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Basically, the only thing that the two sets have in common is that they both have planes. However there is quite a bit of difference on the inside of the planes. There are a lot more details in the Friends plane. In addition to the seats, there is a rolling service cart complete with refreshments, emergency lighting as well as a larger galley and lav in the back of the plane.
After World City's discontinuation in 2004, it was replaced with City as System's primary town-life related theme in 2005. However, unlike its predecessor, it was not limited to sets involving rescue services like Police, Fire or Coast Guard, but also introduced the first new construction site related sets since the discontinuation of City Center in 2000. In 2006, the first new airport set that included the first jetway since 6597 Century Skyway (1994) was released, as well as the first new hospital since 6380 Emergency Treatment Center from 1987. These releases expanded City to a scope only comparable to the original Town theme, and in 2009 it even went slightly beyond that, by introducing the first farm-related System sets. Also, in that year, City followed this route to release more truly civilian town life sets such as 7641 City Corner and 7639 Camper. In 2010 City released more civilian sets including 8403 Family House and 8404 Public Transport. In 2011 City re-introduced the Space sub-theme along with some new Harbour sets. In the first wave of 2012, City had forest police and fire sets as well as some more commercial/civilian sets. The second wave of 2012 featured the introduction of the Mining theme and respective sets, as well as a hospital. In the winter of 2013, Police and Fire sets were once again focused on but, contrary to those released in the previous year, were set in the city. In the summer of 2013, the Coast Guard and Cargo subthemes were brought back.
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.
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 :)
A minifigure can comfortably fit seated inside the cockpit, and it is here that I found the first issue with the set. I had no issue inserting and removing the figure from his seated position, but my seven-year old struggled to get him out, deciding to leave him onboard instead of disembarking after she brought the jet back into the hangar. The physical connection between LEGO pieces in the cockpit and the pilot minifigure didn’t seem to present an issue, so whether or not this was just a one-off issue remains to be seen.
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.