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.
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.
It’s always tough to sum up a set that has the sort of price tag that this one carries; because it doesn’t necessarily offer the collectors value that a Marvel or Star Wars set will offer, it can be a little harder to justify an outlay on, in this case, a few planes and a aircraft hangar. However, if you have a love for the City range, whether it be a nostalgic look back at your childhood, the general consistently-superior design of the range, or simply because your kids want an airport to build, this one has to be recommended. Once I finished building this, I set it up in my daughter’s bedroom, and the overjoyed expression on her face, followed by the extended time taken to play with the planes and flying them all over her room, made every single minute of the build worthwhile. Watching her swirl around her room – and later, the rest of house – clutching the planes and bringing them in for landings into the hangar, reminded me of why I fell in love with LEGO in the the first place; imagination.
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.
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.
I’m pleased to report that I thoroughly enjoyed building this set, and what’s more I quite enjoyed playing with it afterwards as well…. First and foremost it’s an excellent play set – it’s not often that you get three good-sized vehicles plus a large building and a number of accessories in a single set at this price point. Furthermore, all three aircraft are actually pretty good, particularly the two jets which look really sleek apart from their prominent cockpit canopies. The jets are also solidly built, surprisingly weighty, and eminently swooshable; you can conveniently grab them by their lateral air intakes and nothing falls off when you swoosh them around - I know this as I extensively tested this particular play feature…. The hanger is admittedly a bit insubstantial, but overall this set lived up to my expectations and I’ll certainly be picking up a couple more of the Airport sets this summer.