My MPC Falcon Build 2.0 (with Falcon Kits)

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

SGluedMyFingers

Well-Known Member
I'm usually somewhat private about my builds. One, because I tend to bounce from one project to the next and also because I just don't think that my work is all that good in comparison to a lot of what I see here. But I'm going to put myself out there for a handful of reasons: Firstly, I think that a public build will put a little fire under my arse to actually keep things moving. Secondly, I could really use a little help and advice now and again. Third, well... I hope maybe to share what I learn as I move along. Hopefully others may get some inspiration. Fourth, I just replaced my camera that a jealous ex-roommate ruined by dumping it in a pot of coffee (some people). Lastly, and this is a tad personal but kind of along the lines of why I am doing a public build, I've been sober from drugs and alcohol for 14 months now. Part of the recovery group that I'm involved in, SMART Recovery (anyone struggling with similar issues can get info at www.SMARTrecovery.org ), highly stresses lifestyle balance and a part of that being Vital Absorbing Critical Interests (VACI). I recently became certified as a SMART recover facilitator and began another group locally. I'm quite proud of that and it's become another VACI. Sorry to be so personal about all that but, again, that's a part of all of this and I guess I kind of want to get to know all you guys a little better and what better way than to share a little about me. I've lurked and contributed to many modeling sites over the years and this site is IMHO the most forgiving, reasonable, intellectual, helpful and sharing forum I've come across. So enough of all that. Onto real business.

I've been building Star Wars models, exclusively, as an adult since around 2002 but with sporadic progress and interest other than collecting a mountain of kits. As discussed above, my interest lately has been quite strong. I've hashed together a ton of Revell Snaps and have several projects going in various stages. One of the few that I actually put full effort into was a MPC Millennium Falcon that I built for a special friend. This also is my favorite subject and I plan to repeat the subject many times as I have just about every Falcon kit that's been produced along with most upgrades. So, this was attempt #1:
Picture 021.jpg
Casual observers were impressed. I think it's a disaster compared to work I see here and on other forums from those with more talent and experience. But with you guys' help we'll fix that. My main criticism is the paint. I am quite red-green color blind and I have a lot of trouble and stress quite a lot with paint. Lucky for me most Star Wars models fall into mainly shades of grey, but even that can give me trouble. Other colors and weathering is real challenge. I can't tell you exactly what is wrong with paint job but it just looks off to me - TOO colorful. It looks like a rainbow in my eye. I'm not sure if the weathering is to bright or what. The yellow panels seem way to bright, the red is off and the rust streaks... I dunno. Just OFF. I've definitely concluded that Camouflage Grey is not the best base coat. That may be the whole problem. Maybe you guys offer a little insight and constructive criticism is not only welcomed but strongly requested.

Of course, the real problem is the kit itself and we all are likely familiar with what those issues are, the main issue being the side walls. The only modifications that I made was to cut a little off of the cockpit tube and scratch built cockpit interior and gun well (both of which turned out quite nice for a newbie). You can see the mod to the cockpit tube in the pic above and here's a few of the gun well:
IMG_0485.JPGIMG_0483.JPGIMG_0484.JPG
I didn't take any pics of the cockpit but they were a styrene and pasted printout hashup of Ozzy's files. It was OK and suitable for what I was wanting to accomplish then. But NOW... I want progress a little.

Falcon kits. I purchased this upgrade around '03-'04. Yes, it was a hassle. But it's a pretty nice representation of the 5 footer for the time, the 5 footer being my favorite.
I suspect that there may be better 5 footer upgrades out there now (Haystack) but this is what I have now. I have the Blue Moon upgrades but that is another, future build as the 3 footer.

Shapeways: We do love you, FZ6, and my wallet bows before you. I have the cast ups for the Hasbro and all of this is prelude and practice for what I hope to transform that beast into. I definitely want to accomplish a little more with this kit and Shapeways 308 parts are the way to go. For this project, I've decided not to go all out but to at least dip my feet in the pool. This is what I ordered:
IMG_0266.JPG
I skipped out on the gun well because I was fairly satisfied with my last scratch build and you can barely see it anyway. Plus, I plan to display this piece mostly from the side and it really would be a waste. I wanted other parts, particularly the docking rings and more engine deck parts but I needed to cut costs and I'm not yet sure how far I want to go with the engine deck on this build. There will be future builds and, again, this will mostly be seen from the side. I'm thinking I will save the super detail for another build.

What I want to accomplish: A really nice, lit, landed display. Most of my efforts will go into running lights, landing ramp and landing gear. I want to softly light the cockpit but I want it to be subtle. I plan to use lightsheet for it's soft glow and reasons to be discussed later. I want a "powered down" look to the cockpit. I think that lightsheet will really give me what I'm looking for.

OK. On to where I am now. The Falcon Kits sidewalls are in place:
IMG_0300.JPGIMG_0298.JPGIMG_0292.JPG
There are a few gaps that I need to deal with but not a bad upgrade so far. The detail is a little soft and the resin is somewhat difficult but this is a pretty antiquated upgrade. Jack Smith did not have all the picture resources that we have now that the Falcon has been on display all over the world, so it's not incredibly accurate. However, it's quite suitable and will certainly do for this introductory venture. Again, it's 5 footer based whereas the Blue Moon is not. I have a strong interest in Haystack's upgrade for a future 5ft build and hopefully he can chime in about it's future availability. And I'm always curious about where some of the 3D projects that I see going on will go in the future for MPC upgrades in the 5 ft department.

IMG_0289.JPGIMG_0288.JPGIMG_0291.JPG
You can see that I have, again, cut a little off of the cockpit tube. NOT screen accurate and doesn't solve the huge issue of the entire cockpit and tube being undersized, but I think it helps a little. The cockpit tube on the standard MPC is just obviously too long and this is a simple semi-solution.

IMG_0287.JPGIMG_0290.JPG
The Shapeways cockpit would not quite fit, as is, so I had to route out the tube quite a bit. I found that an empty bottle of Testors Cement was just the right size so I glued a strip of sandpaper around it and twisted until my wrist gave out. Effective, but I think that it may have stretched the resin and styrene out a little. You can see the the Shapeways cockpit is a little too small now. I'm not real sure how this happened. I'm hoping that if I sand a little off the diameter of the bottom piece that it may squeeze it back together again. It's a minor detail but annoying at the moment. The main thing was that the new cockpit had to fit with a little wiggle room as I need the entire thing to be removable. Lightsheet is not known for it's longevity. At some point it will have to be replaced. I'm hoping that I can come up with some sort of gig to hold the cockpit on with some strong magnets so I can get back in there in the future. We'll see. In addition to wanting a soft glow, Lightsheet will allow me to light the side panels of the cockpit. There is simply no way that I can think of to get any lighting in the side of the cockpit be it fiber optic or mini LED. It's just too tight.

IMG_0276.JPGIMG_0267.JPGIMG_0278.JPG
Regardless, the cockpit is going to look awesome. However it comes out. I haven't decided whether I'm going to try to paint the cockpit or come up with a decal solution. I'm not sure how well Ozzy's files correspond with the Shapeways cockpit. To be determined.

IMG_0285.JPGIMG_0286.JPG
The Falcon Kits comes with some photo etch for the engine deck but no inserts. I found that water bottle tops can produce a nice start for inserts. A little scratch detail and those should come out well enough.

IMG_0312.JPG
The Blue Moon kit came with engine deck replacements (Panzer or Panther? Can't remember). There's no comparing these to the Shapeways part but I may use them on this kit as I don't intend to go all out on the deck for this project and it will be mostly side viewed. It seems foolish to waste them and I can use use the expensive Shapeways part on a future build where more emphasis will on the engine deck. I'm still deciding on this. One thing is for certain, either is a huge improvement over what is offered. The Blue Moon part has been sanded down significantly. It was quite thick.

IMG_0305.JPGIMG_0306.JPGIMG_0310.JPG
The Falcon Kits came with landing gear bays and a pretty elaborate landing gear upgrade with aluminum piping, resin parts and photo etch. Complicated but really awesome. Very superior to the Blue Moon landing gear. I'm going to have to create some kind of gig to hold all of the piping together but it's coming along nicely. The landing gear bays will be well lit and with all of the running lights and the lit landing ramp, the underside will be the focal point of this display. This is where most of my energy will be going. I'm very happy with where this is headed.

IMG_0308.JPG
I've run into a little trouble finding a good pattern for the docking ring plates. This is a pattern that I picked up years ago. I can't credit the creator and the instructions are in Spanish, I believe. The curvature is off. I'm thinking that maybe I can increase the print size a little and shave a few mm off of the ends. That may work. I could swear that I saw a past build where someone had acquired another pattern from one of the RPF members, maybe Jaitea ? If anyone knows anything about that, I'd appreciate any information. What I saw looked to be much better. I could really use that pattern if i can get my hands on it.

I really want to make a lot of progress with paint and weathering on this kit. Given that I will display the piece at eye level (side view) and lighting will draw the eye to the underside, I figure I have a the opportunity to be forgiving with myself if I'm not completely satisfied with the paint job. This kit is another practice job. I want to get the technique down for future projects but I'm not planning on getting it right this time. Practice makes perfect.

I'm waiting for the 1st to order some 5mm and 3mm LEDs for running lights ect. I thought I had enough but I don't. I pretty much have all the rest of the electronics that I need. I don't plan on lighting the engines for this one. It's landed and powered down. Just the running/warning lights, headlights, landing gear bays, entry ramp and soft cockpit lighting. That should be a model full of wires as it is.

Well I'm off to put together landing gear and detail engine inserts. More later. If anyone has a heads up on that docking ring panel pattern, please let me know.

Thanks for looking. Ideas, thoughts, criticisms, encouragements, cheers, jeers all welcomed.
 
Last edited:

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

astroboy

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This is awesome. You are posting this for all the right reasons and I can't wait to chat about this until it's done!


BTW, not that I'm an expert by any means (I read about this stuff far more than I actually build but my recent revelation is to prime star wars models in black. Then use as close to white as you are comfortable for the base coat. There. That's my tip.

Here's my 1/48 bandai x-wing. Primed in black. Based in insignia white.



 

Axlotl

Master Member
Cool - looking forward to watching this come together.

I haven't built a Falcon in a long, long time, but I was never happy with my colors, either.
I think it's because my initial impression of the Falcon from watching Star Wars was that it was stark white,
and following the paint guides made it look too grey, too dark, and too colorful.
So for my next one (whenever that may be) I'm going with straight white, then I'll slowly dirty it up being careful not to overdo it.

Oh, and the 5-footer had the 3-point landing gear - it was the 3-footer with the 5-points and the boxes on the front/bottom. Just FYI, if you're going for a true 5-footer.
 

bwize

Sr Member
Boy does this bring back some memories. I had the old falcon kits set back in the day. Yours is shaping up to be grandiose. Love your gun well. Your off to an awesome start and I look forward to seeing your progress. Like you said, the old MPC has her issues, but she's got it where it counts, lol.

Also, I commend you for sharing your personal struggle and I wish you well in your continuing recovery.

BTW, astroby, love your x-wing, it looks great.
 

Jaitea

Master Member
Oh, and the 5-footer had the 3-point landing gear - it was the 3-footer with the 5-points and the boxes on the front/bottom. Just FYI, if you're going for a true 5-footer.
......True & false,.....the 5 footer was modified for ESB with an additional 2 landing gear boxes to replicate the Full size prop in England,.....a 32" stunt model was made for more dynamic scenes also with the 5 gears

Nice mods BTW

J
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

SGluedMyFingers

Well-Known Member
Astroboy, I believe that you are right on the money with the white over black. That is exactly what I'm looking for. Very, very nice build - excellent paint.

Axlotl, true. But landing gear was added to the 5 footer to match the ESB 3 footer which were added, as I remember, to match the full size set Falcon which they determined had to have extra support to hold up as a stand alone, unsupported full size set. When I think of the Falcon landed, I think of the full size set on the Hoth Rebel Base set (which I cannot do - don't think would fit in my house) or the 5 footer as shot in the space slug's belly and coming in for landing on the Bespin platform. I think I'm correct that both of those shots used the 5 footer with 5 point landing gear added. So not a true ANH 5 footer, but a true ESB 5 footer. And yes, white is going to be the way to go. Camo Grey was a newbie move. I'll let the filters and weathering do it's work this time. I know so much more now and am looking forward to putting the know-how into practice.

bwize, thanks for your encouragement. I had one of these when I was 12. I busted apart a broken hand held electronic game and scrubbed it for LED's and guessed my way through putting in headlights, a light in the entry ramp and a light in the cockpit. I remember "drilling" the holes with a wood burning iron and one of the LEDs burned out after a few days. That's some old school memories. But I fell asleep looking at that model for months. I want the real deal now. Now I know what a resistor is and have the right tools. I plan on having this piece to stare at for a long time.

Jaitea, thanks, man. Your input will be very appreciated. I may be wrong, but I could swear that a while ago another MPC Falcon builder said that he obtained a docking ring panel pattern from you. I've been looking for that thread on and off and just can't find it. Was that you? Forgive me if I've mistaken you for someone else. But if that was you or you know who that was, I'm really looking for that pattern. I've watching your builds and your contributions to other's Falcon builds. Keep checking back and keep me in check, dude!

IMG_0315.JPGIMG_0316.JPG
Well, a friend showed up with "Northman: A Viking Saga" so my day was happily interrupted. But I did get my engine deck inserts finished - an easy mod. I put more time than effort into it. I eyeballed most of the measurements knowing that it would hardly be seen. I whipped it up with slices of 3/8" styrene tube, strips of channel rod and a little wad of Aves putty in the center shaped slightly concave with the rounded end of my hobby knife. Good enough for something that's going to be painted pretty dark and covered with a photo etch grill.

Thanks again for the encouragement and tips. More later!
 
Last edited:

SGluedMyFingers

Well-Known Member
Ah, man. Awesome. Thanks so much to you and Markusa.


Well, I just broke down and ordered more Shapeways parts that I had sitting in my cart. They sent me an e-mail offering me 10% off and I couldn't resist. I decided that I was going to need the Entrance Corridor and the Engine Exhaust Grille. Also FZ6 added a cockpit door that I had asked him to add, so I had to get that too. I was going to order a few Bandai kits this month, but screw it. I don't want this build held up.

FZ6 also added Blue Moon sized Docking Rings that I had asked him to put together. I'm not ready to do the Blue Moon yet but it's awesome to know that it's there when I need it. That is the build that I will likely go all out on. It's going to be rather expensive and I'll need to save a little. Thanks FZ6 for the additional offerings. And so quickly too.

So many awesome artists. It's a privilege. Really.
 
Last edited:

Axlotl

Master Member
......True & false,.....the 5 footer was modified for ESB with an additional 2 landing gear boxes to replicate the Full size prop in England,.....a 32" stunt model was made for more dynamic scenes also with the 5 gears
Axlotl, true. But landing gear was added to the 5 footer to match the ESB 3 footer which were added, as I remember, to match the full size set Falcon which they determined had to have extra support to hold up as a stand alone, unsupported full size set. When I think of the Falcon landed, I think of the full size set on the Hoth Rebel Base set (which I cannot do - don't think would fit in my house) or the 5 footer as shot in the space slug's belly and coming in for landing on the Bespin platform. I think I'm correct that both of those shots used the 5 footer with 5 point landing gear added. So not a true ANH 5 footer, but a true ESB 5 footer.
Well, darn. I stand corrected.
Thanks, guys.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

SGluedMyFingers

Well-Known Member
I finally was able to get back to the falcon over the weekend.

IMG_0317.JPGIMG_0318.JPG
I got all of my engine inserts glued into place. I'm really happy with how they turned out.

IMG_0321.JPGIMG_0320.JPGIMG_0319.JPG
I printed out about 10 patterns ranging in size from 50-60% of the original pattern until I found one that I was happy with - 57%. I printed out 2 final high quality patterns and pasted them with glue stick to .010"/0.3mm sheet of Plastruct styrene. Then I began to dissect them into individual pieces. Once each piece was trimmed to satisfaction, I soaked it in rubbing alcohol to release the dried paste and wiped it clean. I carefully applied Testors liquid cement to each piece and placed them one by one trimming each piece to fit before cementing it. I found it easier to cut each piece with a hard line on one edge and then trim out the details. This ruined the next piece in line so having printed and pasted two patterns was definitely easier to work with. I wasted a lot of styrene but it was much simpler to work with.

IMG_0322.JPGIMG_0324.JPGIMG_0323.JPG
I knew this was going to be a challenging modification and it proved to be harder than I thought. The MPC piece was rather imperfect and getting each piece to line up took a lot of trial and error. In the end the lines were pretty straight but I had to run and file and fine sanding stick around the outer edge to get them all lined up in a somewhat clean line. I'm pretty happy with the final result. The next one should come out even better now that I have the hang of it. This piece will definitely be placed on the far side.

One more to go.

I should have all my LEDs in by next weekend. I ordered several narrow angle 5mm and 3mm superbright whites for the running lights and a handful of diffused whites for the landing gear bays. I also ordered a few more Shapeways parts that I waiting on. I still have all of the Falcon Kits landing gear to assemble to keep me busy until I get everything I need.

More when I have time.
 

SGluedMyFingers

Well-Known Member
Detailing the docking rings. Well... the port docking RING. These tiny details took much longer than I anticipated. I worked on this all day but I am very happy with how it came out.

First a few pics of how I pieced together a few of the more complicated parts:
IMG_0334.JPGIMG_0335.JPGIMG_0336.JPGIMG_0337.JPG

And the final results next to reference photos:
IMG_0345.JPGP6130141_JPG.jpg

View attachment 422_SWI_7928.jpgIMG_0353.JPG

View attachment 446_SWI_7952.jpgIMG_0341.JPG

11228900_1007590252631010_3602555830955449336_n.jpgIMG_0352.JPG
Those macro shots really show all the little imperfections. Some of the parts came out slightly larger than I intended. I just couldn't go any smaller. But scaling down from 5 ft to 1 1/2 ft, I think I pulled it off OK. What do you guys think?

All I know for certain is that it looks a lot better than this:
IMG_0320.JPG

Maybe I can get some done on the starboard ring tomorrow.

The problem is that the more little details I get done, the more I look at every other place on this model and think, "I could probably make that look a little better." At this rate I'll be working on this thing forever.

Thanks for looking.
 
Last edited:

FZ6

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Detailing the docking rings. Well... the port docking RING. These tiny details took much longer than I anticipated. I worked on this all day but I am very happy with how it came out.

First a few pics of how I pieced together a few of the more complicated parts:


And the final results next to reference photos:

Those macro shots really show all the little imperfections. Some of the parts came out slightly larger than I intended. I just couldn't go any smaller. But scaling down from 5 ft to 1 1/2 ft, I think I pulled it off OK. What do you guys think?

All I know for certain is that it looks a lot better than this:


Maybe I can get some done on the starboard ring tomorrow.

The problem is that the more little details I get done, the more I look at every other place on this model and think, "I could probably make that look a little better." At this rate I'll be working on this thing forever.

Thanks for looking.
Really nice work!!

And many thanks for your support! I appreciate it so much!

But more news... I'm working on a short sidewalls set for the MPC... :D

I'm waiting for them from SW for a test fit...

I know, I know... :cool
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

SGluedMyFingers

Well-Known Member
Very cool, FZ6. I REALLY need to send Shapeways more money!:devil

5 footer or 3 footer configuration? I already have the Blue Moon. But I guess I can always build more Falcons. If you are going that route, more replacement parts for the engine deck would help. Like the crazy part behind the middle vent and the harder to scratch parts like the wheel shaped parts and others.

I'll be all over your docking rings for the Blue Moon build.

Your work is killing my wallet but I love it. It's total model heroin.
 
Last edited:

SGluedMyFingers

Well-Known Member
I paid the price last night. It's pretty deep. I'll be on hold for a few days at least. But I get to wear my cool new Star Wars bandaids.
IMG_0354.JPG
If you're gonna take one for the team, might as well wear the jersey.
 

blakeh1

Sr Member
ouch, name change from SGluedMyFingers to SCutMyFingers :p


Great work on those docking rings. Looking forward to seeing what other things you've got in store

As far as color, I believe Tamiya AS-20 (Insignia White) is a nearly perfect color match for the MR Falcon. Personally I plan on using a black primer on mine followed by AS-16 base coat and then do a pre-shade and top off with AS-20
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top