Before Marvel, DC and Star Wars became the must-have LEGO sets, the predecessor to all that would follow was LEGO City. And given a chance to go back to my childhood and how my love for LEGO began, I took a trip to the airport.
Set Number: 60103
Minifigures: Male Jet Pilot, Female Jet Pilot, Male Stunt Pilot, Female Stunt Pilot, Mechanic, Airport Worker
While it’s true that the themed LEGO sets – namely, the Marvel and Star Wars franchises – tend to get the focus on this site, we also remain true to the fact that without LEGO in its truest form, there would be no LEGO Star Wars or LEGO Marvel.
LEGO City enables us all to remember why we fell in love with LEGO to begin with, to remember how we all first became exposed to LEGO; as a little kid, building our first house or giving our minifigures a hospital or a police station to work in. My first set was a garage, quickly followed by a police station. Having recently found these in storage, and keen to rebuild them, having the opportunity to build something not revolving around a Jedi or an Avenger is one I keen to take advantage of.
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 minifigures come in three pairs, each for a specific part of the set. The mechanic and airport worker go with the airport service car and tool wagon, there are male and female pilots to man the jets, and then there is another male and female duo tasked with flying the old-fashioned bi-plane.
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 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.
Another thing to notice, and I’m sure you already have, is the presence of female figures. It’s been written before that there is a distinct lack of gender mixes in the sets, and it is good to see that addressed not just in this set, but also some of the other new City sets released by LEGO.
The two stunt jets included here actually have some similarity in the basic design and colour scheme to the main piece seen in the Marvel Super Heroes Avenjet Space Mission set. With that being said, I loved the Avenjet in that particular set, so any similarity holds no issue with me. The red and white colours work really well together, and it looks like something you would genuinely see flying through the sky at an air show. I really love it when LEGO truly capture the essence of what you are building, and they do that here. The jets themselves, as I said before, are similar to previously-released jets, and therefore the builds won’t come as any main surprise. That shouldn’t detract from the product, however, as it is a prime example of LEGO finding a winning formula and not really needing to change it.
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.
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.
Overall, these are two very good planes. While they have very similar builds, and a little more variety would have been nice, it makes sense in the context of the set to have the two stunt jets. The design and colours work well and it’s fun watching them come together as you build them.
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.
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.
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.
Airport Service Car
While really nothing more than a prop for the airport worker, the service car is nonetheless a tidy little vehicle. It is a basic build, and not anything that is going to prove taxing for younger constructors should they wish to take responsibility for putting this one together while the grown-ups work on the planes.
Colour-wise, it is mainly yellow, with only a dash of green and red, and a little more white, there to break it up. The worker has space to stand and drive the vehicle, and has a walkie talkie attached on the side of the car. Around the other side is a coiled-up, what I assume is a, fuel pump. It looks pretty good when coiled up on the side of the car. Stickers come into use again here, this time for the number plates.
All in all, there is nothing fancy about the car, but it looks good, and is a simple build for the kids if they want to get involved.
The Airport Hangar
Every good airport needs a hangar for the planes, and this is no exception. The satisfactory hangar included here does come across as rather basic, and while it doesn’t detract from the overall package, it isn’t going to swing your decision over whether to purchase this (and truthfully, I think you would have already made that decision before you come to the hangar). The design itself is simple, with the build unlikely to take you more than 10 minutes. That being said, it is a well-built piece and doesn’t feel flimsy, which was the impression I had when I first saw a picture of it. The criss-cross pieces towards the base give it a firm foundation, and there are plenty of long pieces which add further stability to it. Plane-wise, it is best suited for the old-fashioned vehicle, with the orange colouring in the design going well with the plane. Only a couple of stickers in use here, with just the AIRSHOW HANGAR words needing to be added.
It’s not the most sensational thing you are going to build, but it looks good and is a lot sturdier than an initial look at it may suggest. It is a rather anti-climactic end to the building, but it’s difficult to moan too much given that it isn’t a focal point of the set, and just how much good had preceded it.
The Set Overall
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.
Yes, the famous franchises will remain the selling point for many a LEGO fan, but for those who spent years of their childhood sitting in their lounges or bedrooms building hospitals – nay, worlds – LEGO City is everything that you could need. And for a set such as this to bring back your childhood, as well as give you a thoroughly enjoyable build experience – and the added bonus of seeing a new generation of excited faces – this is a must-have set and worth every penny.
This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the authors own personal views and are not influenced in any way.
- Superb airplanes – the old-fashioned bi-plane in particular
- Great playability value
- Overall build quality is excellent
- Could have more variety in the jets – but even I admit this is being picky
Quality Is Plane To See
Some will initially quibble at the price, but once you start opening the bags and putting the pieces together, any quibbles disappear. Three great airplanes, a satisfactory structure and a superb – and gender-divisive – selection of minifigures make this a must-buy set. Regardless of price.