Our Collective 5-Foot Millennium Falcon Build

Studio Kitbash

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Okay, the cutting part is done -- now for a LOT of sanding.

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All in, I'm just at 2.5" for width, but I'll likely sand some of that off to achieve a flush-mount edge to hang my domes on so they have more surface area contact with the wooden ring. Plus I'll likely put some custom spacers on top and bottom to seat it perfectly and securely.


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This "looks" like it's slightly over 2.5", but keep in mind this is before sanding, clamping, and gluing all the rings together.

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All those "lightening holes" save you about 7 pounds of weight.

More anon.
 

joberg

Master Member
Yes, love the whole comments/construction part of this crazy project! Crêpes...you're giving me idea for the week-end (y) (y) :cool: :cool:
Eager to see your next update!
 

bwayne64

Sr Member
Okay, the cutting part is done -- now for a LOT of sanding.

View attachment 1576811

All in, I'm just at 2.5" for width, but I'll likely sand some of that off to achieve a flush-mount edge to hang my domes on so they have more surface area contact with the wooden ring. Plus I'll likely put some custom spacers on top and bottom to seat it perfectly and securely.


View attachment 1576813
This "looks" like it's slightly over 2.5", but keep in mind this is before sanding, clamping, and gluing all the rings together.

View attachment 1576814
All those "lightening holes" save you about 7 pounds of weight.

More anon.
Man those lightening holes are probably
$ 30 worth of plywood, ; )
 

Studio Kitbash

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Man those lightening holes are probably
$ 30 worth of plywood, ; )
Yeah, I actually saved them for the fall for kindling in our woodstove -- Falcon Fire Night should be as fun as S'Mores Night, no?

They also make really good "wheels" for young kids making toy cars out of household leftovers, so they are for sure not going to waste.
 

bwayne64

Sr Member
Yeah, I actually saved them for the fall for kindling in our woodstove -- Falcon Fire Night should be as fun as S'Mores Night, no?

They also make really good "wheels" for young kids making toy cars out of household leftovers, so they are for sure not going to waste.
Hey, I didn't even think about wheels. Great idea.
 

Studio Kitbash

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Figured out my armature geometry problem... it was in the CNC-routered acrylic pieces all along, and NOT in my hand-cut rings or hand-welded aluminum armature tube. This is great (but expensive news), as it means I didn't screw up, but that the machine shop with the CNC router did.

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So my rings are perfect circles, the 2.25" hole is perfectly centered, but the docking ring notches are NOT centered to the center hole -- how/why that got screwed up is beyond me.

But here's the proof, up close:
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Where the bottom of the black Plastruct strip cuts across the center ring should be in the DEAD center, but is clearly off center, by 1/4 or 1/2" too much to the north of dead center.

So it's BACK to the CNC shop, to see if they can make right this mistake that cost me half a dozen dead Benjamins...

Anyway, I AM very happy that the mystery is solved, because it took three years to get to this point, the original acrylic having been cut in June 2019 before I started my thread.
 

Studio Kitbash

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
1653675209214.jpeg

So Bandai Stug IV is definitely in that mandible maintenance pit, but heavily cut down on left and right sides.

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But whose Tiger I Barrel fits in there? Is it the Hasegawa 1/72? The Bandai 1/48? Or the vintage Tamiya 1/35?

Well, wouldn't ya know it?
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Goldilocks strikes again!

(BTW, notice how the first picture makes the barrel on Goldilocks "disappear" almost entirely, and then in the picture above she's sprouted a long barrel -- THAT'S a good example of how easy fooling the eye is with the wrong reference photographs. In fact, in the first picture, the only "proof" there IS a barrel on the middle one is the shadow it casts on the table.)
 

Studio Kitbash

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
In other mandible pit progress news, I credit John Coffman for inspiring me to get this one knocked out:

1653675819838.jpeg

I'm stilling missing a Sealab part, but otherwise think it's all there. VERY hard to be certain of geometry and placements on these little guys, and I think I'm off by a couple of mms in various areas here, so may end up doing it over. But meanwhile, here are some angled shots to see the sidewalls...

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There's also one un-ID'ed part on top of the Hanomag piece, a part that covers most of the front slot, but I haven't found it yet.
 

jcoffman99

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
In other mandible pit progress news, I credit John Coffman for inspiring me to get this one knocked out:

View attachment 1579896
I'm stilling missing a Sealab part, but otherwise think it's all there. VERY hard to be certain of geometry and placements on these little guys, and I think I'm off by a couple of mms in various areas here, so may end up doing it over. But meanwhile, here are some angled shots to see the sidewalls...

View attachment 1579901


View attachment 1579902

View attachment 1579903

View attachment 1579904

There's also one un-ID'ed part on top of the Hanomag piece, a part that covers most of the front slot, but I haven't found it yet.
Pretty sure that piece is part of a machine gun.
 

jcoffman99

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Also, since you mentioned the Sealab, I emailed masterpiece models, and they are getting ready to offer their Sealab kit again.
 

Studio Kitbash

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
1653779162139.jpeg

Stug IV piece in its original glory at full length


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Then you slice off either end.


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Then you figure out which greeblie fits in there: the Tamiya 1/35 Tiger I barrel was definitely too big.

1653779291381.jpeg

The Bandai 1/48 Tiger I barrel is the right one, and you glue it in "to the right" of the upper section of the Stug greeblie, after doing the appropriate slicing/sanding off of some detail so it sits flush.
 

Studio Kitbash

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Two build philosophies: exact replica, or super-accurized model?

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On the left -- exact replica. On the right -- super-accurized.

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So here is a rather longish post on the philosophy of miniature replica aesthetics. Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, you'd better commit early to the one you're going to have to live with for a long, long time...

You see the original Falcon in all it's glory, and it blows your mind, impresses you, and inspires you, even as you silently say internally, "There is no way in hell that ANYONE could EVER replicate a model of that complexity." That's if you're sane. Then ten years go by, and you've now built a garage kit, or a scratch-built Y-Wing, or some lesser but still-quite-daunting project, and the idea begins to dawn on you, "Maybe, just maybe..."

Then you figure, what the hell, you might as well try it, as you're going to be ten years older in ten years anyway, so why not have something to show for it. So you start collecting greeblies, measurements, secrets, kits, collections, images, references, and every single book on the subject of the Falcon you can find, including all the old back issues of Starlog you never got as a kid in the 1970's...

And a day comes when you have enough stuff to start building. And you do, in small non-committal ways at first, just a small subassembly here and there, just a mandible pit, a greeblie plate, a FalGal plate, maybe a docking ring door assembly. But rather soonish the day will come when you have to decide what you want the thing to "look like" at the end of the day. Because it's SUPER cool to see the real Falcon up close and see ALL the dozens of mistakes, oversights, shim, wedge, trim, and shave jobs that are evidence of the "over-budget, behind-schedule" rush of the whole film production, and you keep reminding yourself that it looks THIS ugly ONLY up close, in a static environment, whereas on screen, at 24-frames-per-second, and jumping into hyperspace, it looks just freaking awesome. So now you actually have to decide your aesthetic philosophy, as YOU are not a moviemaker, and YOU are not ever ever ever -- even once -- EVER going to get to see your model fly by at 24fps or make the jump to hyperspace. You are going to sit and look at it for the next twenty to forty years, at which point the next generation will get to look at it.

So the question: do you build an exact replica with all those rushed mistakes? Or do you suspend your disbelief even further and decide to build a YT-1300 freighter the way the original factory would have, with no gaps, no missing pipes, no falling-off pieces, no section that looks like a kitbashed-greeblie-nightmare-slapped-together-in-a-rush, but rather like George Lucas originally wanted, a vehicle with each section connecting to each other section with an industrial design hot-rod philosophy that made it look like it actually worked, and like each section had a reason, and each section could be explained with a mechanic's manual if you could make up the right language to describe the futuristic technology that was in fact, so "old" it took place "a long time ago" in a galaxy farther away than Van Nuys, California?

So me, I'm going for the super-accurized YT-1300 option. This means I'm building a model that works, and has its seams filled, and has its flaws hidden, covered, or creatively interpreted so as to no longer be flaws. This DOES mean, in some small areas and ways, that I'll be "interpreting" beyond authorial intention and "making a lot of special modifications myself" to her as though I'm the new owner of this one-of-a-kind vehicle, and that's both exciting and daunting. But it also means, sub specie aeternatis, that I'm not going to let my Tamiya 1/35 Kampfpanzer Leopard parts #A25 and #A26 HOVER above the Bandai 1/24 M60 long box parts with the semi-circle indents, because that just looks flimsy and like they'd fly off as soon as you jumped to hyperspace. So the area it sits on, I'm sanding flush, so the grill piece looks integral, intentional, and "designed" that way, rather than "these two model pieces, from two different models, were slapped together quickly".

I know this is metaphysical violence, to some of you, for whom the only proper way to build it is to imitate exactly what ILM did, and didn't do, in 1975-76 prior to filming. The other way I justify it is to simply say that the model was the inspiration for the life-sized prop, and the life-sized vehicle doesn't have these mistakes, or at least not in any of the "filmed up-close" areas, that I'm aware of. So that's my decision, and my aesthetic commitment, and the way I'm proceeding. And I'm happy with it and I like it for the same reason my 10-year-old Star-Wars obsessed self would like it: it just looks cooler.

And no, you don't have to worry: if you're using my castings, I'm VERY very conscious that many/most will not be building this way, so I'm making all my castings in raw or "original" form, so that if you want to you can also do what I'm doing, but so that the default setting will be to duplicate what ILM did originally. So the parts pictured above were cast and set aside long before these particular decisions were made.

Anyone have strong feelings on this? In a certain sense, I don't think I'm doing very much differently than the "perfecting" and "harmonizing" that Bandai did when they made their 1/72 PG Falcon aesthetic decisions. At 1/72 scale it's not even that noticeable, whereas on the original scale it will be very noticeable, but I still think there's an audience that will secretly prefer it to the "warts and all" approach.

Would love to hear your thoughts.
 

Treadwell

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I see no problem with either. Whichever the maker wants! I've tended to do both, but on a part by part basis rather than applying it to an entire model. Whatever I feel like at that moment.
"Accurized" isn't an apt word, IMO. "Finished", maybe? "Perfected"? "Idealized"?
 

Joseph C. Brown

Well-Known Member
I am firmly in the "build it the way you want" camp - unless you are building it for a client, then, YOU are the one who looks at it every day after it is completed. I am in a similar situation, (the planetoid build, Space Academy) and other than screen caps, there is a stunning dearth of useful picture references. Freedom, right? Not so much... but that is MY choice to go half studio-scale, and MY choice to have to scratch(or fake) the visible ID-able parts to look as accurate as I can. Why? It makes the model builder in me happy -on some level- to do it that way. (y)
 

Searun

Well-Known Member
Very good of you SK to point out this “cobbling” of kit part fact of life that is not evident to the beginner in this greeblie art form like me. Unless you have kit bashed, it is hard to understand. Therefore, thanks for adding the pictures and coupling them with a lengthy description and side stories.

I must now go over what I have done to date. In the past, I have tried to make sure that equipment that is attached to a base surface stays looking that way after painting, or made to look that way with a wash or dry brushing. At the same time, I will have to watch out for gaps that become too large. Not something I thought about using the kit bash technique. Perhaps this is due to wood & balsa modeling vs. the construction crispness of styrene.
 

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