These are pictures of the current renovation and "completion" (can a continuosly evolving project ever really be "completed"?) of my custom Millennium Falcon, now featuring the first ever pics of the entire underside of the ship.
About this creation
I'm currently (and painfully slowly) doing a major overhaul of my custom Falcon to bring unfinished (or old, poorly done or off-color) sections up to date. I've been unable to devote much time to LEGO lately, which is why it's been going so slowly. These pictures show stages of the work. The rear section of the ship was the last to be completed initially (the ship literally sat for 10 years without the rear third, as I didn't have enough of the right pieces as a teenager to complete it). When it was first built, the rear was a mosaic of off-colored plates (much like the ship itself years before that...history pics of those OLD stages will be added soon). Now I'm fixing the rear underside, the last bit that wasn't grey.
Update: Well, that last line had been a bit of a fib for months, until now. I've done something I'd never attempted before - flipped the ship on it's back. In other words, the views you'll see in the new set of pics below are as new to me as they are to you - I'd never even seen the whole ship from that vantage point in it's 20 year history (more info below)! It was sort of a now-or-never situation. I HAD to get the bottom work done, but was procrastinating big time. Now the restortation can officially begin!
The rear section early in the revision process. This version still featured the original (almost 20 year old)yellow bricked "box" containing the gunwell seat areas. Notice most of the rear lower hull is missing, as I'm reconstrucing the sections in grey exterior/black interior to match the rest of the ship. The previous sections had been red, white, black, blue, and grey (whatever I could scrounge up at the time)
A comparison pic of the ship with the upper hull in place (though still missing a bit of the side and lower hull) to contrast with the above pic. The long structures (upper and lower) which run from the gunwell area to down between the mandibles (forming the "jawbox" area as Robert Brown calls it) has since been lengthened, extending forward another two studs. It doesn't sound like much, but it makes a big difference, as they were too stunted before.
The most recent pics, taken by my brother, showing the latest main hold work in progress(floor panels removed to redo the access hatch grating). Only the lower "jawbox" structure is in place, so the effect of the two-stud extension mentioned above is not very noticeable.
Newest Pic: the revised floorplan. The rear rooms are still being worked on. Also, I've moved the ladder access door to the rear of the gunwell tube, to allow the ladder to be reoriented to the front, so as to appear in proper orientation to Han and Luke when they sit in their chairs as seen in ANH. The problem is, the film also shows the ladder access door as being on the starboard side (bottom in the pic), with the ladder on the port side, as I used to have it, but this puts it out of whack in relation to the gunner chairs! Just another of the Falcon's (or more precisely, the various Falcon interior film sets') mysterious incontinuities...I'm not sure whether I'm going to leave mine like this or not...
NEW PICS! Here, for the first time, the entire underside is exposed. As you can see, some parts were never really finished (the exposed green baseplates) while others are in the midst of rebuilding. Every other time (except once - see two pics below for explanation) work was done on the underside, it has been with as much of the ship as possible hanging precariously over the edge of a table, and me literally lying ore crouching underneath it like a car mechanic!
I have to admit, picking the ship up is tough enough, but flipping it over was downright stress inducing (for the ship AND me)! The sounds of straining LEGO bricks almost made me mutter "hear me baby, hold together!" I removed all the loose top panels and inner bits, but several ring corridor sections that weren't yet fully secure fell off as well! Nothin' that can't be repaired when she's finally back upright...
Closer detail of the front mandibles. I never originally tried to include the two round access bays on either side...I'm still considering it, but it might make the structures weaker than I'd like. As mentioned above, there was only one other time I had complete access to the entire ship (or at least the 60% that was built at the time). In 1996, the ship made a thirty mile trip in my car trunk, falling apart in the process. The good thing that came out of it was the first total overhaul since it had been built. However, only part of the rear was there (see below), so I removed it and let the ship sit straight up on my counter, repairing and reworking the original underside. However, soon after that I completed a version of the rear, making it impossible to orient the ship that way anymore (until now, that is).
Rear section detail. The green plates have been on the ship since it's humble beginings in 1985 (a complete timeline of pics can be seen in my Falcon history 1985-2002 section)! They were the only part of the rear completed for over 10 years. Now, I can finally fix this area up. I'll remove the white plates and cover the entire underside of the greens with grey plating and detailing. Unfortunately, the only 12 x 24 baseplates I've found in light grey have empty bottoms, with no way to attach plates (let alone the two rear landing gear), so I'm forced to either rebuild the entire section with smaller pieces, or paint the visible green sides a light grey shade. I know it violates the "Purist's" Code, but this ship is already in the permanent Purist doghouse anyway for a number of offenses, and in the end, they're my LEGO bricks to do what I want with!
Side view of the front half. You can see that all the top panels were removed (they simply sit in position when the ship is right side up, so they would have fallen all over the place when I inverted the ship. I may try to work ou a way for them to stay in position yet be easily removeable, but first things first! The ship's left side "newer" landing gear housing (added by Han and Chewie between Ep. IV and V, yet horribly mistakenly included on the CGI Falcon in the redone "fleeing the Death Star before explosion" shot of Ep. IV Special Edition - but that's a rant for another time) is seen here still in
it's second incarntation, all blue, from 1996. Originally it was red and blue (I had no grey left - finally not a problem anymore), and has never been properly revamped and recolored to match the right one which I was able to rebuild in 2001.
Rear perspective. I'm going to try to add some more accurate angles to the rear landing gear housing...as for the out-of place black ramp plate on the left, I just can't give it up (it makes the topside of the ramp look perfect, with a black walkway flanked in grey runners). I'll either leave the underside as is or paint it light grey.
Here's the right front landing gear housing in it's new position (I lengthened it and moved it in more towards the centerline, each by one stud). I will probably replace the dark grey with light (it looks ok, but is not accurate). The opened ramp is to the left.
Here is the housing removed and flipped to show Han hiding in the hidden compartment in the main corridor (the empty space in the black floor plating to the left is where the "hatch" floor plate goes). Of course, as the extra housings weren't present in Ep. IV, where were these spaces supposed to fit? Just another anomaly in this "Ship of Riddles" (speaking of which, why oh why did Robert Brown's site have to disappear? Thank god I'd printed out every page of it a few years back)!
Newest pics here, with a few more slow, painful baby steps towards completion (time for LEGO has been almost nonexistent for me lately). The large "box" structure housing the rear double landing legs has been coated in grey for the first time, and new wedge plates are helping add roundness. Also featured is my new reworked Falcon mini for a size comparison.
You sir are a madman. You already know what I think of your Falcon but what I really enjoy is hearing the story of it. Not many LEGO builders can say they have such a long history with an MOC as this. That's what makes it great, the labour of love. Does your wife ever get jelous?;-) This seems to have really become an obssesion.....good for you!