The construction of the new airport was carried out during 1964 and the airport opened on 1 November, with one runway at 1660 meters in length and 45 meters width, a small platform where aircraft could be served, and a control tower to the controller. Hans Erik Christensen, the former chief pilot at LEGO became director, and the passengers were handled in LEGO's hangar until the first terminal building was opened in the spring of 1966. The airport was continuously expanded the following years, with new facilities, terminal buildings, lounge, tax-free area and hangars where LC Johansen's studio often participated as an architect (today called the Johannsen Architects), while other work was carried out by the airport's own studio.
The last of the three aircraft is a modern biplane. This incorporates a number of rare orange elements including right and left 8 x 3 wedge plates which make up the wings and have only previously appeared in three sets, a 3 x 4 wedge brick only previously found in two sets, and a 3 x 6 round half plate with a 1 x 2 cutout which has only previous appeared in a single set in this colour and which forms the tailplanes. Similar to the two jets the tail fin is stickered rather than printed, as are the pair of 1 x 4 x 1 panels making up the sides of the cockpit. Unlike the jets, however, the instrument panel is stickered, which seems odd as there are existing printed 1 x 2 light bluish grey tiles which could have done an acceptable job. There are also a pair of stickers which represent the engine exhausts and which are applied to a couple of modified 2 x 4 x 1 1/3 bricks with curved top which sit just behind the propeller; applying these neatly to the curved surface takes a steady hand, and that’s also the case for the pair of checkerboard stickers which are stuck onto the propeller cowl. As if stickered exhausts weren’t enough, there are also a couple of light bluish grey exhaust pipes with Technic pin which emerge from the propeller cowl and run along either side of the fuselage. They’re entirely superfluous given the presence of the stickered exhausts but they still look cool regardless!
Lego operates 132 so-called "Lego Store" retail shops. There are stores at the Downtown Disney shopping complexes at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts as well as in Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The opening of each store is celebrated with weekend-long event in which a Master Model Builder creates, with the help of volunteers—most of whom are children—a larger-than-life Lego statue, which is then displayed at the new store for several weeks.
This set has essentially all that's needed for airplane-related play: the plane, an airport terminal, and a service vehicle. And each part of the set is quite detailed. The plane feature a galley and a toilet; the service vehicle has stairs, a baggage trailer, etc; and the terminal has revolving doors, security check, and a baggage conveyor belt. The building process is also well planned out and documented. The child is eased into building by starting out with the service vehicle, then comes the plane, and last the terminal, which can be challenging.
Billund Airport had its beginning in 1961 when the son of the founder of the Lego Group, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, established a private 800-meter long runway and hangar north of his factory in Billund. With Christiansen as a key driver, more of the neighbouring municipalities were included in the group of owners, and it was planned that the airport should be expanded to a regular public airport.
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.
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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.
Stickers are used for decorations for the outside of the plane. I like how the stickers for the outside match colours with the piping on the plane. I found the sticker for the top of the door to be a little big; if you line up the orange on the bottom of the stickers with the orange on the plane the sticker overlaps a bit at the top. The stickers for the nose of the plane are not as difficult to apply as I thought they would be. They do seem a bit superfluous, though they do make the plane look nice. The plane is finished with the tail fin, that uses yet more stickers. It is interesting that this plane actually uses more stickers than the Friends plane does.
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but is the hangar only large enough to house the biplane? A bit of a cock-up if that's the case. As good as the planes are, the hangar is a major failing. It looks like it's only about 30-40 pieces; just a bunch of big plates, some prefab cross-bracing and ... errrm ... air. Not so much a "hangar" as an aviation-equivalent of a car port!
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.
Bag 4 finishes the fuselage and all that is left are the engines and tail section. You'll notice that this aircraft has a bathroom on board as well as some storage for a non-existent flight attendant. I think this is the first time that LEGO has put some additional details into aircraft besides just seats. Also there is only one pilot for a 2 seat cockpit in the set.
LEGO CITY has some recurring themes that can get old after a while and obviously are meant for younger LEGO fans. The Fire and Police themes within CITY quickly come to mind as it seems like they have a new run each year. The Airport theme is one of those that doesn't quite occur every year. The last airport set was released in 2010 and was set #3182. This year (2016) another airport was released. #60104, Airport Passenger Terminal, was released on 1 August 2016 in the US. It costs $99.99 in the US and contains 694 pieces or $0.144 per piece. I picked the set up from Amazon at 20% off or $80 ($0.115 per piece). Yay sales! Onto the review...