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Millennium Falcon

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Category: Star Wars
Subcategory: 1/144

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Manufacturer:Fine Molds
Medium: Styrene
Parts: 93
Status: Available
Release Date: 2010
Skill Level: Intermediate
NOTE: According to multiple online sources, Fine Molds has lost the license to produce Star Wars items and must cease all production by the end of 2014, when Bandai begins production under a new license. Although the Fine Molds models are still available, the status will be changing to “Discontinued” by the end of the year.

A few years ago, Fine Molds issued a wonderful kit of the Millennium Falcon in 1:72 scale. The kit had over 800 parts and was incredible. But the kit, which was priced at about $200.00 US, was too expensive for many buyers.

Now, Fine Molds has issued a smaller kit in 1:144 scale that is much more affordable. However, there are changes between the scales. The boarding ramp does not fold down, and no figure kits are included with the kit.

The kit, which is molded in light gray styrene, is beautifully made, with little or no flash or sink marks visible. The landing gear can be shown either extended or in “flight” mode. Adhesive masks are included for the cockpit and upper and lower gun positions. Other features of the kit are an illustrated instruction sheet, a four-page color fold-out with decal and painting instructions, and a decal sheet with all markings.

One odd thing is that the painting guide uses the 1:72 scale kit as the primary reference. To allow for the difference in scale, the builder will need to make some changes to the paint scheme to lighten it for the scale effect.

The completed kit measures 6 inches across by 8.5 inches long.

Review by: Rich “Lonewolf” Dula

Entry created: May 23, 2010

Build-Up Review

Okay . . . time to get off my backside and get around to writing up the build-up review of this wonderful kit.

In late 2011/early 2012, my wife asked me if I would let her choose my next project. I gave her a choice of five kits (can’t even remember what they were now), and this is the one she picked out. The kit can be built in either landed or flight configuration. I chose the flight configuration so I could use the stand provided with the kit.

Construction was pretty straight-forward, and no major modifications were needed. To ensure the escape pod mounts were securely attached, I glued them in place, and then used a small bracket clamp running from the edge of the escape pod to the interior of the central gun hubs (see photo below). I assembled one side, let it dry overnight, then did the other side.

I did deviate from the instructions and left the central gun hubs off until almost the last step. At that point, I glued the central gun hubs to the main hull. They are designed to pivot around the ship (not just the gun mounts, the entire center hub!) and I wanted them to remain stationary so I could have the guns pointing in one direction. I also refrained from attaching the gun mount windows until everything else was done, so I wouldn’t have to run the risk of fogging them up with the final flat-coat. The cockpit windows have to be installed because they are sandwiched between the upper and lower halves of the neck.

I also left off the main sensor dish and mount to avoid breakage. I assembled them, then set them aside until later, along with the completed gun mounts.

After construction was complete, I used a heated Xacto blade to damage some of the armor panels. This kit does not come with any molded-in damage, and does not provide any decals to replicate the damage, either. If you want your kit to look anything like the Falcon, you’ll have to damage it yourself.

The cockpit interior is Tamiya Flat Black, and the gun positions are Tamiya Sky Gray with Flat Black simulating the tunnel. I used a Pigma Micron pen to draw in the lines between the panels.

The primary color used was Model Master Flat Light Gray. I knew that I’d end up darkening the paint as I weathered, and I didn’t want to start with anything that was going to be too dark. My airbrush was (and still is) down because the compressor needs parts, so this model was entirely hand-painted. I masked and painted the windows with a toothpick, and then used a micro-brush to apply Future to the windows to shine them up.

Future was also applied to each area where a decal was to be placed, and that was when I experienced my only real disappointment with this kit. The decal sheet is nowhere near accurate. When I compared the 1:144 decal sheet to the enclosed 1:72 painting guide, and then checked that against my copy of Sculpting A Galaxy, it became apparent that the decal sheet was missing over half of the markings that appeared on the filming model.

I ended up applying the decals provided, then painting over them with color-matched paint (Model Master Light Gull Gray and Model Master Rust) plus adding in all of the missing panels. I added about 20 areas to the upper hull and a similar number to the lower hull, plus added missing spots on the sidewalls and cockpit chin area.

After everything was dry, I started weathering with a thin wash of Tamiya Flat Black thinned with isopropyl alcohol, working in small areas. I applied the wash with a very fine paint brush, letting the wash flow down the panel lines and pool where it wanted to. After the top of the hull was complete, I flipped the model over and worked on the bottom, being sure to add in runs starting at the edges of the hull and running inward toward the center. When it came time to do the sidewalls, I got out my bracket clamps again and started working from the starboard bow toward the back, around the engine, then back forward again to the tip of the port-side mandible. I used the bracket clamps to hold the model in an upright position so the wash would dry into the recessed areas of the sidewalls rather than just running down the sides.

The main sensor dish and the gun mounts were weathered while they were off the model, so they received the same wash as the rest of the ship.

The final weathering step was applying black, brown, and some white pastels to the hull using a Q-tip and micro-brushes. I had left everything with an unsealed flat paint enamel tone to allow the pastels to “bite” into the paint and make the ship look more beat up. Again, I worked on the top first, from bow to stern then back to the bow again on the opposite side. Same procedure with the bottom and the sidewalls.

I wanted to put a final flat topcoat on the model, but with the cockpit windows already being in place I couldn’t use my standard Testor’s DullCote. Instead, I tried something new. I used a 60/40 mixture of Future/Tamiya Flat Base, and applied it with a paint brush, working it into all of the areas of the ship. I let the top fully dry for 24 hours before moving to the bottom of the hull, and then I used the same procedure on the sidewalls that I used for applying the wash earlier. It worked beautifully, and by angling light off the hull I was able to easily see any spots that I had missed. I applied the mixture to the sensor dish and the gun mounts at the same time, prior to attaching them to the model.

The final step in construction was the installation of the windows, followed by the sensor dish and the gun mounts. The windows are held in place with some Elmer’s white school glue that was applied with a toothpick (love Elmer’s because it holds well and has the added bonus of drying clear). After the windows were dry, I put small dots of Testor’s tube cement in place and attached the gun mounts. The sensor dish was the last piece attached.

The stand was assembled per the kit instructions, and I painted it Tamiya Flat Black. I then dry-brushed it with Model Master Chrome Silver to give it a scratched-up appearance.

All-in-all this was a great kit, and a build that I really enjoyed. If you are a Star Wars fan, this is something you will want to build. It’s also a great kit for gaining experience with Fine Molds kits in general, and looking towards the 1:72 Millennium Falcon specifically.

Entry Created: April 5, 2013
Comments: 0 | Rating (1-5): -- No rating -- | MSRP: $59.00

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