Edrolfo Leones’ Millenium Falcon

Just thought you’d be interested in my latest project: A fully lit and detailed Millenium Falcon model. I worked on this project for about 2 months and was originally going to use Jack Smith’s Falcon enhancement parts.Unfortunately, he’s been holding off on taking new orders for quite some time, so I decided to try my own hand at kit bashing parts to enhance the detailing.

I also took this project on with the sole desire to light everything up from the inside. Overall, the unit is powered by a 12 volt power supply, four white LEDs and two12″ mini-fluorescent tubes. On the exterior, I provided a good deal of weathering using a variety of techniques. My favorite part of the project was to work on the laser blast hits all throughout the hull.

This image was taken in a darkened room, with a digital flash camera. The two ‘headlights’ are super brite white LEDs. Although you can’t see it, I got rid of the transparent window deep between the mandiibles and added detail.

I used a variety of red and brown watered down enamel paint to simulate rust throughout the hull.

If you look closely enough, you’ll see the added detailing on the upper rear hull. I used basically four kits that I found on sale at ToysRUs: Three helicopter kits and one tank kit, both 1/72 scale. I used a two colored mixture of pastel chalk for the exhaust residue comprised of black and a rusty brown.

For the exhaust, I used a cobalt blue lighting gel purchased from a local camera production store and another layer of defrosted gel which are sandwiched behind a clear plastic strip. This replaced the crummy two-part stock clear plastic strip that came with the kit.

Finally, I printed out a grid exhaust image on a transparency which I designed on my computer. This was also sandwiched on the outside of the clear plastic exhaust. Due to the lighting, you can barley make out the grid in the image. A generous layer of gloss black on the inside exhaust well reflects the lighting giving an illusion of plasma gass escaping.

I thought the entire model could use more detailing, so here you can see the added styrene rod and kit bashed parts used to ehance the hull and sensor dish. Also in the pic is a closer look at a series of laser hits. I glued three or four layers of sheet styrene plastic behind portions of the hull and then used a dremel and router bit to dig rough holes deep into the model. Added with a few gradations of black and grey paint, pastel chalk, and dry brushing, the effect looks pretty good.

A detail close-up of one laser concussion based on the original studio model’s upper right mandible. If you look closely at some of the external ‘piping’, you can see both weathering and leaking streaks which I did with very thinned down black, brown and grey paint and an extra-fine brush.

This is the rear section behind the cockpit. I used a lot of thinned down ‘rust’ colored paint and with a fine brush, used capillary action from the detailing to draw the paint through crevaces. Here you can also see where I sanded down the edges of the model’s armor and chipped away for a more worn effect.

The upper gun port is backlit with a white LED, and unfortunately due to the lighting conditions, the image exposure wasn’t very good. I prefer not to use transparent plastic as simulated ‘glass’ on models at this scale, so I used the stock clear plastic ‘window’ from the kit and removed the ‘glass’ leaving the framework alone. Using my computer, I reduced a screenshot of Luke Skywalker at the gun port to a 1.25″ diameter image and printed on a transparency from color copier. As an experiment, I decided to use this process instead of scratch building a gun port interior.

I used the same backlit transparency technique as the gun port for the cockpit background only. Using my computer, I designed a multi-colored background loosely based on the movie set. It’s a little over-exposed in the picture, but looks pretty convincing in life. I then scratchbuilt most of the cockpit interior including the controls. Hidden beneath the controls are two yellow LEDs which are focused on the tiny characters to give them some front lighting.

You can see from the top of the cockpit tube the added detail from styrene rod, sheet and brass strips.  On the sensor dish, I clipped and sanded a few milimeters off from around the dish since I thought the original version was a bit too big.  I spent about 3 weeks adding detail to the upper rear hull and still don’t feel that satisfied there’s enough. I may add more detailing as time goes on.

Here’s the underside pic of the hull. You can see added detailing which I felt it really needed. I didn’t have the Falcon 3D Puzzle to reference for under-hull accuracy, but I didn’t feel this was too important as long as I included the major details like the laser concussions.

The ship is mounted on telescopic brass tubing and glued in place with styrene plastic, wire reinforcing, milliput, and epoxy. This makes for a pretty durable mounting that is removable due to my use of telescopic tubing.

You’ll also notice that I don’t pay much attention to accuracy from the original studio models. I gave up on doing this some time ago with all my projects mainly because I’m not that talented and secondly because in all of my research, the various studio models of the same ship often have very slight variations themselves, making any effort to create a truly accurate reproduction relatively pointless. I’m more concerned with scale realism and the electronics which bring a model more to life for me than accuracy.

Edrolfo Leones

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