The latest wave of City sets takes us to the airport, for a wide selection of aerial adventures. Whether it’s delivering the mail, or making sure a VIP gets to where they need to go, the LEGO City Airport range has a wide selection available. With five sets of varying prices, there truly is something for everyone here. The Airport Air Show – which we are looking at today – offers two stunt jets and a vintage plane – as well as a hangar and the staff required to keep things ticking over.
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.
The rest of the model is pretty standard for a Marvel release. Most of the larger sets revolve around a vehicle and/or small structure. This one doesn’t disappoint in that respect. First up, you get the airport control tower. It’s fairly uninteresting, although they have added an exploding wall-play feature which kinda makes up for it. Otherwise, though, it’s simply a tower. In addition to that you get a small baggage car, which is pretty neat. In fairness, as cute as it is, it feels like an attempt to bump up the number of pieces. Lastly, the set comes with a Quinjet. This particular vehicle is considerably smaller than the previous two minifigure-scale Quinjets that Lego gave us last year and in 2012. That said, it’s a great model with some great features.
The airport handles an average of more than two million passengers a year, and millions of pounds of cargo. The airport's main runway can handle airliners as large as the Boeing 747, although most passengers arrive on smaller aeroplanes, such as ATR-42s, Boeing 737s and Boeing 757s. Boeing 747 activity at this airport is almost exclusively limited to cargo flights.
Next we have the two Jet Pilots, one female and one male, both of which have identical torsos and helmets. The dark blue torsos, which are unique to this set, are printed with a nice design featuring a red jet with a red, white and gold jet wake plus gold jet insignia on the left breast. The white helmets incorporate a trans-black visor which can be raised and lowered; the helmets feature a print consisting of a star flanked with gold stripes, and like the torsos they’re currently exclusive to this set.
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.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is the hangar only large enough to house the biplane? A bit of a cock-up if that's the case. As good as the planes are, the hangar is a major failing. It looks like it's only about 30-40 pieces; just a bunch of big plates, some prefab cross-bracing and ... errrm ... air. Not so much a "hangar" as an aviation-equivalent of a car port!
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.
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.