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REVIEW: 6399 Airport Shuttle


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Poll: Review: 6399 Airport Shuttle (123 member(s) have cast votes)

How do you rate this set?

  1. Outstanding (114 votes [91.94%])

    Percentage of vote: 91.94%

  2. Above average (5 votes [4.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.03%

  3. Average (2 votes [1.61%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.61%

  4. Below Average (2 votes [1.61%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.61%

  5. Poor (1 votes [0.81%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.81%

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#1 simonwillems

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 09:41 AM

INDEXED

Going through the boards I was amazed to find out that no one ever attempted to review one of the best Lego classics, the 6399 Airport Shuttle. While I was studying for exams a few weeks back I decided to take a break, built the monorail and take some pictures of it. Resulting in the present review.
Along with this I made my first ever poll.

Here we go:

First, some data:

Setnumber: 6399
Setname: Airport Shuttle
Released in: 1990 in Holland, though Bricklink says 1991
Number of parts: 731
Number of figs: 9
Price: unknown, prices on Bricklink vary from $261 up to $2300 (!) but this was an expensive set even in the nineties

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The box: Mine is a bit battered by the owner before me, but there's still plenty to see. This is one of the largest boxes I have (look at the minifig in the down-right corner for the comparision) and it is a really neat storing facility for many sets.
The box shows the set, and in the background the silhouet of the set that is to accompany this one: the airport from 1990.
I like the angle of the box, showing the two stations, track and train in one picture.

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The back of the box shows some really nice ideas for other setups, why oh why has Lego abandonned this kind of showing what's possible with one set...?

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Inside flap of the box, showing details of the set and the functions,

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Detail on the front of the box, displaying the dimensions, it really is a huge track layout for one set!

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The instructions: there is a nice little booklet showing the same picture as the box art with the figures lined up underneath.

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The last page nicely folds out to show the entire setup of the tracks,

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The figures: A brilliant selection of minifigs including airport people and a cook. All figures that are supposed to go on the shuttle carry a ticket and there are also some suitcases (tickets fit inside, of course)

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Station # 1: The set includes two stations. Here is the first, depicting the airport. There are lots of details: a phonebooth, two seats, some flowers, a map, luggagelockers and of course the streetlights.

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A detailed shot of the station showing the luggagelockers and ticket-validating machine,

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Part of the beauty of this set is the fact that it is so extremely detailed, just look at the signs to show where to go next (stickers), and the scenery opposite the street...  :wub:

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The station has the same shape as the Airport Shuttle logo, how sweet is that?

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The station pictured as part of the layout. The stations ends are made with airplane wings to smoothen the arrival of the shuttle.

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Station # 2: Here is the second station, my personal favorite: An elevated stop with a little snackbar underneath and stairs leading to the platform. Some chairs and streetlights here as well plus two old fashioned trees,

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The part of the set that can be used in any layout: the snackbar with hamburger sign (sticker). Yes, those hamburgers look tasty indeed!  :tongue:  Also notice the lights hanging from the platform overhead and the ticket-validating machine at the bottom of the stairs.

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Here we have the platform with information panels and seats. Also notice the two trafficlights for the train.

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Here's how it works: the train will travel in the direction the arrow is pointing. When turning the knob the two grey blocks will move towards or away from the track-center, activating a button on the centerpiece of the train (the motor) which makes the train start it's journey around the track. There is only one speed and the train can only be put to a stop or change direction at stations.

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The station as part of the layout.

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The Shuttle: Now on with the train: There are two carrriages connected to a centered motor. the power is provided by means of a batterybox containing a 9v battery. The batterybox is in one of the carriages and displays: Airport Shuttle.
A total of five passengers can be seated inside leaving room for their luggage and two drivers.

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The front carriage with the button for the batterybox showing.

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The underside showing the gearwheel (metal) that brings the power from the motor onto the geared track. The black pointy things alongside the gear-wheel react with the direction knobs at stations.

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This is how the shuttle negociates with height differences, everything hinges and rotates, making the shuttle capable of performing steep climbs. The motor is powerful enough to not slow down at such a climb!

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Detailed shot, showing the first set of covered wheels in hinged position.

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The shuttle on the layout.

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The full layout: This layout is quite huge, involving lots of track pieces, ramps, ten large stanchion-poles and the two stations.
To show the movement of the shuttle I have made a 20 second movie, which can be seen in My Brickshelf gallery of this set.

Conclusion: Well, to conclude the review, some final thoughts:
This truly is one of the more detailed sets around (at least from the nineties) and one of the largest in dimensions. The monorail system is cleverly thought out and works excellent. Track extensions are hard to get however and very expensive nowdays (especially the switchpoints and long straight track pieces). The tracks included with this set will provide you with hours of fun though, because there are a lot of them.
It can be quite hard to incorporate the monorail in your town without having a clearly-based-on-the-monorail-alone town. I tried to incorporate it some years ago (link here), posing a real challenge.

The Ratings:

Price: 8/10: this is an expensive set, if you can get it for under $200 get it!), this set is rare in any condition.
Parts: 10/10: lots of rare pieces, cool minifigs, 9v system, roadplates, lots of minifigseats en red trainwindows.
Originality: 10/10: there are very few monorails released, this one being the only town set.
Compatibility: 8/10: can be a bit hard to incorporate in a town, but hey: you got the monorail so no complaining here!

Total: 36/40: I can only reccommend this set to anyone, It is my personal favorite set upto this present time!

If there are any questions, ask them, all comments are welcome of course!


:classic:

#2 Holodoc

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 10:05 AM

You chose the perfect set for your first poll, Simon! :cry_happy:

No question this set is one of the all-time-beauties. I rated outstanding of course. :laugh:
I never hat the chance to get a complete copy of this set, but I do own the engine and quite a bunch of monorail tracks. :grin: Your very detailed review made me think of getting the whole set some day. Thank you very much for this!  :hmpf_bad:   :laugh:
I never realized there were so many details included to this set: The snackbar and the telephone cell and all the other nice things. :wub: Really strange for a nineties set which often lacked details.

The only thing that comes to my mind right now is that the engine looks quite blocky. If the set was released today, TLC would use more of those Posted Image parts which make a better design imo. And it would fit better to the curved walls of the stations as well.

[wishful thinking]How much would I love to see the monorail system back again! :cry_happy:  :cry_sad: [/wishful thinking]

I had to lough when reading your comment on the minifig seats. Dont you own many of those? I dont know where to put mine...
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#3 Section8

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 01:15 PM

I got this set last month and I can definitely say that even if you think it is one of the best sets ever, you won't fully appreciate it until you build it yourself.  The elevated city station is much more complex than it looks, and the whole set is extremely detailed.  

The good:
- As stated in the review, there's a lot of track, roughly twice as much as the last monorail made, 6991.  5 long straights too!
- the designers didn't need to put in the hamburger stand or the ticket readers, but they did and made it even better
- Great figure selection; airport workers as well as civilians

The bad (if you can call it that in such a great set):
- Hard to incorporate into an existing town if using the default track layout.  The center loop would be inaccessible to vehicles and the layout is very large.
- The monorail needs nearly a full straight section on either side of the city station or it will impact the corner of the station and stall if a curve is too close.
- As far as I know the only town set with road plates that doesn't have a wheeled vehicle.  A car would have been nice, a bus would have been incredible.

But these small things in no way diminish from the fact that this is one of the best sets ever.

Edited by Section8, 05 September 2008 - 01:17 PM.


#4 WhiteFang

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 01:18 PM

This is an outstanding review which deserved to be featured here!  :wub:

After seeing this set, it prompts me to own this set, and match with my 10159 LEGEND City Airport. It's very nice to see such outstanding set being reviewed and presented to our very screens. Everything about this set is simply outstanding. I can't imagine that such incredible set actually released before. Why don't they ever continue with this anymore? Sigh, it's nice to see so much detailed from its shuttle, snack bar, stairs, waiting platform, validating machine and etc. This is an instant "5" set! If given a chance to own a MISB set, I will defintely seriously consider about it.  :sweet:

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#5 Joebot

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 04:00 PM

Best. Set. Ever.

I got my copy years ago from a guy on the old rec.toys.lego newsgroup (anybody here still remember that newsgroup??). I traded him a Guarded Inn, a Black Falcon's Fortress, and a couple other small castle sets for it. No regrets on that trade.

It is hard to incorporate a monorail into a town, especially if you have a bunch of trains too! I ended up making my entire monorail system elevated. There's just no easy way to make a monorail / road crossing. I also gave up on having it run in a loop. Instead, it runs back and forth between two endpoints.

#6 Cardinal Brick

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 04:12 PM

An excellent review of one of the jewels in the crown of the Lego town range, to answer one of your question I think the lack of people owning this set is one of the reasons that its yet to have a review. Personally I’ve only seen this set in the flesh once in my life when I was a child just before it was withdrawn from sale.

It is a lovely set, well made and well produced though I think there is a flaw and that’s when the passages get of the other end of their train ride what picks them up, a bus set for the airport would have been a good addition. Apart from that I can’t really fault it and that fact it comes with three female minifigs is just stellar.

As for incorporation, keeping it elevated seems the most sensible suggestion. I’ve always thought it I have it and wanted to integrate the set to a town to use it in the style of the DLR in London, but that’s just a thought.
Posted Image    Posted Image

#7 Big Supie

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 06:42 PM

Yes, this is one of the best town sets ever.



:thumbup:

#8 legotrainfan

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 06:53 PM

Thanks for that splendid review, Simonwillems! I clicked on "outstanding," of course! I also like those little details, especially the ticket validating machines. You're very fortunate to own this wonderful set! I hope you have an airport to go with it.  :wink:

Edit: And bricklink is wrong giving 1991 as the release date. You're right; it was 1990.

Edited by legotrainfan, 05 September 2008 - 06:57 PM.

[...]
I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
From: "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats


Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

#9 Holodoc

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 07:45 PM

Who was the one who rated it "above average"? :hmpf_bad:
:laugh:
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#10 Lt. Col. Thok

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 08:38 PM

Great review of a greater set.

:thumbup:
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#11 VBBN

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 09:11 PM

An aweome review of an Outstanding set. :thumbup:

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#12 Erdbeereis

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 05:32 AM

Sets like this just don't come around too often do they...

I didn't realize exactly how much detail really was in this set. TLC should bring back the monorail!

Great review of an amazing classic town set! :thumbup:

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#13 WhiteFang

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 05:45 AM

View PostHolodoc, on Sep 6 2008, 03:45 AM, said:

Who was the one who rated it "above average"? :hmpf_bad:
:laugh:
I agreed with you. Who is the person whom rated it above average? It will be best to justify why that person felt this way.  :look:

View Post~VBBN~, on Sep 6 2008, 05:11 AM, said:

An aweome review of an Outstanding set. :thumbup:

View PostErdbeereis1, on Sep 6 2008, 01:32 PM, said:

Great review of an amazing classic town set! :thumbup:
Are the both of you doing grading out of the academy, when he is not a student there? :laugh:
I can't help it, but to notice that both of you placed thumbs up, and immediately it struck me with that thought.  :tongue:

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#14 CP5670

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 05:59 AM

This remains the definitive city set in my eyes. I never managed to get one but from the instructions it seems to be perfect in just about every way. I got the two space monorails a while ago but the much higher prices on this one have kept it out my reach. This set is a lot bigger than either of those though.

I always liked the monorail system a bit better than the trains because you could easily incorporate height into the tracks and spread them out in all three dimensions.

Quote

Edit: And bricklink is wrong giving 1991 as the release date. You're right; it was 1990.

It was apparently released in 1990 in Europe and 1991 in North America, going by some US and German catalogs I have from that time period.

Edited by CP5670, 06 September 2008 - 06:06 AM.


#15 simonwillems

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 11:02 AM

Thanks for all the nice comments!


View PostHolodoc, on Sep 5 2008, 11:05 AM, said:

I had to laugh when reading your comment on the minifig seats. Don�t you own many of those? I don�t know where to put mine...

Well, of course I do have quite some seats (a drawer full actually), but this was my first set that had them in black... When I was young however (long time ago, you know  :grin: ) I always had a short supply of seats, so that's why I noticed and mentioned it....

View PostWhiteFang, on Sep 5 2008, 02:18 PM, said:

This is an outstanding review which deserved to be featured here!  :wub:

Thank you for drawing attention to this review through Classictown.net, I have not been a frequent user of the boards lately and the release has mostly passed me by but I must say that it looks like a great site!

View PostWhiteFang, on Sep 6 2008, 06:45 AM, said:

Are the both of you doing grading out of the academy, when he is not a student there? :laugh:

Indeed I am no student of the academy, I have another academy (university) to attend to, leaving little time to venture around Eurobricks latlely, a shame, I know... :sad:  
I hope my review is in accepted here despite my lack of grades concerning the art form  :wink: :grin:

#16 Norro

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 02:34 PM

Thanks for the in depth review of a set miles out of my price range! It was great to see more of this legend than the miniature square in my magazine...

God Bless,

Nathan
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#17 Section8

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 09:06 PM

View PostNorro, on Sep 6 2008, 09:34 AM, said:

Thanks for the in depth review of a set miles out of my price range!

I thought it was out of my price range too.  Then I realized that I had probably spent enough since coming out of my dark ages to buy a MISB 6399.  So I bought it, and I am going to cut back on buying other sets for the next year or so to offset the one big purchase.  Those glimpses of the 2009 sets haven't made me regret the cutback.

Edited by Section8, 06 September 2008 - 09:07 PM.


#18 AFOL12v

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 10:35 PM

Just funny that everyone likes this set outstanding. I love this set also and glad I own one. It looks fantastic with trains running underneath it. Good review :thumbup: .

#19 JopieK

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 11:12 PM

very nice review indeed. B.t.w. a lot of children just love this set. One year we had it with us to LEGOworld and children asked a lot of questions about it.

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#20 simonwillems

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 08:44 PM

View PostSection8, on Sep 6 2008, 10:06 PM, said:

I thought it was out of my price range too.  Then I realized that I had probably spent enough since coming out of my dark ages to buy a MISB 6399.  So I bought it, and I am going to cut back on buying other sets for the next year or so to offset the one big purchase.  Those glimpses of the 2009 sets haven't made me regret the cutback.

That must be one of the biggest expenses Lego-like: buying an MISB 6399!
Congratulations with the purchase, though it is a lot of money for one set.

:classic:

#21 Freddie

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 10:02 PM

*gasp* BLASPHEMY! Someone voted this set "Below average". :oh:  *Brings out hunting rifle* :vader:

Ahem, back on topic; I remember wanting this set badly, for years. And I still want it, just no as much, because it's expensive and, as this review proves, takes up a lot of room. I've already got my trains to think about, and I won't be getting this set anytime soon. :sceptic:

I also have a faint memory of this set being featured in one of LEGO's advertisements, more specifically someone narrowly missing it, hitches a ride, races the monorail to the airport and catches the plane. I am yet to find it on the net, as old LEGO adverts are hard to come by, especially the european ones.

Now, to more important matters... *starts hunting* :skull:

Edited by Freddie, 07 September 2008 - 10:03 PM.


#22 Holodoc

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 10:31 PM

I know this is not the advertisement movie, but if you want to see the Airport Shuttle moving click here.

View PostFreddie, on Sep 7 2008, 11:02 PM, said:

Now, to more important matters... *starts hunting* :skull:
Now, to more important matters... *helps hunting* :skull:
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#23 Bonaparte

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 10:46 PM

What an amazing set and a truly wonderful review!
Thanks Simonwillems for the work you spend on this.

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#24 paul_delahaye

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 09:16 AM

Good Review, who voted this below average???

I own one and managed to pick it up off ebay a few years ago now with the track expansion pack for £150, in very good condition

So glad I did, an all time classic

#25 Runninglizard55

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 06:00 PM

judging from videos i've seen it seems that the monorail does very well on slopes.  i wonder why there haven't been more or at least an updated set?:hmpf:  i also wonder why the trains can't incorporate some slopes like the monorail.



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