Lego 657 airplane in the classic review

Lego 657 airplane in the classic review

LEGO 657 Plane in Classic Review: Nearly fifty years of LEGO history in just 36 pieces…!

An airplane with 36 parts is not really something special. The fact that LEGO set 657 dates from 1974, on the other hand, does. A real fossil I found during excavations in the attic. From a time when the first humans, pardon, the first LEGO sets spread across the planet. Besides the fascination of nearly fifty years of LEGO history, it appealed to me to stage the good piece for this Classic Review. Have fun therefore above all with the pictures!

Packaging and details

Packaging? Hm, yes… packed it probably was once. With me it arrived already in pieces. I am older than I look on the photos or videos (wink), but in 1974 not even I was on earth. The set was part of a -as they say nowadays- LEGO collection, which I inherited from another child as a child. A big bag with many colorful bricks, which first ended up in the bathtub and were washed.

I am a bit proud of the not so badly preserved manual. If my today’s sets are meticulously documented in Excel spreadsheets and stored in best condition either in the showcase or according to strict order criteria in the attic, I treated my LEGO as a child as probably most children do. The highest degree of order was when all the scattered pieces disappeared collected in the large, dark blue LEGO cloth bag, after I was forced to clean the room. What got lost under the bed, in the house or in the vacuum cleaner bag was part of a natural selection.

Back to the instructions. It consists of a folded DIN A… yes, what is that actually? A bit bigger than a DIN A7 page. Unfolded, four of these individual, almost square sheets hang together. The first page shows a photo of the actual model. Behind it, on three pages, are the actual instructions, divided into five building sections. Not bad at all, for only 36 pieces. The remaining pages contain photos of other sets, at least as angular as the aircraft. By the way, 1974 was also the birth year of the first LEGO figures (the unfortunate ones were quite faceless at that time and couldn’t move their arms). Is anyone still reading here? For those who are still with us, as a reward, a small raffle. If you want to join in, take a closer look at the five construction steps in the instructions. There is a small error there. Whoever finds it and is the first to report in the comments below (name the construction section and what’s wrong with it) will get a small set sent to them by me.

For the short structure in between..

One item that should not be missing in this chapter is, of course, the MSRP. As I said, I got the set as a gift, so some research was necessary (if anyone knows more or even bought the plane themselves, feel free to share the info in the comments). At Brickset I found an MSRP of 0,65 British pounds. In 1974 this was about 3,93 D-Mark, which in EURO leads to 2,01 €. Using an inflation calculator I found on the Internet, I arrive at today’s value of €5.92, which would be roughly equivalent to the MSRP I was looking for. A parts price of 16 cents seems quite high, but is realistic for small sets. By the way, the prices for a used set at Bricklink are between three and fifteen euros, a new one is then almost three digits (although the selection is very small, I have seen only two offered).

The whole thing was accompanied by two stickers.


A good thirty (system) parts. What should I say. This is what you build in the car during a red light phase at the traffic lights.

The finished model

The only things that are authentic and guaranteed to be part of the original set are the printed 2×4 bricks and the sticker-covered rear wing. I also assume the nozzles and wheels, all other parts are standard elements and could have been exchanged with newer ones over the years and during rebuilding (although according to the yellowing, they are certainly not much newer…).

The plane is 18 cm long, 13 cm wide and a good 5 cm high. There’s plenty of room for minifigures, just not on the inside. These may position themselves on the nostalgic nubby surface. Then it’s off, flying by hand or rolling on the road plate track. Enough to have a lot of fun with it as a child.

The two stickers on the tail have survived all the air travel and rummaging in the big collection bag pretty well. Despite an incredibly high sticker-to-part ratio by today’s standards (two stickers in thirty-six parts…), I rather imagine a child in 1974 saying, "Look Mom, there are even stickers in there! Look, I can stick LEGO in the back with these! Cool!". Well, "cool" it will not have said. Maybe "dufte" or "klasse" or what they said back then. But not: "Insolence! For three Mark ninety I expect that also the tail fin is printed! Playmobil does not treat its customers this way!"(Playmobil had its market launch in 1974). At least in my imagination.

Doesn’t the garage roof greenery look a bit like a dense autumn forest?

My conclusion

Of course, there is no conclusion in the sense of what is good about the model, what is bad. It’s fun to look at because it’s a piece of history. I can think of a few other sets that left a more intense impression from my childhood. But I couldn’t imagine my LEGO town without the little plane..

Off on vacation!

Your opinion

How do you like this classic? Do you think it’s time for a new LEGO airplane?? Feel free to comment in the comments.

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