Building the Millennium Falcon by Agatha Chamberlain
The Millennium Falcon is the hot-rod star freighter of the recklessly overconfident smuggler Han Solo. The Falcon is a dual-drive spaceship utilizing anti-gravity drive to lift it off planet and hyper-drive to carry it into supra light speeds for interstellar travel. It is armed with two multidirectional laser cannons
Although not participating in the major part of the final battle of Star Wars, its appearance at the end was crucial in ‘allowing Luke to fire the torpedoes that destroyed the Death Star. In The Empire Strikes Back the agility of the Falcon is displayed, when it is flown through an asteroid belt to evade pursuing TIE fighters.
The original design of the Falcon was rejected and later became the Rebel Blockade Runner that Princess Leia used at the beginning of the film.
When I first saw the people at a local hobby shop unloading the model of the Millennium Falcon, I quickly borrowed the price money from a friend and bought it. I took the kit home and started to study the instructions and the model. The model was molded in a light gray plastic with clear parts for the cannon bay windows, cockpit window, engine panels, and two other parts that are not visible unless you really look for them. Why they are used, I really don’t know. I didn’t notice the window in, between the loading mandibles in the movie.
The special feature of the kit was the lighting of the cockpit and the engine. Two grain-of-wheat bulbs went into the engine, one went in the cockpit, and one lit up the cannon bays. While glancing over the instructions I noticed the one major flaw in the lighting: once the model is built there is no way to replace burned out bulbs without ripping the Falcon apart.
You could, of course, just place the top of the hull onto the lower without cementing; but at least in mine, the fit was uneven. I solved the problem by reducing the number of bulbs from four to one. That’s right, I lit the entire ship with only ONE bulb . . . and optical fibers.
The first step was to build the lower hull, except for the clear engine panels and parts 22-27 which were added later. Parts 78 were omitted, as they were unnecessary to my new lighting design. The center strip of the gangplank was painted black. The lower turret was cemented in place and the lower laser cannon was installed. Since the cannon barrels hung down in an unnatural position, they were cemented rigid in a forward position.
The clear window was installed after painting. The seats in both upper and lower turrets were omitted. A hole was also cut in the back of the battery box. The switch wasn’t added until the lighting was. The antenna and upper turret were assembled. The turret was not secured the upper hull by parts 38, as I wanted it to be removable. The lower cockpit section and the front window were hot added until after the hull was completed.