Nice review, and it looks like a really nice set with a good mix of builds. The fact that I read the entire review without looking for the price speaks volumes for this in my opinion. The planes look good and I cannot see anyone from any age group who buys this not giving all three planes at least a quick test drive round the living room. One to add to my list.
The differences between the two jets mainly come on the top and rear of the builds. One has a larger single rear fin and two larger wings at the back, while the other has two smaller fins and the large wings positioned in the middle of the vehicle. The nose and cockpit areas are identical on both jets, and both come with stickers; the airshow logo on the wings, and a plane motif on the sides.
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!
Last to be assembled is the hangar, which given its size is a surprisingly quick build – even though I’m a notoriously slow builder it took me barely ten minutes to put it together. The first step involves stacking dark bluish grey and orange plates and tiles to create a three-sided enclosure covering an area of 24 x 32 studs. Two side walls are then constructed from 1 x 6 x 5 rectangular girders topped off with dark bluish grey bricks and orange tiles, after which the roof is assembled, predominantly from a few large plates including a black 8 x 16 plate only previously available in two sets, and four dark bluish grey 6 x 24 plates which are only appearing in a set for the second time ever. A couple of stickers at the front of the structure identify it as an Airshow Hanger; to be frank, describing it as a hanger is probably exaggerating the case a bit as with its open front and rear it’s more akin to a large shelter.
The main wings are made up of a pair of white 10 x 10 wedge plates with cut corner and no studs in the centre; these are rare, having only previously appeared in two sets in this colour. The red 1 x 1 plate with tooth on each wing tip is also uncommon, having appeared in less than ten sets to date. The sides of the cockpit are made up of stickered red 1 x 4 x 1 panels, and it definitely helps if you concentrate when you apply the stickers, which I clearly didn’t as you can see in the picture below…. The area behind the cockpit canopy is nicely contoured by a red 4 x 4 triple wedge which, I was surprised to discover, has only previously appeared in a single set in this colour. Not to be outdone, however, the large 12 x 2 x 5 tail is appearing for the very first time in red. The hinged trans-black cockpit canopy is yet another rare element, appearing here for only the second time ever; rare it might be, but its pronounced curvature unfortunately means that it somewhat spoils the hitherto sleek lines of the jet. The flipside of this, however, is that the cockpit can comfortably accommodate the pilot.
Next we have the two Jet Pilots, one female and one male, both of which have identical torsos and helmets. The dark blue torsos, which are unique to this set, are printed with a nice design featuring a red jet with a red, white and gold jet wake plus gold jet insignia on the left breast. The white helmets incorporate a trans-black visor which can be raised and lowered; the helmets feature a print consisting of a star flanked with gold stripes, and like the torsos they’re currently exclusive to this set.
4+ Agents Adventurers Alpha Team Aqua Raiders Aquazone Atlantis Avatar: The Last Airbender Baby Batman Belville Bionicle Cars Castle Dino Dino Attack Exo-Force Fabuland Fusion Games Hero Factory The Hobbit Homemaker Indiana Jones Jurassic World Legends of Chima The Lego Movie The Lord of the Rings Mars Mission Mickey Mouse Mixels Monster Fighters Ninja Paradisa Pharaoh's Quest Pirates Pirates of the Caribbean Power Miners Prince of Persia Quatro Racers RoboRiders Rock Raiders Scooby-Doo The Simpsons Slizer/Throwbots Space Spider-Man Speed Racer SpongeBob SquarePants Sports Spybotics Studios Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Time Cruisers Toy Story Ultra Agents Vikings Wild West World Racers Znap
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.
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.
A minifigure can comfortably fit seated inside the cockpit, and it is here that I found the first issue with the set. I had no issue inserting and removing the figure from his seated position, but my seven-year old struggled to get him out, deciding to leave him onboard instead of disembarking after she brought the jet back into the hangar. The physical connection between LEGO pieces in the cockpit and the pilot minifigure didn’t seem to present an issue, so whether or not this was just a one-off issue remains to be seen.
Correct - the hanger can only accommodate the biplane. That having been said, in order to accommodate the other aircraft too the hangar would have to be huge, with an enormous footprint, and a substantially increased parts count. As a result, I'd estimate a price up to double the current RRP which I suspect few of the target market would pay. LEGO therefore got the size of the hanger right IMHO.
The final two minifigures are the Biplane Pilot and the intrepid Wing Walker. Both of these minifigures share the same white torso which is printed with a flight suit design overlaid with dark red and bright light orange flames plus a logo over the left breast. The torso design is superb and it can at present only be found in this set. Both minifigures are provided with a reddish brown aviator cap and dark bluish grey goggles, and the pilot (below left) also gets an alternative to this headgear in the form of medium dark flesh mid-length hair which has only ever appeared in five sets in this colour.