By Rafael Mateo - images & text © 1999
(Note: These ratings are for the stock ERTL kit only).
This kit spent about five years sleeping in the closet, waiting for the moment I would choose it for my next project.
The two main hull parts are well molded and detailed but the same could not be said about the side panels, cockpit and other parts. I spent the bulk of effort on this kit correcting the side panels, cockpit, escape pods, engine grill and super-detailing the upper main hull.
First: The side panels
The side panels are poor detailed and really out of scale. The model seems the Kenner toy if we use these parts - it looks "fat". We can choose two options to correct this: we can scratch built them or we can buy the "side panels set" from Falcon Kits. I chose to buy Jack's side panel set for this model.
The "side panels set" are good resin parts that accurately replicate the look of the studio model. I found only one little problem: I needed plenty of patience and putty fill in dozens of very little air bubbles. Really, that is not too much work to get a great change in the quality of the model.
Second: The Cockpit
I used the Chewie and the unknown figures, but I did not use any of the kit parts in the cockpit. This is the poorest cockpit you can imagine (a clear part for the back wall and door, and a floor with only two seats, without any kind of detail or instruments). Instead, I made my own cockpit parts with sheet styrene from "Evergreen", as follows:
All that work was hard and long but it was worth it!
Third: Escape pods.
The kit's escape pods did not have any details on the outside which looked poor and bare in contrast with the main hull. I added these details using sheet styrene.
Fourth: Engine grille
The AMT/ERTL kit offers two clear parts for the engines. But what's on the inside? Fortunately, with the new images added on the "SW Special Edition" we can take a look at the engines and we can (at last!) see what it's supposed to look like. I made the engine grille using sheet styrene, which I backed with a fluorescent light inside and a blue translucent plastic frame to replicate the glow.
Fifth: Super-detailing the upper main hull
The kit's rear part of the upper main hull does have not a great details. However, we can change it using selected parts from other model kits, trying to match the look of the IL&M models. I also detailed the upper outside of the cockpit towards the ship's center.
Sixth: Painting the Millennium Falcon
It is really important to get good photos from the original models. There are many good books we can use for this.
I used Tamiya acrylic paints and artist oils and:
I made the display stand from a piece of pine wood. It Includes the switch, batteries and the cable runnin inside to the model. It is connected with a jack on the belly of the ship.
The Millennium Falcon is the most popular starship from Star Wars. Is really a "must have" model for all the Sci-Fi fans and it looks great - especially when taking the work seriously and always trying to match the IL&M models.
More model photos and info (including templates for engine grill and pod panels) -only in spanish, sorry- can be seen here
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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