Fine Molds 1/72 Millennium Falcon Build ... Jumping into the deep end!

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I was only going to do a build log on one board, but figure would do it here also. More people visit these boards, and I am always looking for feedback, and help on odds and ends. Some quick history, I saw Neil Smith's Not Your Average Falcon and was over awed by what he had accomplished. Thus, seeing what could be done, and having my imagination fired up, I started listing everything I wanted my Falcon to do.

Here is the beginning of the electronic capability I am looking for the model to do. The list is going to grow.

IR Remote Control
Not Sure if I want voice overs - Kind of Cool though
Engines - I plan on using RGB LEDs to make multiple colors on the engine output -
Watching SW a few times they go from a dark red to a darker blue to almost a pure white as the power ramps up, some of the shots show almost a yellow tinge in SW. Need to look at Empire a ROTJ.

Motorized Ramp - As part of certain sequences and automatic behavior
Motorized Landing Gear - need to investigate
Motorized Belly Gun
Motorized Radar Dish - need to investigate
Motorized Quad Laser Turrets - need to investigate

Smoke generator

Modes I want
Standard Power is On In Flight Mode - Basically what it looks like in 'static' flight.
Interior Lighting
Active Cockpit
Engine lights on
Need to figure out what external lights are on in flight mode - need to watch the movies!

Landing Sequence
Engine effects
Flood Lamps
External Lamps
Ramp automatically comes down
Internal Lighting
Inactive Cockpit

Options While Landed
Failed Engine Start
Active Cockpit
Engine flicker with sound effects

Failed Falcon Repair
Flickering fibers with sound effects

Belly Turret Gun - If I can do it, will try!
Control with remote control
Fire and move with sound effects

Take Off Sequence
External Lamps Off
Cockpit goes active
Ramp goes up
Engines fire up
Delay then
Fly by sound and engine effects
Need to leave engine lights on - at the end of the take off in static flight mode

So more research into the behavior of the model. When I get it ironed out more, will put it into a software development looking format.


Started mocking up the hardware to work on the engine effects. Part of the problem is that I really don't have all the electronic 'stuff' I used to have, so, having to rebuild some of that capability. It is a lot cheaper today than though in the past, love Amazon Prime and the fact that so many people use the Adruino and Raspberry Pi to do this stuff, the market has grown and increased competition.

So, I have been doing a lot of research on how to do what I want. I had a 900 mile drive yesterday, going to Board Game Geek Con today, woohoo, oh, and visiting family, and thought a lot about the model and what it is going to take.

I looked at stepper motors and servos for movement. Basically, I would have to turn the stepper motor into a servo to get the functions I need, which include, mainly, knowing where within its movement rotation it is, and servos have all of that built in and take less wires. So, all but one of the movement requirements will use a servo.

Here is my updated list. I am still looking for really small servos and stepper motors. I have found some, but, I don't have access to the model for 2 weeks, so I don't know if I can get this all to fit in. Also, I am going to put all electronics in the base, which means I will have a mounting pole that is wide enough to house all of the wires. Which means, I will have to do a better job getting those wires smaller and less of them compared to my E.

So, I decided to list stuff as capabilities, to be used however I wanted. Hopefully that will make more sense farther down below.

If I can at all help it, there will a common ground, so, only 1 ground wire this time.

Retractable Landing Gear
5 x Servos
Power - 3.3V or 5V or other?
5 control wires
I want to laser scan the inside of the bottom hull section, so I can design perfect mounting platforms for the servos. I actually brought my model to work, and discussed landing gear with a PhD who does robotics, an ME with a PE, and an EE. LOL, best discussion and problem solving session of the day, for all of us. We had a few sketches on how the gear could work. The gear will have to lower and raise, and I want the gear covers to cover everything up in the up position and to flare open in the down position. plan on using Shapeways to make the parts.
6 wires total

Retractable boarding ramp.
1 x Servo
Power - 3.3V or 5V or other?
1 control wire
2 LED circuits, one for the lighting in the boarding area, and maybe one for an R2 unit in there, I think I can get him lit from the inside, need to see it it would be worth it, very tiny model.
3 wires total

Retractable belly turret gun
2 or 3 servos, depends on what we come up with for the door opening and turret lowering mechanism
Power - 3.3V or 5V or other?
2 or 3 control wire

1 LED circuit and fiber for the flash effect
4 wires worst case, most likely case though.

Upper Turret Stuff
1 DC stepper motor to rotate turret assembly.
4 wires
1 servo to raise and lower the quad cannon
Power - 3.3V or 5V or other?
1 control wire
2 LED circuits for the quad cannon, in the movies they fire in pairs, so I want to do the same, will also need fiber.
1 - 4 LED circuits for lighting in the turret well. I know that when I simulate the escape from the DS, that the interior lights need to flicker when the Falcon gets hits. Also, not sure if there were flickering lights i the turret well.
The elephant in the room though is getting all of this to fit into the well, and have it rotate. I been thinking about the mechanism to get the turret to rotate. Would be cool if it can all work. It is such a small part though.
11-12 wires for this?

Landing Lights
1 LED circuit
1 wire
This will turn on the floods and red lights around the bottom of the falcon.
These also need to be a 3K kelvin type light, very yellow looking as in the movie.
1 wire

Front spot lights
1 LED circuit
These looked to be very white, think 5K kelvin type of light.
1 wire

Failed repair effect
1 LED circuit
The LED will be hooked to some fiber to flash as in the movie.
1 wire

Fog effect
I don't know power requirement
Will have to have access to fill reservoir for smoke liquid
I think 1 wire to just turn it on and a little pump?
1 wire, maybe two. I have not looked into this at all.

General lighting
C-3PO lighting
I need to do more research and see if any of the cockpit lights blink etc. I can add some blinking lights. Since the cockpit tube is supposedly removable, I would put a blinking board in the tube, if it fits.
3 wires, maybe more, not sure, more work required.

Motorize radar dish.
I would like this rotate and maybe raise and lower.
2 x Servos
Power - 3.3V or 5V or other?
2 control wires

I don't think I left anything out, maybe?

So 11 or so servos, a stepper motor, smoke box, lots of LEDs, blinky board and other stuff. If I can get it all to fit, I will put it in. Lots of design work to get the gear and other movey things movey.


Well my vacation is over, and I am back at the house. The good thing, I was able to stop by several hobby stores and locate some really small servos. I bought a DS35 digital super sub-micro servo made by E-flite and a 1.9 gram linear long throw servo made by Spektrum. Pics attached. I also got my work area cleaned up today, and my development area going. I had to upsize the table, not enough room for everything. I need to go get an oscilloscope though, anyone have a cheap one for sale?

I ordered some parts from Shapeways that are ultra detail interior components for the model, when I get some primer on them, I will take some photos. They don't show up very well in clear plastic.

I have the stock parts, the photo etch and these parts from Shapeways, looking forward to reviewing all three.

At first glance though, the Shapeway parts are absolutely amazing.

Since I can now print such ultra detail parts, I came up with a design for the landing gear mechanisms. the hard part is to go from a napkin design to something that can be printed. Luckily, since Shapeways business model is to sell you printed 'stuff' they have a lot of options to go with. I choose the AutoDesk , I taught myself AutoCAD many moon ago, so hopefully some of that will come back, and I can drive it half decently. When I have something worth showing on how the gear will work, I will put a pic or two up here.

The design has to be relatively compact, so as to fit in the model, I think I have it. I also want the 'doors' that cover the landing gear on the bottom to open and close when the gear drops and retracts. I 'think*' I have an idea that will work for that. Just need to get it into this CAD program and print it and test it.

The prices for the parts are not too crazy expensive, so hopefully, knowing I will need a few iterations, I won't go broke getting this to work.

When I have the design done, will post and discuss. Off to work on said design.

Oh, AutoDesk, also has a really easy PCB layout program, which will be instrumental in the Enterprise and Reliant build, not so sure on this one. I might do a PCB board will everything plugs into a board, for easy removal of the Adruino control board, don't know. I need to see how hard it is to use and what it costs to get one of these boards made though. More on that much later in this build.

Pics show the small size of the servo and the third pic is of it working, although there isn't video attachment capability here.

Also took a few shots of the servo inside the model, next to the gear wells. I am soo happy to have found these guys, I just hope they have the oomph to move the gear.
PB301413.JPG PB301426.JPG PB301427.JPG PB301428.JPG PB301412.JPG

- - - Updated - - -

This little picture may not look like much, but holy C@$P it took a lot of effort to make. This is the housing for the landing gear mechanism that goes inside the Falcon. It isn't done, but hopefully you get the idea of how I am going to translate radial motion into linear motion. I need to do some more work on the servo mounting pad, and do some work for the linear servo that will open and close the landing gear bay doors.

This will be printed out at Shapeways, hopefully have the design done by the end of the week for the first landing gear. Get it printed and tested.

I switched from 123D to FreeCAD. I couldn't do dimensions in 123D, and you can in FreeCAD.

Here is the last part. I ordered everything from Shapeways, super easy to do. Should get it in 2 weeks-ish or so. Hopefully everything works well when the stuff arrives. Need to work on the code now to run the servos. That should be done before the parts show up, so I only have to debug the mechanical bits and not the code.

Doors.jpg Landing Gear Bay V0.1.jpg Landing Gear Bay v0.2 Bottom.jpg Landing Gear Bay v0.2 Top.jpg Landing Gear Cam Shaft Components.jpg Landing Gear Door Frame.jpg Mobile Plate Angle.jpg Landing Gear Doors.jpg

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I ordered a bunch of different types of plastic fiber optics and some specialty LEDs, some that are auto blinky. I have never used these, so looking forward to checking them out and seeing how well they work.

I can't forget to order drill bits!

I am looking at three different options on the cockpit.
1) Use the parts from the kit
2) Use PE from Paragraphix
3) Use some parts from Shapeways created by TonyRR.

I know I am going to light up the cockpit. The whole point of this exercise is to have a really cool looking cockpit. I have purchased some Shapeways parts that show the corridor behind the cockpit, which looks really cool, so no matter which way I go, the door on the cockpit will have to be cut opened.

I am not a good PE installer, and looking at the requirements to make the cockpit out of photo etch, hmmm, not so sure on that. The decals look fantastic though. The stock parts really didn't do it for me.

I REALLY like the Shapeway parts, but they also have issues. The fit of the parts is not the greatest in the model, and there will need to be some work done to get them to fit properly.

Here are some shots of the 3D printed Shapeways parts.

Once the extra stuff needed to get the parts into the cockpit properly is in there, the Shapeways parts will end up looking not perfect, but pretty darn good. I don't think I can get a perfect 100% screen accurate cockpit at this scale :)

James PC061507.JPG PC061508.JPG PC061510.JPG PC061511.JPG PC061512.JPG


Well-Known Member
I must say I'm astonished just to see the list of things you plan to install to the model. I've built one before, and I have another one waiting for it's turn, I'm looking forward to seeing how this proceeds. Very interesting build! Subscribed.


Active Member

Thanks for the support! Hopefully, my blog here is meaningful. FYI, I sometimes go into too much detail, oh well. :O

I was looking for an RGB color chart for my RGB LEDs, that I am using on the engines. When watching the movies, the colors change, sometimes there is purple, sometimes orange and often times just really bright white. So, I needed a chart to tell me how to get different colors out of my RGB, without killing myself, and this chart is really useful. I ran through a bunch of different colors, and it matches up quite well. The biggest issues I am having atm is the diffusion of the color out of the RGB LED, but, the second paragraph deals with that.

First time for everything. Taking a shot, hopefully only one, to mold up the engine nozzles on the Falcon's engines. I need to light them up, so the opaque parts won't work to well. Fingers crossed that this works. One of the engine parts floated a little, so, pushed it back down. If only 1 or 2 of the parts molds well, I am ok with that, will just take a bit longer to pour the Clear Cast resin in there. I am in no rush though, so, no biggie, as long as at least 1, hopefully, 2 come out.

Hopefully, will get a few clear engine nozzles casted up, so I can build a little test light box to do my code work and get the colors I want out of it.

James RGB Chart.jpg PC070002.JPG PC070001.JPG PC070003.JPG

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That is what my wife says also, thanks! Hopefully 9 months or so, I hope. I might get Uncle Sam interuptus, not sure.

Anyone have an idea on how to get an inexpensive R2D2 in 1/72 scale? I really don't want to go buy an X-Wing kit.



Master Member
The new Bandai X-Wing isn't overly expensive,....and you'll get a nice Fighter to sit/or fly beside your Falcon



Active Member
J, thanks for the information.

I got three of the molds to come out really well. So I poured in my EasyCast clear resin, let it cure for 24 hours, then tried to pull it out of the mold, and tried some more, and tried a little harder, then tried really hard, nothing. So I cut a chunk of the mold off and still can't get the silicon mold off of the part. The part looks great, but not sure why I can't get it out of the silicon. I have watched a bunch of mold making videos, and I don't recall seeing anyone have this problem or talk about this problem.

I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction on how to get this fixed.

James PC080007.JPG PC090009.JPG PC090010.JPG


Well-Known Member

This is what I got using a ratio of 3.2 g hardener to 10 g of resin.


The parties of resins painted with mix of Tamiya clear blue + green clear, I got this result



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Did you use some sort of mold release before you poured the resin into the mold? I seemed to have glued my resin to my silicone.


Well-Known Member
Before poured the resin into the silicone mold, I coated the edges of the mold with a release agent for easy removal.


Active Member

Your Falcon looks fantastic! Also, thanks for the information, very useful! I don't know why that wasn't mentioned in the videos I went and watched, lol.

Have not posted in a while, but most of the work is not terribly exciting. I have been working on the code to run everything. I am still waiting on the parts that I printed at Shapeways, they are a little behind. My high precision drill press/mill machine has arrived, BUT, I am still waiting on the 0.25mm drill bits that will allow me to start working on the holes, so no progress on the cockpit from that perspective.
I decided to get this little Proxxon drill press and XY compound table is that it bugs me when I hand drill all these little holes, I can't get them to line up properly, no matter how hard I try. Talk about OCD, but I need those holes to line up, plus, I want to put a LOT of holes in the bulk head and cockpit console, so I need some very precise control to do that. I bought three different types of bits, but the last set of bits I found on Ebay will probably be the best. The bits are used 0.25mm PCB bits. Even if this bits only have 30% life left, that is more than enough to meet my needs for the next 5 years. Hoping that they work well.

Thanks to Brett at Orbital Drydock on how to fix my molding issue. Also, second time around things are better. I hot glued down the pieces to mold, so they stayed perfectly flat to make the mold. Pic 1. Pic 2 shows the mold, and Pic 3 shows the first set of engine parts to come out of the mold. I used the silicone spray in pic 4 in the mold before pouring the clear resin in. WOW, it made a difference.

Last pic is of my development hardware to write the code. I plan on having everything comlpetely debugged and working off model. Also, this hardware will not be going in the model, I will purchase another complete set of hardware and leave this on my development board. Why? Wow, never thought you would ask, because I plan on the next 3 builds using the same hardware and code base as a start. I want to write the main code once, and add/change as needed for the next three models, which hopefully will be a Reliant, another Refit, both at 1/266 scale and for some reason I have fallen in love with the TOS bridge model, I have a few really cool ideas that I have never seen anyone do. I am bidding on a really cheap version on Ebay, hopefully get it cheap, and will measure it out to see if my idea will work.

Mainly working code, feature list, some code documents that I need to put together, will mock up the engine lighting soon, to see if I like, and will start drilling holes when the missing stuff arrives.

The really cool thing is school is 4 days until completion, that will free up some more time, for the family and the modeling.
Oh, I used food grade silicone in case I got really mad at the model, I can threaten to eat it!
James PC070002.JPG PC100011.JPG PC130021.JPG PC130022.JPG PC160043.JPG


Sr Member
You've got a very ambitious project, but it should look amazing with all the stuff planned.

Lining up drilling holes is tough.
With plastic, I've found it useful to use a T-Pin or exacto blade point to put an indent for initial hole, then drill. With metal they have a punch like tool you can tap with a hammer to start it.


Active Member

I think I found the solution on straight holes! See below.

What a great last few days. I have the IR receiver code working, and the parser to select 'stuff'. So, I can press 2 numbers into the remote control, and a specific function is called, which means, that command 00 now can do something and command 01 can do something else. I am stoked.

The other cool thing is that my 0.25mm drill bits arrived tonight! So I got to test out my little Proxxon mill/drill press and the XY compound table. WOW is all I have to say, check out the second picture. All of those little holes are perfectly lined up, there is no roll out or wobble on the bit, and I super stoked at how well this works for modeling. The only reason that you see any non perfection is that I had to mushroom the ends of the fibers, and those are all not uniform. I am so happy that I can drill a straight line of holes, and have them uniformly spaced, down to 20 microns. If I were any more excited, well, can't go there. WOWOWOW. I just hacked the table set up together too, needs more work for holding parts down, and I can't be breaking a bit every 10 holes!


PC110014.JPG PC170001.JPG PC170003.JPG
Last edited:

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Well got a big step done on the electronics side of the house. I am able to issue commands with my IR transmitter and have the electronics do stuff and now play music. Music took a while to get working. My brain just goes crazy thinking of all of the different music, sound effects etc, that now need to get turned into MP3 files, timing on LEDs, motors, servos etc. link to the exciting video, well, to me it was!

There are some bad issues though, it takes the MP3 a few seconds to queue up, I am not sure if it is the recording I have has a lot of dead space up front, will need to try out some other tracks. There is a ton of noise on the analog side of the MP3 player. When I have the RGB LED on, I get noise added to the background noise, and there is a lot of base background noise. So, I am hoping most of this can be solved with some really short wires, and some filters for the power to the Arduino and MP3 shield. Fingers crossed. If I can't get rid of the noise, not sure where that leaves me. Most likely will have to search out another audio solution, which would bum me out.

Shapeways has finally sent me the first draft of the landing gear parts I designed. Hopefully should see those in a few days, but with Christmas around the corner, who knows. I just would like them before I am off work for a week, looking forward to getting that functionality working, or at least see if my first idea is worth a darn.

Started working on the cockpit area. A friend of mine is paint the flight crew, he is a very good painter. Fingers crossed. I kept C3PO, I plan on Alclad gold on him, with fiber optic eyes. The eyes are not an original idea of mine. Another awesome idea I got from Neil Smith, if you have not checked out his YouTube channel you should. His Falcon has completely inspired/induced my madness for this.

Working color selection, have not put a lot of effort into it yet, but thinking on it. Also thinking on how to mount the kit. I am having issues on my 1/350 E, which makes me VERY sad, so, thinking on some sort of metal locking type screw structure. Will hit Home Depot this weekend and look at plumbing fixtures and electrical fixtures to see what I can do in that area.

Need to order more fiber, 100 feet wasn't enough of the 0.25mm. I am in a weird position, I should probably just order a reel of it from China, but it is $146 for 12 km, that is 7.5 MILES?!?!?! But I am tired paying $0.07 a foot, doesn't sound like much, but 400 feet is 28 bucks plus shipping. Arrggg. Jsut should go with the smaller amount, unless someone, or better yet, 2-3 people are interested in splitting the thing, or have some they want to sell?



Well-Known Member
Great stuff! Very curious to seeing the printed landing gear parts. Have you considered the Panavise Micro Mount for mounting the kit? It seems to be quite popular among modelers, I'm using one for my Y-wing and it works like a charm.


Active Member

Great information, thanks!

I got the Proxxon 38128 TBM Bench Drill Machine. The more I use it, I am finding a few flaws, although it is still waaay better than me trying to hand do these. There is no way to ensure that the drilling body, the part that houses the drill, is square to the compound table. I am working on a system to help me keep the drill and table square. The mechanism to hold stuff down on the table is ok, and the cheap vise I bought, is well, cheap. So I am having a hard time getting everything squared up. Part of the issue is my lack of experience in trying to use a very precise machine like this, so I am getting better at using the machine. As in all things, time usually equals more experience and more experience usually equals better output.[/h] [/h]I have not milled with the machine yet, those bits are in the mail. I already have a few things that I need some precise milling of. I need to create some channels in the cockpit area to run some fibers through. I figured milling will give me the best results. Also, more experience with using the tool.[/h] [/h]Getting better at not breaking drill bits, but I need to order some more, although, most of the holes are drilled. I am out of fiber though.[/h] [/h]Pic 1 and 2 are of the setups on the compound table. Any tips on doing this better would be appreciated. One issue on the first pic, it worked really well, until there was a lot of flex in the part, since I had it hanging off of the edge. I broke a bit with this. I am cutting more wood to put under the part and support it better.[/h] [/h]Pic 3 Good shot of the fiber going in.[/h] [/h]Pic 4 About 85% of the fiber for this part is in, I ran out of fiber though :([/h] [/h]Pic 5 a shot of the fibers lit, please realize that they are all not flush to the part, and they are all mushroomed, so these two issues are messing up the alignment some. Also, this is a really tiny part with a bucket of fibers run into it, I can't wait to add some more![/h] [/h]Cheers,[/h]James[/h] PC200001.JPG
PC200005.JPG [/h]


Active Member
Got some more functionality into the code, I can control and fire the belly gun turret. There is some noise in the sound though, coming from the power supply, or the USB cable that powers the speakers. I need to upgrade the power supply anyways for the effort, so going to do that next.

Here is the short video.

I need to learn how to speak more clearly while on camera. I had no clue, until I listened to myself, not sure what this means. Maybe there is a reason my wife and kids don't hear me.......


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