Monday, 29 July 2013

A quick airliner comparison!

The first dedicated aircraft set Lego produced was from 1961, set 311 - 'Airplanes'. They were extremely basic, not having wheels or any specialized parts for the wings or tail. As the years went by and Lego grew in popularity, they manufactured more diverse parts that made life easier for any budding aircraft designers. 
  I have, over the years, managed to obtain a few airliner sets and have selected three from different eras to show a snapshot of the evolution of Lego's aircraft designs. 

Set 698 from 1977.
Based on a Boeing 727, there were specialized parts for
the wheels, wings, engines, and both parts of the tail. In
this case the third engine and tail are a single piece which
only ever used in two different sets. The windows were
printed onto the bricks along the fuselage but the Japan
Airlines logo on the tail was a sticker.

Apart from the discolored bricks my set is missing a wheel
the JAL sticker on the other side of the tail has fallen off and disappeared!
Part of set 6396 from 1990.
13 years later. This has the same wings and horizontal
stabilizer at the top of the tail as the old 727. The major
improvements in design include nose pieces, better wheels
 including a pivoting nose wheel to turn the model more easily,
 bigger engines, a new tail and, most importantly, a hinged
roof to access the inside where there is room for a pilot,
three passengers and some luggage. This isn't the first
aircraft of this design, that honor belongs to the airport
sets that came out in 1985 when the new parts
made their debut.
Part of set 3182 from 2010
20 years further on and we have the much bigger and more
specialized aircraft now being sold by Lego.
The differences are immediately apparent. The whole
nose/cockpit section is now one piece, the wings have grown
enormously, the engines are even bigger and the tail has
grown too! The inside is much more luxurious and has room
or two pilots, 10 passengers with their luggage and even has
a small galley for preparing food on long haul flights!
A size comparison!


  1. I love the small galley for preparing food for long flights--now that's luxury. Someone put on their thinking cap when they added that. "I'll take pretzels, peanuts, and anything else I'm allergic to, please." :-D Thanks for the comparison, Brian. I remember the old styles from when I was a kid, and the newer ones sure have improved, IMO. It's cool that you have the older ones too, though. xo Jennifer

    1. Hi Jennifer! It does make you wonder how they will look in another 20 years, they might actually fly by then! Kind regards, Brian.

  2. Mi admiración por este increible trabajo!!!
    Con cariño Victoria

  3. Great look at the evolution of the planes. I owned something like the 6396 in my youth, and it really feels like what I would expect a from a LEGO plane. The newer jets just seem a little too realistic.

    1. Hi Andrew! I know what you mean. Using 20 pieces to build a nose and cockpit is more fun than just one single piece ready made. The size of the older sets made it much easier to 'fly' them without hitting things, or other people! Kind regards, Brian.

  4. Hello HairyC,
    That is awesome. It amazes me to see how lego has evolved...even the sets I played with in the 80s look so basic compared to what they do now. It is great to revisit old set. I love visiting your blog.
    big hug,

  5. Hi Giac! Thank you very much for your kind words, it means a lot.Kind regards, Brian.

  6. Questi li conosco!! Mio cugino colleziona arei di tutti i tipi, anche quelli Lego, e li ha tutti, devo dire però che nonostante la semplicità, il primo esemplare ha un suo fascino, sembra quelli che faccio io a mio nipote!!

    1. Hello Mely! Your cousin definitely has good taste! It's easy to forget that the older designs didn't have all the pieces that are available today. They were the best that could be made with the pieces they had! Kind regards, Brian.

  7. Amazing sets!
    I liked to know the history of releases. ;)

    1. Hi Eliana! There were many more sets in between the three shown in my post, but the main evolutionary steps are there! Kind regards, Brian.

  8. Interresting comparison !we can clearly see the evolution of the kits with more advanced bricks .
    Today kits are more sophisticated but you lose a little of the spirit of Lego bricks : do it yourself with your imagination !!

    But the progress are amazing in 35 years ! :-)

    1. I fully agree with doing it yourself, that is the whole idea, and the fun of Lego!