Lego has an ongoing deal with publisher Dorling Kindersley (DK), who are producing a series of illustrated hardback books looking at different aspects of the construction toy. The first was "The Ultimate Lego Book", published in 1999. More recently, in 2009, the same publisher produced The LEGO Book, which was sold within a slipcase along with Standing Small: A celebration of 30 years of the LEGO minifigure, a smaller book focused on the minifigure. In 2012, a revised edition was published. Also in 2009, DK also published books on Lego Star Wars and a range of Lego-based sticker books.
This was bought for my son's 5th birthday. If your kid likes to really play with the sets like mine does (not just bought for building it) be aware that the door of the airplane likes to pop off if it is not opened/closed just the right way with gentle hands. My son is a typical rambunctious boy and is not great at opening/closing things gingerly, so the door presents a bit of a problem for him. He doesn't have the dexterity or patience to snap the two tiny joint pieces onto the little pole just so yet, so whenever the door comes off he gets frustrated and needs help. Which is fine, we help him and he will eventually learn to do it himself, but just wanted to make y'all aware of this in case you have someone who is picky about the door opening and closing easily/correctly :) I know some little ones get fussy about these things!
This set has essentially all that's needed for airplane-related play: the plane, an airport terminal, and a service vehicle. And each part of the set is quite detailed. The plane feature a galley and a toilet; the service vehicle has stairs, a baggage trailer, etc; and the terminal has revolving doors, security check, and a baggage conveyor belt. The building process is also well planned out and documented. The child is eased into building by starting out with the service vehicle, then comes the plane, and last the terminal, which can be challenging.
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.
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.
The upper and lower wings are connected by a dark bluish grey 4 x 1 x 3 tail on either side; this tail element is unique to the set in this colour, although has previously appeared in a couple of sets back in 2003 in old dark grey. The upper wing is also supported by a couple of 1 x 2 x 2 black windows placed back to back in front of the cockpit, which from the perspective of the pilot really can’t be good for visibility. The biplane has a three blade propeller and the tips of the blades are stickered prior to sliding the propeller on to a 6L axle protruding from the front of the fuselage where it’s held in place by an orange 2 x 2 brick with domed top. The last step is to attach a 1 x 4 x 2 bar to the top of the upper wing for the Wing Walker to hold on to and then we’re done with the biplane.
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.