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.
My personal favourite of the three planes included in this set, the design is superb and really captures the look and feel of the old-fashioned airplane that it is based on. The build isn’t too complex, and it really is a joy to see the final product come together. The plane has a distinct orange colour scheme, with some black and grey thrown in, and the shades work well together.
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.
The main wings are made up of a pair of white 10 x 10 wedge plates with cut corner and no studs in the centre; these are rare, having only previously appeared in two sets in this colour. The red 1 x 1 plate with tooth on each wing tip is also uncommon, having appeared in less than ten sets to date. The sides of the cockpit are made up of stickered red 1 x 4 x 1 panels, and it definitely helps if you concentrate when you apply the stickers, which I clearly didn’t as you can see in the picture below…. The area behind the cockpit canopy is nicely contoured by a red 4 x 4 triple wedge which, I was surprised to discover, has only previously appeared in a single set in this colour. Not to be outdone, however, the large 12 x 2 x 5 tail is appearing for the very first time in red. The hinged trans-black cockpit canopy is yet another rare element, appearing here for only the second time ever; rare it might be, but its pronounced curvature unfortunately means that it somewhat spoils the hitherto sleek lines of the jet. The flipside of this, however, is that the cockpit can comfortably accommodate the pilot.
LEGO CITY has some recurring themes that can get old after a while and obviously are meant for younger LEGO fans. The Fire and Police themes within CITY quickly come to mind as it seems like they have a new run each year. The Airport theme is one of those that doesn't quite occur every year. The last airport set was released in 2010 and was set #3182. This year (2016) another airport was released. #60104, Airport Passenger Terminal, was released on 1 August 2016 in the US. It costs $99.99 in the US and contains 694 pieces or $0.144 per piece. I picked the set up from Amazon at 20% off or $80 ($0.115 per piece). Yay sales! Onto the review...