and private aviation will continue to be served from the existing buildings south of the runway. In connection with this expansion, the largest since the beginning of the airport, it was with effect from 1 January 1997 turned into a Joint-stock company, Billund Airport A/S, with the former members Vejle County and municipalities Vejle, Kolding, Grindsted, Billund, and Give as shareholders.
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.
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.
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.