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 Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (1891–1958), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called "Lego", derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well". In 1947, Lego expanded to begin producing plastic toys. In 1949 Lego began producing, among other new products, an early version of the now familiar interlocking bricks, calling them "Automatic Binding Bricks". These bricks were based on the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which had been patented in the United Kingdom in 1939 and released in 1947. Lego had received a sample of the Kiddicraft bricks from the supplier of an injection-molding machine that it purchased. The bricks, originally manufactured from cellulose acetate, were a development of the traditional stackable wooden blocks of the time.
My Lego Network is a social networking site that involves items, blueprints, ranks, badges which are earned for completing certain tasks, trading and trophies called masterpieces which allow users to progress to go to the next rank. The website has a built in inbox which allows users to send pre written messages to one another. The Lego Network includes automated non-player characters within called "Networkers", who are able to do things which normal users cannot do, sending custom messages, and selling masterpieces and blueprints. The site also has modules which are set up on the user's page that give the user items, or that display picture compositions. Before My Lego Network, there were Lego Club Pages, which essentially held the same purpose, although the design lacked complex interaction.
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.
I cannot stress just how much I love this item, it may well be the highlight of the whole set. LEGO have released bi-planes before of similar design, but it still something to marvel over. Harking back to those older days of LEGO relying on imagination and not movie franchises, this is what we had to play with, and it is great to be able to relive that in today’s world.
Structurally, the plane model is sound and very well-built. A little too well-built in some areas you would say, but they are necessary measures like the awkward humps in the interior of the plane you will discover. Space is very wisely used in this model as they’ve managed to fit a proper looking cockpit for 2 pilots and even managed to squeeze in a sink, a mini-bar with the one drink, seats for 6 more passengers and even a tight little space of a washroom. That door hinge though, is a work of art.
Inside the box we find eight numbered bags, two unnumbered bags containing large molded plane parts, two loose 16x16 plates, the large airplane wing in medium grey, a sticker sheet and four instruction booklets of varying sizes. Unfortunately there is no cardboard to keep the booklets and sticker sheet flat (though fortunately mine were not crumpled), but never fear, there is a brick separator!
I purchased this set the day it was released for my LEGO City, as an upgrade from my previous airport (10159 Airport from 2004). First off, the build is great and although it's not very challenging, it's exciting to see the plane come to life and the use of the big plane pieces (eg. the nose, the wings, the tail etc.) was new to me, though I know there have been a number of planes in the past that use these pieces. There are 4 instruction booklets (2 for the plane, one for the airport, and one for the luggage/fuel/stairs car), 8 numbered bags, and two separate bags with the bigger pieces in. This makes the build very easy to follow. The completed set is very grand (especially the plane) in scale, and great looking. It's nice to see that a different colour scheme been used for the plane as opposed to the usual red and white or blue and white colours as seen in previous sets. The plane is HUGE, with a wingspan of around 2 32-wide baseplates (bare this in mind if you want to make a runway). However, despite its huge size, the inside of the plane is very bare. There are 5 seats for the passengers, another one facing backwards which I presume is for the cabin crew (although there isn't a cabin crew minifigure, which would have been a nice addition), and two seats in the cockpit. There's a tiny bathroom at the back of the plane, and a small galley area at the front with a sink and cupboard. There's easily room for a sixth chair in the plane, which I think should have been included, and the space within the plane could've been arranged better to fully optimise the area. The airport terminal has a very nice modern look, and includes the revolving door, tower, waiting area, security scanner and check in desk with luggage conveyor. Although this sounds like a lot of features, the inside of the terminal is, again, very bare and the space could've been used better. There are only 4 seats in the waiting area, and a lot of the space is taken up by the revolving door. The operational conveyor belt for the luggage is a nice touch, though, and there is a fair bit of playability within. The service car is a nice addition to this set and gives it more playability. All the trailers (fuel, stairs and luggage) connect together and attach to the service car, which has a really cool "follow me" sign on the back. This is a really nice addition to the set. Overall, I really like this set because of how it looks and because there's plenty of opportunity for play, but I think a lot more thought could've gone into maximising the space within the plane and the airport. Some more minifigures would have been good, such as a member of the cabin crew, a check-in clerk and a security officer. The value for money is okay with this set, as you do get a lot of big pieces, but the bare interiors are a little disappointing for the price you pay.
The build itself is good fun, as it should be, and engaging enough to be interesting. The only thing that I started to find a little boring was the Airport Control Tower, but then its top redeemed it. Naturally, the best thing to build is the Giant Man figure. The techniques used to make it posable, like a regular Lego minifigure, were brilliantly thought out. I hope to see more like this, perhaps in a Galactus set, although I doubt that’ll ever happen.