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.
The middle section of the terminal (between the B and C gate areas) are dedicated to high-end fashion and accessories, among others you will find Gucci, Burberry and BOSS stores there. Other types of stores — many of which have two outlets, one east and one west of this section — include FineFood (domestic and international delicacies from fine cheese to foie gras and craft beer), WHSmith (books), Scandinavian Souvenirs (self-explanatory), and last but not least the five Heinemann Tax Free stores.
As is the norm with LEGO sets these days, there are a fair few stickers in use for this item. I’m still not a fan of their use, but at this point in time, it is something I have come to expect and just get on with it now. In their defence, they do add to the overall presentation, making it that little bit harder to complain. As I said, this is my favourite of the three planes in the set, mainly because it looks superb and offers a great build experience. Seriously, I had so much fun building this. The instructions – as always – are clear, and it is not going to provide any major issues. Stability-wise, there are no concerns here, with the finished product very sturdy and, as proved by my daughter, can handle itself when being flown around the room by an excited seven-year-old. One minifigure can be seated at the controls, with suitable space for application and removal. The other pilot has its place on the top of the plane, with a single piece of black fencing to provide support for the death-defying pilot.
The programmable Lego brick which is at the heart of these robotics sets has undergone several updates and redesigns, with the latest being called the 'EV3' brick, being sold under the name of Lego Mindstorms EV3. The set includes sensors that detect touch, light, sound and ultrasonic waves, with several others being sold separately, including an RFID reader.
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.
The design on the jet pilots’ outfits are very good, with a darker blue colour scheme offset with a red/white/yellow stripe pattern on the torso. The requisite wings and plane emblem complete the look, with the star-emblazoned helmet the icing on the cake. However, as good as those outfits are, I think the bi-plane pilots’ attire is even better, with a swish darker red colour on the legs and above the waist, culminating in a flame-effect design merging into a white torso. The old-fashioned flying helmets and goggles look great and really compliment the overall figure design.
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.