The remainder of the build is the control tower and terminal building. First there is a metal detector screener leading to the waiting/secure area of the airport, which seems taller than it needs to be for the minifigures. I think the same effect could have been made with half the height, except that would not allow for an impressive height for the overall tower. However it does seem to be similar to many modern airports with the high ceilings. This area also seems to be someplace to check luggage as evidenced by the rather nifty conveyor belt that comes in a full part. The moving parts of the set include a revolving door (a very tall one, for the first floor) that leads from the secure area of the airport out to the tarmac, and of course the conveyor belt.
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 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.
Manufacturing of Lego bricks occurs at several locations around the world. Moulding is done in Billund, Denmark; Nyíregyháza, Hungary; Monterrey, Mexico and most recently in Jiaxing, China. Brick decorations and packaging are done at plants in Denmark, Hungary, Mexico and Kladno in the Czech Republic. The Lego Group estimates that in five decades it has produced 400 billion Lego blocks. Annual production of Lego bricks averages approximately 36 billion, or about 1140 elements per second. According to an article in BusinessWeek in 2006, Lego could be considered the world's No. 1 tire manufacturer; the factory produces about 306 million small rubber tires a year. The claim was reiterated in 2012.
The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (1891–1958), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called "Lego", derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well". In 1947, Lego expanded to begin producing plastic toys. In 1949 Lego began producing, among other new products, an early version of the now familiar interlocking bricks, calling them "Automatic Binding Bricks". These bricks were based on the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which had been patented in the United Kingdom in 1939 and released in 1947. Lego had received a sample of the Kiddicraft bricks from the supplier of an injection-molding machine that it purchased. The bricks, originally manufactured from cellulose acetate, were a development of the traditional stackable wooden blocks of the time.
City is the thematic title under which most Town-related System sets were released from 2005 and onward. There are numerous sets that are associated with Construction, Police, Fire, Emergency, Train, Airport, Transportation, Cargo, Traffic, Coast Guard, Farm, Great Vehicles, Mining, and Space. European catalogs featured another theme called City in the years 1999 to 2000, which was referred to as City Center in American catalogs.
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.
As is the norm with LEGO sets these days, there are a fair few stickers in use for this item. I’m still not a fan of their use, but at this point in time, it is something I have come to expect and just get on with it now. In their defence, they do add to the overall presentation, making it that little bit harder to complain. As I said, this is my favourite of the three planes in the set, mainly because it looks superb and offers a great build experience. Seriously, I had so much fun building this. The instructions – as always – are clear, and it is not going to provide any major issues. Stability-wise, there are no concerns here, with the finished product very sturdy and, as proved by my daughter, can handle itself when being flown around the room by an excited seven-year-old. One minifigure can be seated at the controls, with suitable space for application and removal. The other pilot has its place on the top of the plane, with a single piece of black fencing to provide support for the death-defying pilot.
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.
The programmable Lego brick which is at the heart of these robotics sets has undergone several updates and redesigns, with the latest being called the 'EV3' brick, being sold under the name of Lego Mindstorms EV3. The set includes sensors that detect touch, light, sound and ultrasonic waves, with several others being sold separately, including an RFID reader.
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.
Anyway, I think this may be my favorite LEGO City air terminal yet! It may not be as big as some previous ones, but it feels really coherent. The plane is nice as well with its white, orange, and blue stripes. I agree that Heartlake City Airport's plane has a cozier and more detailed interior, though. It does really highlight some of the differences between Friends and City, with City opting for capacity over comfort and function over flair.