Millennium Falcon [Factory Stock] Part 4: Ship Build
This is the final (ship construction) part of my quest to see what the Millennium Falcon might have looked like when it was a brand new, factory stock ship (I still have to build the "showroom" she'll be displayed in). There have been illustrations and models of these built by others, but I wanted to build my own interpretation.
It was sad to see all the beautiful molded details the ship is known for go away (through scraping, filing, and sanding) but it was a fun challenge to smooth it out and "restore" it to its factory specs...and I like the results.
Starboard docking ring.
I used some wheel parts from the dragster donor kits to replace the super-greeblied kit parts. My idea here was to have something simple, clean, yet functional-looking; I didn't want just a flat wall with a door.
Port docking ring.
I guess how these "original" docking rings might work is the ship connects to another ship (or space station, what have you) at the outer conical ring, those four triangular bits adjusting the shape to fit various different systems, and the middle circle would actually be a tube that telescopes into the connection point, as much or as little as needed so that it could further customize the "fit" depending on what it's attaching to. Then the big circular "door" would swing open from the square hinge on the bottom. The very middle (brass photo etched part) could be a single-person emergency port.
I didn't want to pre-shade all the panel lines, but I felt, maybe, the bottom of the ship could use some "shadow assistance," so I used black. Plus, the guys at ILM primed the original Falcon in black.
Forest of doors.
I had/have that nice photo etch upgrade set from Green Strawberry which I'd planned to use for the landing gear doors (they're meant to angle outward and have tiny, little delicate hinges), but the doors only angle out on the Empire version of the ship, whereas the Star Wars version or the full scale ship, the doors kind of angle inward (the 5-foot model for SW wasn't made with landing gear).
I know this model includes the extra two landing gear on the front of the ship (also starting with the Empire's full-scale and miniature versions) but I like the extra gear (more importantly, removing their housings would be big pain).
The main reason I got the photo etch set was to use the fine rings (with the square cut-outs) on the lower part of the landing gear assemblies. The kit parts didn't have holes, and cutting them out would be very difficult and frustrating. The greeblies I attached to the outside notwithstanding, this was my first actual experience with properly bending and gluing photo etched parts. It takes a lot of concentration and patience, but that what this hobby's all about, really. Plus, it's worth the effort; these look great!
Painted with thinned-down white craft paint, they look sufficiently new and the black primer subtly coming through here and there in a ghostly fashion makes the gear assemblies look very interesting.
Boarding ramp and etch.
The photo etch parts are for the top of the ramp, recreating the closed inner door (the hallway in the movies is a tube, so the door curves outward).
I painted the inner parts of the ramp pistons silver to match the movie, the tricky part is resisting the urge to dirty them up with oil and grease. The thinness of the white paint over the black primer really is noticeable here, and I like that look.
This is yet another part that'll barely be seen, but it blocks off the non-detailed innards of the ship (scratch-building a hallway seems pointless at this scale).
The photo etch kit comes with tiny parts for the tops of the back seats, but I decided to chop off the thin tops to make the chairs more like the front two, implying the back ones were replaced at some later point.
To the right is the photo etch part for the back wall of the cockpit. I'd waffled a lot about lighting this kit (it's still technically possible, but it'd be tricky) and having that back wall come with holes for lights to shine through was a better option that the kit part. Plus, the stickers Green Strawberry provided for the back wall and console look very nice.
The cockpit set didn't have a door in Star Wars (another detail added for Empire, so let's pretend it was simply "open" every time we saw the cockpit) but I included it here to block the view of the non-detailed hallway and to block any light, had I decided to light the model.
Like I mentioned above, I used black underneath to enhance the shadows since this will be displayed in the landed position. I covered the finished cockpit interior with some tissue during the priming, then used the clear kit part when the white coats went down.
I think I thinned my white craft paint a bit too much, but I liked the overall look of it. There wasn't much noticeable difference between the black and the grey primed hulls.
Windows and engines.
I painted the insides of the (former) gun port windows with black primer so that you wouldn't see inside the ship, but also to allow the shiny outsides to remain.
I decided not to use the outer grill from the kit, but I wanted to include the engine nozzles provided since I was making a "real ship" as opposed to recreating a shooting model. I just dry brushed some silver over the black primer.
Decals vs stickers.
Like most Bandai kits, this one comes with a set of decals and an identical set of stickers. On both sets the window mullions don't come whole, but as a circle and a bunch of lines, which were tedious and fiddly to assemble correctly. On the left are the decals, on the right are the stickers. I prefer the decals for both application and for final appearance and used the left one for the top port.
Inspected by Han Solo.
In my reckoning, this brand new freighter would have been built long before Han was born, although there's probably some crazy YT-1300 enthusiast who's restored an old ship to it's former glory the way car enthusiasts do on Earth. This ain't no hunk o' junk!
Most of the greeblies are here.
I'm planning to build the "showroom" display case without a back wall so that you'd be able to see all the nice details on the back of the ship (and wide enough to see the docking rings).
The finished docking rings look better than I thought when I first decided to replace the kit parts. The ejector pin marks I left on the new parts work well for added interest and as places to put the only decals I added to the whole model.
I have to touch up that over-spray on the boarding ramp.
Port side docking ring.
Earlier, you can see I did some pre-shading with some black primer on the six exhausts, but that was mostly covered up by my white coats. After it was dry I realized my coverage wasn't complete (I missed a good portion of the top of the starboard mandible) and the paint itself didn't look very nice, kinda rough.
So, for better coverage, I resorted to using a rattle can of Insignia White, the same stuff I used on my mini Falcon for the Cargo Build. Not only did this even out everything on top (I left the underside alone), but it fixed the black panel line wash I used on the six ports after the white paint (I applied it to the grills, but, because the paint was flat (not glossy), the wash started bleeding onto the outer rings and down the sides on a few).
There's that tank part I used to plug up the antenna connector.
Maintenance well covers.
These came out pretty good, and look like they're meant to be removed as needed.
I definitely prefer this ship with all its detailed greeblies and weathering as that makes it look like a real space vehicle, whereas this "brand new" version looks like a toy with all its smoothness and cleanliness. Still, this satisfies my curiosity and was a fun challenge to "undo" all those modifications.
The front and back of the ship do the most work (the engines in the rear propel the craft and the mandibles up front grapple with cargo) so they get the most greeblies. I didn't add any of the greeblies provided by kit on the insides of the mandibles, but I also didn't remove any details the way I did on the outsides of them.
It was overcast for the first and last shots, but I still had to see what she looked like in natural light.
Seeing the ship outside looking so clean and white made me think of the early outdoors test footage of Boba Fett when his costume was still all-white: