A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
THE MILLENNIUM FALCON
« A legendary starship despite its humble origins and deceptively shabby exterior, the Millennium Falcon has played a role in some of the Rebel Alliance's greatest victories over the Empire. On the surface, the Falcon looks like a worn down junker. Beneath its hull, however, she packs many powerful secrets. Its owners have made "special modifications" on the freighter throughout the years, boosting its speed, shielding, and performance to impressive -- and downright illegal -- levels. The Falcon pays a heavy price for these tricks and add-ons. It can be unpredictable, and its reconditioned hyperdrive often fails. Its current captain, Han Solo, has even been seen to restart a failed start-up with a hard knock on a bulkhead with his fist. »
DeAgostini Build The Millennium Falcon
At the end of 2014/start of 2015, the publishing company DeAgostini started airing TV commercials for a new product they were about to release, 'Build the Millennium Falcon', a 100 issue 2 year 'partwork' released weekly which would include parts to build up/construct a replica of the filming model of the Millennium Falcon starship as seen in the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back film…
It took me a couple of weeks to set my mind to it and also work out the finances to fund this project which would cost £8.99 each week. I decided that one less visit to a Coffee Shop each week would more than pay for this and bought my 1st issue, quickly followed by the 2nd… and so my epic adventure began…
Issues 1 & 2
The 1st issue came with a beautiful double sided foldout blueprint with the front displaying a 1:1 scale outline detail of the top of the Millennium Falcon, & on the rear of the blueprint several 1:2 diagrams showing the internal layout as well as the detailing of the metal frame work & hull placements, all of which would be built up over the course of the 2 year build.
The 1:1 scale blueprint will prove to be invaluable as the project build progressed, with the completed sections placed on top of it in roughly the correct position*
(*Where possible or if not convenient to place a section in the approximate area)
Issue 1 also kickstarted the project with the 1st parts of the build, the cockpit base, cockpit rear bulkhead & bulkhead sticker, the top quad laser cannon, the 1st piece of top hull plating (TP1, Top Plating 1) & top hull framework (TF1,TF2,Top Frame 1 & 2).
Issue 2 parts consisted of the upper laser turret (TP3,Top Panel 3), cockpit control console & instrument display sticker, the *Dejarik gaming table & game board sticker, some more top hull framework (TF3,TF4), some metal frame connector blocks & 12 screws. Also with this issue came a free screwdriver.
1st the top hull frame was constructed from the frame parts from both issue 1 & 2, & the hull plating TP1 attached loosely (no screws supplied at this stage to attach the hull plating to the constructed framework. Next the game board sticker was attached to the metal dejarik gaming table. After this the cockpit instrument panel sticker was applied to the control console supplied in the 1st issue & it was loosely test fitted to the front of the cockpit base. Finally the top quad laser cannon from issue 1 was constructed, 5 parts fixed together with the 4 supplied screws (all 4 barrels also needed a little glue as they were only push fit) & then loose fitted to the quad cannon laser turret.
Issue 3 parts gave us another top hull plate (TP2) & cockpit parts consisting of cockpit door (& door sticker), pilot & passenger seats, control yokes & throttle levers.
1st the door sticker was attached to the door piece & this completed piece attached to the cockpit rear bulkhead. Next the pilot & passenger seats were attached & glued into place. Finally the control yokes & throttle levers were attached & glued into place as per magazine instructions (we'd soon find out from others that the throttle levers actually needed to have their orientation flipped 180`degrees).
Issue 4 parts contained a cockpit console front panel piece, more hull frames (TF5,TF6), more frame connectors & screws for both construction of the frames & attaching the 1st hull part supplied (TP1).
The cockpit console front panel was simply stuck to the front of the cockpit console (From issue 2) then the top frames TF5 & TF6 were joined together & attached to the already assembled top frame construction consisting of TF1-4, & top hull plate TP1 was screwed on with top hull plate TP2 laid next to the top of TP1 (no frame for fixing it in place had been supplied at this point).
Issue 5 saw us supplied with the angled cockpit tube top & bottom hull pieces, cockpit instrument side panels, & a cockpit bulkhead lighting printed circuit board (PCB).
1st up the lighting PCB was attached to the rear of the cockpit with supplied screw (we won't get to see it lit up until issue 9 when a battery box & lead is supplied for testing). The other parts for the cockpit were the 2x side instrument panels which just slotted & glued into place. Lastly the 2x cockpit tubes were test fitted with the mostly assembled cockpit base.
Issue 6 parts supplied included a 3x part nose cone, interior cockpit arch parts with instrumentation stickers, cockpit control levers, passenger seat/bunk support. Also included was a '*sprue' containing exterior hull detailing.
(*a sprue is a frame of parts to be used, it holds the various injection moulding components secure until they need to be cut off & used in the construction)
1st thing required was to stick the 2x piece instrumentation stickers to the rear cockpit arch piece supplied in this issue & also attach the 2x lower rear pieces which makes the arch a bit flexible at the bottom which will aid installation in to the cockpit when ready. Next up was the 4x very small & fiddly cockpit control levers which locate in the small holes of the front cockpit console (for these I used auto-closing tweezers to hold the parts whilst positioning & gluing into place). Once this was done, the cockpit enclosure could be built up, 1st opening up the 2x part angled cockpit passageway & slotting the cockpit base into place in the bottom part, followed by the fitting newly constructed instrumentation arch. Once that was done the top half of the cockpit passageway was fitted (not glued) & the 3x part nose cone was put in place (again, not glued).
The additional sprue with the hull exterior detailing was kept at this stage until issue 9. I kept any parts not used in each issue (along with spare screws) in small zip-lock type plastic bags along with the numbered issue they came from on a small card until needed again.
Issue 7 parts were the 1st major parts for the main hold/passenger area, including the main hold floor, the semi circular seat & base cushion & the overhead bunk assembly & cushions.
The 1st item to make was the semi-circular lounge seating, a case of removing the one piece lower seating cushion from its sprue & attaching to the corresponding seating area base with a dab of glue at strategic points. After this the 2x halves of the bunk area had their individual cushions attached (making sure each piece fitted snugly in its rightful position before gluing in place). Once both halves of the bunk were completed then the 2x halves were carefully joined together making sure they fitted snugly without leaving any gap between top & bottom pieces.
It was at this point I decided to fit the Dejarik table & base of the lounge seat onto the hold floor & put the completed bunk insert on top of the passenger seat/bunk support.
Issue 8 parts supplied were more internal parts, a technical station console, a couple of interior hold walls, a sprue containing seating area rear cushions, pipework & control knobs for the technical station. The final parts on another sprue offering a wall insert, another technical console part & a piece of piping.
1st the technical station had 2x tiny knobs & red light fitted followed by attaching the horizontal panel to the unit. This completed part was then put aside until issue 13. Next the bunk insert from issue 7 was fitted into the rear bunk/seating support & the top cover glued into place, then the light fitting part attached to the assembly and the completed unit temporarily attached via 2 included screws to aid the next part of the build which was to glue the 12 individual seat back cushions to the semicircular base carefully ensuring that none of the parts stuck to the bunk/seating support. Parts not used on the sprues were put into zip-lock bags ready for use in issue 10.
Issue 9 parts came with a battery box & leads, a piece of underside hull framework & hull plating (BF10,BP10), an interior wall piece, 2x strips of light blocking tape, and lastly a doorway arch & insert with 18x square pads on a sprue.
1st thing to do was to break out 4x AA/R6 batteries & fit them into the new battery box & connect the lead trailing from it to the cockpit lighting PCB & check out the lights. The light emitted from these was very bright and light was being transmitted through the curved walls of cockpit walkway tube, but DeAgostini had thought about this and issued the 2x strips of light blocking tape. These were fitted in place but as you can see from the photo below they didn't filter out the unwanted light 100%. I would buy some wider tape a little later on to cover the affected areas & provide better unwanted light blocking.
Next step was to build up the detail on the angled cockpit hull using parts off the issue 6 sprue, I have to admit here that these bits were thin & extremely fragile & broke trying to remove the individual parts off the parts frame. The lower section of the cockpit hull was constructed fine with no issues, but with the top section the parts 2 & 3 I broke didn't look okay to me when attached. I later bought some cheap magazine issues off eBay with spare parts to rebuild the upper cockpit hull properly… lesson learned!
Issue 10 parts included another part of interior hold wall, hull bottom frames (BF11,BF13) with a radial stiffening rib, & bottom hull plating (BP9).
At this stage, the hull frame & plating parts supplied were put together utilising the diagram on the back of the blueprint for correct positioning, even though specific instructions had not been given yet. This issues instructions were all for the main interior hold wall & parts on sprue supplied with issue 8 & the circular door arch parts from issue 9. 1st the 18x square door pads had to be cut off the sprue from issue 9, then any excess moulding flash had to be trimmed off & the pads added one by one to the inner arch also supplied with issue 9. Once all 18 were in place, these were put aside until needed after the next parts from this issue were done. 2x sprue parts from issue 8 were then attached & glued into place on the hold wall from issue 9 and then the larger door arch was glued flush into the doorway arch recess. After this, the inner arch with the cushions was then glued into the larger door arch. This completed the wall section for the time being, further detail would be added in issue 11.
Issue 11 parts included a rear internal hold wall, another bottom frame (BF14), a bottom hull plate (BP11), and a couple of radial stiffening ribs.
As per previous issues, the hull frame & ribs were not specifically mentioned to fit together but utilising the diagram on the back of the blueprint for correct positioning they were screwed into place. This issue concentrated on fitting additional pipework from parts left on sprues from issue 8 cutting them off & gluing into position as shown.
Issue 12 parts came with main hold pipe support, bottom hull frame (BF12,BF15), a radial stiffening rib, & bottom hull plating (BP8).
With this issue the emphasis was on constructing the supporting bottom frame work supplied so far (from issues 9,10,11,& 12). some of this I had already done proportion to this issue, but nice to get clarification. The bottom hull plating could then be put in place (the magazine says 'test-fit, but to keep things organised I screwed these on loosely). This completed section gave a real feel to how the hull would come together. The main hold pipe support was then put in a zip-lock bag until needed.
Issue 13 saw additional parts for the main hold/passenger area (main hold upper pipe, lower pipe, 2x floor level pipes, & 5x pipe support frame members). Also included was another bottom frame (BF16), & bottom hull plating (BP7).
This issue saw the coming together of quite a few main hold/passenger area parts. 1st the bunk bed/seating area which was temporarily fixed could be screwed down completely, then the completed semi circular seat was glued into place followed by the Dejarik table. Next the starboard hold wall completed in issue 11 was put into place and the adjoining walls from issues 9,10, & 11 were fitted and screwed to each other. After that the piping part left on the sprue from issue 8 was fitted to the technical station also from issue 8, and this completed unit glued into position. This completed the starboard side of the hold/passenger area. Next the pipe support part from issue 12 was screwed onto the hold floor & the 5x pipe supports supplied with this issue were glued into place on the main hold wall. Although it said in the magazine to put the 2x thin pipes under these supports before they were glued into place I slid these in afterwards. After this the big pipes (correctly orientated) were slotted in place (they wouldn't be fixed in completely until the port hull wall in the next issue was fitted . Once this was done, I fitted the bottom frame (BF16) & bottom hull plate (BP7).
Issue 14 supplied us with the main hold port wall, another door outer & inner arches with 18x square door pads (on a sprue), circuitry bay slit door, bottom hull frame (BP17) & a radial strengthening rib along with bottom (BP6).
This issue was concerned with finishing off the main hold/passenger area. 1st the Circuitry bay slit door & port outer door arch were glued into the port hold wall. Next the 18x square door pads were individually attached to the door inner arch before attaching this into the outer doorway arch in the port wall. After this the port side hold wall could then be attached to the rest of the hold & the 2 loose pipes slotted into the protrusions to hold them in place. This would complete the internal passenger/hold area.
Issue 15 parts supplied us with 3x corridor arches & 54x square cushion parts spread over 3x sprues, another bottom hull frame (BF18) & radial strengthening rib with bottom hull plating (BP4).
This issue was all about fixing more hull frame together.
A point to note here is that up to my 4th Subscription Delivery, magazine & parts were supplied on a monthly basis. There were a few issues with deliveries & subscriber website information, and I had already decided the 4th delivery would be my last monthly delivery, mostly as I felt a monthly build with wait between deliveries was too long, so I decided that I would get the magazines weekly from W.H.Smiths Newsagents locally, & that would bring back some fun to the build with doing a little bit week by week.
Issue 16 parts supplied the starboard curved corridor base & floor, & bottom hull frame (BF19) with bottom hull plating (BP5).
1st job was to create the 3x corridor arches supplied with issue 15 by detaching & tidying up the 54x individual square pads and then attaching them to the arches, 18 per arch. Next once this was done the floor supplied was attached with screws to the curved corridor also from this issue & the 3x made up arches slotted into position on the corridor section. After this the bottom frames & hull plating were then built up making a nice big section of curved hull.
Issue 17 parts supplied this time included the top part of the starboard corridor with an end ring, a sprue with 11 corridor wall cushions, & another piece of bottom hull frame (BF20) with bottom hull plating (BP3).
1st the lower corridor wall cushions were cut off the sprue & fitted to the corridor floor section ensuring they were the correct orientation, then the top section of the corridor supplied with this issue had the same treatment fitting the upper wall cushions. Once this was done the 2x corridor halves were connected together making sure the locating pins on the arches matched up with the holes in the upper corridor, then the corridor end ring fitted.
Issue 18 parts supplied another 2x corridor arches & 36x square cushion pads on 2x sprues, another piece of bottom hull frame (BF21), & the 1st part of an assembly jig (with 2x soft cushion pads) to hold the Falcon safely & securely as the hull is being built up, this would be the 1st of 8 jig parts.
1st the new bottom frame part BF21 was attached to the rest of the assembled hull framework, & bottom hull plate BP3 could be test fitted more securely. Next the 2x corridor arches were made up same as previous arches, with 18x square pads cut off their parts sprue, trimmed and attached to the arch.
Issue 19 parts supplied included a new corridor section (passageway tube), it's floor, another arch with 18x square pads on sprue, & a port hull recess part with an additional sprue of 'plant-on' parts to attach to it.
1st step was to build up the port hull recess with all bar one parts off the sprue, these consisted of fixing 2x reinforcing beams into position then adding the 'plant-on' parts in designated order to build up the three dimensional detail of this section. The magazine did mention about using spray paints to dirty up this part, but I decided that this would be a 'barebones' model early on, and I would do The minimum of additional work.
Next step in the build was to make up passageway tube fitting the floor supplied this issue, attach the 2x already made corridor arches from issue 18, then build up the arch from this issue with the 18x square pads off the sprue. Once that was done the last arch could then be put in position. The spare part left on the sprue which had held the port hull recess plant-on parts was put into a zip-lock bag for a later issue.
Issue 20 parts supplied were 2x corridor access walls with 16 individually shaped wall cushions on a sprue, a couple more lower hull frames (BF22, BF23), some frame connector blocks/screws & another piece of the construct jig.
This issue concentrated on making up the 2x corridor access walls supplied by fitting the cushions off the supplied sprue, and test fitting them into the corridor from issue 19. I also offered this up to the curve corridor to see how it looked. I also connected up the 2x lower hull frames supplied with this issue (BF22,BF23) on to the framework completed so far.
Issue 21 supplied some bigger corridor wall cushions on a sprue, a long straight piece of lower hull plating (BP1), another piece of lower hull frame (BF24), and another couple of frame connectors.
This issue was concerned with fitting one side of lower cushions from sprue to the cockpit access corridor.
Issue 22 supplied more bigger corridor cushions on a sprue, another lower hull frame (BF25), & some more frame connectors.
This issues construction was a mirror image of what was done in issue 21, fitting the lower corridor cushions to the opposite side done in that previous issue. This time there would be 4x cushions left on the supplied sprue for the next part of the build in issue 23.
Issue 23 parts supplied the top of the cockpit access corridor, a circular corridor end cap, 2x new lower hull frames (BF26,BF27), a couple more frame connectors with a radial strengthening rib. Also supplied was the third piece of the construction jig
This issue was concerned with finishing off the cockpit access tunnel by adding the top section fitted with the cushions left on the sprue from issue 22
Issue 24 supplied more Hull Frame parts (BF-28, BF-29) with loads of screws, a rib connector & radial strengthening rib.
Construction consisted of adding these frames to the existing lower hull structure framework & fitting the long hull plating (BP-1)