Make no mistake, 75192 Millennium Falcon is massive in every respect: number of parts, size of model, build time and packaging size.
I received the set on Friday and so far have spent 11 hours building it and I'm still nowhere near finished. Therefore our review will be published in several parts, starting now with the packaging and contents.
When you see a photo of the box with nothing to compare its size with it's hard to tell just how big it is, but see it with a smaller one of familiar size and it soon becomes apparent what a behemoth this is...
The box measures 53cm x 46cm x 38cm, and although the front surface area is not as large as, say, the Assembly Square's box, it's the depth that sets it apart from all others.
In its outer shipping carton it weighs just under 15Kg.
At last night's press event the designers were asked 'at what angle does the model look best'? They replied 'the one on the box'
Here's Mr. Brickset looking forward to getting started on it.
The back provides another great picture of the craft, with rectangular dish fitted, along with shots of the interior details and play features.
The left side of the box shows the included minifigures and a nice blueprint of the model.
The other side describes the contents of the box in eight languages. Note the 'no knife' symbols on the tapes: they don't mean 'do not use a knife to open', but 'don't open this end'.
If you do open it the right end you're presented with the spiral bound instruction manual mounted in a stiff cardboard frame which ensures it remains in pristine condition.
Once carefully removed, four internal boxes come into view, ends printed with part of a picture of the craft that together combine into a complete image. It's typical of the attention to detail that's evident throughout the set.
The front of each has a quote from the films:
"She might not look like much but she's got it where it counts"
"I've made a lot of special modifications myself"
"It's the ship that's made the Kessel Run n less that 12 Parsecs"
"She's the fastest hunk of junk in the Galaxy"
The 466-page instructions are 42x29 cm in size, printed in high quality paper and weigh a lot. In fact, so much that they make the box much heavier on one side than the other.
There's some excellent content at the start, including information about the LEGO Star Wars design team; facts and figures about the Falcon and how it came to look like it does in the films; the history of LEGO Falcons; and interviews with the designer Hans Burkhard Schlomer and graphic designer Madison O'Neil, all sumptuously illustrated with Ralph McQuarrie's artwork.
If you don't buy the set it will be worth looking at all this once LEGO publish the instructions at its customer services site.
The instructions themselves are split in 1378 steps.
Unfortunately, even in LEGO's most expensive set there's a sticker sheet. Thankfully not too many, but I do wonder why LEGO insists on penny pinching on flagship sets such as this.
Inside the inner boxes are around 50 bags of parts, numbered 1 to 17. So, thankfully, you will not need to have all 7541 spread about on the table when you start building, unless you want to of course!
One would think that they'd be placed in the inner boxes in some sort of logical fashion, with bags 1 to 4, say, in the first box, and so on. But that's not the case so all four boxes need to be opened at the start.
Update: In response to comments I should make it clear that it's not totally random: all of the same numbered bags are in the same box, and bags #1 may well be in (unnumbered) box #1, but then so are bags #16, #6, #10, or whatever.
So, that's as far at this part of the review goes. As I say I've not completed construction yet. I'm on bag 13 and have spent over 11 hours on it so far. I estimate there's another 4 hours to go.
The next part of the review, which I will try and post later today, will cover half of the construction.
Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for review. The review is an expression of my own opinions.