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Review: 4504 Millennium Falcon

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Review: 4504 Millennium Falcon

Postby Staff » Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:51 pm

One of the first things I noticed about the Falcon box was that it featured a flip-up front cover like some of the older LEGO boxes had. But unlike the older LEGO sets, underneath the cover wasn't a plastic window where you can gaze upon the insides and see some of the goodies you'll be getting. Instead, there was just more artwork, including an extremely large mockup of the now infamous Death Star Space scene and the numbers that bring dread to everyone's ears: 10131. There's no doubt it's a TIE set of some sort, but I digress.

For $99.99, you get 985 pieces which is a pretty good price per parts ratio and more than 300+ parts than the previous incarnation. When I opened the box, I immediately noticed a correction sheet and some loose plates. Seems like step 57 wasn't quite right and the plates were necessary to fix the flaw. I spent about 3 and a half hours on and off building the set while watching TV. I have mixed feelings about the construction.

First things first: the minifigs. Han and Leia are peach or "flesh-toned" or whatever the proper term is. i don't like them. I wish they stuck with yellow. Leia comes in her Hoth outfit as does Han, but the instruction manual for Han shows him with a tan colored torso design whereas the minifig you actually get is dark blue. Chewie and Threepio are always a treat to get. And the snowtrooper is a little lame if you ask me. The inclusion of the Snowtrooper recreates a very specific scene, a scene that has more than one Snowtrooper and when you compare the Falcon to the E-web Cannon, it's almost ridiculous to think that the ship was scared of this puny thing. But eh, not like there are a lot of opportunities to amass a Snowtrooper army for cheap. It should be noted that the Snowtrooper torso is incorrect and what you get instead is a Clonetrooper torso. Call LEGO Shop at Home for a replacement.

I enjoyed the build and the high number of parts gave it a level of detail the first Falcon never achieved. The designers went out of their way to include detail after detail in the interior. There is now a full pathway around the 95% of the ship, 5% being blocked by the escape pod. Speaking of escape pod, the designers must have had this cartoon in mind when they designed it, because it is now fully enclosed, but it's so big it blocks part of the interior walkway. On the opposite side of the ship, if you pull out the docking bay part way, a walkway lowers to the ground. Awesome detail. The Dejarik hologram board is back and there is now a nice constructed hyperdrive engine. Although there isn't a hidden floor panel where you can hide the rebels during an Imperial inspection, the floor is hollow and with a little work you should be able to customize that feature. Although not perfect, given the constraints of the design and the brick, the top gunner station is a nice addition and will in fact seat a minifig. A complementary belly gunner station was not included, but that's the beauty of LEGO, you can make one yourself if you're so inclined.

The overall structural integrity of the ship is quite solid. Attaching one of two large ribs that creates the outer hull was quite unwieldy but easier the second time around. The plate flaps that form the top are great and reflect a common technique also found in some Harry Potter sets that contruct the roof from angled plates than anything else. Any fears that this approach would create a less sturdy ship should be put to rest. It also gives it a more unrefined look and feel that more accurately conveys what the Falcon is really like.

There are only a few things about the design that really bugged me. The 1 thing that really bothered me was that I noticed that some of the bricks didn't bind as well as I'm used to. My first experience of weak studs was step 7 and the 4 tan 1x3 plates. They just didn't bind as well as some other parts, and those plates weren't the only ones. I'd be interested to see if others experienced the same thing. I do know that Gareth mentioned weaker bindings with the 2004 minis, so maybe it's more widespread than initially thought.

The other minor gripes I have are some of the construction angles. I probably have my own idealized image of what the Falcon should look like, heck, who doesn't? I felt like the mandibles were way too small and should be wider and thicker. The docking space between the mandibles, all wrong. The previous Falcon suffered from the same awful, huge GAP. The cockpit isn't quite right; it's not better than the previous version, nor is it any worse, just a different design that's still not quite there. You CAN sit two in the cockpit, not side by side, but rather one ahead of the other. Only by one stud and to the casual observer, it looks fine. Sticklers for an attention to detail won't find it sufficient though. The way the cockpit attaches to the ship is quite weak and can easily be strengthened by replacing the two 1x2 sand blue grille tiles with two 1x2 tiles with center stud like on the other two contact points. I guess this was done to remove the cockpit easily to either put in or remove minifigs. Still too weak for my tastes.

I hate stickers and I was quite disappointed to discover that the Hyperdrive tile was stickered instead of printed. I wished the other stickered elements were printed else they too will suffer the same fate as other stickered elements: peeling and cracking within a few months.

I finished building the model late last night and have it sitting on my coffee table. After glancing at it this morning and casually looking at it, turning it, and messing around with it this evening. What's my overall opinion? I must say, this is one of the best Star Wars model to date. The level of detail is outstanding and years ahead of the previous rendition of everyone's favorite bucket of bolts... or bricks... If you're like me, you like to tweak an official set to make it a little better. This Falcon provides an excellent base and starting point. A few homemade modifications can really turn this excellent model into an outstanding MOC.

Price/Parts ratio: 10/10
Parts Selection: 10/10
Minifigs: 3/10
Construction: 6/10
Design: 8/10
Swoosh Factor: 3/10
Reviewer's Tilt: 9/10
Final Score: 7.0

Here are some photos that LEGO sent me awhile back:

Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:19 pm

Re: Review: 4504 <em>Millennium Falcon</em>

Postby Jedd the Jedi » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:54 pm

I decided I'll post my review, from way back when.

I’ve been dying to get this set ever since it came out, back in 2004. The iconoclast of all Star Wars ships! In terms of popularity, you have the Slave I ranking third, the X-Wing Fighter second and the Falcon itself coming in first. In response to this, Lego has vastly revamped all three Lego sets featuring the crafts and, of course, 4504 is the most hyped. What can I say? It more than surpassed my expectations.

The box is huge, coming with a flip-top cover which reveals more pictures but, sadly, no movie stills. Unlike the previous rendition of the Falcon which threw in Luke, R2-D2 and Ben Kenobi, this one is packaged as an Episode V set with a snowtrooper and an E-Web cannon flung in for good measure. However, the cannon looks puny in comparison with the massive ship, and the scene recreated needs far more than just one snowtrooper. Oh well, they tried.

Off comes the lid and out pop the eyes. There are 985 pieces in the set, resulting in loads of bags, packaged colour-specific and not according to the building steps. Some of the bags are double-packaged, strangely. As with all extra-large glue-bound instruction booklets, this one flops about too much and is consequently hard to handle. Though the amount of and type of pieces required for each step are listed, the booklet is where most of my gripes are concentrated. A clone-trooper torso is printed instead of the snowtrooper one, the colour of a piece varies from sub-step to sub-step and dark grey is very, very easy to confuse with black. However, it would be unwise to judge a set by its booklet alone.

We’ll work from the appetizer slowly up to the entrée, if that’s fine. Minifigs. Five in all, which by me is a bit too little for a set this size. But I get Chewie! Yes, finally I possess a Chewbacca minifigure! Han and Leia come in their Hoth outfits, never-before-seen, and in a flesh-tone colour. This has seen a negative response, but starting from the basketball range Lego is applying flesh-tone to all their licensed sets, since they resemble actual actors or sports stars. It is bitter-sweet as the colour has made the figurines look more realistic but has ridden them of their compatibility with the classics. And then there is, of course, the afore-mentioned snowtrooper with a great printed torso and nicely-moulded headpiece with attaches to the backpack. C-3PO appears as well, in all his milky-golden glory.

Speaking of compatibility, the set comes in the new shades of grey, popularly known as “blue-grey” or “bley”. Fans are divided over this, but hey, a bit of change now and then is fine by me.

Moving on to the actual model now. The overall structural integrity is very solid, but building this baby demands all the concentration you have. Make sure you attach the bricks firmly together. Missing out even one step could prove fatal too. But enjoy the process, after all Lego is a building toy anyway.

The detail put in here just blows me away. There is now a full walkway around the interior of the craft, unlike with the previous incarnation. The back is decked out with a hyperdrive engine (the tile, is, sadly, stickered on), a couple of tool racks and even a little stand to put Han’s winter suit hood on. What looks like a bacta tank storage pod is put in as well, complete with funky trans-blue “head” pieces. Little maroon 1 by 2 pieces are placed, seemingly randomly, on the plated roof and protruding “teeth”, creating the intended battle-scarred look, whereas the previous Falcon looked brand new. I just love the way the roof is composed of separate tiles that open up; it makes the ship look way more accurate and in no way compromises its sturdiness in general. The turret looks great too; you can lift the top off to reveal a little seat with a targeting computer in front. Nice! The new escape pod is much, much worthier as compared to the butt-of-all jokes earlier version. Now fully enclosed, it is one of my favourite bits to the set. It blocks off quite a chunk of the walkway, but that’s to be expected. On the opposite end, if you were to pull the docking bay out mid-way, a bar connected to the landing ramp helps lower it. An awesome touch and an interesting detail, albeit a tad flimsy.

Now, on to the chunkier and by far more controversial portions of the ship. The teeth or mandibles look fine on the box cover, but after getting them built I was thinking to myself: gosh! So small! I’ve done some research and most official drawings and photographs depict the Falcon with much longer teeth, wider and as thick as the rest of the craft. Modifying this portion also proved extremely unwieldy.

Next to it sits the cockpit which, in my opinion, is one of the few parts of the set that is not an improvement on the former rendition. I was quite appalled to find that the portion on which the minifigures were singing was left hanging loosely in mid-air. Using some of my own (washing machine) bricks I did a bit of fixing. Also, while the cockpit in the film sits four comfortably, you have trouble getting just Han and Chewie into the cockpit. Plus they’re seated one in front of the other, not even sitting side-by-side! Anyway, we’ll continue and I’ll stop ranting about the small barren patch of land surrounded by perfect paradise.

Two jointed ribs encircle the Falcon, the one at the back with a transparent tube running down the centre, most possibly the exhaust. The separate roof plates attach to these ribs. Attaching the ribs to the ship itself is a truly delicate process, awkward at first but easier the second time around.

The Falcon sits proudly in the centre of my living room coffee table, roof tiles proudly open, escape pod detached (with Chewbacca standing on it doing maintenance) and with all the other Star Wars Lego sets around it seeming to bow in submission. This set being the “holy grail” so to speak of Star Wars Lego, it will be that way for a very, very long time. I am ever grateful for this marvellous piece of Lego design (the minor hiccups are excusable any day) and here’s my overall opinion in three words: I love it! This is among the best of the Star Wars models to date and is more, much more actually than simply an improvement or a second version. The Millennium Falcon is special, that I know.

Jedd the Jedi
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:47 am

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