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.
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.

Basically, the only thing that the two sets have in common is that they both have planes. However there is quite a bit of difference on the inside of the planes. There are a lot more details in the Friends plane. In addition to the seats, there is a rolling service cart complete with refreshments, emergency lighting as well as a larger galley and lav in the back of the plane.
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...
The mechanic is a rather basic design, with an all-blue colour and a work shirt pattern. He comes equipped with a walkie-talkie and a full tool truck, containing every piece of equipment a mechanic could need. The airport worker looks like every other workman from The LEGO Movie that joined Emmet in a chorus of Everything is Awesome, and is a nostalgic hark bark to the old construction figures that I grew up playing with.
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 main wings are made up of a pair of white 10 x 10 wedge plates with cut corner and no studs in the centre; these are rare, having only previously appeared in two sets in this colour. The red 1 x 1 plate with tooth on each wing tip is also uncommon, having appeared in less than ten sets to date. The sides of the cockpit are made up of stickered red 1 x 4 x 1 panels, and it definitely helps if you concentrate when you apply the stickers, which I clearly didn’t as you can see in the picture below…. The area behind the cockpit canopy is nicely contoured by a red 4 x 4 triple wedge which, I was surprised to discover, has only previously appeared in a single set in this colour. Not to be outdone, however, the large 12 x 2 x 5 tail is appearing for the very first time in red. The hinged trans-black cockpit canopy is yet another rare element, appearing here for only the second time ever; rare it might be, but its pronounced curvature unfortunately means that it somewhat spoils the hitherto sleek lines of the jet. The flipside of this, however, is that the cockpit can comfortably accommodate the pilot.
LIC - LEGO Instruction Creator, developed by Jeremy Czajkowski, is a cross-platform, Python, OpenGL & Qt powered desktop application for creating and editing LEGO instruction books. LIC imports 3D models, organizes them into submodels, pages & steps, and exports the end result as images or PDF. A rich, WYSIWYG UI editor, which provides a fully interactive preview window along side a drag & drop-enabled navigation tree, to help organize and layout your book. Portions of LIC are based on work of Remi Gagne. LIC will be part of the AIOI - LDraw All-In-One-Installer.
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.
My personal favourite of the three planes included in this set, the design is superb and really captures the look and feel of the old-fashioned airplane that it is based on. The build isn’t too complex, and it really is a joy to see the final product come together. The plane has a distinct orange colour scheme, with some black and grey thrown in, and the shades work well together.
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.
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