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This set is designed for children aged 6+, and one of the ways that it is suitable for them is the inclusion of separate instruction booklets and numbered bags for the different parts of the set (see my post about LEGO age range suitability here). A younger modeller can build the plane or other item of their choice as soon as they open the box. It's not so much one big set as 5 different parts which make a whole scene. My 7 year old son chose to build a jet first of all...
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.
Other than the planes, I do find it unfortunate that the Friends set focuses on shopping and food like so many Friends sets, and I also think it is unfortunate that the City terminal only has the basics of the airport structure in the control tower and service truck. Having a control tower for the Friends set would have been great. Having a gift shop/cafe for the City terminal would have been a worthwhile addition and not something we have seen in many City sets.
@DrDave : My thoughts were not that the hangar should be big enough to hold *all* aircraft simultaneously - which would, indeed, make it huge! - but that it should at least be big enough to hold any one of them. Just a few studs wider should cover the wingspan of either jet (judging from the photos). Add a few centimetres to the height - by whatever construction means - and that'll accommodate the oversized tail on the Viggen-styled plane. If/when I pick up this set, that's the mods I'll be making to it.
The cockpit, including the stickers on the sides and the canopy, is identical to that of the first jet, as is the front of the aircraft. As previously noted, however, the wing configuration is different, as is the tail design which features twin tail fins and a pair of fuselage-mounted tailplanes. The red 4 x 1 x 3 tail fins, which have appeared in a total of seven sets including this one, are angled outwards similar to the arrangement on an F/A-18 Hornet. Overall, it’s another sleek design but once again the smooth lines are somewhat spoiled by the prominent canopy.
The intelligent brick can be programmed using official software available for Windows and Mac computers, and is downloaded onto the brick via Bluetooth or a USB cable. There are also several unofficial programs and compatible programming languages that have been made to work with the brick, and many books have been written to support this community.
Every good airport needs a hangar for the planes, and this is no exception. The satisfactory hangar included here does come across as rather basic, and while it doesn’t detract from the overall package, it isn’t going to swing your decision over whether to purchase this (and truthfully, I think you would have already made that decision before you come to the hangar). The design itself is simple, with the build unlikely to take you more than 10 minutes. That being said, it is a well-built piece and doesn’t feel flimsy, which was the impression I had when I first saw a picture of it. The criss-cross pieces towards the base give it a firm foundation, and there are plenty of long pieces which add further stability to it. Plane-wise, it is best suited for the old-fashioned vehicle, with the orange colouring in the design going well with the plane. Only a couple of stickers in use here, with just the AIRSHOW HANGAR words needing to be added.
Bag 6 starts the airport terminal. Like most CITY builds, they are meant for play so it's really only half a building. It includes one minifigure and the revolving door entrance. While the entrance is cool looking, it's about twice the height of a minifigure and there isn't enough physical space for one actually to fit through the door. I'm not a fan of the design.
Merlin Entertainments operates seven Legoland amusement parks, the original in Billund, Denmark, the second in Windsor, England, the third in Günzburg, Germany, the fourth in Carlsbad, California, the fifth in Winter Haven, Florida, the sixth in Nusajaya, Malaysia and the seventh in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. and the eighth in Shanghai, Peoples of Republic of China. On 13 July 2005, the control of 70% of the Legoland parks was sold for $460 million to the Blackstone Group of New York while the remaining 30% is still held by Lego Group. There are also eight Legoland Discovery Centres, two in Germany, four in the United States, one in Japan and one in the United Kingdom. Two Legoland Discovery Centres opened in 2013: one at the Westchester Ridge Hill shopping complex in Yonkers, NY and one at the Vaughan Mills in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada. Another has opened at the Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey in 2014.
This detailed model features a classic red, black and grey colour scheme, large driver's cab with detailed dashboard, wing mirrors, opening tool storage compartment, 4-cylinder engine with moving pistons, twin-axle steering, double rear axle and chunky tires. Activate the boom to position the water cannon and extinguish the flames! This Power Functions upgradable model can be rebuilt to create an awesome Fire Rescue Vehicle!
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.
Yes, the famous franchises will remain the selling point for many a LEGO fan, but for those who spent years of their childhood sitting in their lounges or bedrooms building hospitals – nay, worlds – LEGO City is everything that you could need. And for a set such as this to bring back your childhood, as well as give you a thoroughly enjoyable build experience – and the added bonus of seeing a new generation of excited faces – this is a must-have set and worth every penny.
I cannot stress just how much I love this item, it may well be the highlight of the whole set. LEGO have released bi-planes before of similar design, but it still something to marvel over. Harking back to those older days of LEGO relying on imagination and not movie franchises, this is what we had to play with, and it is great to be able to relive that in today’s world.
I like the nod to the classic LEGO Ideas Book with the 'Follow Me' sticker, but overall I think the F-18 type jet is redundant, making the whole thing over-priced. Had it been presented in a different colour scheme from the Viggen, and maybe a bit of a sleeker or more agile design in itself, it might have been a worthwhile inclusion. But as it is, it just superficially looks like two fairly similar aircraft, and thus quite a bit less value for money as a set.
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.