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.
The differences between the two jets mainly come on the top and rear of the builds. One has a larger single rear fin and two larger wings at the back, while the other has two smaller fins and the large wings positioned in the middle of the vehicle. The nose and cockpit areas are identical on both jets, and both come with stickers; the airshow logo on the wings, and a plane motif on the sides.
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Thanks for the great review and comparison. I've thought about getting the Friends Airport for my daughter, as we both like the amount of detail inside the plane. Why would Lego think that boys don't care as much about detail? I love the wider body planes, but it's a shame they're not producing the runway plates, or including them in the airport sets, anymore. I agree with ZeeBricks that if they're not going to include everything an airport needs (although as expensive as price/piece these sets are getting it would cost a fortune) they should sell smaller sets that can be added together. Now that I'm feeling nostalgic for classic airport I might rebuild my 6392 and dust off my 6396 and set them up tonight, it's time for some serious swooshing :)
The cockpit, including the stickers on the sides and the canopy, is identical to that of the first jet, as is the front of the aircraft. As previously noted, however, the wing configuration is different, as is the tail design which features twin tail fins and a pair of fuselage-mounted tailplanes. The red 4 x 1 x 3 tail fins, which have appeared in a total of seven sets including this one, are angled outwards similar to the arrangement on an F/A-18 Hornet. Overall, it’s another sleek design but once again the smooth lines are somewhat spoiled by the prominent canopy.
The build itself is good fun, as it should be, and engaging enough to be interesting. The only thing that I started to find a little boring was the Airport Control Tower, but then its top redeemed it. Naturally, the best thing to build is the Giant Man figure. The techniques used to make it posable, like a regular Lego minifigure, were brilliantly thought out. I hope to see more like this, perhaps in a Galactus set, although I doubt that’ll ever happen.
The Lego Group's motto is det bedste er ikke for godt which means roughly "only the best is the best" (more literally "the best is never too good"). This motto, which is still used today, was created by Christiansen to encourage his employees never to skimp on quality, a value he believed in strongly. By 1951 plastic toys accounted for half of the Lego company's output, even though the Danish trade magazine Legetøjs-Tidende ("Toy-Times"), visiting the Lego factory in Billund in the early 1950s, felt that plastic would never be able to replace traditional wooden toys. Although a common sentiment, Lego toys seem to have become a significant exception to the dislike of plastic in children's toys, due in part to the high standards set by Ole Kirk.
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.
Attention then shifts to construction of the three aircraft. When I first spied this set I assumed that the two red jets were the same, but closer examination reveals a number of differences. First up is a red jet with a canard wing configuration as seen in the Saab Viggen amongst others. The lower fuselage is fashioned from a number of double and triple inverted 45 degree slopes with a pair of 1 x 14 Technic bricks running through the centre; there’s no obvious reason for Technic bricks to be used in this situation – standard 1 x 14 bricks would have done the job just as well - so I assume that LEGO just happened to have a bunch of them lying around…. A printed black 1 x 2 tile in the cockpit represents the instrument panel, while a substantial air intake is attached on either side of the fuselage at a 90 degree angle by way of brackets.
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.
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.
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).
Agent 13 has a pretty plain appearance, with caramel-coloured wavy hair, and a black, spy-like top. Her torso has some nice details, with sharp, angular lines that all combine to form a rough outline of an upside down star. She has plain sand blue pants and rocks a sub-machine gun accessory. I like regular LEGO firearms, so it’s very nice to get one in this set as they’re fairly uncommon.