I'm now well on the way to finishing 75192 Millennium Falcon but after 12 hours I am still not done: I still have three numbered bags to go.
So, in this part of the review I'll take you through construction of bags #1 to #9 (out of 17) and with luck I'll get the model finished today to be able to write the second part tomorrow.
Construction begins with the internal chassis upon which everything will be connected to. It's robustly built using studded Technic beams and plates so is very rigid as a result.
Most of today's sets use colour coding of parts to make it easier to find them in the pile and also easier to see them in the instruction steps, and this set does just that: different sized beams are different colours, certain sized plates are tan, others are grey, and so on. The result is a bit of an eyesore but it'll all be covered up so it doesn't matter.
I knew that designer Hans stated that he based this chassis design on that in the original UCS Falcon but I didn't realise until looking at the instructions now just how similar they are:
The build time for this section was about 75 minutes. It's fairly straightforward, thanks to the colour coding, but you will want to ensure you have every Technic pin in exactly the right hole otherwise you're likely to run into problems later.
Next, six of the seven landing gear legs are constructed. They are identical, thus repetitive to build. You'll probably want do as I did and set up a 'production line' to build them all at once: I don't like going back through the instruction book to start again!
The central axle of each mates with an axle hole on the bottom of a brick with side pins, The other two axles fit into round holes to keep them straight. This makes removing them easy should you wish to display the model without them.
It seemed a bit strange adding the landing gear so early on but it soon becomes apparent why it's been done.
Build time for this section: 35 minutes.
Two sections of interior and a section of the bottom of the ship are constructed next, and just when you thought you were done with repetitive landing gear builds, the seventh leg is added at this point.
The sections are built as subassembles that are then attached to the Technic frame using pins. From now on virtually everything is added to the frame in this way.
This is great, because it never feels like you're building a huge model, but lots of small ones that just happen to connect together.
At this point of the build, though, I didn't know that would be the case otherwise I would have photographed each sub-section before attaching it: I didn't start doing so until later, for other reasons I'll explain at the time.
The reason for adding landing gear early in the build is now apparent: these sections, and subsequent ones, are put into position from below.
I'm not going to pretend I know what these rooms and the items in them are, because I don't. CapnRex101 will cover all that when we look at each section in more detail when the model is complete.
Needless to say that a lot of detail has been crammed into the space.
Two interior sections for the back of the craft are built next. The one closest to the camera is full of detail: two corridor entrances and two escape pods, but the one on the other side is empty. I had wondered if it would be filled later in the build but it is not (unless it's in bags 15,16 or 17 which, at the time of writing, I've not built yet).
The corridor entranceways are cleverly constructed, with the top half build upside-down.
The escape pod doors can be opened.
Build time for this bag: 60 minutes
With the interior now done, attention turns to the back and underside of the craft. A lot of time, effort and parts are expended on a curved section that, once done, is mounted upside down at the back, hardly to be seen! You'll see it properly in one of the photos below.
It's while building this part that you get a feel for the crazy amount of greebling that's prevalent across all exterior surfaces of the vessel.
The familiar blue thrusters (?) at the back are formed from six hoses which, like on the original UCS MF, are shielded by two grey rigging pieces (4502460: Lattice 3X28M Ø3.2). Yes, the same part that some BrickLink vendors are selling for $900...
Build time: 50 minutes, just under 5 hours so far.
Now, the frames of the front mandibles are added. They aew fashioned primarily from Technic beams then absolutely laden with greebling details on their outer surface. They are connected to the chassis at one end by pins and at the other by click-hinges.
It takes a while to add all the small parts: 50 minutes
The underside of the mandibles are constructed next then, once again, attached to the frame using pins. You'll see them more clearly in the photo below.
Build time for bags #7: 45 minutes
By the time the sections in bags 8 are added the underside is largely complete. There's an impressive level of detail on the bottom of the craft given it'll not really be seen when the model is on display. Greebling has been kept to a minimum, though, except on the curved section at the back which was added from bags #5.
Build time for this section: 45 minutes.
Now we turn our attention to the top of the mandibles, which are built primarily from plates but with arches used to form the circular holes in the top. The details seen through them were added in bags #8.
Build time for this section: 60 minutes.
So, after eight hours of building, nine bags out of 17 have been opened, and step 727 out of 1378 completed.
It's been very enjoyable so far. As I said earlier it never feels like you're building a large model because everything is built as a small-ish subassembly that is connected, usually by Technic pins, to the main chassis.
Much of the time you are building left- and right- hand sections of the model. In some sets this can lead to repetition and tedium but I've not found that to be the case here because, while left- and right- might look superficially the same they rarely are: there are subtle differences in the greebling and colours that help keep construction varied and interesting.
It would be inaccurate to describe the build so far as arduous because it is not, but it is sometimes fiddly, and you will need to be meticulous in your approach if you don't want to be left with a handful of pieces at the end of each stage that you shouldn't have.
So, so far so good. I'll crack on and report back tomorrow, hopefully with a completed model.
Now would be a good time to mention something about my building and photography arrangement that will influence the rest of this review.
My building room is on the second floor of my house, but my photography studio (oldest daughter's bedroom now she's moved out) is on the first. That means I have to carry models downstairs to photograph them.
Now, something that's not apparent from the photos is just how heavy the model has become by this point. Carrying it up and down the stairs is becoming more difficult, not only because of the weight but also because it's becoming increasingly fragile and there are no longer many places to hold it securely.
So, from now on I'll just be photographing the subassemblies rather than the entire model!