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Millenium Falcon

By Rafael Mateo - images & text © 1999

Molding Quality: 8
Detail: 6
Accuracy: 5
Fit: 8
Ease: 8
MSRP: Out of production, but still available for $10-30 USD
Overall Rating: 8

(Note: These ratings are for the stock ERTL kit only).

[Click for larger view]

This kit spent about five years sleeping in the closet, waiting for the moment I would choose it for my next project.


[Port side]


[Completed cockpit]

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:

  • Ceiling, back and side walls with hundreds of buttons and inset details, which I did one by one - plus a realistic door matching the one from the SW films.
  • New floor with the four seats.
  • Front and two side instrument consoles.
  • New Han Solo figure by transforming the unknown figure with helmet included in the kit.
  • Two small lights to illuminate the inside.
  • New clear parts for windows

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

[Rear]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:


  1. Air brushed an overall coat with a light-warm grey colour.
  2. Painted the individual panels with red or medium grey by hand.
  3. Painted the engine grill with rusty dark brown.
  4. Washed everything with oil paint using dark brown+black colour.
  5. Softly air brushed using the minumun colour variations to get different tones on the panels and start weathering the model.
  6. Finished the weathering using soft pastels for dark strokes, rust parts, battle hits, etc.
  7. Sealed everything with an overall coat of Micro Flat.

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.

[Right side] 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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