Star Wars has been very much in my thoughts lately. Like pretty much everyone in the world, probably, given the huge marketing push behind The Force Awakens. So I couldn’t help but stop and stare when, in the window of a sleepy toy shop in a quiet corner of the UK where my Dad lives, I saw a large, impressive-looking Lego Millennium Falcon. I peered closer, then recoiled in horror at the price tag: £189.99! Whoa.
So like any sensible person, I turned to the internet to see if this beauty was available anywhere else at a more reasonable price. And that’s when I fell into the rabbit hole of Lego Millennium Falcons: rare ultimate collector editions, custom-builds, retired models, 10179s, BrickLinks and MOCs. Oh my.
The model I saw in the shop turned out to be #7965 from Episode IV – including some cool Leia, Vader, Luke etc. minifigs – which is now, unfortunately, “retired”.
It’s been replaced by #75105 to coincide with the release of The Force Awakens, with a whole lot of minifigs that I don’t recognise – yet – a silver-haired Solo, and… a new radar! Because obviously, the Falcon lost it’s original one in the escape from the Death Star in Episode VI. But you remember that, of course. It’s also darker and more battered looking, reflecting the intervening 30 years of wear and tear.
But these models aren’t the end of the Lego Millennium Falcon story. Oh no. If you want the ultimate Falcon model, you need the 5000+ piece, 3ft x 2ft, Ultimate Collector’s edition! The ticket price may be £350ish, but it’s long discontinued, so you’re going to be paying a whopping £3000/$5000+ to get your hands on a factory-sealed version.
It might be properly to scale with regard to the mini-figures, but this beauty isn’t really a toy. The smaller versions open up and allow access to the interior, allowing you to act out your favourite scenes around the Dejarik table, but this one favours accurate exterior greebles over playability.
If you don’t fancy splashing out thousands of pounds on a Lego model, the community can help you there, too…
Lego Apps and Tools
They’ve put together some fantastic tools that let you work with the huge database of Lego pieces, sites that let you buy and sell new and used parts easily in bulk and apps for digitally building models and even creating your own instruction booklets. I was also surprised to see that the Lego site itself has all of the instruction booklets available for download in PDF format.
That means it’s possible to buy the pieces of the Ultimate Millennium Falcon 10179 set individually and then use the original instruction booklet to build it.
You need to use a few different tools and sites to be able to do this. As you can read in the instructions outlined here, you can load the entire piece-list for the Ultimate Falcon into an app called BrickStock. You can chop and change to get cheaper versions of some of the rarer bits and it looks like you can get the 6kg of Lego down to about $600.
Once you’ve refined things, you can upload your “want list” to a site such as BrickLink, to source them. It’ll take a while for all of the pieces to be sourced and delivered, and you’ll have to pay additional delivery charges, so it does require some effort and patience. And of course, once you’ve got all the blocks it’ll still take you weeks to build!
The officially-developed Lego Digital Designer lets you build models virtually (it was originally intended for creating ‘custom Lego kits’ but that functionality has been withdrawn). It seems to work quite well, and allows you to easily share your creations as .lxf files.
Yet More Options – Customisations and MOC
And there are yet more options! If you’re not happy with the off-the-shelf 7965/75105, and don’t have enough moola for the eye-wateringly expensive Ultimate version or enough time for a hand-assembled build, you could try one of the middle range “MOC” designs. MOC? My Own Creation.
For instance, here’s a great variation on the Millennium Falcon 7965 kit by Dario Del Frate. There are loads of improvements to make it more accurate, especially around adding detail to the somewhat bare bottom of the vanilla kit.
Dario is even kind enough to provide an .lxf file to load straight into LDD – see the screenshot above.
Buy or Build
As my wife has reminded me, I might be able to spend time on the internet choosing a set of bricks with which to build an Ultimate 10179. But then I’ve still got to find the time to build it. And I’m not sure that I want it as a display piece, but rather as something that can be played with and even (shock!) be taken apart and cannibalised.
I’ve really enjoyed this little diversion into the world of Lego Star Wars and the ins and outs of the Falcon, but I think I’ll stick to the bog-standard 75101 kit, and then look at making some customisations based on Dario’s work if I get the time.
So many Falcons, so little time!