So, when I started out this build, it was not my intent to mod it at all. I just wanted to enjoy myself with a nice, casual Star Wars build. And it’s a classic, with color: the Disney Parks exclusive version of Han’s Millennium Falcon, with a full paint job. When this showed up, I wasn’t a big fan of how super-clean looking it was, but I was going to build it that way. Because I have NO skills at painting or weathering stuff. Seriously, my painting skills are crap (just see the horrible job I did with the simple act of lining the glow paint on my Black Panther Mod).
And, I actually did build it practically halfway as it comes. It was nice and pleasant, a stroll along memory lane (this is my fifth Millennium Falcon, considering the four versions of it I’ve built already). It was nice and easy, smooth, calm… just fun. And I would have been satisfied with that, had I not had a “lightbulb over the head moment.” I could have just finished it and enjoyed it, cause it’s nice to have a color version of such a classic. But instead, I started thinking about doing a “wash” to increase the contrast on the etchings. Then I realized it was way to late for me to do that.
But my brain didn’t stop there. No, it decided that I needed to find a different way to introduce contrast. And then it got devious, and naive. It came up with the idea of removing the white paint from the etch lines. With my slightly dulled hobby knife. Yeah, I know, that sounds insane. And it sorta is. But I did a test in a spot that would not be visible if I changed my mind. And it worked. So I proceeded to scrape away the paint in the etched lines on the half that I had already built. Luckily, I had taken a photo for the video thumbnail, so I can actually show you the before and after of it.
Now, if you looked at that closely, you might have noticed that I left out a little detail of what I did. Because I didn’t just scrape paint out of the cracks. Nope. Because I goofed up. I slipped. I scratched. The hobby knife jumped out of the etching groove and scraped paint off the surface. I was disappointed at first, but then I realized it was another opportunity. And so I scraped all the paint off that particular “panel” of the model. And I did it again, the next time I slipped. You get the idea. And then I picked some to intentionally scrap the paint away from, creating “patched” panel sections. And, in a few places, I just turned the scratches into “blaster damage” to the paint-job.
Now, in the comparison photo above, the pictures were taken at different times, with different lighting conditions and with different corrective filtering applied in my phone’s photo editing app. And so, as I began the task of scraping the paint out of the etching lines of all the parts I hadn’t yet assembled, I decided to take a picture of a piece where some lines are scraped clean, and some are left as is. I could do that with the bottom hull, because there are parts where there is etching, but it will be hidden beneath another part that gets attached. I’ve included the photo below, but want to point out a couple of things. First, scraping out the paint is a messy process. Lots of paint flakes and whirls and chips everywhere, and as you brush them off, they often end up back in another etch groove. And second, all the handling with oily fingers makes it a bit dirtier. Both of these factors seem to just add to the “grunge” factor.
Now, you might be wondering… would I recommend doing this? Only if you are extremely patient and okay with a lack of perfection. And stubborn. And have a lot of time to waste. And don’t mind the potential for sore fingers. Cause the process of scraping away the paint took forever. I did not record the process, so I don’t have an actual record of how much time was spent doing this, but my best ballpark guess would be around 8 hours or more. Just for the scraping out paint. Not building the model itself. Painstaking, eye-straining, finger-wearying work spread across several days and even more sittings (there’s only so long you can spend hunched over a table, squinting at a model and focusing on not slipping or cutting yourself, before you need a break). Oh, yeah, and that’s another reason I might not suggest this. Because you can hurt yourself. Knives are sharp. And while I am not a professional, I still do not suggest that you should do this at home. I did it at my own risk. If you do it, it will be at your own risk, right?
Oh, and one more random blurb… all this attention to the engraving lead me to discover a detail I had never noticed on the model (or possibly on the Millennium Falcon spaceship itself). One of the panels on the ship’s hull, behind the six circular cooling vents (at least that’s what they look like to me) on the top back of the ship, seems to be shaped like a falcon. You can see it in one of the close-up photos in the gallery above. Anyways, I’d never noticed this before, but it’s a nice little touch.
So, this post is not turning out anything like one of my usual posts. Normally I’d be well into the “what did I have trouble with” section of the blog post. Yeah, I know, I’m pretty formulaic with my posts. But at least you can usually know what to expect, right? Well, not this time. Of course, with Mod posts, sometimes I just talk about the process of making the modification, and don’t do the usual review of the model build itself. But this time, since the modification didn’t affect the process of the build, I’m going to go ahead and resume the usual post format now.
Of course, somewhere in the section above with the 360 video and the gallery, I would talk about what I liked (or didn’t like) about the model itself. Since I’ve now built 5 Millennium Falcons, you can probably assume that I like the build. And I do. I will mention that this seems to be a direct re-use of the classic Millennium Falcon model, just with paint, so this review can probably apply to both. And it makes sense, why redesign it, right? I just wish they had carried over one of the changes they added in the ICONX and Lando’s Falcon models: a tab to secure the cockpit in the right orientation. Because the classic silver Millennium Falcon (and this one, by extension) suffer from an alignment problem for the cockpit. It wants to point off to the side at an angle, rather than straight ahead. The way the part folds together, you just can’t get a good enough crease to get it to hold the forward facing direction. Unless you use some glue. Which, you guessed it, I did. Glue is your friend, and is not the enemy here. But it is hard to glue inconspicuously. I’ll try to explain what I did later (and how it didn’t work perfectly).
As for challenge, this one is fairly low on the challenge scale (putting aside that cursed cockpit alignment issue I just mentioned). It’s not easy, but it pays out well for the skill level required. The most challenging things you will encounter are some tapered cylinders and cones. It’s actually a pretty good model to whet your whistle on such things. Big gentle conical curves, little small ones, and long narrow ones, too. Just take your time, and you can end up with something to show off for your efforts.
I don’t have a whole lot of feedback on individual things for this build. The process is fairly straight forward, and the build instructions are pretty clear, or maybe I’m just used to building them. But I do have one minor beef with the instructions. There are some tabs that it tells you that you can twist, but you really, really should not. Any tabs that go through the curved hulls near the edges should be folded over. You can twist them and then fold them, but I find that folding is sufficient to secure the parts anyways. But if you do twist and fold, then be sure to fold them towards the center of the hull. Anyways, the instructions actually do account for it at least a little, but there are a few near the edge that they left off. Actually, I folded over all the tabs sticking through the hull except for the ones attaching the comm dish and circular top and bottom sections. The reason you want to do this is that curved hull section will eventually be secured to a flat hull section, and any twisted tabs out near the edge will be sticking out too far. The instructions for the classic Millennium Falcon are closer, but I’ve updated those to identify the additional tabs I suggest folding as well. Check it out below.
In addition, I would suggest applying a little bit of a curve to part 19 before folding the flaps down around the edges. It just looks better that way, I think. And you can try the same with parts 20 and 21, but it doesn’t work as well, plus the strip across the front doesn’t want to stay in place when you do that.
Building this model (not modding it, just the building part) took me two and a quarter hours. Nice and quick. Simple and enjoyable. If you like Star Wars at all, then this is an easy choice to add to your collection. And if you can find it at a Disney Park (or on eBay, where I purchased it) then all the better for color, right? Here’s the build (and only the build) process videos: