DeAgostini Millennium Falcon Full Cutaway Build

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Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Okay, so I've been at the DeAgostini Falcon for nearly four years now. Why? Combination of hard times and depression and other things that meant I had to stop and start the subscription a few times. But the light at the end of the tunnel is nigh, and I wanted to make a thread on my build. I'm working on making a full, museum-level cutaway of the Falcon, scratchbuilding 95% of the interior spaces and adding in a ton of features. I want to make a polished black base, with the Solo Falcon and The Last Jedi Falcon on either side of the DeAgostini, sort of like a past-PRESENT-future display, and put informational plaques around it like it was plucked straight from the Alliance War Museum. I'll be following the Solo Haynes Manual floorplan for the interior spaces, modding it where necessary to better match the film sets, and including a couple of features like a hyperdrive with a collapsible cover plate for interior viewing and landing jets that spew CO2 vapor out of ports on the bottom.

Currently I'm still waiting on the sidewall parts to arrive so I can install the frames and take measurements for internal rib structures to mount the compartments to. I don't want this to be a simple cutaway like the QMX version, where it's laid out like a house cross section. The rooms and corridors will "float" on internal armatures, with latches and brackets holding them to the framework. Since the internal deck is supposed to be modular, I'm designing it to appear that way, with components that clearly hold the compartments in place and look easily swappable to reconfigure the internal arrangement. I have worked in aircraft for nearly 4 years now and have helped assemble 7E7 Dreamliners, and I'm going to use what I learned putting those things together to put my Falcon together. In addition, I want to paint the internal parts in such a way as to suggest heavy modification and bodging together of parts to jury-rig a functional vessel. Some of the parts I plan on making look like they're literally held in place with duck tape and baling wire! Since I want the internal appearance of the cutaway areas to appear as though you just unbolted the hull paneling and lifted it off the real ship, I'm going to go the extra mile in adding realistic details wherever possible. I'm not going to mod the exterior very much, other than to fix the sidewall depth issue, as it's good enough for me.

Hopefully that long-winded intro didn't turn you off, heh...

Anyway, here's what I've got so far:

Full-scale print out of the deckplan mounted to foamcore to use for taking measurements

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General plan for the internal bracing

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Re-worked upper hull panels for the cutaway areas. I'm missing issues 57-60, so some of the upper hull work is missing, but I'm told that it's supposed to be on the boat, so fingers crossed that it arrives in a couple of weeks!

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The cutaway panels fit together pretty neatly for displaying whole

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David3

Sr Member
Awesome!
I eventually hope to complete a full interior too one day but, like you, other things take precedent for the moment.
Looking forward to following your progress.
 

nikter

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Very cool project! I have 2 Deago Falcons and have an idea to make one without interior and one with full interior as you build!

Please share your progress!
 

Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
I completely forgot about some older pics I took a couple years ago.

The corridor leading to the cockpit has grilles in the floor for lighting, as well as 12v LED light strips. The light leaks will be taken care of when I actually install the floor (that's waiting on me to finish up the corridor additions, including the opened wall padding segment). I'll be making a power supply to feed 12v and 6v circuits, depending on the needs of each particular circuit (including the one provided by DeAgostini). I have also installed the Paragraphix cockpit set in the cockpit and put more LEDs behind it. There are lights in the side walls as well as the back wall, but the side wall lights weren't installed as of the time of photography. I also bought a bunch of Shapeways upgrades for the main hold and installed them, and have since bought a port side wall upgrade. I also reworked the damage on the cockpit access tube, using strips of heavy aluminum foil blended into the panel work with black primer to make the damage look more convincing as a large dent. I have since backed it with thick plastic sheeting to keep light from escaping through the seam in the middle.

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Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Got some updates!

First of all, an up-to-date pic of the cockpit with all the lights operational. I added in the two red exterior lights under the Koolshade band (yeah, I know it's not actually Koolshade on the real thing). I'm reworking the canopy shell to be more accurate in terms of window shape at the moment, and when it's done I'll glue it in place and call the cockpit section done.

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Next up is a big drawing I did to better understand the relationship between the framework and the interior deck. It's not accurate enough for measurements; it's just a rough drawing for figuring out how the frame would be made and how the compartments and corridors connect to it. Blue is the deckplan, green is the framework, and red components are all the latches that connect them together with quick-release levers to allow them to be removed easily.

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I bought the Paragraphix kit for the gunpits a while ago and assembled and painted them. I really like the Paragraphix kit, but I wish Paul had included decals for the panels in the silver areas, and that the decals were ALPS printed so they wouldn't be transparent. I probably should have undercoated them with white so the colors would be right, but too late now. Also, I kind of wish the outer petals had some details on them; they feel a little plain to me. I might strip them later and add some paneling or greebles later. I will probably scrap the kit chairs and get a pair from 308Bits on Shapeways. His work is top shelf accurate!

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Finally, the thing that took the most work out of all of that was making the ring corridor parts. I haven't made the last section leading to the crew quarters and engine room because I need to make a mandrel to heat-form the straight sections around, but I have extra castings to accomplish this. Anyway, the first thing I did was mold the short section of corridor, then I cast up ten sections. I thought seven would be enough, but I wanted extras just in case. I used the ring cap from the shortie corridor and some rubber bands to keep their shape while the resin cured. Even though it's ten-minute stuff, it stays soft for quite a bit after setting, and with an assembly that's this shape-critical, it was necessary to ensure the castings didn't warp in the slightest.

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After letting them cure for 24 hours, I began cutting and shaping them. I trimmed the alignment ring off the straight end, then I used that end to scribe a line around the angled end of the opposite side in order to ensure it was as straight as possible. After that, I cut them to shape. I thought for a bit after gluing them that there was a small difference between the shapes of the port and starboard ring corridors, which wouldn't make sense but wouldn't be unexpected from a commercial kit either. The reason is that after assembling them I discovered that they weren't the right shape to fit the floor panel I'd cut using the kit-supplied floor plate. But then I compared the short and long corridor segments and they were the same diameter. I found out that I'd trimmed them to the wrong shape! D'oh! This means also that the port corridor is the wrong shape too, because I didn't check it against the starboard corridor during assembly... But that will be mostly hidden so it's not worth it to correct the problem.

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I'm happy to get the ring corridor basically done, because this is the thing everything connects to, and so it is the most critical piece in terms of fitment and placement of the internal compartments. After making the straight corridor segments and finishing the ring corridor, I'll start working on the cargo bays, crew quarters, and engine room. :)
 

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Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Not a huge update because I'm kind of stuck until I get some more parts printed from Shapeways, but I did draw two new plans to help guide my build.

First up is the port side docking arm. I've decided to open up the docking port and make the top hatch open, so I needed a blueprint to show the relationship between the deck and the exterior in order to make the walls fit. I literally created a template and fitted it to the ship so that I could draw the locations of the corridors and where they sit on the centerline. As it turns out, the deck sits a bit above the centerline, so I had to make the deck slope up near the docking port. I also put in the top hatch lift. These will be operable, with real irises in the hatch that connect to servo motors. I still don't have the top hull piece that has the hatch on it because DeAgostini is just not on the ball with this, nor do they feel the need to explain why it's taken more than a year to get these parts to me... so I can't actually build and fit it, or else I would have already. I'm planning on making it partially from plastic and partly from photo etched brass in order to get that level of precision to make the parts fit perfectly and not allow internal light to filter through. I'll be hooking them up to an Arduino which will make them turn on in sequence at the proper speed and hiding the activator button somewhere in the greeblies (Not sure where yet). I might also put in a working lift since there is a crap ton of space under the deck for one. It'll depend on if I can get the mechanism to work. I'm also thinking about putting R2-D2 inside this area with his welding torch on in the background in order to turn this area into a bit of a shadowbox.

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The other drawing was the harder of the two to puzzle out: the boarding ramp. It's no secret that the Falcon's set does not line up with the hull, and nowhere is this more true than the boarding ramp... Solo shows that it connects directly to the main corridor, but there's simply no way for it to physically fit like that. So what I'm going to do is borrow an idea that I got from Mike Marincic: There are two corridor segments, and the ramp goes up to one near the core, doubles back, and then another ramp on the roof of the first one meets up with the main corridor. And when the ship is docked with another ship, the corridor that connects to the main corridor swings up to lock onto the deck behind the docking port. Of course, in his drawing the corridors were right on the centerline and the DeAgostini kit's aren't, but that actually works in my favor for getting this to all fit together. Of course, it's WAY overcomplicated, but this is the solution that works the best. Besides, I'm planning on putting more cargo storage under the decks on either end of the corridor at the end of the ramp, which justifies (somewhat) the reason for the double-ramp assembly. Hopefully this will all be visible from the cutaway holes I'm making. I'll probably remove another panel in order to make this as visible as possible. And yes, I'm going to retain the motorized ramp, but it'll be reconfigured somewhat. I'm SUPER glad that the motor is one of those "move until a limit switch is hit" type assemblies, as that will be really easy to mod. I'll just have to make sure everything is wired correctly, otherwise it'll likely tear itself apart.

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Clear as mud?
 

Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Okay, time to do some actual work on this puppy.

First things first: Pack 15 FINALLY arrived after more than a year of waiting! I can now complete the upper hull structure and test the electronics! Woo-hoo! Of course, the engine light LED strip had multiple failures as many have reported with theirs (seriously, what supplier are they using and why do they suck so much?), but as I don't plan on using those and will be instead building a very details exhaust system, that doesn't bother me much. The important thing is that the boarding ramp moves just fine and the rest of the circuit works perfectly! Hopefully there are no failures in the main board down the road. In case there are, I plan on mounting it to the big underslung engine box where I'm installing the 12v battery supply.

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Since I now have two copies of the panel with blast damage, I figured it's also a good time to do some sculpting of the, frankly, pathetic attempts at battle scarring. A few minutes with a dremel and a nice, well-lit pic of the battle damage and I had it looking perfect. I was trying to get it as close as humanly possible to the shape and size of the damage on the miniature, and I think I got it pretty close.

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I also prototyped one of the framework pieces I'm adding to this build. The ring corridor will have these structural elements all around it, with two of each on the outside of the tube where the ring section of padding is on the inside, and will appear to attach to the spaceframe via removable latches. I was, of course, inspired by the ring of structural elements around the entrances to the main hold, and it was pretty trivial to make this out of a piece of 0.030" x 0.030" square stock. What's not trivial is that I have to make 32 of these... I could photo etch them, but I'm not confident in my ability to etch something that thin and have it come out right. When the ferric chloride and photoresist paper I ordered arrives, I'll give it a try though.

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nkg

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looks great! Are you going to fix the messed-up corridor cushions? Seriously, how can De Ago make such a weird-ass mistake as that? :)
 

Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I am! I have all of them glued together with styrene spacers. I'm going to shape them and get them smooth, then cast them in resin and cut them out with a saw. The kerf of a hacksaw happens to be almost exactly the right size for the spacing between the pads, so that's what I'm going to be using to do this. I've already bought the rubber to do it. I think I'll save that for when the corridor grille and rings come in the mail from Shapeways so I can do all my casting at the same time.

I can't figure how DeAgostini could mess up those corridor cushions so badly. It's apparent from even a cursory glance at the film that they're evenly sized. They also don't go all the way to the top of the corridor either! I'm going to have to see if I can get away with not making the top pads as that will be difficult to do... I'm not sure how I'd go about making them. Maybe pouring some resin into a spare bit of corridor, letting it set up, then reshaping them...
 

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Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Alright, update time! I've been chiefly working on the cockpit and corridors. I want to get them taken care of and then move on to other parts of the ship. So to start off with, I began doing some re-working of the window frames on the cockpit cone. They weren't accurate to the filming model, so after sanding off the window frames on the upper half, I glued in some styrene sheet the same thickness as the part and sanded it flush. I also thinned the frame on the front cap and rebuilt the spokes from styrene square stock and fixed the horribly undercut panel line on the underside.

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It was at this time I cut the window panes. I was going to use some clear acetate, but then I realized that those cheap disposable tumblers you buy for weddings and such are almost exactly the same shape as the cockpit cone, and the panes are so small that any differences in shape would be unnoticeable. So I placed masking tape on the outside of the cone and cut out templates for the windows, and after placing them on a tumbler I cut it using a Dremel on low speed and then sanded it to shape. It took several attempts for some windows because this plastic is extremely brittle, but once it was shaped and fitted to the frame, I set them aside for gluing after painting was complete.

After that, I began detailing the inside surface of the window frames. It was about two days' worth of work, but in the end I'm super happy with how they turned out. I should mention, I didn't have any guitar string and didn't want to spend money on some just to cut it up, and the music stores are all closed for obvious reasons, so I wound copper wire around a larger diameter copper core and then glued that in place for the ribbed hoses. After all the parts were glued in, I painted and weathered it, then installed the window panes. After that, I glued all the parts to the cockpit access tube and then set it aside.

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I've also been casting up copies of the floor grating that came in the mail a while back so I can start adding the lighting to the corridor floor. These strips will also be put into some other places, such as the forward cargo reception anteroom and the transverse corridor coming off the portside docking ring.

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Finally, I started scratchbuilding the engines of this beast, using the diagrams in the Solo Hayne's Manual as a rough guide. They aren't finished; I still need to build the flaps around the exhausts. But after all that's done, I'll be casting copies of them and then assembling them, and then adding as bright an LED assembly as I can find (too bright is better than not bright enough; I can always put a dimmer on them if they're too bright). I will be making a special power-on circuit which goes from dull red to blue to blue-white with an accompanying sound effect. That should be really awesome when it's finished.

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That's all for now!
 

Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Not as big an update as usual, but I've been working on drawings of the interior so I can properly conceptualize them before scratchbuilding them. But in the mean time I have also been working on the engines, because I need them finished before I build the aftward rooms since they're a defined shape and the rooms would be designed around them. I had originally wanted to keep them simple like the ones in the Haynes manual, but they just didn't look right. An engine should have cabling and sensors all around it, in order for the computer controlling them to adjust them for balanced thrust and to detect any problems in the flow of fuel and oxidizer (I know Star Wars ships work on magic, but I'm talking visual language more than realism, strictly speaking). So I used the thinnest copper wire I had as well as a few select greebles to make the outside as detailed as possible without being too busy, then I made a mold so I could cast them. After the mold was set, I cast a copy in order to test the mold and see if I needed to make changes (the void in the T-section was corrected with some vents). This prototype was then painted so I could see what areas would need coaxing to keep from getting voids and bubbles. And while I was at it, I decided to do some quick 'n dirty paint work for fun, because why not? :D

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I'll be painting them more convincingly when I assemble the engine bank later, but this is very promising!
 

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Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Okie doki Loki! Time for an update! I have been working to finish the engine bank so I can mount it to the hull and measure my rooms to fit around it. That's how a real ship would be designed, so that's how my model is designed, too. Never mind that the engines were scratch built with only a vague notion as to whether they'll fit into the space provided... Um, forget I said that! :oops:

Anyway, after casting 12 copies of the engine parts, I managed to get enough good casts for 10 whole engines, though I only need 9 altogether. The part that gave me the most trouble was, unsurprisingly, the flaps. Those thin flaps were hard to time as far as when to pull them from the mold. Too soon and they'd be distorted as I pulled them out. Too late and they'd break due to how fragile they are. But I got enough for all nine engines! They aren't the greatest quality because I don't own a pressure pot or vacuum chamber, but as Adam Savage is fond of saying, weathering hides a lot of the crimes. ;) After the parts were given time to fully cure, I set about painting them. I gave them a coat of Rustoleum 2X Flat Black primer, then I started painting them their base colors: IJN Gray for the combustion chambers, Titanium Buffable Metalizer for the compression chamber, Alclad II Chrome for the T-sections, Buffable Magnesium for the flaps and exhaust manifolds, and Gunship Gray for the flow sensor processor housing on top (that's what the spike thing is). When the parts were all painted, I set them aside to cure while I tackled the light assemblies.

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I got a set of 50 prototyping boards from Amazon a few weeks ago, and the long thin ones were perfect to assemble the LED boards from. I used three 10,000 mcd white LEDs for the main lights, with two red and two blue 2,500 LEDs for the powerup sequence. They're extremely bright when fully powered, so much so that when I looked into them they caused a strong afterimage that didn't go away for a bit! I think they'll do! I did have to cut them down to fit in the engines though, and when I did that, it cut down the brightness pretty significantly. I'm going to use some baking soda and toothpaste to polish them back to full clarity so they'll illuminate the thrust chambers completely. But anyway, after I got them soldered to the board, I wired them together, soldered wires to the pads on the edges, then tested them using a low-power battery pack to verify functionality. All of them work and are ready for installation!

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I then decided to wait a week before weathering the engine parts to give the metalizers time to fully cure. Then I started weathering them using both acrylic and oil washes. When the oils had finished drying, I then started the detail painting, using pics of 70's era jet engines as a guide. Most jet engines look similar, but I wanted authenticity to the period that Star Wars was made, so I looked at pics of the F-4 Phantom's engines and used them as reference. After the detail painting was done, I assembled the engines.

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I'm not done yet. The next step is to assemble the top and bottom flaps around the exhausts, then make some photo etched parts for the side flaps since they have pretty intricate cuts that need to be made as symmetrically as possible. Once that's done, then I can proceed to final assembly!
 

OlivierC

Well-Known Member
Wow. I rarely think to check the "commercial kit" section, so I only see this one now. I often see these crazy unrealistic projects popping up, leading nowhere, but this is looking very promising
 

Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I think it's reasonable to think a project of this magnitude won't ever be finished. But I'm super obsessed with the Millennium Falcon, almost as much as Stinson Lenz, and while he excels at computer modeling, I do not. And yet, I covet a fully cut away Millennium Falcon with every square inch of the deck visible, as well as some of the internal structure! The only way I can accomplish this childhood goal is through building it, and thank god the DeAgostini Millennium Falcon exists or else I probably would never have been able to accomplish it! But I absolutely want this object more than anything, and since I have the skills now to pull it off (and with the virus keeping me at home for the foreseeable future), this is the opportune time to get to work on it and get it done.

Also, I wanted to drop an update that this project is still plugging along. In fact, I'm almost done with the main hold, the corridors, the engines, and the gun pits! I just wanted to wait till everything is ready for presentation before showing it off. But here's a taste of what I've got right now:

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And before you ask, yes, I'm adding that detail you noticed is missing in this photo. :p This is unfinished, as I said, and is missing a lot of stuff that I simply haven't painted or built yet. Also, I'm not going to post anymore until I get the main hold and other sections I mentioned completely built, which will be a couple weeks off (Shapeways takes forever to make stuff!). But hopefully this will show that I haven't lost interest or anything.
 
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