Over the years, Lego has licensed themes from numerous cartoon and film franchises and even some from video games. These include Batman, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Minecraft. Although some of the licensed themes, Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones, had highly successful sales, Lego has expressed a desire to rely more upon their own characters and classic themes, and less upon licensed themes related to movie releases.
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.
Unlike the City set, there is no control tower or truck that services the plane. Instead, there is a passenger check-in/baggage carousel, a rolling staircase to gain access to the plane, plus the airport entrance that includes a gift shop and a café (or, one could argue, something that is very much like many other Friends sets out there). There are only three mini-dolls in this set compared to the six in the City set.
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.
My Lego Network is a social networking site that involves items, blueprints, ranks, badges which are earned for completing certain tasks, trading and trophies called masterpieces which allow users to progress to go to the next rank. The website has a built in inbox which allows users to send pre written messages to one another. The Lego Network includes automated non-player characters within called "Networkers", who are able to do things which normal users cannot do, sending custom messages, and selling masterpieces and blueprints. The site also has modules which are set up on the user's page that give the user items, or that display picture compositions. Before My Lego Network, there were Lego Club Pages, which essentially held the same purpose, although the design lacked complex interaction.
City has had many games since it was released. One in particular, The Robot Chronicles, was a cross-over game which saw the City, Racers, and Agents 2.0 all together in Lego City, where the player controlled and unlocked vehicles in each theme to play through a campaign. This campaign/game was also tied into a My LEGO Network The Robot Chronicles campaign- playing the game earned rewards in MLN which could be used in that campaign to eventually get the Key to LEGO City.
The main constituents of the set are a tanker truck, three aircraft and a hangar. Each of these gets its own instruction booklet and bags of elements. First up is the tanker truck (below) which at only four studs wide and less than ten studs in length reminds me of the 4-stud wide vehicles of my youth. This impression is reinforced by the inclusion of a couple of late 70’s-style 2 x 4 mudguards in the build.
Lego operates 132 so-called "Lego Store" retail shops. There are stores at the Downtown Disney shopping complexes at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts as well as in Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The opening of each store is celebrated with weekend-long event in which a Master Model Builder creates, with the help of volunteers—most of whom are children—a larger-than-life Lego statue, which is then displayed at the new store for several weeks.
Since the 1950s, the Lego Group has released thousands of sets with a variety of themes, including space, robots, pirates, trains, Vikings, castle, dinosaurs, undersea exploration, and wild west. Some of the classic themes that continue to the present day include Lego City (a line of sets depicting city life introduced in 1973) and Lego Technic (a line aimed at emulating complex machinery, introduced in 1977).
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.
While I like their characters, I really don’t like LEGO recycling their characters. I can make an exception for Bucky, who until this year has only been made available as a pretty exclusive (and pricey) polybag but having this exact same Captain America show up in so many sets is pretty damn lazy. If a super hero minifig has been used a year ago, it really isn’t too much to ask for LEGO to update it slightly.
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.
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.