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Primary concept and development work takes place at the Billund headquarters, where the company employs approximately 120 designers. The company also has smaller design offices in the UK, Spain, Germany, and Japan which are tasked with developing products aimed specifically at these markets. The average development period for a new product is around twelve months, split into three stages. The first stage is to identify market trends and developments, including contact by the designers directly with the market; some are stationed in toy shops close to holidays, while others interview children. The second stage is the design and development of the product based upon the results of the first stage. As of September 2008 the design teams use 3D modelling software to generate CAD drawings from initial design sketches. The designs are then prototyped using an in-house stereolithography machine. These prototypes are presented to the entire project team for comment and for testing by parents and children during the "validation" process. Designs may then be altered in accordance with the results from the focus groups. Virtual models of completed Lego products are built concurrently with the writing of the user instructions. Completed CAD models are also used in the wider organisation, for marketing and packaging.
After Lego closed down their publishing subsidiary, they moved on to a partnership with Traveller's Tales, and went on to make games like Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman, and many more including the very well-received Lego Marvel Super Heroes game, featuring New York City as the overworld and including Marvel characters from the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and more. More recently, Lego has created a game based on The Lego Movie, due to its popularity.
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?" 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.
The rest of the model is pretty standard for a Marvel release. Most of the larger sets revolve around a vehicle and/or small structure. This one doesn’t disappoint in that respect. First up, you get the airport control tower. It’s fairly uninteresting, although they have added an exploding wall-play feature which kinda makes up for it. Otherwise, though, it’s simply a tower. In addition to that you get a small baggage car, which is pretty neat. In fairness, as cute as it is, it feels like an attempt to bump up the number of pieces. Lastly, the set comes with a Quinjet. This particular vehicle is considerably smaller than the previous two minifigure-scale Quinjets that Lego gave us last year and in 2012. That said, it’s a great model with some great features.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is the hangar only large enough to house the biplane? A bit of a cock-up if that's the case. As good as the planes are, the hangar is a major failing. It looks like it's only about 30-40 pieces; just a bunch of big plates, some prefab cross-bracing and ... errrm ... air. Not so much a "hangar" as an aviation-equivalent of a car port!
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.
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.
LEGO City enables us all to remember why we fell in love with LEGO to begin with, to remember how we all first became exposed to LEGO; as a little kid, building our first house or giving our minifigures a hospital or a police station to work in. My first set was a garage, quickly followed by a police station. Having recently found these in storage, and keen to rebuild them, having the opportunity to build something not revolving around a Jedi or an Avenger is one I keen to take advantage of.
There are 3 cardboard boxes with more Easter eggs. We get a few references to Marvel organisations such as A.I.M., who you may remember from Iron Man 3 as an R&D agency run by Aldrich Killian, Hammer, one of Stark Industries primary rivals which made an appearance in Iron Man 2, bankrolling Whiplash and finally a box with the Stark Industries logo on it.