The box set weighs a little over 2kg and has about 694 pieces in total, including 6 minifigures: a pilot, 3 airport workers, a male and a female passenger. The whole build would get you almost an entire airport facade with a pretty big passenger plane, an airport/control tower build, and an airport service car that tows with it a luggage, fuel and and mobile stairway.
I'm not sure what to make of the set yet. I like the planes (although that biplane really doesn't need the bubble canopy). The idea of adding a hangar is interesting and I don't mind that it's a bit open. But the fact that it'll only house one of the three planes is annoying. Having said that, I'm not sure what you could do about it. Tripling the hangar would make it big and boring and push the price up. Could they have done two planes and a double hangar?
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.
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.
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.
The set contains six minifigures. Even though they all incorporate standard, unprinted minifigure legs together with commonly-available headprints, it appears that all six are unique to the set. First up are two members of the Ground Crew (below). The bearded guy has an orange torso printed with a hi-viz jacket, ID badge and red pen pattern. This has appeared in nine sets to date including all of the 2016 Airport sets plus 60080 Spaceport which I reviewed here last summer. His red construction helmet, which incorporates a pair of non-removable black ear muffs, has appeared in less than ten sets to date. The other member of the ground crew has a rather nice printed medium blue torso which is new this year and has only appeared in a total of three sets including this one. It features a shirt print which includes the Octan logo and a top pocket complete with a pen.
The last of the three aircraft is a modern biplane. This incorporates a number of rare orange elements including right and left 8 x 3 wedge plates which make up the wings and have only previously appeared in three sets, a 3 x 4 wedge brick only previously found in two sets, and a 3 x 6 round half plate with a 1 x 2 cutout which has only previous appeared in a single set in this colour and which forms the tailplanes. Similar to the two jets the tail fin is stickered rather than printed, as are the pair of 1 x 4 x 1 panels making up the sides of the cockpit. Unlike the jets, however, the instrument panel is stickered, which seems odd as there are existing printed 1 x 2 light bluish grey tiles which could have done an acceptable job. There are also a pair of stickers which represent the engine exhausts and which are applied to a couple of modified 2 x 4 x 1 1/3 bricks with curved top which sit just behind the propeller; applying these neatly to the curved surface takes a steady hand, and that’s also the case for the pair of checkerboard stickers which are stuck onto the propeller cowl. As if stickered exhausts weren’t enough, there are also a couple of light bluish grey exhaust pipes with Technic pin which emerge from the propeller cowl and run along either side of the fuselage. They’re entirely superfluous given the presence of the stickered exhausts but they still look cool regardless!
With a price tag of £69.99/$79.99 and a piece count of 807 it means you’re paying roughly 8-9p/9-10cents per piece, which isn’t too bad when you look at it that way. This set is also quite unique in that it contains the spoilerific Giant Man brick built figure. Also in the set is the airport control tower, a baggage car and a smaller version of the Quinjet.
Lego pieces of all varieties constitute a universal system. Despite variation in the design and the purposes of individual pieces over the years, each piece remains compatible in some way with existing pieces. Lego bricks from 1958 still interlock with those made in the current time, and Lego sets for young children are compatible with those made for teenagers. Six bricks of 2 × 4 studs can be combined in 915,103,765 ways.
There are several robotics competitions which use the Lego robotics sets. The earliest is Botball, a national U.S. middle- and high-school competition stemming from the MIT 6.270 Lego robotics tournament. Other Lego robotics competitions include Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for students ages 6–9 and FIRST Lego League (FLL) for students ages 9–16 (age 9–14 in the United States, Canada, and Mexico). Jr.FLL and FLL offer real-world engineering challenges to participants. FLL uses Lego-based robots to complete tasks. Jr.FLL participants build models out of Lego elements. In its 2010 season, there were 16,070 FLL teams in over 55 countries. In its 2010 season, there were 2,147 Jr.FLL teams with 12,882 total student participants in the United States and Canada. The international RoboCup Junior football competition involves extensive use of Lego Mindstorms equipment which is often pushed to its extreme limits.
Inside the box we find eight numbered bags, two unnumbered bags containing large molded plane parts, two loose 16x16 plates, the large airplane wing in medium grey, a sticker sheet and four instruction booklets of varying sizes. Unfortunately there is no cardboard to keep the booklets and sticker sheet flat (though fortunately mine were not crumpled), but never fear, there is a brick separator!
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.