The 1/72nd Scale
Finemolds Millennium Falcon
NOTE: this Project was completed in late August 2013. You
can see the finished model in our Gallery section
You can see the kit before construction
1) This Project
started on the 21st December 2012 with the cockpit. I built up the
Acreation photoetch cockpit as per the instructions. In this photo
note the two yellow LEDs from the Voodoo FX kit placed behind the
console in the footwell bay.
2) Comparing the
phototech to the Fine Molds kit part. Acreation have done an
essential job if you wish to light the kit as their photoetch is
like swiss cheese! Note the imaginative use of pedals in the
footwell of the kit part! This photo also shows the seats and the
crew - Chewie and Han. At this point I was unsure about whether I
would be modelling the Falcon from "The Empire Strikes Back" escape
from Hoth sequence or from "A New Hope" escape from Tatooine. I
wanted a diorama of take-off with minimum crew up front. Modelling
less crew members would save a headache. However I wanted to model
the cockpit door closed. Unfortunately it was open in the Tatooine
escape scene. The
model is a better replica of the Empire Strikes Back version of the Falcon.
Although Princess Leia Organa is in the cockpit during the Hoth
Echo Base takeoff, the cockpit door is shut in that sequence - so I will be modelling this
takeoff configuration. Princess Leia will be added later. The
Acreation photoetch matches the cockpit depth front-to-rear of the
kit parts but both are too shallow. There isn't much you can do
about this though. You will also have to fiddle-about figuring out
how to match-up the front of the Acreation cockpit to the kit parts.
They do not match at all so you will need some imagination to
fabricate a new cockpit coaming to mate photoetch parts to kit
3) Those cockpit
seats - before and after modification. The front two (on the left in
this photo) can be modelled
from the kit seats with only a few improvements. You will need to
flatten the headrest - it is not as pointed as the kit item
suggests. Cut away as much unnecessary plastic as possible and mount
these seats on plastic rod like the real thing. They were not bolted
to the floor on a solid square block - they swivelled. The rears
seats require more work - cut away the bottom and tops as shown in
the photo (if you have an old Aeroclub Martin Baker Mk4 ejection seat
to hand in 1/72nd scale). Take an Aeroclub white metal Martin Baker
Mk4 ejection seat seatback and mate it to
the kit-seat-front. You must thin down the rear of the kit seat. The
part-modified seats are in the foreground with the Aeroclub white
metal section clearly visible. (Unmodified at rear.)
4) 26th December
2012 - I got out my Sylmasta resin moulding kit - why? Well I only
had one of the Aeroclub ejection seats whereas I needed two. So I
decided to mould the two rear sections of the ejection seat using
the Aeroclub part as a master.
5) Bits of Lego come
in handy when moulding. I superglued the Aeroclub seat rear to the
piece of sprue that is seen sticking out of the top of the rubber
mould. The moulding rubber is blue and this photo shows it setting
inside the Lego container which can be broken down later to release
28th December 2012 - heh presto! After several attempts I get a
couple of decent copies of the Aeroclub seat-back. Moulding with
resin is tricky so be prepared to try and try again. Air bubbles are
7) Now mate-up the resin
seat-backs to the kit part. Note that you have no use for the
8) The completed rear-cockpit seats now
with armrests and mounted on their final plinths (some circular
cross-section plastic extrusion) that allow us to handle the seats
for painting. These are also the seat-mounts that will be used to
secure the seats into the cockpit. These seats obviously swivelled.
In the escape from Hoth the right-hand seat is not even facing
forward, it faces the side bulkhead. The other seat has Princess
Leia in it.
Voodoo FX kit comes with quite a chunky on/off switch. I chose to
mount mine under the Falcon's comms antenna. Fine Molds have made
this removable (and "workable") which means it can eaasily be popped
on and off to access the switch & light the model.
10) This is the underside of the
switch inside the kit hull. The light-grey plastic shows that I have
not mounted this via any kit part. You need to sink the switch
several millimetres into the model. To get the required depth I
found that two halves of the Accurate Miniatures 1/48th scale Il-2
Shturmovik kit fuel tanks did the trick!
11) The Gunwells - you can download
sidewall detail panels off the internet but it takes a bit if trial
and error before you can print them to the right size. Once you
perfect the size then you need only cut them out and glue them in
place. Note that the gunwells are portrayed by Fine Molds as having
parallel sides whereas, in fact, they tapered like the inside of a
pyramid. I chose not to correct the problem as the view inside is
12) The Acreation photoetch cockpit
has quite thick bulkhead walls which would create quite an obvious
step that the "real" Falcon cockpit doesn't have. After studying the
photos I realised that the problem is with then Fine Molds cockpit
canopy. The top and rear of the canopy interior forms part of the
bulkhead. It extends to the pilot's overhead position - indeed
Chewie is seen reaching up and flicking switches on the overhead
console in one scene. I decided to replicate this overhead bulkhead
on the kit part. I built up the thickness with scrap plastic before
detailing with spare photoetch. This photo shows the canopy masked
for painting with scrap photoetch used on the framing too.
13) 30th December 2012 - I start work on
the engines. First I cut out the rear section of the letterbox
opening. We will be lighting the engine bay so it needs to be
extended backwards by a centimetre to create a 'light-box' in which
the LEDs will be mounted.
14) In this picture I show the various engine parts with the
Acreation clear parts and the LEDs for scale. Voodoo FX supply seven
blue LEDs for the engine. The white sheet at the bottom of the
picture is a semi-transparent diffuser (made of nylon) supplied as a
sheet in the Voodoo FX kit. This can be replaced by the Acreation
transparent engine nozzles however you have nothing to mount them on
- so this section will still have its uses.
15) 31st December 2012 - before we head off to New Year
celebrations there was just enough time to build up the light-box
behind the engine bay. You can see it here as the extension behind
the engine. It is boxed-in underneath, to the rear and on the sides.
All it needs is a lid which is seen resting loose on the kit
interior in this shot. After the LEDs are mounted this part will be
glued on before sealing up the hull. Note that I left the interior
of the engine light-box plain plastic white. The LEDs are blue
already so the white provides a good shiny reflective background.
16) 27th January 2013 - a month later and we see the
development of some internal partitions made of white plastic card,
a significant amount of wiring & LEDs, a circuit board and a
17) The cockpit lower-half has been added so that it can be wired for lighting purposes. The original kit rear cockpit bulkhead has been
glued to the furthest point backward along the cockpit corridor.
The area between the new photo-etch cockpit rear-bulkhead and
this firewall is coated with Baremetal foil to prevent
shine-through from cockpit lights backwards into the main hull.
Several holes have been drilled into the rear firewall so that
LED wiring can be fitted through. The section at the bottom in
red is the underside of the rear cockpit floor. Since the cockpit
light is predominantly warm (from red lights) this is the colour
hue I was trying to achieve from light over-spill. No red LEDs
are supplied so a red reflective surface will do. The small
square of white plasticard in the red area is for the white
light band in the cockpit wall. This should NOT show red
18 & 19) These forward facing LEDs are the
Falcon's "main headlights". Here we see the slight dog-leg in
the pins to the LED as we had to negotiate our way around the
upper/lower-hull mounting pin right where the LED needed to be.
These photos only show the LEDs resting in place, they are not
20) Here we see the inside of the lower-hull and a lot
has changed since December. A deep plastic 'collar' has been
added in a semi-circle to the central column that houses the gun
wells. This was necessary primarily to give a mounting guide to
the clear acrylic rod that will be used to mount the model in
"flying" mode. This internal partition also helps stop LED light
from bouncing around inside the model and giving a "see-through"
look. A couple of bulkheads radiate at right-angles from this
new central collar. In between is a large block of hardened
Milliput. This took an entire pack of Milliput to make and is
the mount for the acrylic rod. It was temporarily fixed in place
before the Milliput was mixed up and applied, blob-by-blog
around it. Only the top of the acrylic rod will be visible
through the hole you can see in this picture. The engine has all its
Blue LEDs in place. There is one white LED for the gun-well
tunnel. Wiring goes off to the right of the picture to the two
front headlights as well as the on/off switch (installed on the
upper hull so the wiring is just 'short-circuited' where it
The circuit board is on-end at this point because I was still
soldering leads on and needed to see the underside. When
finished the circuit board will be pressed flat to the hull
inside and secured with electrician's tape. Until we fit the
upper-hull we cannot use the on/off switch to test the LEDs.
Instead we short-circuited the switch cable and just touched the
9v battery terminals to their clips to test the circuit.
21) Here we see more detail of the
mounting and the engine bay LEDs. The LED's have been secured with
silicone adhesive but the mounting isn't very stiff so the LEDs
ending up pointing in different directions. I ended up supergluing
them into position. Note the battery clip in the top left.
22) Close-up of the battery compartment made up with plastic
card. The battery will be inserted through an under-carriage bay
roof. The undercarriage on the FineMolds Falcon has poly-caps
allowing the modeler to fit the bay doors closed OR the extended
undercarriage without the need for glue. You can swap them as you
wish. We will use this useful feature to allow us to gain access to
the battery compartment when we need to. If you do this then you
will need to widen the compartment a little as a 9v battery is
lightly too wide. This is not a problem. The rear of the engine bay
will interfere with the battery compartment so I simple extended the
battery comartment forward so that a 9V batter can be inserted in at
a slight angle to clear the engine bay. The battery clip was then
added with its wiring threaded through a hole in the side of the
battery compartment. The compartment walls were made stiff through
several triangular bulkheads around the outside.
23) Self explanatory picture of the mounting acrylic rod. I had
to buy an entire metre of it just to get this short section! Note
the careful shaping of the end nearest the camera. This end goes
into the kit and is intended to butt-up against the inside of the
upper hull so that the model hangs from the upper hull. This should
make the mount stronger and stiffer. All that Milliput helps too.
24) The hole in the underside of the lower hull for the
acrylic rod. This was carefully drilled out as close to the center
of gravity as possible although it is at an angle. Most of the
weight is at the back of the kit helping to reduce the bending
forces on the acrylic rod.
25) Close-up of
lower-hull entry point for the mounting rod. This area has a couple
of greeblie additions to the outside and these were added later in an
attempt to neaten up the hole. The result wasn't brilliant but is
good enough. It was hard to get the hole the right shape to mount
the rod at an angle.
26) Here we see the acrylic rod mounted in position from the
outside of the lower hull. The blue plastic visible on the shaft is
just the protective wrapping that came with the rod. It has been
left on to protect it from scratches. You can see from this view the
angle at which the rod is mounted to the hull.
27) Switching views back to the inside of the hull we can
see the top end of the mounting rod sticking out of its hole at the
top of the lump of Milliput.
28) Similar view to 27 above showing the top of the
acrylic rod in position. The shaping of the rod tip allows it to
rest firmly against the hull and internal bulkhead without twisting.
29) 24th February
2013 - a month-on again. Things proceed apace! This is a relatively
easy and quick build if you compare this to the four years it took
me to build three Accurate Miniatures 1/48th scale Shturmoviks. The
reason for this is that this is a bit more like engineering than
model making. It is on large kit with lots of sub-assemblies to keep
you interested. The enthusiasm levels remain high and you can sit
down for half-an-hour here and there and still make lots of good
progress. It has been a very therapeutic antidote to the four years
of hell I spent trying to get those Il-2's looking accurate. The
FineMolds Flacon doesn't have any fit problems or joint lines to
fill in and rub down. It just bolts together. The nature of the
Falcon's shape and the fact it is a science fiction model means you
can relax and just glue it all together without worrying about
accuracy or gaps. A real joy.
30) A rear view shows the
inside of the lower hull has gone all black and that the engine bay
has been sealed up. More than this - the rear of the engine has been
added with the 'grid' structure you can see. Inside the Acreation
clear engine sections have been added on top of the Voodoo FX nylon
diffuser-strip (all superglued into place). Remember I told you that they
sent only 12 parts when there should have been 13? Well they sent on
two so I had a spare. Guess what? I ended up using all 14 parts
because there was space for them. The 14th section had 1/3rd cut of
its length and fitted perfectly.
31) The black inside the hull is Matt Black paint sploshed
around to help stop internal reflections of any LED light
over-spill. The rear of the engine LEDs do leak a bit of blue light
and I didn't want this to be visible once the hulls are closed up.
The engine bay has been coated with kitchen foil superglued into
place. Those LEDs are very bright and the whole thing glowed when
switched on. The foil stops the glow so that there will be no light
over-spill when the model is complete and switched on. I have spent
a lot of time trying to stop this from happening. I only want the
light to appear where it should do - like the professional studio
model. If I switch the LEDs on after completion to only find light
spilling out of every crevice it will ruin the effect. This LEDs are
bright so if you don't wrap foil around some of the places they are
then the fuselage will simply GLOW!
32) Close-up of the cockpit which has now been fully wired
including all LEDs and the fibre optics. The fibre-optic-LED
assembly I was sent (from Voodoo FX) didn't work at first so I took
it apart and removed the wiring. Then I added new wires and it
worked. The fibre-optics were a pain really as the fibres are so
thick and inflexible they are not all that practical in such a small
kit. They are way over-scale for 1/72nd. This view also shows the
black electrician's tape used to bundle all the wiring as well as
black-out the undercarriage bays.
33 & 34) All
the LEDs are in place behind the cockpit and the Acreation photoetch
cockpit is in place. The fibre-optics were fixed with superglue and
then blobs of silicone adhesive added for strength. The LEDs are
then shoe-horned into the space between the Acreation cockpit and the
rear bulkhead. There is three white lights and two green. Probably
over-kill in such a small space. There are then the two yellow LEDs
that are inside the instrument coaming at the front.
I splashed some white paint around behind the cockpit. There is a
clear acetate sheet mounted behind the Acreation photo-etch bulkhead
and the LED light is meant to shine through it. However this can
be a little too harsh so some white paint helped give it more of a
glow. Also visible in this photo is the instrument coaming - once
the Acreation photo-etch cockpit is finally mounted in place you
will need to build the coaming from scrap plastic. I also a added a
little scrap of Baremetal foil to stop the Yellow LED light from
shining through the coaming.
35) Some detail in the cockpit. The Acreation decal looks great
on paper but is rubbish in execution. The decal sheet is one big
carrier sheet so you will need to carefully cut around each decal
quite close to its edge.
Then you find they are extremely fragile and fall to pieces at the
slightest touch. This makes it very difficult to get them into position.
Pushing them around makes them fall apart. However the worst problem
is the fact they are see-through. You won't appreciate this until
you mount them on a dark barckground - then it is too late!. IF YOU
HAVE THE ACREATION SET THEN PAINT THE COCKPIT GLOSS WHITE AND THEN
MOUNT THE DECALS. Only then fill in the surrounding area with very
dark grey with a detail brush. The details on my decal set mostly
vanished when placed on the gloss dark-grey background I had
airbrushed onto the photo-etch. Hence I had to go back in and
retouch it certain areas like the door surround and some white
switches on the instrument panel. This photo also helps to show how
hopelessly over-scale the fibre-optics are - they appear is big
white blobs on the rear instrument panel. I would seriously
recommend NOT using the fibre-optics in the Voodoo FX kit. They are
best-off used for fuselage lights - anywhere but not in the cockpit.
The holes in the Acreation photo-etch combined with the decals
should be enough to get the lighting right in the cockpit.
36) The gun well tunnel has now been painted, weathered
and has its black ladder mounted into place. To the left you can see a slot
cut to represent the tunnel entry doorway. I have used a piece of
the semi-opaque diffuser from the engine bay to blur the light from
the LED. The LED can just be seen to the left of the tunnel.
37) The mandible front headlamps have
now been fixed in place. Some blu-tac is used to position them
before lots of silicone adhesive fixes them in place. There are
frontal caps to be fixed over these LEDs later in assembly when the
hull halves are joined. These caps have holes for the lights with
clear-plastic headlamp covers from the FineMolds kit. It is
interesting to reflect that many of the studio models didn't feature
these lights and they appear to have been added for "The Empire
Strikes Back". One studio model and one drawing I have seen have the
lights offset from the centre but generally they were centred as per
the FineMolds kit. The plastic end-caps will certainly glow when the
LED is switched on so a layer of Baremetal foil will be needed
inside so that the LEDs ONLY shines through the headlamps.
38) The inside of the upper hull
39) The outside of the upper hull
40) 9th March 2013 and the inside of
the hulls have been painted black and the foam packing has been
shaped to fit.
41) 12th March 2013 - The foam packing has
been sprayed black and put back into position.
42) 9th March 2013 - The wooden base is
constructed from a
piece of dark hardwood window-sill board that we found in our home's
attic when we moved house. (Looks like it was a leftover from when the
house was built.) I had been looking for a chance to use it. As the
Millennium Falcom was to be displayed taking off then I needed a
heavy base for stability. The sill-board was ideal but not wide
enough. So I chopped it in half and glued/stapled it along the flat
edge to double the width. I had a bit of work to do to get it flat
as it was a little warped. Then I found some nice wood veneer in a
hobby shop that was glued over the ends. The result was sanded
smooth and given an application of French Polish. I drew the snow
pattern onto the top in marker pen and masked off. In this photo I
have added some more staples in the snow area ready to secure the
air-drying clay. This clay would be shaped with a hand-made scraper
(seen in this picture) to resemble the straight-lined patten seen on
the ice-base walls in the escape from Hoth. I made the patterned
scraper from plasticard [cut by hand] which was then stiffened with
a square brass rod superglued onto the back. A handle was fashioned
out of bits of the Fine Molds Falcon's original display base. A
plaque was also made of bit of old Fine Molds display base and this
can also be seen in this photo towards the rear of the wooden base.
To the left you can see the 15mm dia hole drilled to accept the
acrylic rod. The inside of the hole has been painted white. A small
offcut of rod is also seen here and this was used in the hole when
the air-drying clay was applied to keep the hole from filling.
Whilst the clay was wet I pulled the rod out to leave the hole
clear. At the point this photo was taken I was ready to apply the
air-drying clay. I found a pack of Hobbycraft own-brand white clay
to use. However that proved to be a bit of a disaster - I will
relate that story later. On with the build...
43) 17th March 2013 - the two parts
of the hull are assembled now and the various greeblie bits are
44) 13th March 2013 - There are a lot of parts and the build
sequence seemingly has you randomly swapping between sprues. So I
put big bright labels on each in Tamiya masking tape to make it
easier to grab the one I wanted.
At this point let's take a time-out to talk about the build
sequence. Fine Molds seem to want you to apply a heck of a lot of
delicate greeblie before major assemblies are done. I suggest that
would be foolish. Do the heavy engineering before the delicate
stuff, ie, get the big bits done before the small, the inside before
the outside. So I built the kit approximately in this sequence:
steps 1, 2, 3, 5, 12, 20, 29(2), 28, 6, 7, 8, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13,
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29 (remainder), 30,
31, 32 and 33 (although I applied the bottom half of the cockpit
subassembly to the lower hull after step 20 due to the wiring
constaints - the upper section was added only after the two main-hull
halves were joined). Step 29 sub-step 2 is a small section that is
trapped between the cockpit and the Falcon's main hull - you will
need this built early to trap it in place during assembly of the two
main-hull halves otherwise you might not be able to get it in at all
with the lower cockpit corridor section already in place. Fine Molds
intend for the cockpit sub-assembly to be in place LAST. This is
probably the only gotcha to watch out for if you change their
|45) 16th March
2013 - There are a
lot of small parts so you will need to use a pencil and cross off
anything you have added from the Instruction sheet - it really helps
2nd April 2013 - Chewbacca -
he is quite easy to paint!
47) Princess Leia - I suck at
figure painting. Thankfully she is buried in the back in the dark so
her poor appearence isn't a problem.
48) Han Solo - he looks a lot better that
|49 & 50) The
two rear seats from the cockpit looking quite good.
51 & 52)
The two front seats from the cockpit also looking quite good.
|53) One of the
two gun-well seats. These are massively over-scale!
interior of the cockpit canopy.
55) The main comms dish.
56) Battle damage from under the rear hull. I used a
hot soldering iron and mini-drill to gouge out the laser-strike. I
used the Haynes Manual illustrations as a guide but realised too
late that they are wrong, as in they show the under-hull damage in
mirror image. Ignore the Haynes Manual artwork and refer instead to
the 30 inch Lucas Film Model that is pictured by Fine Molds on the
box insert card.
57) The lower-rear hull greeblie all
58) More battle damage on the rear-lower
hull in mirror image. Just behind the damage is the battery
compartment-cum-undercarriage bay. There is some foam stuffed in
there to stop the battery from rattling around and falling out.
There is one rather obvious major ommission from
the model to note: none of the undercarriage bay doors are included.
It appears to have been an oversight that even the photoetch
industry hasn't filled. So I hit the internet and closely studied
the relevant scenes from The Empire Strikes Back. A couple of
modellers online adopted the same solution I was working on - and
that was to attach the doors to the undercarriage bay floor sections
either with new bay sides or some kind of linking strut to the bay
floor. This is necessary since Fine Molds supply no bay wall detail.
They engineered the kit to have legs or bay covers that can be
popped in or removed using poly-pins. No thought was given to the
bay doors despite the fact they they are quite obvious in the movie.
It is apparent that Fine Molds engineered the kit from flying models
that had no undercarriage. The undercarriage seems to have been an
afterthought and thus ill-thought through.
59) Some pipework being added to the
underside of one of the mandibles. These pipework pieces on Sprue
"J" are too small and the ends are rounded. If you want a sharp
butt-joint to the pipes moulded onto the hull then you need to
create a clean cut at each end to remove the rounded tip. This makes
the pieces even shorter. So I ended up with pieces of extruded
plastic rod in combination with the kit parts. This is a mess. I had
a look online and found at least one modeller simply removed the
pipework and did it with brass rod! I am not sure I will go quite
that far but this is going to be a royal pain in the arse.
60) Some more obvious battle damage from
the upper-hull near the cockpit. All drawings and models show this
consistently and it is easy to reproduce with hot soldering iron and
|61) More battle
damage on the upper hull. This section is well documented and easy
to reproduce. It is a good question as to why Fine Molds did not
reproduce battle damage since this was meant to be the Han Solo
modified freighter, not some other freighter?
greeblies on the rear-upper hull. This matches the 30 inch studio
model well but examination of Fine Molds OWN model (from the
box-insert pictures) shows that they didn't assemble all the pieces
- so do not use this as a guide. This photo also shows the
photoetch. The smaller fan grills supplied on the photoetch sheet do
not match the studio model so should be consigned to the spares box.
The six very large grills look great but the grills are easily
see-through so you should fill in the gap behind with something of
visual interest otherwise the original grill mounting holes look
63) More battle damage to upper-rear-right hull. Don't
forget that there is also battle damage to the rear of the cocpkpit
tunnel and on the side of one of the docking rings.
only place where we needed filler - the tips of the mandibles are a
troublesome fit and it is worth filling gaps here because of that
LED headlight at the tip. Any gaps will have light spilling through
them and that won't look good.
Note that I elected to have the
loading ramp in closed position. The loading bay and ramp are quite
innaccurate in comparison to the 'real' one on the movie set - you
have been warned! Considerable scratch building required.
|65) 3rd April
2013 - The "Escape from Hoth" presentation base nearly finished. The
original layer of air-drying clay did not dry as expected. I have
some experience with the material and generally it does not shrink
or curl. However this was Hobbycraft own-brand and it shrank, curled
and broke up. So, whilst it was nearly hard I put some tiles and
bricks on top to flatten it. After a couple of days I removed the
weights and surveyed the damage. It was easily mended with some
white decorator's caulking blended in. Then I roughly painted it
white using Humbrol enamels before I gave it a thick layer of
Johnsons Klear applied by brush. This was added before the enamel
had really cured properly so it yellowed a little. Never fear, I
wasn't finished; next I mixed up some blue enamel with white spirit
& gloss varnish and applied that quite thickly allowing it to settle
into the crevasses. I allowed that to dry before masking and
airbrushing-on more of the Humbrol enamel white; focussing on the
highlights. I blended in the blue this way to give more depth and
make the snow look more icey and cold. Finally I sprayed on a thin
layer of thinned down PVA glue and liberally spread on some Joefix
Snow Powder (nasty stuff - looks like Aluminium oxide or something)
for that final snow effect. Then I finished off with some more Klear
airbrushed on thickly this time to seal it all in. It remained only
to remove the masking and apply a bit of wax polish to the wood. In
this picture I have temporarily inserted the mounting rod and (to
the right of photo) you can see the small plaque made up of bits of
the Fine Molds kit base. This will be painted in the colours of the
Falcon before the large decal is applied. Then it will be
permanently fixed onto the "Escape from Hoth" presentation base.
& 68) Pictures of the underside as I was gluing on the
undercarriage bay doors. These were cut from white plasticard to
match the references I had (basically screen shots from The Empire
Strikes Back that I simply photographed off the TV screen!). These
were positioned with BlueTac with the gear bays in place in their
trenches. This simply made the job easier. There will be some more
detailed photos later.
|69 & 70) More of
that troublesome pipework. In the end I abandoned using the kit
parts and fabricated all the piping in extruded plastic. It will
take quite a bit of cleaning up. A job I am not looking forward to
but only because this kit spoils you - you hardly need to rub
71 & 72) 9th April 2013 - work is finished
on the undercarriage bay doors. Here we see the front middle pylon
top and bottom. Loops of piping hanging down inside the bays is from
leftovers of wiring from the lighting kit. There wasn't enough for
everything so we substituted in some stretched sprue when we ran
out. Take note of the gear actuators extending down into the bays.
|73, 74, 75 & 76)
Views of the front left and right undercarriages.
|77 & 78) A
screen-shot from "The Empire Strikes Back" of Chewie and Han arguing
under the Falcon as it is parked at Echo Base on Hoth. It shows the
front-middle (Han is pointing at it) and front-left (Chewie is
kneeling at it). Compare to photo 78 showing a similar view of all
three front undercarriage legs. Compare. Note that one of the pipes
passes through the baffle and joins onto the top of the gear foot.
79 & 80) Another screen shot of Han standing
outside the Falcon when it was down the throat of that enormous worm
creature in the asteroid belt. It shows (again) the front-middle
undercarriage pylon (closest to Han) and the front-left (furthest
away). Photo 80 shows the same view of the modifed kit legs with the
same two items being furthest from the camera. Compare.
|81 & 82) The same
front three legs as modified.
83) The rear two legs as modified.
84) All the undercarriage legs together with a peek under the
the front-middle leg.
|85) A peek under
one of the rear legs. The bay doors have been decorated with
greeblie of my own design. The "real" bay doors in The Empire
Strikes back had no decoration on the set. The models had decorated
doors but these didn't reflect the way the set Falcon doors
were built. So you can leave it to your imagination.
86) 11th May 2013 - We'll give Princess Leia a
coat of white.
87) I cocked-up the transparencies big time. The main cockpit is
OK but whilst removing the masking from the very front cockpit
windows I scratched the transarencies badly. Probably should not
have used Scotch-tape and I should NOT have tried to remove it with
a new scalpel blade. It really dug in. What was worse: I had
even managed to mask the WRONG side of the gun well transparencies
because I overlooked the fact that they are concave not convex.
So I will be gently rubbing-down the transparencies to remove
several deep scratches - and I mean DEEP! This is going to be
hell. To be fair this is the only mini-disaster of the entire build
and I have been putting it off for ages. There are only a couple of
deep cuts to treat with a few other light abrasions that will polish
out easy. But I am kicking myself.
88) I switched the LED rig on with all the room lights off at
night and noticed quite a lot of light still bleeding from the front
spotlights and the cockpit ring. So I masked these areas and
airbrushed on the silver enamel Humbrol paint, This helped but
wasn't quite enough so I added a second coat in the worst-effected
areas by hand-brushing the silver enamel on thickly.
|89) Here we see
the front spotlight masked with a small dab of PVA glue and
airbrushed, then brush-painted, silver enamel. This softened the
detail a little. A coat of thick gloss black will be airbrushed on
top. Hopefully this will do the trick after the final few coats of
grey are applied. Either that or never use the internal LEDs after
90) 23rd May 2013 - work progressing nicely as we
start masking up the transparencies. As mentioned earlier I had
scratched them in a few spots so had polished them up before
proceeding. Next step will be to airbrush on some Future to seal the
masking in before airbrushing on the grey. Update - June 2013 - this
proved to be a disappointing experiment. The Future over the
transparencies simply didn't stick. When over-sprayed with the
cockpit grey it simply all peeled off when I removed the masking.
The Future had also crept under the masking making a mess. Lesson
learnt - this technique may work only on pre-painted surfaces. On
untreated surfaces use a good undercoat! In this case I stripped the
paint/Future off then remasked again to paint again later in the
project as part of the whole.
91) 3rd June 2013. Cockpit
assembled with its occupants in their seats. Control columns added
as were the instrument panel control sticks. (Apologies about the poor quality of the
picture as I forgot to set the Aperture priority.) I later
applied the cockpit transparencies and then masked using Tamiya tape
cut to shape using the Fine Molds canopy (supplied in grey plastic
with no clear parts) as a template. These are alternatives to the
glazed plastic giving you the opportunity to recreate the look of
the original filming models. Glazing would not have worked on the
stage during filming as it would have caused reflections. It is a
nice touch but I certainly had no intention of using them. This is
meant to be a spaceship. Having no glass in the windows just looks
92) 27th June 2013 and several coats of primer later
the Falcon has been rubbed down and the pre-shading applied.
95) 27th June 2013 and several coats of primer later the
Falcon has been rubbed down and the pre-shading applied.
I used Alclad Grey Primer & Microfiller for the base coat but it
can give a slightly pebbley finish so I rubbed down with Micromesh
cloths before adding the pre-shade with Humbrol Gloss Black. It give
a nice smooth finish.
96) 3rd July 2013 - the first coats of Humbrol Grey had
been applied over the pre-shading. This was done with several,
well-thinned, wet coats applied over several days with my trusty old
Badger airbrush at 30psi. The Badger always seems to allow me to
apply more paint over large areas whereas the Iwata is a dainty
machine and really struggle to do any large coverage. So I used the
Iwata for the pre-shading. This photo shows the Falcon upside-down
with the mounting rod sticking out (I use it to hold the model
3rd July 2013 - this piece of card has the undercarriage
bay door/covers, the name plaque, the gun bay windows and gun well
all of which have been airbrushed a couple of coats of the
final grey mix.
2013 - fast-forward a bit and we have now given the Flacon
a couple of coats of Future to give it a gloss ready for the decals.
Here we can see the modeller's bench setup with saucer of water and
bottles of decal softener. Yup, you will need a lot of that. The
Finemolds decals are thickly printed and will need a lot of
persuasion to settle down over all that greeblie detail. No wonder
several other modellers on the web decided to paint on the markings
instead. I would recommend this but, being a glutton for punishment
decided to try the decals.
The decals are not bad for the reddish-brown markings
but close examination of the studio models revealed that
they have missed quite a few of the grey and red patches. Not only
that but the grey colour decals are not even vaguely the right
shade! They are a very pale magnolia-grey whereas the studio model
shows a much darker grey with no hint of a brown shade whatsoever.
12th August 2013 - now the decals have all been applied and
some of the masking removed. Next up we are applying a wash to bring
out the panel lines. I used a black oil wash on the finer details
and Flory/Pro-Modeller weathering wash for the rest. I had planned
to use a muddy brown colour too but decided against it as the studio
models don't show this kind of colouration in the seams.
12th August continued - top-side of the Falcon at the
weathering stage. The decals had been sealed in with a dusting of
Future before this started.
|101, 102, 103)
At this stage three hairline cracks appeared around the upper-hull
perimeter of the upper gunwell. These remain a mystery but may be a
result of the mounting-rod twisting around inside the Falcon during
manipulation. However the rod is in a shaft of Milliput attached to
the underside of the hull, not the upper-side, so it isn't clear why
an stress should be applied to this area. Either way I decided to
added a couple of patches seen here (white plasticard) attached with
superglue. These just look like more greeblie under a final coat of
weathering applied later. You couldn't do THAT with any other non
sci-fi, non-fiction, model aircraft!
104) 17th August 2013 - The washes were sealed in with a
dusting of good-old Humbrol Matt Varnish as this gives a better
surface to apply the final stage of weathering - the pastel dust.
This won't apply easily to a gloss surface. Note that I applied only
a very light touch of dry-brushing. Again, the detailed shots of
studio models don't hint of this effect.
|105, 106, 107 & 108)
At this point I had used the Iwata to apply streaks and spots of
Xtracolour Exhaust for battle damaged areas as well as the
prominent, ahem, 'exhaust streak' of the rear upper-hull. Shortly
after I applied Humbrol 33 Matt Black with a fine brush inside any
battle damage holes to give them depth. This looks quite close to
the effect used on the studio models although I noted they used less
exhaust streaking them me. Me and my enthusiasm! I also noticed that
there were multiple single-spot laser blast damage on the hull in
numerous places. To get this effect a small circle of airbrushed
Exhaust (very dark grey) is applied and allowed to dry. Then the
Humbrol Matt Black is applied as a dot in the middle with a fine-tip
detail brush. I then smudged the dot with my finger to make it bleed
out a little. This was quite effective.
The pastel dust was applied to match the references. Only two
primary colours are required: a very dark grey/black and a
rusty/orange colour. Brush strokes yield streaks that are too wide
so I simply used a small piece of paper with a straight edge. I held
the piece of paper against the model surface and ran the dust-laden
brush along the edge of the paper - like masking. Remove the paper
and you get a nice straight edge and a thin streak. It worked very
well in replicating what you see on the studio models. When complete
the Falcon still looked a little too clean so I scattered some
pastel dust randomly over the hull. I then used a large flat brush
to gently stroke the dust over the hull from the middle to the outer
edge. This gave the radial streaking effect you see on the real
thing. Now it is nearly finished bar a final coat of Enamel
Satin/Matt to seal in the dust!
20th August 2013 - nearly finished, just a couple of evening's work
left now to finish final assembly. A final light coat of Humbrol
Matt & Satin Varnish blend has been applied and allowed to dry for
two days. I have mounted the Falcon on its display stand just to see
how she looks. All final masking has been removed and all painted
smaller items removed from their cardboard mount. The display
placque has been slotted in place on the base and stays there
tightly without glue so it can be removed later. Being a little
nervous about the hairline cracks I have but a simple strut of
expanded polystyrene under the nose (as a prop) to relieve stress
from the rear fuselage. For storage I would probably dismount
the Falcon and just rest it on its under-carriage.
All that is left to do now is to finish the assembly of the two
gun-wells and mount the undercarriage. I have also painted the
closed-undercarriage bay doors just in case I needed them.
gunwells need their paper-printed sides gluing on as well as their
seats before the lid is glued finally onto the circular mount that
is free to rotate within the hull-halves. Why Finemolds designed it
this way is a mystery as it resembles nothing about the Falcon nor
its studio models. Maybe it seemed a good idea at the time?
A few points of reflection:
a couple of modellers online have done a beautiful job of
superdetailing this Falcon. This is somewhat gilding the lilly. Yes
you could remove external-moulded-on piping
and replace it with metal tubing but this really adds very little.
Simply score along each plastic moulded tube and run a fine wash
along it - the pipe will visually appear to hover over the surface!
Another modeller added all kinds of greeblie in attempt to make this
Falcon look like a different studio model. Nice if you are a glutton
for punishment but there were multiple models and they were all
Finemolds based THIS kit on just one model - the 30 inch studio
model that they show photos of inside the kit boxing. It matches
that model very well so is "accurate" even though there are many
improvements that can be made. On this final point it is odd as to
why Finemolds pushed the part-count so high with the greeblie. It
wasn't always necessary as most of it could have been moulded on.
There is one component towards the end of the build where Finemolds
abandons their usual style of multiple tiny parts and, instead,
mould the item as a single piece. This actually worked very well and
proved they could do it. One wonders if they wanted a high part
count to charge a higher price to the US market? Who knows. If you
like lots of small pointless parts then this is the kit for you!
111 & 112)
22nd August - Finishing touches. Gunwells in final assembly. A close
up of the hull top before the gunwells go in. Job done.
Final close-up shots of the undercarriage being assembled.
Closing shot on the 22nd Agust 2013 - almost exactly 8 months since
we started on 21st December 2012. You can see 360degree panoramic
photos of the finished Falcon over in our Gallery section here.