1/72 Fine Molds Millennium Falcon complete build

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starks

Active Member
Hi everyone,

I just recently finished up on this build and posted my progress over on the Fine Scale Modeler Forums but am going to re post it here. When I was initially trying to find reference to guys building this model and especially the painting I struggled for information and sent a few messages to people questioning on base colours etc and did not get a response which I found frustrating so I hope my build, although basic, may be of help to some others.

I have found quite a few threads on building the FM falcon over here that I didn't see originally and man are there some great builds and I take my hat off to the guys that really go to the effort for altering the kit for accuracy to the studio model. Unfortunately that is not me and I just wanted a good representation of the falcon so things like trying to get colours and weathering close were more of a big deal to me.

22 years ago at 14 my dad bought me the MPC falcon which I built but never painted successfully. In a hobby store some years ago I saw a completed build which I'm not sure of the make but were these sold through sideshow? MR perhaps? and thought gee that's cool but I can not afford it so maybe I will build another. I bought another MPC kit and soon realised how inaccurate it is. I tried purchasing upgrade parts but after paying the vendor he never made or sent the parts and stopped replying to my messages so that put a stop to that dream. There was no Bandai falcon at that time and personally I prefer the Empire Falcon and I soon learnt about the Fine Molds kit and although expensive I made the purchase.

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I wanted to have a couple of things. engine and cockpit lighting, a detailed cockpit and upgraded engine fans.

I started with buying A PE set that had an upgraded cockpit allowing for lighting and had engine grilles which I wanted. The PE cockpit was good but the printing of the provided decals were terrible. They showed a brown and beige cockpit.... which is far from accurate and the supplied FM figures for the cockpit were terrible. feeling a bit dissapointed in where this was heading I shelved the project.

Fast forward a few years I decided it is time to look at this again. I bought an upgraded cockpit from 308 Bits on shapeways and some clear engine nozzles. I had my PE grills and some engine fans. and I purchased a Madman Fast Tramp freighter lighting kit.

This is a big kit with over 800 pieces so slowly going together. The engine fans are not accurate to the studio model but that's ok, we will see a fan that will give the build some life.

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Here are our engine fans, some clean up required! These require you to cut, in my case dremel, out the fan housing which had a molded mock grille in place to place the fan inside.

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With the body having most of the greeblies attatched, it is time for me to look at lighting and building a light box.

I built a light box to fit in behind the engine nozzles. I first built the box. I drew the pieces out in Corel and cut them in 3mm clear acrylic. the kit has a box the engine nozzles sit in so I measured the length of the meeting face to the lighting box and was able to hold the engine box up to the screen to get the correct curvature.

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Next I cut the pieces out on the laser, curved the front and rear walls with a heat gun and glued them together. The lighting box needed some holes drilled to clear locating holes inside the falcons body.

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I dremeled out the back of the engine box and then fitted the lighting box in place and secured everything with foil tape. This will give some reflection inside the box.

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Time to do some wiring. Now as much as I want a super bright engine it needs to be a scale light I suppose and I dont want a flash light shining out the back so to speak. I am building this as a flying model so no landing or red marker lights underneath.

The Madman lighting kit allows 6 engine LEDs and I used 2 for the headlights and 3 to light the cockpit circuit

The original films show just a white light coming out the back of the falcon but further films and marketing material show a blue band around a white light or all blue. The kit provided all blue LEDs for the engines. I dedcided to run 4 central white LEDs and 2 blues on the outside to give the engines a blue hue on the ends

Our LEDs fitted into the engine and test

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Wiring on the inside. I ran a cable and plug for a transformer that sits inside the docking bay door, I drilled a hole underneath to allow plug access. The glue to fix in place is still drying so the tape is still securing the plug here. I mounted it here as I plan on eventually displaying the model with that side of the ship back into a wall with the cockpit side facing out so to me it seemed sensible.

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Engine Test!

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and a light altered closeup allowing you to see the 308Bits clear engine nozzles in place

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starks

Active Member
The Cockpit

If you dont want lighting, I dont think the Fine Molds cockpit is too bad. It is not accurate but neither really was the 32" model. And painted and decaled would look ok.

Through 308Bits I bought A new nose cone and cockpit console, seats and rear walls.With a lick of paint:

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and some lighting. I'm really struggling to photograph this, I just get lots of blur. In person however the effect is very good.

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and to achieve this without running lots of fibre optics I glued some white paper to the back and scribbled over it with some crayon of all things. the white papaer diffusers the cockpit lights and the colours filter through the holes in the back wall. I will try for better photos.

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Gunwell Turrets.

Not to leave these looking too bland, although closed up you never see them, I painted the inside, picked out some cableing on the rear wall. I ripped off a sheet of side wall decals from google images, printed it out and glued in place. Not present in these photos but a coat of PVA glue brushed on top gives some depth to the print out and holds the edges down and can be matt cleared.

Also without an image it seems the 32" studio model had I'm going to say a shielded area molded behind the gunwell window but is seemingly not present on the 5 ft model or in the gunwell scenes in the films so I have removed this allowing a better view into the gunwell.

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Time to get this bird closed up!

Body Together and Painting Begins:

The body is screwed together. I read a few concerns of the FM Falcon being a bit skinny throught the middle and this has been rectified through various builders by packing the center of the falcon with some washers, so I did the same to fatten her up a little, the screws pull the outer edges down into place. Then the fitting of all the completed side wall panels. I primed the engine grille in grey and masked it off to stop from painting the engine nozzles ( we will address this area later). I also used a soldering iron on the blaster holes? on the LH side. just enough to sink the plastic in but not push through. and I dremeled the two scrapes underneath.

Masked and ready for primer:

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Next I fitted the cockpit tube and cockpit taped in place, there is nothing inside the cockpit at this point but I want everything together for colour accuracy. Then I applied Tamiya aerosol light grey primer.

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Next I darkened up some XF-53 Neutral grey with black and thinned 1:1 and gave a good panel shading.

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I would like to add here since reintroducing myself to this hobby about 2 years ago I have mostly used acrylics as they were easy to get a hold of. As was suggested colours by Fine Molds I used the Tamiya enamels and my goodness were they awesome. None of the nonsense clogging airbrushes, easy clean up, just thin and spray beautifully. Adhesion is fantastic also. Im so impressed.

Now, the big intimidating part of this entire build for me was colour. There is seemingly no end of differing opinions on colour and I was scared I wouldn't be able to produce something good enough. FM instructions for the base grey are 10 parts XF-2 White to 1 part XF-57 buff to 1 part XF-66 light grey. Here in Brisbane modelling paints are hard to find in their full variety with different stock in different stores. After visiting 1 hobby shop and 2 toy stores I got my colours but could only get X-2 white.

I dumped 3 bottles of x-2 white into a paint tin and a few drops of XF-57 and XF-66. didnt look to bad on the stick. I dotted the paint on the paint tin lid and let it flash off. seemed a touch white so added a touch more 57 and 66 and dotted again next to my last dot. This was better but I felt it needed to be warmer so I added one more drop of 57 and redotted. This time I was happy I achieved a colour that looked like what I felt it should be. I find this technique of sneaking up on a colour helps at times. I thinned this at 50%.

Colour on:

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I gave the blaster holes a hit with some black, then some overthinned darkened grey and added a bit of buff to yellow the edge. I gave a light lick over the fans and the engine panel also as a precursor to the future weathering. In that last shot you can see the PE grills under the falcon got the same darkening treatment.

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starks

Active Member
Painting Continues:

I have said I am a few days, actually a week behind posting. It took me a solid 3 hours to prime and base the falcon. These next pictures are done over a few days, masking one evening and painting the next.

I painted some solid black behind the fan blades so there would be some depth with the grilles going on. Fans good and grimey if not on the gloss side from the enamel. what you see in the end will get flat cleared anyway.

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Next I did the final interior fit to the cockpit and glued it in place, masked out the red top and bottom and painted it in Mr Hobby Aqueous H-33 Russet as per FM directions.

Sorry I got slack taking a photo with the red applied

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Next I masked and painted the Dark grey in XF-53 Neutral grey, again as per FM directions. I read someones comments that once painted people tend to have the Falcon looking like a pizza with colours standing out everwhere, I see their point. That's ok though, we can fix that....

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To note, I blew some dark grey/black mix into the 4 access holes up the front. While this is ok, after looking over studio pictures the haze around the surface is not accurate so I will be fading that back out.

From here I masked and painted the light grey panels then going back to the original colour, at high pressure hazed overspray over all the picked out coloured panels to tone them down, this was done atleast in some areas of the studio model and as you cant paint faded paint from a tin, gives a faded appearance I suppose. Takes away that pizza look!

I went a bit far hazing over the light grey panels on the cockpit tube. I will go back and redo these. I also masked a few lines top to bottom and shaded the edge in very dark grey, noticeably on the side of the cockpit in the last photo. Time to filter and weather her!

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starks

Active Member
The weathering, and the Finish.

I was impressed watching fichtenfoo's videos on Youtube of weathering the falcon (If you have not seen them and are doing a falcon they're definitely worth a watch). I bought all the 502 Abteilung oil paints but had not realised when I asked the girl at our local art supply for odourless turpenoid she gave me tupentine and when I started the filtering process I began to wash the paint off. Oh dear. A rub and a quick respray of the effected area was undertaken.

I also found an issue with shading down a tape edge as was achieved on the studio model.. there is too much overspray and it darkens the panels too much. The FM falcon is about half the size of the studio model so trying to recreate the same effects make them twice the size they should be on a half sized model.... if I am making sense. I toned down the shading with some colour.

Back to the filtering. I used the same process I planned to use with the oil paints, but in water based acrylics. I dampened the surface and dabbed on ochre and pushed it around using Fichtenfoo's method. then I did a streaking effect in black. It didnt feel quite right so I gave it a good damp scourer that reduced the streaking. I had to find another method, weathering powder. Using the 502 Abteilung black weathering powder found in the Railroad pigments set. I weathered around the engines and then ran tape edges again and with a very small brush, brushed the pigment powder onto the tape edge, removed the tape and ran my finger through it to streak it. This looked better. I did my best to copy the basic streak locations found on the studio model. I held it all down with some hairspray. lastly were the yellow panels. A mix of very thin ochre and white masked off and brushed over the top of the streaking, showing the weathering to come through. The yellow panels are very pale on the studio model, I barely noticed them at first. I ran out of Tamiya flat clear so I need to pick up some more and give her a final coat. This is me up to date as of today. I have been weathering this thing all week. Paint and weathering owes me about 20 hours.

Now she may not be 100% accurate to the studio model but my aim was to have a strong representation, something I can look at and think Yes, that's her. I hope she is good enough for you guys.

Sorry the brown table cloth and less that white lighting is giving off a brownish hue.

Ladies and Gentleman, My Millennium Falcon:



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The studio model had glass or perspex in the place of the engine grille so there was not really reference to this area. I opted to soot the area around the engines out as in reality, all that energy would cause heat and burn everything so I am happy with that artistic decision. The overspray was allowed to travel in over the clear engine nozzles without issue.

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starks

Active Member
For some fun this morning I played around with a background removal app and desaturated the photos a bit to get a bit more of the studio lighting and slightly over exposed look.
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I will have to insert it over a space background somewhere.

My plan is to purchase and build a couple of the rebel fighters X-Wing, Y-Wing, maybe a Tie and put them all into an 'in space flight' diorama together. So there will be a continuation of this. Just need to settle on what kits I am buying but leaning towards the Bandai at the moment. Unless anyone suggests otherwise.


In addition for anyone who is looking for reference material I found photos of the studio model in these 2 places as well as various forums in google searchers.

Modeler's Miniatures & Magic

Millenium Falcon studio model

Hopefully I don't embarrass myself too much with this build. I know how particular guys are with details but as said in the beginning, that is not what the build was really about for me but I do really appreciate the effort people put in to getting the kit as close to studio accurate as possible.
I also hope a few of you find some enjoyment in my build.
Cheers,
Josh
 

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starks

Active Member
Excellent!

I love the base color

I also used the Madman LIghting Kit for mine as well as the MMI engine fans and grill covers!
Thank you. I would use the Madman lighting kit again, I see lighting kits available with sound cards now for engine running which is cool. Although as I cannot see me play flying a Falcon around the house sound is probably getting keen. The MMI fans and grills were a good set although I actually used the grills that came in the PE set as they were a little finer. Can you post up a link to your build here?
Your build and paint of this model is fantastic! You did well!!

Cheers bud, I appreciate it.
You did a FANTASTIC job on this! Also, I was not aware the Fine Molds was the ESB Falcon, and not the NH one! I may need this kit...

Thanks for the kind comments!
Yeah the FM kit was based on the 32" studio model built for Empire, same as the Deagostini and not the 5ft model Bandai used. And I like the extra landing gear bays and differing greeblies. Although this is scaled to the 1/72. I was a bit disappointed at first thinking the kit's a bit smaller but it actually takes up more than enough display space so it really is a great size.

95% of the kit went together perfectly. 5% was fiddly or a problem but nothing major. Accuracy.... Considering the complexity of the studio model I think it is fair to say it was 90% accurate. The vast majority of the greeblies are there. My thoughts are if you want to build a replica of the studio model yes it needs work and guys are achieving that with brilliant results. If you want to build the Millennium Falcon however there are huge discrepancies between the 5ft and 32" models, the 2 set stages and the cgi model kind of amalgamated everything so either who cares or you think to yourself these were variations and modifications over time.
For just a fan like myself it looks great!
 

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starks

Active Member
I really really love the headlights...
Thanks bud! That lighting kit sure makes neat work of it. Was interested building this to learn of different headlight locations on the 2 larger studio models.
Great job on this! You don't really see many FM Falcons being built anymore, so it's fun when one pops up!

SB
Thanks ! Are they that dated now haha. I see the Bandai Falcon is very popular but would have thought there would still be plenty of guys looking to tackle an ESB falcon.
Cheers,
Josh
 

Chrisisall

Sr Member
I see the Bandai Falcon is very popular but would have thought there would still be plenty of guys looking to tackle an ESB falcon.
Cheers,
Josh
Josh, I really was going to get that Fine Molds kit, but I already *did* a big Falcon, and I don't have room for two that size (I barely have room for the one)- then I got the idea to get a 1:144 & do it up as the ESB/ROTJ era 32" bird. A big & a smaller Falcon, kinda like at the studio, heh heh.
I just got it in today's mail.
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starks

Active Member
Josh, I really was going to get that Fine Molds kit, but I already *did* a big Falcon, and I don't have room for two that size (I barely have room for the one)- then I got the idea to get a 1:144 & do it up as the ESB/ROTJ era 32" bird. A big & a smaller Falcon, kinda like at the studio, heh heh.
I just got it in today's mail.
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Very cool! I found the 1/72 challenging to paint due to size so I fear 1/144 being particularly scary. There's lots of brilliant examples though so guys make fantastic work of that kit. I look forward to your build!
Cheers,
Josh
 

Chrisisall

Sr Member
AFAIC you did the ultimate 32" Falcon here. Thanks for all the great pictures. My aim is to get mine to look almost as good as yours. ;)
 
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starks

Active Member
Honestly man, this is soooooo great....
Thanks bud!
I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist... or so Im told and get a bit down seeing the quality that can be achieved on the larger models like the Deagostini. I struggled pretty hard to scale down the detail but it was difficult. So I fight my own battles of always thinking Im proud of my efforts... but maybe I could do better.
The appreciation of the build from guys such as yourself puts things in perspective though. So thank you again!

I would like to say one thing however, it is absolutely brilliant seeing the quality of not just the falcon but all the ships across sci-fi being reproduced by guys here and like minded forums. Going back to even the early 2000s and some of the attempts were pretty rough. But now with guys sharing so much information and helping each other some really high quality examples are being produced.

Cheers,
Josh
 

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