A few days ago I’ve got mail call. It was a box from the far East with half of the top covered in stamps and a customs slip. Finally, my 1/144 Millenium Falcon from Star Wars TFA had arrived. So far I had only seen it in pictures from a few sources. Let me tell you, by now you may have heard a lot of hype about the little gems from Bandai. The hype is well justified. At first close-up glance I can tell that these Star Wars model kits from Bandai are the results of well researched subjects.
Who would have thought? A model of a model originally built with model parts.
The Millenium Falcon model kit from Bandai is molded in a light gray that is almost resembles the base color of the ship. That’s because these Bandai models are SNAP models. The Millenium Falcon features both, ‘peel and stick‘ stickers for the different panel colors or your choice of water slide decals. Good to have both option because as I have mentioned numerous times before, the water slide decal option gives the opportunity to new comers to gain experience that will help them down the road with more advanced model kits.
Back in 2015 at Star Wars Celebration, we’ve got a glimpse of a miniature model of the Millenium Falcon showcased along with other props and costumes used in the Star Wars The Force Awakens. As far as I know, this model was among almost a docen models of the Millenium Falcon to be used as reference for the full scale Falcon to be built. Having seen the movie TFA twice, I have yet to see where CGI meets practical. So for the moment, we will have to wait for The Force Awakens release on DVD and Blu-Ray and hope to see something on those deleted or behind the scenes bonus material. We all know that Lando Carlrissian knocked off the radar dish on the Falcon on the Death Star attack back in Episode VI Return of the Jedi. For Episode VII, we get to see a new radar dish in the same style of the Rebel Blockade Runner which was originally intended to be the Millenium Falcon.
One of the movie teasers showed a full sized Millenium Falcon with plenty of piping around the side walls and mandibles. If you’re familiar with the filming miniatures of the Millenium Falcon in Episode IV and V, you will be happy to see some familiar greeblies of both filming miniatures in the Bandai 1/144 Falcon. However on the Bandai Falcon, the maintenance pits are mirrored as well as the sidewalls on both sides and yes, although not 100% screen accurate, the piping is exquisitely molded as separate parts.
One can build this kit with clear canopy or supplied there is nose cone to be used if you want to display your Falcon with no clear windows on the canopy like the filming miniatures. -To avoid reflections from the studio lighting, the canopies didn’t have windows but rather a windowless frame.- The kit features a transparent blue engine part and it is ready for light up. However the lighting kit can be as expensive as the kit itself. Frankly with a bit a of ingenuity lighting this kit can be a DIY project even for those with no experience. Where the original battery pack is supposed to be, a 9v battery can be inserted with a little bit of shaving so hinty di hint 😉 Because the mandibles are molded separate, you will get the distinctive gap between the hull and mandibles just like the filming miniature. If you want to add further damage to the hull plates by the edges, it will be easy because the plastic is almost in scale thin all around the hull. The engione grill vents are molded separately but unfortunately they are solid. If you want see-thru grilles, you’ll have to go with either 3D printed versions or photo etch.
Can you build an original trilogy Millenium Falcon out of this model kit? Absolutely yes, but with the help of some 3D printed parts from my friend Antonio Regidor.
Because Bandai did pay Disney for the license, this kits are widely available in the Asian market. To obtain them here in the USA, we builders and collectors will have to resort to either the auction site and/or Amazon. As I wrote this entry, I received the 1/144 Slave 1 from Amazon. A few sellers have them available with Prime Shipping and you don’t have to wait that long. Literally I ordered Monday and received by Thusrday the same week at a very reasonable price point. The kit features standing and seated versions of Rey, Finn, Han Solo and Chewbacca and tiny yet detailed for its scale BB-8.