No ship from the Star Wars saga is as recognizable as the Millennium Falcon. Piloted by a rouge smuggler and his trusted Wookie companion, the ship (at least through Han Solo’s eyes) built quite a reputation as one of the fastest ships in the galaxy. Boasting of record runs and even outrunning Imperial Star Destroyers, this baby had it all. Even when a young Luke Skywalker called it a piece of junk, movie fans knew right away, this would be the flag ship of the original Star Wars trilogy.
When this kit was initially issued in 1977 in a whopping one seventy second scale it was a must for fans such as me to build. Its initial run, marketed by the MPC brand was a great kit and featured a very nice illumination feature. A battery compartment was located inside the rear of the ship with a removable panel in the under belly to replace the batteries used to light up the interior and the engines. Later on, the kit was reissued without the lighting for around the same price and was also a successful sell. Eventually the molds were reworked and an interior was added to the kit with a lift off roof to view the inner workings of this ship in all her glory. Of all the Millennium Falcon kits available, the one with the interior is the only one I have not yet attempted.
In conjunction with the release of the sixth and final Star Wars movie AMT has took this opportunity to once again reissue this classic kit. This is a remake of the initial lighted version without the lighting option. AMT has seen to it to add non-toxic cement and some water based paint to help entice young buyers to take the $20 plunge for this rather large kit. (Once constructed this kit measures over 18 inches in length.) Personally, I would have preferred to have the lights added to the kit as it was originally released instead of the paint and glue, but that is just my opinion.
All in all, it went together just as I remembered. Instructions were dead on reproductions of the originals from what I remember. The instructions had very little writing but there were detailed drawings showing proper part placement. As I built it I ran across a few areas that gave me problems. Mating up the side-panels and piecing together the nose section were particularly frustrating. Super Glue will be your friend when you attempt to attach the top hull section to the fuselage. Also, when it comes time to add the rear engines, there is a template printed on the instruction sheet to cut out. The pre printed template is the wrong length. I had to add about four more inches to get it to sit in the rear section properly. The engine ports are two clear plastic strips that could easily be painted on the inside with a light robin’s egg blue to remedy the problem. However, I chose to build it as the directions said for the purpose of this article.
Painting the Falcon was the major chore or should I say labor of love. Trying to capture the raw beauty of this rugged ship was no easy task. Looking for photos online was not a big help so I turned to some of my older reference books. In the book, “The Art of Star Wars” there is a very nice over head shot of the Falcon movie model. It is that photo I used as my guide.
I started by coating the interior completely in flat black. This removes any transparent effect on areas painted on the outside. In the open areas such as the hatch and inside the landing gear bays this also adds depth and detail. I then shot the entire outer hull with gloss white. (Her factory paint as it were) I masked off a few of the outer panels and shot them with a gloss silver plate. I then masked off a few other panels and shot them with gull gray. All total there were seven panels topside a five on her belly that were off color. I used this method to recreate the feel of replaced panels from flying space debris or dare I say; a few battles. I then painted a couple of the top panels flat red and flat brown to replicate the ship’s markings that were shown on my reference photo. When the initial colors dried I diluted some acrylic blue artist paint and scrubbed it into the recessed panels of the hull. I did this to define the outlines of the panels more clearly and also to create artificial shadows. This really brought out the details. Letting the acrylic paint dry overnight I finished her off with a dry brush of steel to blend in the different colors of the panels and to weather the exterior more. I finished her off with a little bit of black highlights to the exposed cables on the exterior. I finished it off with a heavy coat of dull coat to knock down any sheen that may have been created by the metallic paints I used.
This kit is not for the beginner. I will say that in all honesty. It is tough to assemble, it can be frustrating and it can’t be done over night. In all my years of building I don’t recall ever spending more than a week on a single styrene kit such as this. But the outcome was well worth it. Sure it has its faults. Sure some of the panels don’t mate up to the molded recesses as they should. But boy does it look great with a coat of paint! In my opinion, adding the lights would have sold more kits than the addition of paint and glue. It is just something about the illuminated kit that is exciting.
I was slightly disappointed in this kit because I had hoped the molds would have been cleaned up and the fit better. This was probably one of the toughest kits I have assembled in years. But the finished product is stunning. Toys R Us has these for $20 along with the Speeder Bike, Imperial Cruiser, Death Star, X-Wing and Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter. Which are all good companion kits. Smaller scale kits also available are the AT-AT, smaller X-wing and the Snow Speeder (previously reviewed) for around $10.