This is the Millennium Falcon as depicted in The Force Awakens. It’s aimed at age 6+ so I’m going to review it accordingly. It looks like the Falcon, it’s easy to build, it’s got a light up engine and makes Pew! Pew! noises. What’s not to like?
It’s a snap together kit that comes in about 10 bits. It’s pre painted (the cockpit is blacked out and some of the panels are painted) and all the electronics are self contained. They are activated by pressing the middle lower engine exhaust. The parts are easily clipped from the sprue with a sprue cutter and can be cleaned with a sanding stick. All the parts are crisply molded with no flash. This would be a great kit to introduce a new modeller to the hobby (or a cheap way to get a nice falcon display for less than £20). The instructions are big and simple.
It’s got some moving parts too – the antenna dish swivels round, as do the turret guns and the landing gear can be lowered and raised.
Out of the box it looks a bit bland and flat. You can use some simple techniques to give it a paint job that won’t win competitions but looks great on the shelf (or the wall).
I decided to see how simple a paint job it would be possible to do. Something a 6+ could manage and get good results.
Firstly. The model comes pre-painted and I didn’t want to undo that by undercoating the whole thing. Anyway, that’s not a particularly fun thing for a 6 year old to do or something you might want to let them do with your expensive airbrush!
Leaving the kit in it’s ‘raw’ state. I brushed on a layer of Abteilung 502 Starship Filth.
It’s just a regular dark grey oil paint so you can go down to your local hobby shop and grab a tube of their cheap artists oils in the right shade. You can add a (very) little amount of green and brown to it too if you’re feeling experimental.
Now, get an old brush (as this next bit tends to ruin them). And cover a section of the model in it. Work it into the nooks and crannies. It doesn’t have to be thick, but it does have to cover it. You’ll get a feeling for how much is right as you progress. Don’t worry about too much or too little to start with just get used to putting it on…
… and then gently wiping it off. I used my finger in an old cotton t-shirt. You can be quite rough with the kit but be careful around the antenna. Scrub off the oil paint until you’re happy with the result.
If you scrub too much off, just reapply the paint and rub it off again. Move on to the next section and repeat until you’ve covered and cleaned the whole model (apart from the light up engine!)
Don’t forget the underside!
It’s really easy to get fingerprints on the model while you’re handling it. I wear some disposable surgeons gloves (from poundland). Once you’ve done the whole piece, go back and check you haven’t left any smudges or prints and rub them clean.
Oil paints take a while to dry. Days sometimes. You can speed it up by drying the model under a regular table lamp.
Even when the oil has dried, you can continue to clean it off. I used Sansodor odourless thinners and a cotton bud to tidy up.
Lastly, the carbon stains from the exhausts.
For this I used a black pigment powder. If you don’t have any to hand you can grab a regular black pastel crayon from your local art shop. Try and get a dry chalky one, not an oily one.
Crush up the pastel into dust and apply it lightly behind the engines streaking towards the back.
Go lightly and build up gradually. It’s easy to overdo it, you only want to tint the surface.
You can leave it as it is now, but the oil paint never really dried and the pigment powders will eventually wear off, especially if it’s going to be handled and played with after.
I sealed the whole thing with matt varnish – Tamiya matt varnish as it’s what I had to hand, but any artists matt spray will do. Don’t go heavy, light coats are better.
I took the Falcon out for a spin to a galaxy far, far away…
All in all, a very nice little kit at the price point. It’s not collectors quality, but it’s never intended to be.
I built another tiny Falcon a while back, using more traditional techniques. You can find it here.