Thanks for the great review and comparison. I've thought about getting the Friends Airport for my daughter, as we both like the amount of detail inside the plane. Why would Lego think that boys don't care as much about detail? I love the wider body planes, but it's a shame they're not producing the runway plates, or including them in the airport sets, anymore. I agree with ZeeBricks that if they're not going to include everything an airport needs (although as expensive as price/piece these sets are getting it would cost a fortune) they should sell smaller sets that can be added together. Now that I'm feeling nostalgic for classic airport I might rebuild my 6392 and dust off my 6396 and set them up tonight, it's time for some serious swooshing :)
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Attention then shifts to construction of the three aircraft. When I first spied this set I assumed that the two red jets were the same, but closer examination reveals a number of differences. First up is a red jet with a canard wing configuration as seen in the Saab Viggen amongst others. The lower fuselage is fashioned from a number of double and triple inverted 45 degree slopes with a pair of 1 x 14 Technic bricks running through the centre; there’s no obvious reason for Technic bricks to be used in this situation – standard 1 x 14 bricks would have done the job just as well - so I assume that LEGO just happened to have a bunch of them lying around…. A printed black 1 x 2 tile in the cockpit represents the instrument panel, while a substantial air intake is attached on either side of the fuselage at a 90 degree angle by way of brackets.
Since 1963, Lego pieces have been manufactured from a strong, resilient plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).[12][30] 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.[33] 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.[37] 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.[38][39] Lego has a self-imposed 2030 deadline to find a more eco-friendly alternative to the ABS plastic it currently uses in its bricks.[40]
City is the thematic title under which most Town-related System sets were released from 2005 and onward. There are numerous sets that are associated with Construction, Police, Fire, Emergency, Train, Airport, Transportation, Cargo, Traffic, Coast Guard, Farm, Great Vehicles, Mining, and Space. European catalogs featured another theme called City in the years 1999 to 2000, which was referred to as City Center in American catalogs.
@josekalel: I think the size of the terminal is kept in check for price reasons more than anything. This is a $100 set, and while bigger and pricier City sets exist, they tend to be few in number. What's more, the disadvantage to having a plane wide enough to seat two rows of passengers is that it inevitably takes up a big portion of the budget even for a larger set like this one. If the set were just the airport with no plane, then the terminal could probably be around twice this size at the very least… but then the set would not offer such a complete play experience.
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.
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.
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.  
In December 2012, the BBC's More or Less radio program asked the Open University's engineering department to determine "how many Lego bricks, stacked one on top of the other, it would take for the weight to destroy the bottom brick?"[44] Using a hydraulic testing machine, the engineering department determined the average maximum force a 2×2 Lego brick can stand is 4,240 newtons; since an average 2×2 Lego brick has a mass of 1.152 grams (0.0406 oz), according to their calculations it would take a stack of 375,000 bricks to cause the bottom brick to collapse, which represents a stack 3,591 metres (11,781 ft) in height.[44]
I like the nod to the classic LEGO Ideas Book with the 'Follow Me' sticker, but overall I think the F-18 type jet is redundant, making the whole thing over-priced. Had it been presented in a different colour scheme from the Viggen, and maybe a bit of a sleeker or more agile design in itself, it might have been a worthwhile inclusion. But as it is, it just superficially looks like two fairly similar aircraft, and thus quite a bit less value for money as a set.
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@DrDave : My thoughts were not that the hangar should be big enough to hold *all* aircraft simultaneously - which would, indeed, make it huge! - but that it should at least be big enough to hold any one of them. Just a few studs wider should cover the wingspan of either jet (judging from the photos). Add a few centimetres to the height - by whatever construction means - and that'll accommodate the oversized tail on the Viggen-styled plane. If/when I pick up this set, that's the mods I'll be making to it.


Even in terms of play value it mostly seems to be a trade-off — 60104 loses the vending machine, cafe, baggage x-ray scanner, and a few seats on the plane but gains a baggage conveyor, a restroom, a refueling tank for the plane, an additional minifigure, and more seats in the waiting area. It's pretty nice to see the value of a LEGO air terminal remain fairly stable even though the price has not increased.
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.[53] 

Bag 7 finished off the front facade adds in a metal detector and the baggage check-in station.  I guess you enter from the right and then maybe the revolving doors are where you can walk out to the plane.  I'm not really sure anymore.  The conveyor belt is a nice addition to the set for playability and is set up so you can pull the baggage cart right next to it.  
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.
Since around 2000, the Lego Group has been promoting "Lego Serious Play", a form of business consultancy fostering creative thinking, in which team members build metaphors of their organizational identities and experiences using Lego bricks. Participants work through imaginary scenarios using visual three-dimensional Lego constructions, imaginatively exploring possibilities in a serious form of play.[73]
The box set weighs a little over 2kg and has about 694 pieces in total, including 6 minifigures: a pilot, 3 airport workers, a male and a female passenger. The whole build would get you almost an entire airport facade with a pretty big passenger plane, an airport/control tower build, and an airport service car that tows with it a luggage, fuel and and mobile stairway.
The first few bags build the small truck with carts that you see on airport runways. The truck has a "follow me" sign that I confess I have not seen at any airport. There is also a fueling tank and a rolling staircase that sits next to the plane to allow for boarding. Both the tank and the staircase are additional carts for the truck, though I am guessing not both at the same time.
^ Jump up to: a b Alexander, Ruth (3 December 2012). "How tall can a Lego tower get?". BBC News. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012. The average maximum force the bricks can stand is 4,240N. That's equivalent to a mass of 432 kg (950lbs). If you divide that by the mass of a single brick, which is 1.152g, then you get the grand total of bricks a single piece of Lego could support: 375,000. So, 375,000 bricks towering 3.5 kilometers (2.17 miles) high is what it would take to break a Lego brick.
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.

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.[41] 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.[42] The claim was reiterated in 2012.[43]

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.
Will agree with some other reviewers that some parts will fall off with normal-rough play. However, the attention to detail is pretty cool and almost makes up for it. The top is hard to take off and put on to move the minifigs. There is a TSA checkpoint, a conveyor belt for luggage, a rather impressive runway vehicle. Couple this with the cargo plane or another airplane set and some atraight road nameplates, you got an airport without spending a fortune.
LIC - LEGO Instruction Creator, developed by Jeremy Czajkowski, is a cross-platform, Python, OpenGL & Qt powered desktop application for creating and editing LEGO instruction books. LIC imports 3D models, organizes them into submodels, pages & steps, and exports the end result as images or PDF. A rich, WYSIWYG UI editor, which provides a fully interactive preview window along side a drag & drop-enabled navigation tree, to help organize and layout your book. Portions of LIC are based on work of Remi Gagne. LIC will be part of the AIOI - LDraw All-In-One-Installer.
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