She’s Got it Where it Counts: Building Lego’s New Star Wars Millennium Falcon
If you're wondering how long it takes to build a Millennium Falcon, the answer is, "About three Star Wars movies." Well, that's for a Lego version anyway. I couldn't really tell you how long it takes to actually build a Corellian YT-1300 freighter because trying to measure build time in the Star Wars universe isn't exactly easy. First, you've got pilots who refer to distance with the same language as they do for time measurement, and then you've got the second Death Star. That thing throws all logical essence of construction estimates out the window. The first Death Star took like 20 years to build, and somehow, the second one was nearly complete just four years after the Battle of Yavin. Yeah, sure, there's all kinds of science-fiction-y ways for that to have happened, but it doesn't help us understand what the typical assembly line time is for starships in that galaxy.
Fortunately, I don't really have to worry about that with the Lego version. All I have to do is drop all nine bags of bricks on the table, flip open an instruction manual, and get to work. Oh, there's still a part of my brain that's constantly worrying about fictional logistics like those I talked about above, but when I'm sitting down to put together a new Lego set with my wife, it calms my brain down from 10,000 RPMs to a running idle.
Though we picked up this new Force Awakens edition of the Millennium Falcon back on Force Friday, things were just too hectic until recently to put the Falcon together. After spending a few weekends assembling the Lego Marvel SHIELD Helicarrier, I wanted to make sure we had ample time to devote to getting the Falcon finished in a reasonable time. And to keep its hull from sitting around exposed for too long. It's not the elements I'm worried about, so much as the cat loves standing on Lego projects as we're building them.
The new model of the Millennium Falcon isn't just tweaked in the movie, it's been redesigned for Lego's purposes, too. Previously, there were two different versions of the Falcon released at retail, the New Hope (set #7965) and the Ultimate Collector's Edition (#10179), neither of which has been available for quite some time, and both which now fetch handsome sums on secondary markets. At $150, the new Millennium Falcon set (#75105) is a steal by comparison. This new Falcon's 1329 pieces makes it about one-third the size of the Collector's Edition (5195 pieces), but it actually a tad bit more robust than the New Hope iteration (1254 pieces). The design is very reminiscent of that New Hope ship though, so while there are more pieces, there isn't much visual difference until you really get in there brick by brick.
Unlike some Lego projects, it's immediately easy to see how the Falcon will be laid out as soon as you begin assembling the bricks. Perhaps that's due to having such an intimate knowledge of the ship and the films (and the toys and the comics and the books and the fanfic), but the first few layers of the build make it abundantly obvious what you're working on. While there are a lot of smaller pieces to put together to give the living spaces of the ship a personality, there weren't too many moments of frustration and tedium. Having spent so much time on the SHIELD Helicarrier, I can tell you this is a good thing. That beast took about 12 hours, and had a lot of miniature moving parts that needed to be arranged just perfectly in order to work and look good. The Millennium Falcon takes less than half the time to build, and lacks the major technical intricacies that gave me some headaches before.
Once we moved to the exterior of the ship, things picked up the pace dramatically. Using larger pieces to make the hull made the finishing touches really simple. There are some moving pieces to allow you a chance to peek inside the Falcon and watch the mini-figs play Dejarik or slide some characters into the twin turrets. The cockpit is incredibly cramped, and barely has room for two figures. You can't fit Chewbacca in there at all, as he's just too tall even with his legs bent. Obviously it's still to scale with the rest of the Falcon, but there's no good way to get characters in or out of there without pulling the front of the frame off. For how simple it is to look inside the rest of the ship, it would have been nice to have a hinged window there.
Based on the selection of Lego sets that dropped on Force Friday, adding the Millennium Falcon to our burgeoning collection was a no-brainer. That's doubly true when you realize there hasn't been one available for purchase for years. The final build is strong, and it's also small enough to display reasonably on a shelf or small coffee table. It's not as detailed as the Ultimate Collector's Edition version, but if you didn't manage to snap that up back in 2007, you don't have a lot of other affordable options. Given how Lego has cycled its Star Wars content over the years, its unlikely this Falcon will be going out of print any time soon, but if you're looking to add to your collection and get yourself in the mood for the upcoming sequel, I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon than building one of the most iconic ships in all science fiction.
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