The cockpit, including the stickers on the sides and the canopy, is identical to that of the first jet, as is the front of the aircraft. As previously noted, however, the wing configuration is different, as is the tail design which features twin tail fins and a pair of fuselage-mounted tailplanes. The red 4 x 1 x 3 tail fins, which have appeared in a total of seven sets including this one, are angled outwards similar to the arrangement on an F/A-18 Hornet. Overall, it’s another sleek design but once again the smooth lines are somewhat spoiled by the prominent canopy.
Primary concept and development work takes place at the Billund headquarters, where the company employs approximately 120 designers. The company also has smaller design offices in the UK, Spain, Germany, and Japan which are tasked with developing products aimed specifically at these markets. The average development period for a new product is around twelve months, split into three stages. The first stage is to identify market trends and developments, including contact by the designers directly with the market; some are stationed in toy shops close to holidays, while others interview children. The second stage is the design and development of the product based upon the results of the first stage. As of September 2008 the design teams use 3D modelling software to generate CAD drawings from initial design sketches. The designs are then prototyped using an in-house stereolithography machine. These prototypes are presented to the entire project team for comment and for testing by parents and children during the "validation" process. Designs may then be altered in accordance with the results from the focus groups. Virtual models of completed Lego products are built concurrently with the writing of the user instructions. Completed CAD models are also used in the wider organisation, for marketing and packaging.
The programmable Lego brick which is at the heart of these robotics sets has undergone several updates and redesigns, with the latest being called the 'EV3' brick, being sold under the name of Lego Mindstorms EV3. The set includes sensors that detect touch, light, sound and ultrasonic waves, with several others being sold separately, including an RFID reader.
I would also have liked a proper Ant-Man minifig – we get a micro Ant-Man, Giant-Man but not a regular-sized Ant-Man. There is a minifigure-sized Scott Lang hole in this set, and I think LEGO have wasted a great opportunity inserting a really popular and coveted minifigure into their flagship Civil War set. I would even gladly trade Cap and Bucky for one Ant-Man minifig.
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.
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.
The Lego Movie, a feature film based on Lego toys, was released by Warner Bros. in February 2014. It featured Chris Pratt in the lead role, with substantial supporting characters voiced by Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, Will Ferrell and Nick Offerman. A contest was held for contestants to submit designs for vehicles to be used in the film. After the release of The Lego Movie, independent Canadian toy retailers reported issues with shortages of Lego products and cited cancellations of Lego pre-orders without warning as a motive to stock compatible, rival products.
While I like their characters, I really don’t like LEGO recycling their characters. I can make an exception for Bucky, who until this year has only been made available as a pretty exclusive (and pricey) polybag but having this exact same Captain America show up in so many sets is pretty damn lazy. If a super hero minifig has been used a year ago, it really isn’t too much to ask for LEGO to update it slightly.